Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I have not disappeared...

I have been so out of it lately. SO out of it. It's been about all I can do to keep up with my weekly homework, church activities, and attempting to keep my house in some sort of presentable order.

Here's a few things I've been trying to puzzle out in my own life:

- Which topic I should pursue for my Preservation research paper: photographs in archives (possibly preserving family photographs/albums as well); or preservation programs in small archives (religious archives?).

- I have food in my freezer. I have an entire pantry (well, what would be a pantry if we actually had the space for one) full of non-perishables. WHY can I never seem to come up with good, new ideas for dinner? I love cooking. Don't get me wrong. But I've definitely hit a rut here and don't know how to get out of it. (Hence having pizza for supper. Is it necessary? No. But easier than trying to figure out what to cook.) Problem #1: D and I have opposite tastes. Basically, what I like he doesn't, so on and so forth.... you get the idea. So where do I go from here?

- Why it's been so hard to get myself motivated to do my homework. I'm constantly distracted by other things (mostly internet related), and it's been really frustrating lately. Part of the reason is that I'm not overly excited about any of my classes this semester. Some are better than others, but they just haven't captured my interest like previous semesters have. I'm not used to this....... and trying to convince myself my brain isn't broken.

Things I'm currently loving about life:

- I have fall decorations up. A few vases of autumn colored florals, a cute little pumpkin crafted out of twigs, and a glittery wooden sign that says "Blessings". Fall-scented candles, and it's complete. I love autumn. It's my favorite season.

- Speaking of favorite seasons, one of the reasons I love autumn so much is because it's the beginning of SWEATER SEASON. I LOVE sweaters. So comfy, colorful, and fantastic.

- Sunday, I wound up with a little extra time, so I ventured into my kitchen and baked a crumb-top apple pie for the senior youth group meeting later that day. They loved it, and that was a welcomed confidence-booster for me. I also found myself with a little bit of the leftover pie filling, and didn't want that to go to waste. So, domestic adventurer as I am, I mixed it in with some beer bread batter and sprinkled the remaining crumb topping on top of the bread. DELICIOUS.

- I finally had a chance to get back to our local knitting night last night. It felt so nice to just get out of the house without having to worry about homework or anything else for two hours. Two hours of knitting, drinking chai tea lattes, and conversing with fellow knitters. Yay!

I suppose that's about it for now.... I really need to go for a ridiculously long walk today, preferably before supper and Bible Study tonight. Hopefully it'll help reenergize me and get me to focus a bit more on my studies this week.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Copyright & Fair Use

Among all three of the courses I'm taking this semester, I was most looking forward to my Legal Issues class. I've always been interested in copyright, but never had much opportunity to study it. (I mean, even I wasn't nerdy enough to study copyright law in my spare time...) The class, although different than what I expected, has turned out to be highly informative, and TONS of work. I almost feel like I'm in law school...

And so here we are, Fall Semester 2011, Week 2, and I'm determined to master this class, and especially the topics of copyright and fair use. I'm past the initial freaking-out-there's-too-much-information-to-absorb stage which accompanies the start of every semester. Coming from an academic/research library background, I've seen it in use already, and I know this training will come in handy down the road in my career... it's even applicable to archives! Imagine that.

One of the first things that has struck me about Copyright & Fair Use is the logic of it all... As part of the assigned readings for the first unit, I've been reviewing various different cases on the topic. At first glance, it appears like the courts can't make up their minds. This is fair use, this isn't.... no, this isn't fair use either, but that is. But applying a little critical thinking, lots of logic, and a healthy dose of morality/ethics, the decisions make sense, and are actually rather consistent.

I'm beginning to see how copyright isn't there to frustrate users and library patrons, but rather to protect them... it really all makes sense once you think about it. And now.... I should get back to those slides, lectures, videos, and cases.... because this superlibrarian-in-training has so much more to learn!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

First Impressions

Oh, Fall 2011. Here you are, and although I knew you were coming, I had also hoped you'd delay your appearance by a few days. The weather's finally nice, and now you request I stay indoors, chained to my computer, and reading legal case after article after legal case... And so begins the third semester of my MLIS degree.

I'm back to full-time student this semester... I decided it would be better for my sanity (perhaps??) if I didn't focus on finding a job right away and just settled into life here in Sedville at my own pace, which apparently means a super intense semester of grad work. Although the first day of classes isn't over (it never really is with this whole online deal...), I thought I'd give you some first impressions of my classes this semester.

First and foremost, I feel so dazed and confused simply because I do not know where to start. It seems all my classes want the readings finished and discussions started immediately, but I simply cannot do that for three classes at once. My Legal Issues class has our first online chat tomorrow already, and I feel he expects us to have a good portion of the cases and statutes read prior to our discussion. If so, I'm in trouble.... we'll see how that goes.

Reference: By far, this class is the most "traditional" library-based, and promises to be highly enjoyable this semester. The prof is balancing readings/theory with situational exercises, including discussions of best practices and recommended reference materials. Definitely a good class for librarians, and I anticipate it having worth for the archivists as well. There's really not much more I have to say about this class at the moment, except I'm loving how organized and logical the professor is. Readings, recorded lectures, and online discussions. Typical class structure, but for this topic, it appears highly effective. Some observations included, which should be interesting and informational.

Preservation: Naturally, I am interested in this class for its archival focus and merit. Although not a top choice at all when planning out my coursework in the program, the instructor is outstanding and really knows her stuff. She's incorporating Simmons' brand new Digital Curriculum Lab, which is perfect for an online course. I'm excited to explore this new feature, gain some hands-on knowledge, and practical experience all in one. Other than that, the format is typical for the instructor, and I really appreciate how she structures the class. We'll be covering all forms of information media, including my old friend digitization. I'm excited to explore digitization even more as a preservation method, considering I worked with it for a while, and wrote a paper on it last semester. Other topics we'll cover include disaster preparedness and recovery, security, environmental control, collections maintenance... the list goes on and on.

Legal Issues: Not to be cheesy, but this class just may give me issues. As seems to be the case, classes I am most excited about tend to hold my interest the least. And I was really looking forward to taking this class. I'm not saying I'm giving up on this course already, just that I know I've met my challenge. I had thought the class would be discussing legal issues as pertains to libraries and information managers without immersing ourselves in the technical language of court cases, statutes, etc. Of course, I expected to read these, just didn't think we'd be on our own to completely interpret/understand/comprehend them. Basically, the class requires about 8 times more work than I anticipated. Brings back the undergrad Political Science days for sure. Those days were reason enough not to apply to law school... In addition, I'm not entirely sure I understand how the professor wants us to proceed with the readings, casework, etc. I know I'll get out of the course the equivalent of what I put in effort-wise, but I also don't want to go completely insane with this legal stuff. Copyright. I'm here for the copyright. And it's at the beginning.... so looks like I'll be developing tangential interests along the way. Here's hoping this course will become a bit less confusing and a bit more friendly for us non-lawyer types.*

So there you have it. First impressions of the third semester. The race is on, and I'm focused on the finish line. Much to do before arriving there, but with husband, friend, and classmate support along the way, it'll totally happen. Hopefully without too much insanity... and a little bit of chocolate.**


*Speaking of lawyers, there are a surprising number of them in our MLIS program. I suppose I shouldn't really be surprised, as law libraries prefer to hire among their own...
** O.K.... who am I kidding?? It'll be a lot of chocolate, and probably some alcohol, too. And knitting. Perfecto.