The Long Awaited Apple Rant

My response to a post by David Lee King:

I got to unbox a 1st generation iPad for work and then spent 30 minutes trying to figure it out since Apple decided that an instruction manual would be too easy. Note: I’ve never owned any Apple products so there might be just a thing that you know to do thanks to prior exposure to Apple, but I did not. I found it to be a highly overpriced toy when my half-as-much 2 yr old netbook can do practically everything my desktop can do except edit videos.

I also rooted my Nook Color and have been inseparable from it. I think of it is as my “computer on the go” which I can just toss in my bag. I don’t have to be separated from things that I still needed to get done like watching a show, reading, writing, keeping tabs on social media, etc. Also it is half the cost of an iPad.

The main drawbacks of a Nook Color are 1) The headphone jack cannot be used to attach a microphone since the hardware does not support 2 way signal. 2) No camera.

On the other hand, you can root it and gain access to Bluetooth so you can attach other devices to it.

The below is a bit rambling and my opinion is not popular about Apple products in general. However, I came through my opinion based on hands-on experience.
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First Day as an Archivist

I spent this morning doing research on records retention policies for non-profits and eventually realized that I’ll end up writing a records management guide for the local YWCA chapter before it’s over. I then went to lunch with my practicum supervisor who is all kinds of amazing. She’s very supportive of me and genuinely interested in what I’m doing with my career. I’m going to become a strong librarian thanks to the support of my mentors like her.

Greensboro, NC

Greensboro, NC

The above photo was taken while waiting for the executive director to arrive. I watched an officer talk to several people telling them the parking lot was closed because of some sort of festival that was being set up in the grounds behind the lot. The executive director and him spoke for a long moment while I stashed my book back in my bag (a book on writing!). When she got to me, we walked up up the long entrance way and she pointed out that the trash that was laying around was from homeless people who weather storms under the walkway.

We walked through the building and in some ways it reminded me vaguely of Sweet Juniper’s posts about abandoned buildings in Detroit. When we went upstairs, there was no light, so we walked up with the aid of the handrail and the tops of the faintly illuminated stair. We spent most of our time in one room going through a closet’s worth of boxes. While the director sat going intensively through one box and organizing it into several piles, I made folder lists of the remaining boxes. She told me that there was no particular order to why the items were group together since they had been shoved in the boxes prior to the move. I talked a bit about historical vs. financial vs. administrative type of records. My favorite part was finding some Y-Matrons directories from the 1960s. They looked like they were in brand new condition.

We then wandered from room to room taking a quicker inventory of the remaining offices. Most of the things in those rooms are ready to be destroyed and some of boxes were even labeled with “destroy by dates” that had long-since passed. As we were leaving she wondered aloud if anyone could possibly want to see lists of who the former employees were. I told her that there might be legal issues with that since those records are from within the last few decades.

So, the next tasks are to come in and remove the boxes which are obviously ready to be destroyed then move the promising ones to the new facility (with a/c! I was turning into a puddle on the ground in the direct, broad sunlight from the two floor to ceiling windows!) where I can go over them more at a leisurely pace. I also need to work with their IT person to see if we can get OMEKA running or if I should push for a pro Flickr account as ways to share the archives with the public. As well, I need to convince them that a 3-in-1 machine is not going to create archival (or even just HQ) copies of their documents!

Non-Profit Records Retention Policies

As part of my job as the new (volunteer) archivist for the local YWCA, I need to create a records retention plan for the non-profit. None of the sources below are guaranteed to be of use or practical for your organization. I share them with the hope of giving you a starting point for your own organization.

North Carolina Law on Records

A corporation shall keep as permanent records minutes of all meetings of its members and board of directors, a record of all actions taken by the members or directors without a meeting pursuant to G.S. 55A?7?04, 55A?7?08, or 55A?8?21, and a record of all actions taken by committees of the board of directors in place of the board of directors on behalf of the corporation.

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Resources Fiscal Non-Profit Administration Records Retention

Maintain and archive all appropriate records about operations (e.g., financial records, significant contracts, real estate and other major transactions, employment files, fundraising obligations, etc.).

Council of Non-Profits Document Retention Policies

For instance, for nonprofits serving minor children, it is generally wise for the nonprofit to maintain case files at least until the child reaches majority age plus the time period for a claim to be filed.

Records Retention Guidelines
These guidelines provides you with bare bones but easy to understand guides on how long to retain paperwork.

My Post-MLIS Plans

Now that the ceremonial lemon yellow hood is off and my family has returned home, it is time to plan the next steps of my career. This is a rough list of things I am setting up/working on in no particular order:

  • YWCA Archivist: I replied to a job seeking someone to manage their collections. Since my job hunt is on-going, I had to stress that I may have to leave at any time, but the executive director seems excited to have me begin working on their documents.
  • UNCG Digital Projects: I am meeting with my mentor tomorrow to discuss what goals I can work on this summer. I’ve been running quality checks on the Hansen Performance Arts Collection metadata for the past month (2 hrs/wk), but its time I finish up on those 400+ objects. My objectives are to try my hand at writing grant applications and really biting into the meat of being a digital projects coordinator.
  • Freelance Websites: The first website is not really going to come together for another year since it will be supplementing a book that has not been written yet. I’ve got the very basic foundation of the website online but since I know nothing about the book’s content, I can’t really design the rest of this Drupal-powered website yet. The second website is for the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Diversity Center which will need to be completed by August. I am a bit worried about it since it needs to be hosted by UNCG and produced using WordPress as the CMS. So far, UNCG is running behind schedule on getting the structure in place to support WordPress, so it looks like I will have to completely build the website on my own server first.
  • LISUNCG Webmaster: At some point I decided that I would continue my reign as the LISUNCG webmaster till the end of the month. I have some things to finish up for them (like the Guidelines for the Management of the Department of Library and Information Studies Website manual) that got put on the back burner this semester. I am trying to solicit a series of posts to schedule to appear all summer so the website has a continued active presence even though the new webmaster, my former assistant, will not take over till August. I may also be training a LISUNCG summer graduate assistant to work on the ICL website.
  • Library and Information Studies Alumni Association (LISAA) Webmaster: I have not heard officially whether or not this is happening, but I may be the first webmaster for my alumni association. If so, I will completely revamp the association’s web presence!
  • Publishing: I have done a lot of work for my LIS department as I earned my MLIS. However, putting in so much time means that I neglected other areas of interest such as publishing. I know that the work I did was niche, but I think some valuable lessons came out of it. WordPress and Drupal are beginning to appear more frequently in online library discussions so I think my article(s) will find an audience.
  • Digital Libraries/Digitization/Library Websites Blog: I know that when designing a professional blog you should have a single focus in mind for what you’re going to talk about. Since these three areas are of interest to me and closely related, I think I can develop an inclusive blog dealing with these three topics.

New skills to obtain:

  • Javascript
  • PHP
  • AJAX
  • Ruby on Rails
  • Database design
  • Drupal theming
  • HTML5
  • CSS3
  • vuDL (open source digital library) software
  • Dspace

While it’d be nice to gain immediate mastery of these skills, I am not a trained computer programmer. Time is limited so I want to gain fluency and then overtime gain mastery.

Of course underlying all these things is the continued job hunt! My department boasts that 92% of our graduates are employed within 6 months of their first application so I’m at the seven month mark. However, those early job applications from October to December 2010 were more or less practice applications. Since then, I’ve significantly strengthened my cover letter and CV skills.

This blog and my capstone website need to be integrated and redesigned to be more coherent pieces. First though, I need to find a new web host since this host is too under powered to let me automatically update my WordPress site! As soon as I secure a new host, I will be able to move onto my personal projects.

While my future is uncertain right now, I am confident that I will learn and achieve many new things until formal employment is found!