NOTE: I'm taking next week off so I can devote my time to planning the memorial ceremony for my ex-husband and visiting with my son and THE GIRL he's bringing home to meet Mom. Meantime, you can read my article in the June issue of American Libraries and my article in the Consumer Health Supplement to the May 1 issue of Library Journal.
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FBI'S MOST NEEDED: A TEAM OF LIBRARIANS
So, what we've learned from the McVeigh case is that the FBI can send investigators all over the country, asking questions and gathering evidence, but they can't keep track of what they've collected. Time to call in the cavalry: a team of crackerjack catalogers.
It sounds like there would need to be librarians at each of the field offices, since apparently much of the evidence in the McVeigh case (and who knows how many others?) was never forwarded to FBI headquarters. Have you heard the reports that in some field offices, the evidence rooms are filled with mounds of random files and unidentified evidence boxes. All you catalogers out there, doesn't that get your juices flowing? Don't you just want to attack those piles and assign subject classifications?
Furthermore, a lot of catalogers these days have gotten into the business of constructing databases and web pages. They wouldn't just tidy up the place and organize the files, they'd fully cross-reference the files and make them all keyword-searchable, not just by people in their own field offices, but in ALL field offices and headquarters.
Talk about your basic win-win situation. The FBI would be able to put together better, tighter cases with full access to all their evidence, and wouldn't get accused of deliberately stiffing the defense anymore. And librarians, who still bear the burden of a reputation for tiptoeing and shushing, would claim the public spotlight as the masters of information who dug out the FBI's Augean stables and turned them into neat files of data (sorted by organic content?).
Remember when OCLC sent in a team of librarians to help deal with the massive treasure trove of books stolen from libraries a few years ago? Maybe ALA could stage a similar event -- say, a librarian airlift. It's not like the FBI is in a position to turn down offers of help.
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READER PARTICIPATION TIME AGAIN
Well, I can't say I got much response from men about what it's like to be a man in a female profession. Maybe it's too sensitive a topic. But here's one all you webmasters could help with.
What are the most important things you wish you'd known or done before you started creating your first version of your library's web page?
I'll consolidate your answers when I get back to work after the memorial ceremony.
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...Homer Kelly basked in happiness. He adored libraries, any library, from a closet full of books in a rural town hall to the vast collections of Widener Library in Harvard Yard. To Homer, libraries were holy places like churches, and the priestly librarians a blessed race, a saving remnant in a world of sin. Whenever God grew impatient and decided to destroy the world he remembered the librarians and stayed his hand. At least that was Homer's opinion."
The Thief of Venice, by Jane Langton.
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You are welcome to copy and distribute or e-mail any of my own articles for noncommercial purposes (but not those by my guest writers) as long as you retain this copyright statement:
Ex Libris: an E-Zine for Librarians and Other Information Junkies.
Copyright, Marylaine Block, 2000.
Publishers may license the content for a reasonable fee.