Posts Tagged ‘egotism’

“An edgy Easter bunny crossed with a Great White that does standup”

September 19, 2011

Some of you may be aware that my employer is currently hiring for an archivist. Long story short, my employer moved all my professional responsibilities to a new position, and then decided to hold a search. I could apply, but I’d be facing a demotion if I didn’t get it. To say I was disappointed in their decision would be an understatement.

A few weeks ago, not long after landing in Chicago for SAA, I checked my email and found a job offer…for a librarian position. The job responsibilities included a lot of things I’d wanted to work on at my archives, like digital preservation, managing digital collections, and faculty outreach. But as I spent the week in the company of thousands of archivists, I wasn’t sure if I was ready to leave the field just yet.

I let my employer know that I had a job offer, and they decided to continue with the search. I reframed my options as joining a library that really wanted me to come and staying at an archives that didn’t seem to care if I left. Suddenly, the decision became much simpler.

What sealed it was an email response I received from the library director regarding my concerns about the position. I said that even though the position was a librarian gig, I thought many of the job responsibilities were things that archivists work on, and I wanted to stay involved with SAA and other archivist groups. Oh, and by the way, I write this little webcomic; how do you feel about that?

It turned out that not only was he very aware of this blog, it was one of the things that convinced him I was the right lady for the job. He agrees with me that divisions between librarians and archivists are often unhelpful, and that this job was a wonderful librarian/archivist hybrid. In fact–and I hope he doesn’t mind me quoting here–“you might be inspired to create an entire cartoon narrative around how to name such a new creature!  A ‘Libedigitivist’ or something.  Perhaps an edgy Easter bunny crossed with a Great White  that does standup.”

Oh. Em. Gee. As soon as I got back to Philly, I sent in my acceptance letter. And I’m thrilled to announce that on October 10th, I’ll be joining La Salle University‘s Connelly Library as the Media and Digital Services Librarian. (or archivist, whatevs)

I don’t think things around here will change that much just because I won’t be working in an archives anymore. (You probably wouldn’t know it from reading this comic, but I’ve never actually processed a collection before.) I suspect I’ll be branching out beyond EAD comics to derange other metadata standards, and I may shift the focus a bit more towards digital collections and digital preservation. Of course, that’s a direction the field as a whole is taking, too.

There are a few lessons here for those of you who are thinking about your future job search or are already in the middle of it. You should probably assume that employers have done a very good job of Googling you before they invite you over to hang out for a day. Don’t be afraid to put your future employer on trial, and find out if their library/archives/shark tank is an environment you’d want to work in. And when you find a place that really wants you, just the way you are–well, it’s just about the best feeling in the world.

An edgy Easter bunny crossed with a Great White that does standup

An edgy Easter bunny crossed with a Great White that does standup! So this archivist walks into a bar. The bartender says, "What can I get you?" And the archivist says, "Get me a beer--No, wait, a screwdriver. Or maybe a martini?" The bartender says, "Come on, decide already!" And the archivist says, "Okay, fine. I'll have the original order." I don't think the audience gets it. I can see a guy saying "Um, what the fonds?" There's no pleasing some people.

Photo credits:

Easter Bunny from the Library of Virginia

Group assembled around great white shark: Key West, Florida from the State Library and Archives of Florida

James Simpson Theatre from the Field Museum Library

An audience in the New Theatre, 1964 from LSE Library

Missed opportunities: Deranger ribbons!

September 2, 2011

I still have some Deranger ribbons left over from SAA. If you want one, send a letter or postcard and I’ll mail one to whatever return address you put on it. I’m happy to mail ribbons overseas, but please tell me exactly how to address the envelope to you so it goes to the right place!

Send mail to:

[address temporarily removed]

(And if you’re thinking, hey, wouldn’t it be easier if I just emailed you my address? Yeah, maybe. But I like getting mail. Send something good. :) )

Missed Opportunities: a haiku

August 31, 2011

So, maybe you heard that I was one of the winners of this archives haiku contest? Some people asked for an illustrated version, so here you go. I made this one extra big so you can print it out at any size and stick it on your wall.

Title: Missed Opportunities. Haiku: Hey, handsome stranger/ Saw your pic in the archives/ Too bad you're dead now. And who's that daguerreotype hottie? "Portrait of a Young Man," from the Museum of Photographic Arts Collections

Title: Missed Opportunities. Haiku: Hey, handsome stranger/ Saw your pic in the archives/ Too bad you're dead now. And who's that daguerreotype hottie? "Portrait of a Young Man," from the Museum of Photographic Arts Collections

Deranging SAA

August 17, 2011

Derangers, come find me at SAA and I will give you one of these for your badge:

Deranger ribbon

Deranger ribbon

Unless you are the archivist who so generously indulged my desire to hear the phrase “XSLin’ like a felon” in an SAA webinar, in which case your ribbon is already in the mail to you. (If you aren’t coming to SAA but still want a ribbon, let me know after the conference and we’ll work something out.)

Likely places to find me are:

  • The Social Media Forum, where you’ll get to see what happens when SAA lets me work on a presentation
  • The Tweetup and Beer Roundtable
  • The Drexel reception
  • The SAA Career Center, from 11 AM-1 PM on Saturday. I will be offering career advice and hugs.
  • Anywhere with free food (students and new archivists represent!)

Stuck in the past, stuck in the basement

April 29, 2011

So yesterday @mandahill posted a link to a Library Journal article that ruffled a few folders. “OMG,” said the archivists, collectively, “did he really just SAY that about us?” Oh yes. Yes he did.

So these two librarians are chatting at the reference desk (next to a window! with sunshine!) and one of them is all, "Archives will always need librarians to curate and preserve." And the archivist below them in the basement is all, "Hey librarians, I can hear you down here." The whole thing would be kind of sad if it were true, but it's not, it's just a metaphor for how librarians and archivists need to communicate better.

So these two librarians are chatting at the reference desk (next to a window! with sunshine!) and one of them is all, "Archives will always need librarians to curate and preserve." And the archivist below them in the basement is all, "Hey librarians, I can hear you down here." The whole thing would be kind of sad if it were true, but it's not, it's just a metaphor for how librarians and archivists need to communicate better.

Hey Professor Stephens: a lot of the things you’d like to see librarians doing, archivists are already pretty good at. Helping users find things? Creating localized collections? Helping users create localized collections? I’ve done all those things. In the last week. And I think I’m hardly unique in this respect. We archivists would be happy to show you how it’s done–you just need to ask.

Hey archivists: don’t wait for the librarians to come find you in the basement. We’ve got a lot to learn from each other, and the sunlight would do you some good.

–Rebecca (who works in an archives and a library, and loves books)

Deconstructing the derangement

April 6, 2011

So, one of the many things keeping me from comicking these last couple of weeks (sorry kids) is this case study on DnD that I’ve been working on for a book for new LIS professionals. I’ve posted my current draft below, and will update it as I get suggestions and feedback. If you have questions you’d like answered, let me know! Feel free to leave comments here or email me. Editing will end sometime on Sunday.


What is Derangement and Description?

DnD is a webcomic blog about archives, metadata, and preservation. When I started the blog, I alternated between two types of comics: EAD comics, which are mock finding aids for famous people and organizations, and hand-drawn comics. I’ve since branched out into photocomics, song parodies, and even an animated video.

Why did you start writing DnD?

When I first started working in an archives, I looked around for a webcomic–the archives equivalent of Unshelved–but couldn’t find one. So I decided to start my own. I figured that since there wasn’t already another archives webcomic, it wouldn’t be hard to be the best! At the time that I started the comic, I was just beginning to learn EAD, and I had some ideas for using the tags literally or punningly to comic effect. The archives field is also blessed with a very large vocabulary of terms that have a very specific meaning to archivists (appraisal, processing, etc.) and I saw the potential for a lot of humor there.

From the time I started the comic, I saw it as my professional contribution to the field. I didn’t yet have the education or experience to publish papers or present at conferences, and I thought EAD jokes and drawings of talking doc boxes would be an easier way to start.

Where do you get your ideas for comics?

I keep a running text file of comic ideas, and I write them in the margins of my notebooks, because I never know where I’ll be when an idea strikes! I draw inspiration from anywhere and everywhere. Many ideas come from work, either through colleagues or through my own experience. Others come from archivists on Twitter and professional listservs. Sometimes the ideas happen in reverse—I’ll think of a pop culture reference, or an Internet meme, and try to find the connection to archives.

How has DnD benefited your personal/professional development?

I sometimes find it hard to meet new people at conferences, so it’s great when archivists recognize me from the comic and approach me first. Through the blog and its associated Twitter account, I’ve been able to arrange site visits and network with other archivists across the country. I used to worry that doing a humor blog would make it difficult to be taken seriously as an archivist, and fortunately, that hasn’t been the case at all. However, the line between my professional identity and my blog identity is occasionally blurred—I’ve gotten emails at work addressed to Dee Dee, my webcomic alter ego.

I also think of the process of researching my comics as part of my professional development. All those EAD comics have certainly improved my encoding skills, and I also check the content of my comics against resources like the SAA Glossary. Because I know my comics are being used in lectures and educational presentation, I try to make them as accurate as possible.

Do you have any tips for other new professionals?

There are an awful lot of library and archives blogs out there. If you’re thinking of starting one, ask yourself: how will yours stand out? Do you have something to say that no one else is saying? Are you saying it with talking doc boxes? (Sorry, I may have that market cornered.) The library-archives blogosphere may seem crowded, but I think there’s still room for newcomers with original ideas.

If you’re considering doing a humor blog, run your ideas by colleagues inside and outside your field. When I first started doing comics, I shared my scripts with a mathematician friend. If he thought my jokes were funny, even being unfamiliar with the archives references, then they were funny enough to draw for the archivists. I also find brainstorming with fellow archivists helpful when I have a funny idea that needs some work to become a comic script.

Finally, don’t wait until your content is perfect to start blogging. I was so self-conscious about my comics that I didn’t even put my name on the blog until after it won an award. As with More Product, Less Process, tell yourself you can always go back and fix things later—and then don’t. Learn from your mistakes, and implement your improvements starting with your next entry. It can take time to find your own style, but you won’t find it if you never publish anything.

Derangement and Description virtual picnic

November 11, 2010

Happy second anniversary, DnD! In addition to the Harrisburg shindig, we’re having a virtual picnic. Please comment here to let everyone know what you are bringing!

MARAC swag, and an anniversary party!

November 10, 2010

Hey archivists! Do you find it hard to meet new people at conferences? Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could introduce yourself, without having to, you know, introduce yourself?

My badges, let me show you them:








If you want the Deranger badge or the door hangers I made for SAA, here they are.

Just in time for MARAC!  And if you haven’t heard, this crazy little webcomic turns two on Thursday, and we’ll be celebrating in Harrisburg. Can’t make it to the party? Like last year, there will be a virtual picnic in the comments tomorrow–stay tuned!

Edit: Oh yeah, please come to my MARAC session! S14: Open to Anything: Using Open Source Products in Repositories, Friday 4-5:30 PM. No comics, but I’ve got a fun presentation written, I promise. :)

Howled Migration

August 23, 2010

Alright, kids, time for DnD to go back to being a humor blog. I propose migrating the discussion sparked by last week’s Howl over to NewArchivist, and to start you off, I’ve got a guest post up over there.

Boston Deranger meetup

June 9, 2010

If you’re interested in a meetup in Boston next week, please vote for a date!