Nov 18

Poll: What title should replace “Librarian”?


Alex Aiken, a Westminster council official and β€œformer policy director for the Tories,” expressed to a conference of the Public Library Authorities his belief that β€œ[t]he concept of the librarian has to change and perhaps a start would be to abolish the title itself, with its connotations of middle-aged conservatism.”

We shouldn’t take offense to the guy’s assertions, we should be amused by them and mock them. In that spirit, requested suggestions on what new and sexier term might replace “librarian.” Before you vote, remember that we’re looking for sexy, and the opposite of “middle-aged conservatism.” I’ll refrain from commenting until we’ve left the poll open for a few days, but you should feel free to comment to your heart’s content after voting.

Nov 16

Librarians ‘should be sexier’


The poll is posted here.

(Suggested substitute titles for when “librarian” is abolished)

1. Bibliodominatrix
2. Information Alchemist
3. Indagatrix (Latin, f. investigator, explorer)
4. InfoWarrior
5. Imperious Knight of the High Knowledge
6. Information Goddess (/God)
7. Knowledge Hacker
8. BookWench (/BookWretch)
9. Faithful of Wiborada (the librarian)
10. Circle of Wiborada (librarians) (Wiborada is the patron saint of the librarians.)
11. Chosen of the Information Matrix
12. Infomagineer


I should probably find this annoying, but I don’t. I keep giggling.

Via lo-fi librarian, I came across this article from, with interesting ideas on how how to improve the perception of Britain’s libraries.

Alex Aiken, a Westminster council official and “former policy director for the Tories,” expressed to a conference of the Public Library Authorities his belief that “[t]he concept of the librarian has to change and perhaps a start would be to abolish the title itself, with its connotations of middle-aged conservatism.”

(A Tory complains about middle-aged conservatism? I don’t know a lot about UK politics, but isn’t middle-aged conservatism sort of the bread-and-butter of the Tories?)

But the response wasn’t entirely negative:

“Librarians come in all shapes and sizes – and that includes the very photogenic,” said one library chief, adding that some of his colleagues are “incredibly exciting”.

[Insert here David’s snorting and snerking sounds as he imagines how fast this would get a library director fired in the states and constructs mental video of a middle aged, balding Englishman calling his colleagues “incredibly exciting” with a straight face and an English accent.]

Anyway, I propose a contest: If the word “Librarian” was to be abolished, what title would we use instead? Remember that Aiken said that “racy” titles should be stressed.

Information Alchemist? Knowledge Engineer? How do you make a title both accurate and sexy?

Any ideas? If I get a few, I’ll post a poll so we can vote on the new, sexy title for librarians in the UK.

Nov 16

World’s Biggest RSS Button

If you want readers to subscribe to your RSS feed, it’s a good idea to make the subscription button (or link) prominent. It should definitely be “above the fold”, visible as soon as the page loads in the user’s browser, and visually eye-grabbing.

Taking this to an extreme, there’s a meme going around the web about the “world’s largest” or “world’s biggest” RSS button. This meme has gotten (pleasantly) silly.

I think it started when claimed to have the world’s biggest:

Not bad, right?

John Chow thought it was good, but not big enough, so he made his larger as a part of an effort to get more RSS readers:

Bill Hartzer claimed to have the world’s largest RSS button, but if you look at the source of the page, you can see it is just an orange background. Cheater! πŸ˜‰

While investigating the meme, I encountered Malaysia’s Largest (and Ugliest) RSS button. So it is good to know that national pride is getting involved, hm? made one that impressed me, and you can see it here.

But Doug Karr made one so large (6000×6000 pixels) that IE can’t display it. (He advises you check it out in Firefox if you’re interested)

Of course, now the silliness is really getting started, and Rex Bowden claims to have the “biggest 4” RSS buttons.

For the record: I like the size of my own little RSS button just fine: Subscribe to

You can check out the meme yourself via Google.

Oct 25

Dan the Librarian Comedian

Dan the Librarian talking about being a librarian at Piccolo’s in Westfield, MA


I’m a big fan of George Carlin, Bill Hicks, Eddie Izzard, and Patton Oswalt– so suffice it to say that Dan’s work isn’t really my taste. Still, it is interesting to see a stand-up whose schtick is the fact that he has an MLIS.

Oct 25

Dr. Seuss and Other Masters Of Public Health

Cartoon Medicine Show
The Washington Post has a great article on the “Cartoon Medicine Show,” which features cartoons from the collection of the NLM (previously mentioned here).

“The Inside Story,” a short film that includes this animated segment on the unconscious, gives the government’s view of the Freudian mind and psychosomatic pain. Produced by Paramount Pictures in 1944, it was one of many government-funded health cartoons created to educate military personnel and the public between the 1920s and the 1960s.

And the similarities to Popeye and the Dr. Seuss characters? That, says National Library of Medicine medical historian Michael Sappol, is likely because Dr. Seuss — Ted Geisel — headed up the animation unit of the U.S. military during World War II, and because Paramount had taken over the production company and the animators who were responsible for Popeye.

I really wish I could go see this. πŸ™

More info here.

Posted in Fun
Oct 22

Wikiality Wiki

Don’t know how I missed this, but it is hilarious! This Wiki is for documenting truthiness.

Wikiality Screencap

Welcome to Wikiality, the Wiki dedicated to upholding and documenting truthiness.
Wikiality isn’t about what “factonistas” might sneeringly deride using phrases like:

“statistical trends”, or
the “objective truth”, or,
“For the last time, President Bush doesn’t have a 102% approval rating!”

There’s a level of truth and meaning beyond (and, really, having little or nothing to do with) what’s “demonstrably true”,
and that’s what we’re dedicated to keeping track of.

If you feel something strongly in your gut, or would like to help us keep track of the strong gut feelings of
our dear friend Stephen Colbert, feel free to jump in and help out.

Via The Shifted Librarian

Stephen Colbert on Wikiality (video)

Previous posts on about Wikis

Oct 09

Seinfeld: Mr. Bookman, The Library Cop

The greatest SEINFELD scene ever, and one of the all-time great guest performances on any show: Philip Baker Hall as obsessive library cop Mr. Bookman in the episode “The Library.” Watch Jerry cracking up all through the monologue (that’s why there are so many cuts in the scene, because the director constantly had to cut away from Seinfeld laughing). Written by Larry Charles.

Sep 25

Librarians Rule the World (Now with Video)

The Librarian in Black and LISnews noted this last year, but I thought it worth posting again because there’s now a weird AMV to go with it to “show you how sexy a lkibrarian [sic] can be.”

Safe for work (I think), short, and odd.

Link for the mp3.

In-browser player:Appears to have been written and recorded by Andrew Pants at the request of Leslie Powell, “…as a tribute to my education at community college, and the weird Dewey versus Library of Congress Classification argument.”

I might not have paid it any notice, but there’s been a conversation recently on GNLIB-L about AMVs that caught my attention. Good lord, how I love Listservs populated with libraryfolk.

Posted in Fun