April 2011 Archives

So much to talk about

Where will I start? I guess I should start by letting all the readers know why I have neglected blogging this semester. I took over the responsibilities of the "Fellow for Dean's Initiatives" while they hunt for the new fellow. (The past Fellow got a 'big kid' archives job in RI.) So I have been planning all of the events around GSLIS. This is a really fun job, but there are so many events it takes up all of my time! We have these programs called "Lunchtime Lectures" and they are informal 'classes' but instead of learning about the reference interview, you learn about happiness. You are also welcomed/encouraged to bring your lunch to any of these series. There are some refreshments available and a number of professors attend the event. Another notable aspect of these lectures is the fact that you get to have an introduction of a topic even though you are not in a specific concentration. For example, a few weeks ago I attended a lunchtime lecture about censorship in children's literature. As an Adult Reference person it was very interesting to learn a little bit about the other side of the public library. More information about the lunchtime lectures can be found here: Lunchtime Lectures

We also recently had Academic Advising Day, which is pretty much Orientation for Grad School. This is the time when you are a new student meet some professors, some other students starting the program the same time as you are, and your advisor. It is also when you pick your classes for the first time. This can be very stressful for some people, but honestly I never understood why people were stressed about classes. I always just picked what I could, and if I missed a class I wanted I simply planned out the rest of my schooling to make sure I could get a particular class in my time at school. Simmons is really cool and really flexible about things so just ask for some help and everyone tries to pitch in and offer some help/advice.

Below is a link to the gsliscast, the podcasting site for GSLIS. In there you can find some lunchtime lecture series and the recording of this past academic advising day. This also will give you a pretty good indication of the different types of events we offer at Simmons GSLIS.


Bye for now!

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Get lost in the Reference stacks

This semester for my Reference (407) class, I have two sample reference question sets.  These have been my favorite assignments so far because they let me practice something I'm really starting to enjoy doing.  My favorite question to research so far:

What are some variations of the old saying “a penny saved is a penny earned”?

Now, this isn't necessarily because I love random knowledge (although I do), but  more because of HOW I found the answer.  By the time I'd reached this question in the sample set, I’d spent lots of time just sitting and looking through several online databases.  I deserved a break!  I got up just to stretch my legs and browse the shelves for fun.  I started browsing through the New York Times bound collection of film reviews to try to find the print version of the Gone With the Wind review I cited for another assignment question (no luck) when a nearby title caught my eye: The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs: Meanings and origins of more than 1,500 popular sayings by Martin Manser.  On that same shelf I also found A Dictionary of American Proverbs.

The answer?

From Facts on File (p 190): Thrift is a great revenue.

From American Proverbs (p 458):  A penny saved is a penny earned; a penny spent is a penny ruined.  A penny saved is a penny made.  A penny saved is as good as twopence earned.  He who saves a penny earns a penny.  Penny saved, a penny made.

So even though I didn't technically do any research to find this answer, I did learn the value of browsing and getting to know the print reference collection.  With so many answers readily available online, we sometimes forget or neglect our print resources for reference.  And as quick as we are to defend our print books from e-readers, we seem to have resigned our print reference books to the online version or database without too much of a fight.  So as much as I'm a fan of endless online browsing for random facts and information, I'm also now an advocate for getting lost in the Reference stacks whenever you get a chance.

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