Monday, February 23, 2009



A word on work: I always approach each new job--make that, each new contract--with cautious optimism, and in this case with this new job, it's no different. The prospect of working on shaping and managing a university's content creation, storage and distribution mechanism is exciting and could take years to complete. So I am cautiously optimistic because the project I am working on, while it's yet another contract, is arguably one with the potential to last much longer than a standard 12-month contract.

Blogging at work: I'm blogging on a department-wide blog at work. The blog was started by the educational technology team in hopes of enabling conversations among staff. I wrote one blog post so far, and I intend to write at most two blog posts a month. It's a team blog so there are plenty of contributors. I am not sure if the blog is publicly available or restricted to the campus. When I find out, I will inform you all.

Music Music Music: When people ask me what was the last movie I saw, the answer often shocks them, as so often the movie I last saw was from one or two summers ago. While I enjoy a good movie (or a good book), I truly love music. I am always on the hunt for new (or old) music. If I were to write one those 25 Things You Don't Know About Me memes, I would definitely include on that list the love of music.

Speaking of music, I recently discovered a Scottish electronic band called Boards of Canada. Unlike some electronic music, which seem to comprise emotionless beeps over beats, Boards of Canada's sound has a rich sonic atmosphere and deep emotional undercurrents. I 'acquired' nearly their entire discography, which dates back to the late 1990s, and I am hooked to listening to their music.

Music has had such an impact on my life--like so many of you reading, I'm sure--that now I'm thinking about about creating music. I don't know where I'm going with this idea--or even if it's merely a daydream--but I want to enrich other parts of my creative life.

The Zen of banjos: While I was working in the Archives at the International Monetary Fund, I met an archivist with a unique passion for string instruments, particularly banjos. His passion is so great that he created an online database called Banjo Sightings Database. What most struck me about this archivist, however, was his desire to devote most of his time and energy to activities and causes well beyond his archivist role. I found his perspective inspiring and exemplary. 

Archivists and archives: Before I was given a job offer at McGill, I had applied to an archivist position at another large Canadian university. The position was called digital archivist, outreach services (or something like that), and the posting mentioned that the selected candidate would use current and emerging Web 2.0 technologies, such as blogs, to support the university archives' outreach activities. I thought I was dreaming. This position sounded ideal. So I applied...and, roughly 3-4 months later, I was subsequently rejected.

Rather than receiving a rejection email, I found out about the university's decision on a listserv. A listserv! How unprofessional! No wonder the university archives needs a digital archives outreach specialist. I emailed the Chair and requested an explanation for both why was the notice made public before the rejected applicants were informed and, on a personal note, what were the reasons for my rejection.

Profusely apologizing about the listserv mistake, the person who responded to my email further explained that I was not accepted because--wait for it, wait for it--because I had too much experience! Since graduating from library school, I had been told that I did not get the positions I had applied to because I did not have sufficient or matching experience. After several years of bulking up my experience with contracts, even relocating to the United States for a job, I was now told that I had too much experience. I had good laugh, believe me.

But, seriously, this is one example out of many in the past few months that has lead me to realize that the archivist hat I once wore is no more. It was something I once did, and now that chapter has ended.

At the moment, I'm really excited by grassroot archivists harnessing Web 2.0 technologies, challenging the status quo. To stress over these rejection notices and their incredulous explanations seems like a gross waste of time.


No comments:

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.