Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Why Waco?

Tomorrow I'm headed for Waco again. It seems I've not really explained why I'm going to Waco so often, or why I travel for business.

I work with a multi-university digital library consortium. All of our members provide different resources, and our friends at Baylor provide an excellent training facility at the edge of campus where we show staff from our member institutions how to use software provided by my group.

Its exactly that interesting. And when I'm traveling elsewhere, its to visit colleagues at various universities and see what they're up to and figure out how we can better support each other. So I might be visiting Texas A&M Kingsville one day, and then drive down to visit UT Brownsville the next.

I get to see a lot of Texas and listen to audio books. Its not bad. I just wind up drinking a lot of gas station coffee and eating in a lot of hotel restaurants.

And I wear a tie sometimes, which I still find funny at age 35. But ties inspire a lot more confidence than t-shirts with "The Flash" emblazoned on the front.

a staple of my work attire

Because I work in a basement in an office with a window whose blinds we keep closed, and I work amongst librarians, a people who seemingly have no dress code, the wide array of superhero t-shirts isn't really a big deal. Most people are polite and don't even ask about the superheroes poking out from behind my button down shirts. And when they do, it usually ends with "I'm sorry, you know... I don't really want to know."

Every area within a university is slightly different. Engineers sort of operate one way, liberal arts folks another, and while there are many stereotypes about librarians which I see confirmed, they are a varied bunch. But it is truly amazing that they can all agree that you should stop making that racket, because people are trying to read.

Library science is an interesting field. Its basically all about making sure as much information is available as possible, and as easy to find as possible. So your average employee at a research library is sort of like Google, only with glasses and sweater sets. My job falls into the twilight world of how universities are figuring out how to use technology to bring research data not just to other scholars, but to the world, leveraging the technologies that are out there, but managing information about those resources and insuring the integrity of that material. So... you know, wacky times.

We tend to keep our eyes on the eBook industry, the struggles of print journals, integrity of electronic publication, long-term storage concepts, and lots of things that people are still trying to figure out now that you can distribute anything you want via the internet. Its just a matter of making sure people find it.

Anyhow, that's why I'm going to Waco. Also, I might try to go to the Dr. Pepper Museum.


Steven said...

Lauren and I tried to go to the Dr Pepper museum before we left but were horribly chagrinned to find out that it is not near Waco, no it's not ANYWHERE near WACO. It's not a "tee-hee" jaunt up....

I'm sure it's worth it...but, that's a bait and switch on the I35 IMHO.

The League said...

I have heard legends that the museum employs the world's least enthusiastic docents. I'm more interested in exactly how terrible my tour will go than I am in the history of something I never drink.