Wednesday, June 30, 2004

And you thought I didn't care anymore

The Library Ass is alive and kicking, my friends. Now that I'm a student at Simmons College's Graduate School of Library and Information Science (or GSLIS - pronounced "GISS-liss", with a hard g, although I keep wanting to say "JISS-liss", which sounds vaguely dirty), I think I'll be posting more regularly here to share some tidbits from class with all of my fellow librarians-in-training out there. For instance, today I have a couple of links I stumbled upon while doing homework for my Reference and Information Systems class:

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia Online (in Russian) - If you're like me and you can't read Russian, you'll just have to settle for the English edition in print. Many academic libraries have the 31-volume translation of this 1970's-1980's reference tool available in their stacks, so by all means check it out. It's particularly useful for the histories of the various former Soviet Republics, for instance - much more so than you can normally find in Western sources. And it's also extremely useful for getting an overview of Soviet academia. One of the major problems with Russian scholarship is that precious little of it gets translated into English. Although the Great Soviet Encyclopedia is obviously a dated source, it at least can provide an introduction into the various academic disciplines from which an intrepid reference librarian can proceed in his or her search.

Googlemania! Wired Magazine on the Google phenomenon, its strengths and limitations, and its future. Many reference librarians consider Google to be the equivalent of library Kryptonite, as it promotes the belief that all knowledge is searchable from a single interface and freely available online, so who needs those stuffy librarians anymore anyway? It may come to that yet, but this article demonstrates how far away that day still is (and that's good news for me!).