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Jonathan Frater
Jonathan Frater is the Technical Resources Librarian at Metropolitan College of New York.
Interests: weblogs, libraries, ala, mla, nytsl, cataloging, MARC, XML, metadata, science, science fiction, reading, writing
Recent Activity
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Posted Jun 25, 2012 at The Rogue Scholar
Here's a testimony on the self-educational power of libraries from the now late Ray Bradbury, forwarded to me by the ERIL-L listserv care of Walter Miale, who nicked the link from Andrew Sullivan, and excerpted here: ...I’m completely library educated. I’ve never been to college. I went down to the library when I was in grade school in Waukegan, and in high school in Los Angeles, and spent long days every summer in the library. I used to steal magazines... Continue reading
Posted Jun 21, 2012 at The Rogue Scholar
Posting has been a challenge lately. We are 4,000 or so volumes into our grand mission to RFID tag, weed, and inventory a 37,000 volume physical collection all at once, and it's been a struggle. We've managed after three weeks to get the entire staff trained (the younger ones are more relaxed with the equipment than the older staff, which is not that big of a surprise. Not because the older ones are older--read: near retirement--but none of them are... Continue reading
Posted Jun 21, 2012 at The Rogue Scholar
The biggest problem with a full time librarian job: no time to write. Not a huge amount of time to read, either. It’s the greatest existential problem of working with books for a living: you are literally surrounded by tens of thousands of tomes for the taking and instead of picking one (or two, or twenty) up, cracking the cover, and letting the rush of prose engulf you over the course of an afternoon, you’re stuck having to remain at... Continue reading
Posted Jun 15, 2012 at The Rogue Scholar
Marisa Kaplan writes a little about the subtle (and not so subtle) bouts of technophobia some teachers feel from time to time, and offers these five workarounds: Remember, it’s not about you! Your discomfort with technology impacts your students’ futures. Teachers need to be preparing students for the world we live in today. So many jobs are dependent on a basic understanding of technology. Always ask yourself, “am I teaching something that is obsolete, or something that will help my... Continue reading
Posted Jun 12, 2012 at The Rogue Scholar
You've heard by now that author Ray Bradbury passed on yesterday. There's not much more to say beyond the fact that he will be missed. I choose to think of the fact that he published a short piece in the New Yorker a few days before his death titled "Take me Home" in which he discusses the inspiration for "The Fire Balloons" a beautiful short story that appeared in The Illustrated Man and some editions of The Martian Chronicles as... Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2012 at The Rogue Scholar
The University of Minnesota wants to save money for their students by making open-source textbooks available to the student body by way of its Open Access textbook catalog. As textbooks are obscenely overpriced already, this is a good thing. The university however, is also willing to pay its faculty to "review and adopt" the new open access books: “High textbook costs are one of the many factors that are contributing to the increasing financial burden that students are facing,” said... Continue reading
Posted May 31, 2012 at The Rogue Scholar
Amanda French wrote a guest post for the Prof. Hacker column in the Chronicle of Higher Education describing her experience with Google Doc's new research tool, subtly and accurately called Research Tool. I'm not going to rehash what she wrote as the whole thing is very much worth reading in its entirety, but one bit about the tool's apparently schizophrenic treatment of citations caught my eye: Anything that encourages people to cite their sources properly is inarguably a Good Thing,... Continue reading
Posted May 24, 2012 at The Rogue Scholar
According to Frederic Lardinois at TechCrunch, Google is getting "smarter": Here is what this will look like in practice. Google is currently pretty good at understanding general search queries, but some terms are just too ambiguous. When you search for ‘andromeda,’ for example, it just can’t know if you are searching for the TV series, galaxy, or this Swedish progressive metal band. Now, whenever you type in one of these queries, Google will show you a box on the right... Continue reading
Posted May 22, 2012 at The Rogue Scholar
I’m writing a science fiction book. Actually, I’ve written the book already. Actually, I’ve shown the manuscript to an editor, and she likes it. She liked earlier versions of the script, made some suggestions, and now she likes it even more. She wants to see it in print, and so do I. So that’s good news. The bad news is the sheer tedium of the process of turning a manuscript (idea) into a book (product). There are meetings: with the... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2012 at The Rogue Scholar
ProQuest has been busy: not only has it paired up with TurnItIn, but now it's launched a service called Udini: May 7, 2012 (ANN ARBOR, Mich.) — Knowledge powerhouse ProQuest is launching an inventive new research service that provides individuals with access to premium content and cutting edge tools. Instant and on-demand, Udini™ bundles an extraordinary range of information, including peer-reviewed and trade journal articles, dissertations, international newswires, newspapers, magazines and more from thousands of publishers in a comprehensive cloud-based... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2012 at The Rogue Scholar
I'm just going to let the obituaries speak for themselves here: I remember the first time I saw a Maurice Sendak book. It was In The Night Kitchen. I was eleven or twelve, and had been given a small allowance by my parents to buy my littlest sister, who did not read, books, if I would read them to her. I loved books and reading aloud. In The Night Kitchen was liberating, transgressive, and a dream come to life: I... Continue reading
Posted May 9, 2012 at The Rogue Scholar
One of our work-study students wanted her own account on TurnItIn, even though her professor was not in the habit of using that database. I couldn't figure out why, so I asked. "It's so that I can test my papers for plagairism before I hand them to the professor." That confused me. So I asked why. "Well, better safe than sorry. I just want to make sure, that's all." TurnItIn is a massively useful database, and since its recent announcement... Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2012 at The Rogue Scholar
I am losing faith in capitalism. Some will say I'm late to this realization. Others will say that I'm just plain wrong. But know this as I know it: when things go wrong, they do not automatically right themselves. Many times, things go wronger and wronger until in the end everything is totally fucked up. We are royally screwed, says Chris Hedges. He makes a great big point and he doesn't mince words. Our civilization is dying because we have... Continue reading
Posted May 1, 2012 at The Rogue Scholar
Spring 2012 Evening Program E-Books: New Links in the Chain Panelists: Denise Hibay, Assistant Chief Librarian for Collection Development, New York Public Library Susan Marcin, Licensed Electronic Resources Librarian in the Continuing and Electronic Resources Management Department at Columbia University Barbara Rockenbach, Director of the Humanities and History Libraries at Columbia University Thursday, May 10, 2012 Refreshments: 5:30pm Meeting & Program: 6:30-8:00 PM The New York Public Library Stephen A. Schwarzman Building South Court Auditorium 476 Fifth Avenue (at 42nd... Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2012 at The Rogue Scholar
My wife brought home the book Fifty Shades of Gray on her Kindle app and has been working her way through it over the past few days. It's making her crazy. But not in a good way. It's making her angry. The she gets bored. Then she gets angry again. She's 150 pages into a 500 page book which is ostensibly a BDSM novel and there hasn't been a single beating yet, with only one vanilla sex scene. Had this... Continue reading
Posted Apr 24, 2012 at The Rogue Scholar
From the METRO-L listserv: We received the following from ALA's Washington Office and wanted to pass it along. We strongly encourage METRO's public librarian community to participate in this survey, and take advantage of the additional information on encouraging your community members to participate in the study as well. The ALA, IMLS, COSLA and other library leaders are advisors on a national research effort studying the changing role of public libraries in the digital age, as well as the experiences... Continue reading
Posted Apr 16, 2012 at The Rogue Scholar
Ben Cameron at the Huffington Post has noted an essential difference between print volumes and their electronic versions: rules of process, i.e., how they get used by readers. In his introduction to the 2009 edition of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Doctor Who writer Russell T Davies praises the tattered old paperback copy of Douglas Adams' sci-fi classic that he carried around in his back pocket in his school days. I had one too and I loved it just... Continue reading
Posted Apr 10, 2012 at The Rogue Scholar
On April 4th--that is, this Wednesday--I'll be at METRO talking about my chapter on library security for How to Thrive as a Solo Librarian, including a report on Todd the Library Vandal, who appears (briefly) in the chapter. There's still plenty of room so if this sounds interesting to you, RSVP to Tom Neilsen. Hope to see you there! Continue reading
Posted Apr 2, 2012 at The Rogue Scholar
Just a quick reminder that this Friday the 23rd of March will be the New York Technical Services (NYTSL) Spring Reception. The event will be at the Butler Library at Columbia University, Room 523 from 3pm to 5pm. This is an opportunity for librarians, archivists, and information professionals from the metropolitan area to meet informally. It is also a chance for library school students to learn about the various professional organizations in the metropolitan area and to meet future colleagues... Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2012 at The Rogue Scholar
A couple of days ago an online friend updated his FB status to say "Athens is burning." It took me a few minutes to figure out that this was not hyperbole, that parts of that great city were actually on fire. I tried to think of some pithy (or just funny) comment to make--maybe something with Spartans--and it didn't work. Some things are too important for jokes. A cabal of ethically challenged bankers loading Greece's government with more debt than... Continue reading
Posted Feb 13, 2012 at The Rogue Scholar
SOPA/PIPA: What You Need to Know, from Political Hotsheet. That is all. Continue reading
Posted Jan 18, 2012 at The Rogue Scholar
Disclosure: I love books, I'm into sex, and I worked a sales floor (including phone sales, a stint in PR, and another in ad work) for the better part of two decades. So I like to think I have at least a passing familiarity with all three subjects. Mostly, it means that I'm difficult to offend. At least, I was. Equinox, a company that operates a number of fitness clubs (aka, gyms), managed to do so. A recent ad from... Continue reading
Posted Jan 10, 2012 at The Rogue Scholar