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access (in the first and second life) May 24, 2007

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I’m pleased to be able to relate that my hand is healing well.

Nothing ever stands still in the world of research information – this week details of the UK Research Reserve (UKRR) Project were announced. The purpose of this project is to protect and enable access to low-use printed research journals. These kind of journals (often in niche areas and by small publishers) are at risk of disposal as space and cost pressures in HE libraries increase. The British Library will store and maintain printed copies of the identified journal titles, and provide quick and easy access to the material for researchers regardless of location. Researchers will have the choice of accessing journals in printed or electronic format.

There’s a lot of discussion at the moment about Second Life. It’s somewhere I haven’t yet had the pleasure of visiting (it’s on my ‘to do’ list), but apparently there are a lot of librarians hanging around on Infoisland, which has just celebrated it’s first anniversary. I’m not sure yet if there’s a bridge over to Infoisland or if you have to travel over by boat – either way surely there’s an issue of access? In the Second Life (as in the first) prime real estate in desirable areas would seem to be beyond the average library budget.

Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing. Werner von Braun

an avocado a day… May 11, 2007

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Throughout my childhood I looked to my parents and my teachers in order to absorb as many ‘life-tips’ as my small, barely developed brain could manage:

  • Don’t go back to a firework once it’s lit.
  • Always use the ‘Green Cross Code’.
  • Don’t put your head inside a lion’s mouth.

Rules which might one day actually save my life, or at least prevent an accident. However, throughout this crucial formative period, there was one startling oversight:

No one ever mentioned the avocado.

Seemingly a pleasant and nutritious fruit from the outside, well known for it’s potassium content and B vitamins, the avocado actually hides a dark and evil secret behind that bumpy pear-shaped exterior. It is out to cause people harm. I now, through painful experience know this to be true. The apparently simple process of removing the nut (or is it stone?) caused this to happen:


A severe stab wound to the palm of my left hand which resulted in significant blood loss and mild shock, not to mention 2 visits to my local A&E. Yes, I’m ok now, thanks for asking but I am finding that using only one hand can be quite a challenge. The simple process of applying shampoo to the head for example – now I have to squeeze the bottle above the head and simply guess whether I have a sufficient amount for a lather. Isn’t life a strain!

  “Inquiry is fatal to certainty” Will Durant

life on the road, life on the island May 1, 2007

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It’s nice to be back in the office, I’ve been to Doncaster, London, Wrexham and Liverpool in the last few days. That is how life must be for Bob Dylan all the time.

My day in the company of the Theology PhD students at Mattersey Hall was both pleasant and productive. I think they found the session on electronic resources informative, and I got some ideas for future sessions from the feedback received.

In London I attended a seminar called ‘The Library in the Interactive Environment’. There were some good examples of how Web 2.0 technologies such as Blogs, Wikis, Tagging, RSS, Podcasts etc can be used in developing more interactive and dynamic communication channels between the user and the library. From an Information Literacy point of view these technologies could also make learning more stimulating and active.

As if one blog wasn’t enough I’m now writing my brother’s as well! To be fair it was my idea, so no complaints. David was already writing a journal whilst working over on Bardsey Island (Ynys Enlli) therefore it seemed a good idea to create a web-based version. As there is no web access (or indeed mains electricity or water!) over there I get each entry by text message and type it up. My brother is an ornithologist so the entries are largely bird-related. Bardsey is the home of the longest surviving ringed bird – a Manx Shearwater that was ringed as an adult in 1957.

If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it? Albert Einstein