Friday, June 28, 2013

RDA - Resource Description and Access or Justified more than a decade later

While I was in my last semester in library school, I was hired as a student assistant by a Canadian NGO. They were here in Cebu to collaborate on water and water resources. They were supposed to hire a professional librarian, but since the job did not offer security, they did not have a taker. Plus of course, then as now there are few library science graduates to go around. So they make do with the likes of me.

One of the few things, no, the only thing the Canadian CEO expected from me was that I could give him access to all relevant water and water resources information from their collection. 

To make a long story short, I cataloged the books and monographs. And then made an index to the journals, magazines, conference proceedings, pamphlets, and other occasional papers. But I did not make it like I was taught to. I cataloged the books and provided added entries to all the authors I found. And I did the same thing with the articles. 

One of my excuses, why I made all those added author entries, was a comment of one of the Canadian water experts/engineers. He said, and I am quoting and paraphrasing it 14-15 years later, “Oh good you are cataloging our library. I expect you would encode those in the computer when you are done. I expect I would be able to find every one and every thing then.”

Now, I may not know a lot about computer databases then, I still don’t, but I know for sure, you cannot really make a computer spit out something you have not fed it in the first place. So if you did not make added entries to the three other authors, you cannot enter those authors in the database. And if you did not encode them, how will you find them.

Another reason I made all those added entries was that it was a special library. And according to my limited knowledge, surely the world of water experts is not vast. I expected everyone knows or is acquainted with everyone. They would know more or less someone has authored a book or an article. But then what if they are the fourth author and their friends wanted to check their work?

I not only made added entries to all authors after author number three, I also made as many subject headings as I thought relevant. I decided one broad subject heading would not do justice to a conference proceedings that talked in one part about potable water, in another part about industrial sewage and sewerage, in another part about household sewers, yet in another part about rivers and lakes, and yet in another part about construction standards. In short, you cannot limit to labeling a proceeding with three or four broad subjects when it clearly talked about ten different topics. 

I was worried for a very long time what the next librarian or SA would do to my work. Or what she would think of me. I did not write a Policy Statement then. I did not know about policies. Maybe I was asleep during the lectures. A part of me was embarrassed of what I did. Embarrassed in a way that they do not really know the reasons behind my actions and that they might think I did not know what I was doing. Because it would appear to anyone I did not really know what I was doing.

RDA, of course is not explicit on their ruling on providing added entries. It is still on cataloger’s discretion. But now you would no longer look like a fool and an idiot for making added entries to seven or eight other authors. Especially to subjects and topics that are or have become so specialized. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Capes. And our obsession with it in superhero costumes

Man of Steel.

See how it was used by General Zod to swing Superman around in mid-air? And then released him so very abruptly so that Superman was slammed so hard into some building far away?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Education versus love

I read this blogpost when it came out the other day. Last night I read it again because I thought I have my own "reasons" to add to the list. Originally, my list is only until number 5, but I could not seem to stop. The rest is a bit of a stretch already. I did not want to post this on Facebook since posting about such things on FB has become notorious. People might think it is about them. I did not also want this to be taken as being "emo". Posting this list here somehow give it more weight. It is more about creativity rather than simple venting of frustrations. I hope I have not repeated any of the ideas of the original blog. 

1. I don't want to love you anymore because I no longer wish to be compared to cute and happy girls. I may not be your idea of cute, but I know I am passably good looking to any portion of society and I was happy with how I looked. I may not look happy, but I am relatively happy. Besides, genetics is difficult to hide unless you had a lot of money. I have naturally droopy eyes and downturned mouth. They don't make for a happy facial expression. I may not always laugh, but I was at peace with my life. And when I do laugh, they never ring hollow.

2. I don't want to love you anymore because you think education is not important in a mate. I have worked hard for my education. I have gone hungry just so I can have a college degree. I gave up a lot of things just so I can buy good books. I gave up love for a while because love and work and getting an education all at the same time are not really compatible. Besides, faithfulness and loyalty were never about having less or more education. True love and faithfulness to that love are about values.

3. I don't want to love you anymore because I want to continue to realize my potentials. Higher education was just one of my potentials. You think reading fiction is a waste of time. But reading is just one of my hobbies. And I don't read fiction all the time. I do read reference books. I also draw. You have seen my drawings, but I never hear anything about it from you, while I support you all the time about your own hobbies and interests. In fact, I make it more interesting when you talk about your hobby because I happen to love the material your hobby depends on. 

4. I don't want to love you anymore because I don't want to be your "go to girl". I don't want to be the last option. I don't want to be the girl to talk to because others bore you for a while. I don't want to be the girl you talk to because it is easier to talk to me. When we talk you need not have adjust your grammar, break down ideas to its simplest form, or explain about things and concepts all the time. 

5. I don't want to love you anymore because you know I write but you have never asked to see any of my compositions. I don't think you even read any of my Facebook posts. I don't think you even looked at my Facebook at all. You never liked any of my posts and I have posted hundreds since I became a member since 2007. You only ever liked one photo of me and I have at least 446 with family and friends and about a dozen or so of me solo. 

6. I don't want to love you anymore because you believe in unconditional love. There is no such thing as unconditional love. As the internet meme said "my love is not unconditional. i expect you not to be an asshole". Although some internet meme are stupid, I think that one is right. Love is about "I will love you if you will be good and kind to me". Generally speaking, you don't really expect a woman to love a man when he is physically, emotionally and psychologically abusing her do you? Love is conditional. 

7. I don't want to love you anymore because you believe in forever. There is no forever. If there is a beginning, then there is also an end. Only stories do not end, but they are not the same story. 

8. I don't want to love you anymore because I prefer to be called by my name when we talk. Endearments are so generic. They allow for slip-ups. You could be talking to a girl named Maria for all you care and I would never know. If some women are thrilled and feel special when you call them dear or honey, I feel faceless and nameless. Like you don't really care who you talk to so long as you talk to someone and feel less bored or alone or lonely. 

9. I don't want to love you anymore because you think I am materialistic. I am not. I don't even have a smartphone. My cellphone is the most basic there is. It does not have a camera. It is not internet ready. All it can do is send a text message, call, provide an alarm when I want it to, give me the time of the day and the day of the week, provide me light when I am outside in the dark. 

10. I don't want to love you anymore because I prefer to wear the softest and coolest cotton clothes and the softest leather shoes and bags. You think it is an excess when one can buy clothes and shoes at thrift stores. You think $50 is the maximum amount you would spend on denim jeans, but my one and only expensive denim is $70. And you said $1 shirts can be had at any thrift stores, but I have at least two shirts that are over $100 worth. So, maybe I am really materialistic and I don't want to be defensive about it because those are actually gifts. 

11. I don't want to love you anymore because I don't want to be called "girl". I am not a one anymore. I am a grown woman. I don't even think I was ever a girl. I was never carefree. I matured so early. I have requested you to please call me "woman", but you continue to refer to me as "girl".

12. I don't want to love you anymore because I don't want to contribute more than I had to to forest degradation and climate change. Besides, 3-ply virgin pulp tissue papers are really expensive. I supposed I can use cotton handkerchief to wipe my tears and nose, but I don't really want to disgust my help into leaving me. Good and honest help is very difficult to find. And while I love the mind-numbing effect of hand-washing clothes, I abhor cleaning. And I really my love clean and relatively arranged living quarters.

13. I don't want to love you anymore because I think you think I am trying to pass off a child as a nephew or a niece. I neither have one. I can medically prove I never have one. But you are so fascinated, maybe really be in love with somebody who can be medically proven to have delivered at least one offspring. Maybe it is true that men like you prefer women with children because these women know about real sacrifice. But then, what does these things matter. It is about honesty and being appreciated for it too. 

14. I don't want to love you anymore because when you talked about your family I became so interested I asked questions. But when I talked about mine, all you say is "ok". 

15. I don't want to love you anymore because I really liked your body but you make me insecure about mine. I love your lean and long body and ripped muscles but you think my 32B boobs are too big and the very slight curve to my stomach is fat. And you think girls with big boobs and fat girls are disgusting.

16. I don't want to love you anymore because I think you are only tolerating me to use as material/source/reference on how to make better seduction of other girls. 

17. I don't want to love you anymore because some song says "there are fifty ways to leave a lover", but if you add my list to the list on the link, it still does not add up to fifty. That only means there is still some part of me that want to continue to love you. But loving you is not fair to me especially when there is no hope of you ever loving me because you have already found your one, true, sweet, innocent love. 

18. I don't want to love you anymore because I have always been proud of my bloody-mindedness and my cold heart because they are earned with scars, but you make me want to be sweet and innocent. They are characteristics I am very dubious about in girls and women. 

19. I don't want to love you anymore because I remember about 80% of the things you told me, but you only remember about 20% of the things I told you. You can't even remember the name of the place I reside. You are confused about the places where I worked and where I visit every weekends. Maybe you remember even less than 20%. I know you don't remember my full name. 

20. I don't want to love you anymore because I love your intellect, but you downplay it all the time. You hide them to me and from me. I am proud of what you achieved academically, of your master's degree, but you never seemed interested in it. It is like you work so hard for it and found out too late it has no value after all.  

21. I don't want to love you anymore because you want marriage and a child maybe, but I have been running my whole life from both. You think love and marriage are inclusive of each other, but I think otherwise. There are a lot of marriages without love. And there are deep loves that never end up in marriage. 

22. I don't want to love you anymore because you never really believed I love you. You think I was playing some kind of mental game with you. Of course I was playing some kind  of mental game. Everything is mental. Everything happens in the brain. But my playing a mental game was never with malice. I was trying to find balance. I did not want to show you too much in case you think I am obsessed, or too little love in case you think I do not love you. 

23. I don't want to love you anymore because you never really made me feel like I was the only one. Of course I realized we were only on the getting to know you stage, but I have always know you were getting to know several women at once. And then you did not really chose me after all. You found me wanting when all I did was show you not only my best but also my worst. 

24. I don't want to love you anymore because I want your love, but it has been given somewhere else. Even as you continue to be nice to me, you heart was already given to another. And I want to be the only one, but I feel like one of the "thank you, girls" in some beauty pageant. 

25. I don't want to love you anymore because whatever romance and love story writers say, hearts do get tired. Human beings are meant to love and be loved. 

26. I don't want to love you anymore because when I post on Facebook, I wanted to use first person plural. 

27. WE don't want to love you anymore. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Of uniforms and costumes...

I have rambled about female superheroes' costumes in the past. Then I stumbled upon this... 

And they have sensible heel heights too. I especially enjoyed reading the comments. 

Although I still wonder about the purpose of capes. Of course they could be used as protection from the elements. Shade during hot months and coat during cold months. But really, that is stretching it a bit too far. I still think excess pieces of clothes and clothing restrict movements. (I have said the same thing about flying ribbons from hair and other excess pieces of clothing such as that thing extending several meters away from your "belt".) They may in all likelihood be used against the superhero. Imagine you getting away and landing six feet from your enemy, far enough for ordinary arms to reach, but since your cape is still flapping behind you, your enemy could just use it to grab you back. But originally in Superman, I think they were meant to convey movement, especially when he was flying.

Monday, January 14, 2013


I have been to graduate school. I am still in graduate school, trying to earn my master's degree in Library and Information Science. 

It proved to be more difficult than we thought. It is also disappointing. On many fronts it is disappointing. Not least of which is my overall performance. The drive to excel seemed to deflate midway through it all. And I am still scrambling to get back into full shape.

One disappointment is the rampant plagiarism even in graduate school. It is even commonplace in a profession that should be in the forefront on the fight against it.  

Another disappointment is the dearth of good thesis topics and outputs. Somehow librarians become limited with what their own libraries need or what is perceived to be needed by their libraries. I understand the concept of progression in research, but it can be taken only so far.

Research should be about what is needed to be known or made known. Regardless of whether our institution needs it or not, research should be about the discovery of new things and knowledge and information. It should be about discovery of new knowledge and information that may interest not just the library profession but a good portion of society as well.  

And my greatest disappointment is that my thesis might turn out to be another thesis written in the spirit of “requirement”. It is not off to a good start. It sucks right now.