How I Explain Metadata to the Non-Metadata World

For the few years that I’ve been working with metadata, I’ve had to answer that question that most librarians who don’t work with reference and books dread, “What do you do?” I do admit that at times, I’ve used the trite phrase, “data about data” knowing full well it went a bit deeper than just that.  In recent times, I have begun to improve my explanation to them by being more whimsical in my answer thereby avoiding that stress or frustration that comes with explaining this work to people who probably would
not understand no matter how much explaining you did in technical terms. 

What Truth Sounds Like

What Truth Sounds Like

What Truth Sounds Like: Robert F. Kennedy, James Baldwin, and Our Unfinished Conversation About Race In America by Michael Eric Dyson (St. Martin's Press, 2018)

In May 1963, Robert F. Kennedy called for a meeting with James Baldwin, one of the most powerful voices of the civil rights movement. Baldwin brought the singers Lena Horne and Harry Belafonte, playwright Lorraine Hansberry, scholar Kenneth Clark, and freedom rider Jerome Smith. Kennedy expected a polite, deferential meeting, but his guests weren’t willing to be patient
and work on policies. Smith was recovering from a savage beating by white supremacists; Baldwin and his friends angrily gave witness to “blackness seen through the prism of pain and trauma.”

Who gets credit? Negotiating research authorship

I recently fielded a reference inquiry from an early-career researcher who was preparing to publish a manuscript based on work she had done over the preceding semester. The research direction, however, had kicked off years before, while the researcher was still a graduate student working under an advisor in a different institution, a person she had not seen or heard from since graduation. “The whole original idea came from my advisor,” the researcher began. “Don’t I have an obligation to list them as an author on this new paper?”

You're Not From Around Here, Are You?

Book cover image for You're Not From Around Here, Are You?

You’re Not From Around Here, Are You? : a Lesbian in Small-Town America by Louise A. Blum (University of Wisconsin Press, 2001)

I’d never consider living in a small town, and when my wife and I drive past or through one, I usually comment that I’d go crazy if I lived there. I’d miss the diversity of race, religion, sexual orientation, the cultural events, and relative tolerance for lesbians and gays. A lot has changed since Blum wrote her book in 2001, notably the ability for me to say “my wife” legally, but I’m sure the attitudes in her small town are still slow to catch up.

Fire Shut Up in My Bones by Charles M. Blow

Book cover image for Fire Shut Up in My Bones


Fire Shut Up in My Bones opens with the author driving down the highway, crying, screaming, with a gun on the car seat beside him, headed toward revenge. Then we’re pulled back into the childhood of that wounded man, a story told so well that by the time we come to that scene’s resolution, we’ve almost forgotten it.

Manage projects and collaborations with Open Science Framework

Open Science Framework is a free and open source tool that can be used for managing projects and collaborations in any discipline. OSF is a great way to keep track of all of the different files that are part of a complex research project. You can store files directly on OSF cloud storage (unlimited number of individual files that are under 5 GB each) or sync popular third-party applications such as Google Drive, Box, Dropbox, Amazon S3, GitHub, figshare, Mendeley, and Zotero to the project.

Posner Intern: Zhouna Ma

Zhouna Ma, a sophomore in Mathematical Sciences, is the current Posner Intern, whose exhibit on Peking Opera is in the Posner Center January 26, - April 30, 2018. We spoke with Zhouna about her experience with the internship.

How did you hear about the internship?

I found out about the internship from IDEATE weekly emails. 

Why were you interested in curating an exhibit on the topic of Peking Opera?

I decided to design an exhibit on Peking Opera because:

Blue Horses by Mary Oliver

Book cover image for Blue Horses

Blue Horses (New York: Penguin Press, 2014) is a slight book of deceptively simple poems, “something/inexplicable/made plain” as Mary Oliver says in “What We Want.” It’s only when you think further into them that you realize these poems have a lot to say. Oliver’s spirituality, like her imagery, springs from the natural world and the senses.

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