Observations from Grave Walking

I went home (home being a relevant term) to visit my Dad for Thanksgiving. As part of my activities, I went to the downtown library and found my great-grandparents’ obituaries. It was my first time using microfilm (which is easy!) since we have not been taught practical skills like that so far in library school.

Anyways, I drove up to this section of the cemetery that I had not explored before. The day was just cool enough that I had to keep my coat buttoned up but my bare legs under my dress did not suffer too badly. I tried to go across the rows from end to end, but the lines were not straight. At some places the second row would jut forward like a six year’s adult tooth that pushes the remaining baby teeth out of the way. Except these were tombstones! I ended up mentally dividing the cemetery into three columns and I worked my way down each one in turn. Sometimes I’d overlap since the cemetery was so disorganized. Now onto my observations:

  • In order to read two rows of tombstones at once, you have to get right next to one of the line of stones. This means that for the older graves, every few steps your entire body sinks down as you step down onto a collapsed grave.
  • Collapsed graves refers to caskets which have collapsed.
  • 1/5 of the stones in this (relatively young) cemetery are unreadable.
  • Several stones had been broken in half and then the top sat on the ground and leaned back against the bottom portion.
  • Don’t put carved lambs or cherubs on tombstones. The heads will wear away and make it 10x creepier.
  • Give babies names. Being known as “Baby ____” for all eternity is depressing.
  • Some of the tombstones had been roughly carved with a simple name such as Dr. Such Andsuch.
  • Metal tombstone markers from the mid-1950s lose their plates. I picked up one Ms. Cora’s date plate and returned it to her.

After a fruitless search, I got in the car and drove to the next portion of the cemetery. When I got out, I turned to look back only to realize that was a completely different cemetery! >_< Who puts two cemeteries immediately across from each other on a two-lane country road?

New Drupal How-to Videos

Delete Spam User from Drupal Website from Amanda Goodman on Vimeo.

This video is intended for the ICL Communitas webmaster in how to handle spam users on the website. This video will also instruct you:

1) How to spot spam in a different language using the translate feature in the Google Chrome browser.
2) How to delete the spam content entry.
3) How to delete the spam user.

Continue reading →

Digital Libraries Website

For my final project in the Digital Libraries class, I was only suppose to be doing a mini project of creating my own digital library. I don’t believe it’s required to make a website or go this in-depth, but the boyfriend and I are each working on fully functional mini-repositories for our collections. My subject matter is nineteen sketchbooks and three notebooks. These objects cover the majority of the analog portion of my long-term project with Jessica Laney.

I had originally made this website in May while visiting her on vacation. However, I got busy with my summer work and internships and never found time to resume my work. So, tonight I had my work cut out for me in upgrading the Drupal installation, every module (think: app or plugin) and the themes on the website. This process itself was not too hard, but I had to download the current website and it’s database as back-ups in case my installation process failed. And it almost did! Fortunately, three hours later, I had everything upgraded and back in working order.

Next came researching to see if someone had already created a Dublin Core module and they had! I had to install The eXtensible Catalog (XC) Drupal Toolkit in order to make the Dublin Core module to work. XC looks amazing and I can’t wait to test it out on another website in the future! I have to keep reminding myself to not mix up my projects and priorities at this point and just get my mini digital library online first.

Out of the box, the Dublin Core module does not offer a controlled vocabulary. So I had to install the CCK Autocomplete module in order to control this issue. I could have used drop down menus, but there are over 200 characters in our project. I would rather we start typing the name of a character and have the CCK Autocomplete offer solutions. I think tomorrow I’ll make a video about how to add a controlled vocabulary.

I also finally made progress on the doing some CCS theming! The best part of using the same theme on this and the ICL Communitas website, is that my breakthroughs in theming can be put into place there! :D My mini-triumph tonight was pushing the information inputted into the Dublin Core fields to the right 50px.

Drupal modules mentioned:

Open Source Software with Jason Puckett

Have I mentioned my love for Georgia’s Wednesday Webinars Series? They’re always helpful and the librarians are very personable with great ideas! Today was about Open Source Software (watch me try to resist plugging the webinar and my notes to my classmates). I knew about most of the Open Source Software that was discussed but was glad to have a chance to hear other peoples’ thoughts on Drupal.

Do you know of other webinar series that I should be watching out for?

In praise of an offline life

From a post I left in response to a classmate on our class’ Blackboard discussion board:

I realized that I’m suffering musical ADHD from having such easy access to music online (thanks, Pandora and Youtube!). My parents bought me my first tape player in 1996 and gave me only one tape (Deanna Carter’s first album–which is amazing!). I nearly broke it from flipping it over and over, for hours, days, months on end. I loved sticking my finger into the little jagged hole and winding the tape back. It was an experience all of it’s own. Tangible, real.

Now, I have access to an unimaginable array of music for every mood, for every earworm, so much that I’ll never make my way through every single by every artist I’m interested in. And you know what? I’m not any happier for it.

In regards to paintings, Mona Lisa is a great example especially when you realize that the painting is TINY! People assume when they see it on TV that it’s like….3×5″ or something. And you can’t replace the feeling of “holy crap” when you go to the Smithsonian and you see these paintings which are wider and taller than your house. You stare in slack jaw wonder as you try to figure out how the painter did them and even more puzzling, how they were moved around!

You lose these very essential parts of experiencing the world when you do it simply online. It’s no more being a “real version” than looking at someone else’s vacation photos and trying to pretend that you were there and these photos are your memories.

Objects are more than just the image or the content that can be shared online. It is also the experience.

iDEALS 2010 Poster Presentation

I presented my poster at iDEALS (Information, Diversity, Engagement, Access and Leadership Summit) today. The creation of the poster was very troublesome and fraught with misadventures. However, it ended well as I won one of five prizes for my Screencasting Tools to Teach Distance Education and Promoting Your Lessons via Social Media best practice poster. The poster can be seen here and the resources with all the links can be found here.

I was on the planning committee (for the website and offered insight on student response to iDEALS) and got a nifty line on my badge stating my participation. Later on, I was surprised to receive a lovely beaded bracelet/ring thing as a thank you gift for my contribution! That’s a funny story starting about 49 minutes into this video of the presentation. I was watching the final portion in the lobby so I could tweet and work on editing iDEALS photos. When I heard my name via the livestream, I ran into the auditorium carrying my netbook. You can hear the audience’s reaction in the clip!

Also, I’d like to thank Jessica Laney for creating my business cards (I printed 100 of them in color for $10! on campus) and Nancy Poole and Thomas Kozak for their suggestions for my poster!

More screencasting links:

Photo by Thomas Kozak

NaNoWriMo Day 7

Her eyes met his and she laughed a high, humorless laugh now. “Seventeen must seem like such a long way off for you. Three years was too far of a distance for me to reach across and make my feelings known as well, so maybe it is just the same, little one.”

They sat in silence and watched people travel past them on their bikes. The sound of the hour before lunch bell drifted up towards them from further down the road. Eiffel closed his eyes and tried to imagine feeling longing for someone the way Lavender described. Instead, all he could understand was how his heart ached when he thought of Ariclea having broken her promise to talk to him every day. It was not easy to miss anyone, he thought.

Word Count: 7497