Friday, February 25, 2005

Week eight of a ten-week term = student panic attacks. Several of my own students are freaking out, and they're not alone. The reference area is busy.

So far (within one hour):
  • How can I narrow my search on courtship and dating over time?
  • Where can I find scientific articles about chlamydia? [No relation to above question.]
  • Do you have phone books for all of the states in the U.S.?
  • Can I scan an article onto my Zip drive, so that I don't have to pay to photocopy it and then scan it at home?
  • I need eight to ten primary sources about the Cuban missile crisis. I already have three or four...what else can I look for? (Bafflingly, when I tried to draw the student out by asking her what year the crisis happened, she didn't know.)
  • What does it mean when an item is in the "Music Collection"?
  • Where can I find an issue of California Law Review from 1975?
  • Where can I find articles or books about cuisine and couture? (Student was very confused about what her assignment was supposed to entail.)
  • Do you have more staples?

On the reading front, a few interesting items:

  • The Woman Who Pretended to be Who She Was. I just noticed this dust jacket in the pile I've accumulated on a shelf in my office. It looks interesting, although I admit I'm not really sure what we mean when we say, "impersonating the self." Apparently the author is a prominent scholar of Hinduism, which sounds a little left of center for a topic like this...but I don't know much about Hinduism, so there you go. Will consult with Better Half, who knows more about these things.
  • The Secret Life of Puppets. Better Half brought this home from the bookstore a couple of weeks ago, and I just picked it up. So far I'm frustrated and indignant with the sweeping generalizations about how modern secular society worships celebrity...but also really interested to see where she's going with this. It's a disparate, across-the-map examination of the chthonic and the grotesque in our culture, and I do love the chthonic and grotesque.
  • Critical Mass. A blog I've just discovered...okay, Better Half discovered it and I finally found time to check it out. BH is smarter than I am. Anyway, it's a great, intelligent, snappy, political blog about education in this country. (I.e., the U.S.) Excellent articles and commentary by Erin O'Connor.
  • Colleges: An Endangered Species? Linked from Erin O'Connor's blog, above. Andre Delbanco writes in The New York Times Review of Books about the changing face of higher education. There'll be a second article soon, if it hasn't already appeared while I've been snoozing. Very interesting, and a great primer for someone like me, who doesn't know as much about the history of higher ed as she should.


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