Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Job Search: Update of an Update

Okay, I went on a little rant yesterday, complaining about how I found some institutions were very poor in responding to or updating candidates about their status in a given job competition.

The old biblical advice came in handy: Ask and ye shall receive.

I emailed the university and, a day later, a HR representative informed that the search committee was still reviewing all candidates.

With relief (for I had figured I had been eliminated), I told the person thanks for updating me.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Created at Warning Label Generator.

Job Search: Whatever Happened to Common Courtesy and Professionalism

A few weeks ago, I had a library job interview with a university. As I reported back then, the telephone interview was a series of questions (6 in all) asked in quick succession.

After the interview, I was told that I would receive some kind of update before the end of the week. Well, you guessed it: I haven't heard any updates in two weeks - which leads me to today's short rant:

Why don't some of these institutions of higher education practice common courtesy and conduct themselves in a professional manner? I was courteous in responding to their job postings and professional in making myself available for their telephone interview. Why not show some reciprocity by contacting me or informing me that there was a delay? At least--at the very least--let me know and do not keep me in the dark.

Monday, November 20, 2006

More RSS Goodness

I noticed this evening that Google's BlogSearch website has introduced a a feature whereby a RSS feed is generated based on a search one performs. So if someone wants to know what the blogosphere has been saying about Topic ABC and enters Topic ABC into the search field, the keywords one enters becomes a RSS feed that can be used in a feed reader.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Get a Life! A Second Life!

After reading about it, after seeing people interviewed on television about it, I decided to take the plunge. I opened up an account on Second Life, the online virtual world that has a million+ subscribers abuzz with excitement. Make that a million and one, myself included.

Second Life is a fun, engaging, social game / experience. In a nutshell, you open a free account (paid accounts are available), download the client software, create your online persona (avatar) and then begin exploring the 3-D detailed landscapes, sonically-rich environments that fellow Second Life members have created. There are plenty of opportunities to interact with others and even buy and sell goods using the game's currency called Linden dollars (which can be purchased with US dollars. Not sure if Canadian currency is accepted yet). And that's just your first five minutes in world. There is more, much more.

A broadband connection is a must, and so is a well-equipped computer (PC or Mac). The Second Life download web page offers more information on specifications.

A word of caution: The world of Second Life, like reality, has its share of mature and questionable material. Proceed carefully and use good judgement.

Another word of caution: Second Life is highly addictive. Be sure to take breaks. And be sure to make time for real life (like job searching, ahem).

Monday, November 13, 2006

Job Interview: Update

The phone interview I had this afternoon went okay. It lasted 20 minutes, during which time I was asked 6 questions. The questions came fast and so did my answers. I answered them as best as I could, though with such rapid fire questions I wonder how much more new details the search committee could extract from me.

By the end of this week, I will hear of the search committee's decision, that is, whether I continue with the process with a campus visit or, well, if it's the end of the line.

Not one to hold one's breath, I am preparing the next round of my job board scanning.

I still have an open invitation to those blog readers out there; those who read this blog on a daily basis or have found this blog through the power of syndication, I welcome any or all queries regarding employment opportunities. My resume is posted; just click the link.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Job Interview

Tomorrow afternoon, I have a job interview with a university located in the United States. I haven't had many--perhaps only one, if I recall correctly--interviews with universities south of the border, so this is sort of an extra added bonus of nerves for me. I suppose the interview process should be similar to Canadian procedures.

Anyway, the position sounds interesting enough, and seems to fit within my background and area of experience. We'll see, and I'll keep you, DA Reader, fully updated.

It's no surprise that, with the imminent conclusion of my current web project, the pressure is on to land another job. But this time around I want to feel enthusiastic and energized about any new position I apply to. Not just applying for a job, but a real step forward to securing a career, a vertical move rather than a horizontal one. I believe after all these years of casual, contract, and part-time contract work, it's time to let this MLIS degree take flight.

Speaking of librarian folk looking for work, I came across Young Librarian, a blog written by Katie, an under-30 recent MLIS grad looking for work. Good insights for those who are unemployed or employed but actively seeking a better job in this field.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Squirl: My Little (online) Archive

Do you collect stuff? I collect stuff, and I have one rather bizarre collection of items that I bet you wouldn't guess what they are in a million years. Okay, I'll give you a few minutes...Give up?

I collect old transit passes. Yes, transit passes. You know, those flimsy plastic cards that one uses to board the bus, the metro (subway for non-Montrealer readers), and commuter trains.

Since 1995 I've been collecting these things. So what should I do with them in light of the Social Web 2.0? Let them be known on a website called Squirl.

I was contacted by John McGrath, creator of Squirl, who described his website project as "a personal archiving tool." Essentially, Squirl is doing for collectors what Flickr is doing for amateur and professional photographers. It's giving people a chance to share the stuff they collect with others and thus creating a community of like-minded collectors. Sounds fun.

Perhaps there is life for my old transit passes after all.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Cablecos, Web editions, x-mas e-retail, Internet study


My Internet Service Provider (ISP), Montreal-based cable giant Videotron, is expressing its concern over bandwidth costs and who should pay.

From the Hamilton Spectator: "With video and music downloads gobbling up Internet bandwidth at an ever-expanding pace, cable company Videotron is pushing for content providers such as movie studios to share some of the cost to expand broadband pipelines.
Videotron boss Robert Depatie said yesterday his Quebecor-owned telecom company will invest $300 million in 2006 because the average Videotron customer uses four times more bandwidth than just a year ago. He wants the federal government to impose a transmission tariff on content providers. He called it unfair for studios and companies such as Apple and to use that extra service without cost -- which he compared to free shipping."

Web Editions

According to a Washington Post article, the newspaper industry frets about its future but finds revenue growth in online web editions. The consumer web is splitting: content creators and content distribution. Soon it won't really matter how--that is, which media you will use--to read your news. That will change. But content creation will remain a constant. There will always be a need to create comprehensive, in-depth, analytical content.

X-Mass e-retail

With the Christmas / holiday season upon us, retailers, particular e-retailers, are preparing their wares to respond to customer needs, some better than others, it appears. From the Montreal Gazette, there are still some bricks and mortar retailers who still don't get e-commerce. Nevermind the technology part. It's the customer experience that needs re-working. (as usual) was cited as an ideal model for other retailers to follows.

Internet Study

Sir Tim Berners-Lee (aka Sir Tim), inventor of the WWW, made some comments that reflect comments I made in a recent Letter to the Editor. Berners-Lee argues that the impact that the web is having on technology, communication, society should be critically studied in order to insure the safe survival of the medium he invented.

I agree. Compared to television, the Web is a relatively new form of media whose impact on society has yet to be examined. I brought up this matter in a Letter to the Editor I wrote in the aftermath of the tragic shootings at Montreal's Dawson College, where a gun-totting maniac, obsessed with his own online ranting and ravings, shot several students, killing one. We don't know how the web is changing us as society, as individuals when access to almost anything is available one or two keystrokes away.

The DIGITAL Archive, version 3.0

I have not posted anything in a long, long time, and I can explain the reasons why in one brief word: busy. Yes, busy with this and that, most of which pulled me away from the blogosphere and pinned me into the area of, well, using one's computer for business purposes only.

After I left McGill back in March of this year, I took on a web re-design project at the Montreal General Hospital, where I have been busy re-building the Medical and Nurses' libraries' websites from the ground up. It's been a challenging and exhilarating project, filled with ups and downs, triumphs and numerous "head-scratching-in-puzzlement" moments. Anyway, the web project is nearing completion, and I am pleased to bring closure to it. And I hope to bring you the URLs as soon as the websites are launched.

Another issue that has consumed much of my time is my often mentioned job search. I had a reasonably positive summer. I had three very good interviews with institutions that were not universities (kind of a change for me since I believe the university is my environment of choice). The interviews went very well--I felt I expressed my skills, knowledge and experience in a clear and confident manner. I believe I am really improving in this area.

While the interviews went well, they did not move on to the next level, which was hard at first to accept but in time I slowly became aware of the silver lining to all of them. Like I said, I believe I am getting better and better at communicating my skills, experience and knowledge and the value I can bring to a potential employer. It's really a matter of time before I land a job. Patience and persistence...and a little bit of luck and that proverbial "big break."

As I write this (Fall sunlight beaming through my windows, a cup of tea on my desk, Dreamweaver 8 humming along with final website edits in place, a portal radio I received as a gift from TIME magazine tuned to CJAD), I am becoming aware that The DIGITAL Archive, originally conceived as a blog chronicling the progress and findings of a project, is evolving all the time. Even as it lay dormant, it is evolving, changing, its focus sharpening on other areas, much in the same weird way as its author.

I, too, am changing; professionally, I don't know if "Archives / Records Management" is the most appropriate receptacle to hold the depth of interests I have in other areas, specifically the web, information, content development, content dissemination, etc. I feel as though I am in some sort of professional transition.

To this end, I believe The DIGITAL Archive will continue to evolve. It may or may not focus on digitization or digital projects (although these areas are still very close to my interests). It may tackle work (once I land a better, more stable position, of course). I would like to report on my current work, but so much of it nowadays is HTML this and that, nothing I believe worth blogging about. I will write about those web-related items that resonate with me.

So to all my readers (yes, all two of you, plus those subscribed to my feed) hang in there. I am still writing, still blogging. The content may be different, more eclectic, but I still hope you will continue to click my link whenever you get the chance.

Thanks for reading.

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.