Tuesday, November 30, 2004

We're in the last week of our term, here, so the reference desk is getting quiet. So far it's mainly:
  • Where is this call number?
  • Can I borrow a voice recorder anywhere in the library?
  • Where is this call number?
  • How do I print?
  • Where is this call number?
  • Do you have this book?
  • Where is this call number?
  • Can I use your stapler?
  • Where is this call number?

I just talked with our music librarian, who showed me a cool, geeky feature in the online version of the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians: 3D, rotate-able illustrations of musical instruments. Not all instruments have had the 3D treatment, but so far we've found a trumpet, a saxophone, and a violin. The diagrams are amazing, and fun to play with; the trumpet illustration, for instance, lets you see inside the valve, and even inside the embouchure of the player.

And, on the night table at the moment: The Midnight Disease : The Drive to Write, Writer's Block, and the Creative Brain. Written by a neuroscientist, it's sucked me into a discussion of how brain anatomy and chemistry affects writing performance. There's something fascinating about seeing highly productive writers (Henry James, for instance) diagnosed as "hypergraphic," and about seeing their constellation of symptoms examined in a medical/scientific way. Same with seeing Lewis Carroll diagnosed as a probable epileptic with frontal lobe issues. To which I say: huh.


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