Saturday, March 25, 2006

Rusty Gears Turn Slowly

CREAK!! HTML.....HEAD......TITLE.....

CREEEEAAAK!! #container {width: 770 px...

You hear those rusty web design gears turning? I sure did since starting a new web re-design project at one of McGill's affiliated teaching hospitals (part of the super-hospital entity known as the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC)).

All last week they were slowly turning and shedding bits of rust in my head as I sat down I talked with the head librarian of the Medical Library and reviewed his website plans.

I will need to give myself a few days or even a few weeks to become re-acquainted with the technicalities and peculiarities of HTML and CSS.

Still, I cannot help but sense that same feeling, which prompted me to leave my previous job, slowly stirring in my gut, cautioning me that this project is but a pit stop on the highway I have chosen to take. This highway, unfortunately, has no Google Map available. It's just the road ahead.

Please note the bottom right column, where I have stationed a neat-o bookmark module. Keep an eye on as I continue to bookmark relevant digitization news that I come across.

Also, please check out, my attempt at creating a social bookmarking blog about all things Archives 2.0 (yeah, I'm adopting the lingo, Web 2.0, Library 2.0, etc).

Archives 2.0? It's about digital archiving, digital preserving, digital collecting, digital sharing of archival information. It's a work-in-progress, so bear with me if updates over there are slow and far between.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Job Search Update

Thankfully, I will not have to dwell for much longer in this state of unemployment, which started back on March 3 when I decided to resign from my position in the McGill University Archives.

To make a long story short, I received a phone call a few weeks ago from the head librarian at one of McGill University's affiliated teaching hospitals in downtown Montreal. The head librarian, with whom I did some volunteer work in 2004, is re-designing the library websites under his direction, and he proposed a temporary contract position for me to analyze and evaluate the websites' current information architecture and then develop a newer, more flexible architecture along with a better navigation system and a cleaner design and layout.

I accepted and will start on March 20 (quite an auspicious date, considering I know of more than one person starting anew on this date as well), and I will be dividing my time between the hospital and home. In both cases, I have a respectable set up to run the necessary Web software applications such as MS Word, Dreamweaver, and Photoshop.

Fortunately, I will not have to dust off my college-level Biology 101 text books or earn a certificate in health informatics - his staff will be working on the content. But I will need to dust off my HTML and CSS text books, although nowadays it is XHTML\CSS, with CSS not only handling formatting but page layout as well.

Anyone know of a good CSS layout book, tutorial, or online resource?

It has been close to 2 weeks since I resigned, and I have been trying to focus on the proverbial long-term career plan, but all to no avail. I will take this new and very different job opportunity to open up more doors, more so in my mind than literally. Friends and colleagues have told me to rest my mind and not to jump into anything too quickly. I'll try to follow their advice.

Meanwhile, stay tuned - the DIGITAL Archive is working behind the scenes at the moment, tightening up a few gears and adjusting the vertical and horizontal controls.

We'll be back on the air soon.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Top articles of 2006 (so far)

According to the RLG bloggers at, the following are some of the best articles written on the topics of digitization, digital preservation, access, etc.

In no particular order, here they are:

Project Origami: Microsoft's Ultramobile PC Launched

I caught wind, or rather the tail-wind, of the hype surrounding Microsoft's newest product (code-named Origami) somewhat late, so waiting on its release date (March 9) did not take too long, thankfully.

Microsoft is launching today its Ultramobile PC (UMPC). The official Microsoft site is here. Meanwhile, the Flash-powered "Project Origami" hype site is here. USA Today's Tech Product section has a good overview of the UMPC.

I took some screen shots as well.

I can't say I am overly impressed by Microsoft's efforts. The UMPC has an uninspired design and a kind of bulky (read: clumsy) look and feel to it. Microsoft's main consumer product competitor, Apple, should not feel threatened.

However, I must give credit to Microsoft:

Like 'em or hate 'em, Microsoft is capitalizing on an ever-growing and paradigm-shifting trend: digital mobility.

We see this powerful trend daily in the cell phones people of all ages use; we see it in the number of wi-fi enabled laptops and notebooks professionals carry around; we see it in the iPods and other mp3 devices people listen to on the bus and commuter trains. The examples go on and on.

Personal, multi-function mobile devices that connect to wireless broadband service will transform the way in which digital content is created and transmitted...and ultimately preserved.

If Microsoft is interested in digital mobility, I believe information professionals should be as well.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Einstein's verdict

Thank you, Albert, I appreciate your endorsement.

It's not all serious business at the DIGITAL Archive...sometimes we come across a funny thing or two and make good use of it.

Make your own Einstein Chalkboard Comment here.

Last day, first day

Last week Friday (March 3) was my last day in the McGill University Archives. This past Monday (March 6) was my first day away from the job, a job that I had held for over 5 years. It's difficult to let go so suddenly. However, I know I still made the right move.

And speaking of which, I read on Ed Bilodeau's blog (a fellow McGill blogger) that he, Ed, has decided to leave his faculty lecturer post to pursue some real cool work at McGill's Web Services Group (WSG), which is the unit in charge of designing and developing McGill University's Gateway website. Sounds like a great gig. Good luck, Ed!

The WSG are a great bunch of smart and creative people. I've collaborated with them in the past, and I believe their plans and projects for the future will be impressive.

So much change going, it's amazing, especially since so many of these changes involve a McGill friend or colleague.

I think there comes a time--or perhaps, in these shaky days, several times--in one's personal or professional life when one realizes, either euphorically or painfully or most likely regrettably, that what one has invested so much time and energy in has not truly fulfilled one's hopes and dreams. There is contemplation and serious questioning. There must be more.

In reading Ed's posting, one line in particular struck me: "The rest of my life has taken a back seat for long enough!"

Well said.

It's time to get behind the wheel and drive.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Thank You

A special thank you to those who posted their well wishes and words of encouragement to the blog as well as to friends and colleagues who emailed me their support...including a few fellow McGill friends who stopped me in the hallways of the McLennan Library Building to wish me well.

Let me tell ya, folks - leaving a job is not an easy decision. But often, to move ahead, one must make these tough choices.

Once again, thank you all. I truly appreciate it, especially at such a moment when you're leaving something familiar and comfortable and embarking on something new and unknown.

about the author

I am an information professional, researcher, and writer with over eight years experience in the information services field with experience in information and communication technology.

I have a B.A. in History and a Master's in Library and Information Studies and working on a Web and Multimedia Design certificate.

I believe that empowering people with information can enrich lives and transform the world.