Hmm this may be a month in which I end up struggling to post two substantial and focused posts, my normal blogging goal. This post probably won’t count for the “focused” category, heh.
I had hoped to have at least finished the literature review for my “ethics of embedded librarianship” book chapter – which might have led to a good post too — but have hardly thought of that since last month. Last week was the climax of my guest-teaching schedule and this week I got caught up on short-term projects.
But now the reference questions and consultations are getting more frequent, and my two embedded/co-teaching classes are picking up steam. Professor Welsh of ENT 300 fame flew to Europe yesterday to speak again at a United Nations conference on entrepreneurship, so I’m in charge of that class for the next two weeks (although we don’t have class on Monday due to fall break). Nataly Blas, our new Diversity Resident Librarian and also a new business librarian (she worked with Trip Wyckoff at Florida State while earning her MLS) will be helping by leading a discussion of the value of trade journals and how to search for them in Ebsco and OneFile. I’ve enjoyed talking to Nataly about teaching and business research and look forward to her increasing contributions to the business school here. Maybe I can bribe Nataly to write a guest post sometime about her experiences as a new business librarian…
By Halloween I have to reorganize and submit our liaison task force report for the Charleston Conference 2012 proceedings. Our admin types have scheduled a meeting with the task force members in a couple of weeks. We are interested to hear what kind of follow-up questions or discussion items they will have. On Monday I’m chatting on the phone with a librarian in Texas whose library is also looking at new liaison models.
And two weeks from today begins the new version of the NCLA Leadership Institute. Last time (2005) I attended as a participant; this time I will be a mentor. Scary notion, that. We had a mentors’ meeting with the planning committee last week and I was the youngest librarian in the room. It’s been a long time since I was the youngest librarian in any room! So I need to prep for that mentoring work too. We have readings to read, videos to watch, and discussion topics to plan.
Meanwhile I’ve kept track of the most unusual questions I’ve received lately:
1. “Steve, how do you cite a Staples receipt in APA format?”
This came from my “Perfect Fit” ENT 300 team. (They turned down an opportunity to have a SCORE advisor and ended up with me as their advisor instead.) I spend an hour every Thursday evening (not too late, don’t worry) with them. This question came up when they were finishing their feasibility financial report, which required all their sources to be cited. All the student teams had to do a lot of primary research as well as use sources like BizMiner and RMA.
2. “Okay, we have a little problem again. I did all the calculations in a danish Excel, which means that all the numbers has , instead of . For example is it 8,4 instead of 8.4 and we have no idea of how to change it. We tried everything. Is it okay that we hand it in with kommas instead of dots?”
There are five international students in MKT 426 this semester. Those students are always a pleasure to have in class! In fact our Nigerian student made the top score on the midterm last week. This question was emailed to me from a Danish student. I’m no Excel whiz, so it took me a few minutes to find the place to specify the “decimal separator” without having to set the Windows region/language setting away from Danish.
3. “[In the USPTO patents database] is there any way to include the “&” component of a company’s name and pull some results? Right now, when I include it, it says the argument is invalid. I’m trying to search for patents from AT&T.”
Well, I’m also no patents searching whiz. This email came from a grad student working with a research team of professors. I had helped them get started with a patent searching project (something to do with measuring innovations by company – I’ve got the details buried in email somewhere). I did discover that “AT&T Intellectual Property” is the name AT&T uses when it files its patents, and that searching for “T Intellectual Property” actually works ok. But AT is not apparently a field code, so that’s not the problem. The always helpful Lynda Kellam referred me to the friendly engineering librarian at NCSU who suggested alternative patent databases and emailed his friend at USPTO about the & problem. Networking is so useful.