My last day at the Boreham Library, University of Arkansas – Fort Smith, was Friday, May 31, 2019.

Found some useful advice from Michael Morris:

Be prepared for all those folks who want to know how you spend your time. Sometimes their inquiries can come across as a bit brusque and judgmental. (“So what do you actually do now?”) The implication is that, dammit, you better be engaging in a Jimmy Carter-type of humanitarian activity that is advancing the common good or is at least interesting to the inquisitor. On other occasions, the question appears more benign. (“Gee, what’s it like to be retired?”)

Regardless, you should avoid responding with a cliché (“I’m livin’ the dream, just livin’ the dream”), sarcastic cynicism (“Waiting patiently for dementia, disease and death”) or overdetailed accounts that reflect a desire to impress. (“I’m vice chair of the Palmetto Bug Conservation Society of South Florida. Did you know that the palmetto bug is often confused with the American cockroach? Would you like some literature and a refrigerator magnet?”) Relax: it may take you a month or two to develop a retirement elevator speech that feels right.

And then there’s this:

Ebook access

Until the Boreham Library LibGuide for using ebooks, under new management, is restored, the following links are available:

Get a free Adobe ID here.

Adobe Digital Editions is available for free from here. This is for Windows or Macs.

For Android or iOS (Apple iPhones, iPads), you can use Bluefire from the app store for your device.


Whole Earth Catalog

Alternet has a post on one of my long-time favorites: The Whole Earth Catalog. I got every one of these as they came out, including the Whole Earth Epilog. Amazing concept and surprisingly effective execution. Catalogs for a better future.

Popular DVD collection

[updated 2018.6.21, 2018.8.22]

So for anybody who wants the real nitty-gritty manual, it’s here.

We cut the Audio-Visual budget this year (2018-2019), but split it differently. Half goes to streaming videos from Alexander Street, and the rest is being selected (suggestions invited) by one of the librarians (not me, but instead, the one who is much more heavily into film).

5000 fingers of Dr. T

DVD cover

Including an old favorite of mine (see the picture). Gotta love a Dr. Seuss-authored flick, right?

The above is also an example of one of many special cases.

Briefly, we put out the cover and case, and create an insert for another case with the actual disc(s), which is kept behind Circulation. Bring the cover case to the desk, we find the actual case to check out, and put the case on the shelf in its place to signify it is not available. I’m using a long-time favorite program for printing barcodes and inserts, Wasp Labeler (now version 7). [note: I have no compensation from the software company, but I’ve used their program for years and really recommend it]

tl;dr for the longer version:

If there is a digital version, we have to cover that information up. Borrowers don’t own the disc and therefore are not entitled to download it.

[updated versions using landscape printed version as of 2018.8.22]

If there is a DVD and a Blu-ray version, I have to have two circulating cases. The Blu-ray has a special format:


We have color-blind staff who need something not color-coded to make it obvious. The DVD version, of course, has none of the Blu-ray indicators.


The vertical line is the fold line, to wrap the insert around. The blank area to the right at the top is for a label with the barcode.

A spine label is put on the display container instead, to link it back to the location of the circulating case on the shelf.

Using landscape allows me to put some of the description (provided it is already in the record) on the case that goes home with patrons.

All the feature films are 791.4372, all the TV shows are 791.4572, and otherwise they are by regular Dewey call numbers.

Sounds fairly simple, until you get into it. I have a list of my labx insert and related Wasp Labeler formats (which may vary from this over time):

DVD cover formats

And this doesn’t cover everything. I still have to modify these as I go along, for things like number of discs.

DVDlburayvariable2discs is for Blu-rays with 2 discs in the container, for example.

DVDset_televisionSEASON is for the sets of TV show seasons.

The important thing is, the fewer things I have to change, the less likely it is that mistakes are made. I discovered that early on.

And for the 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T I had to use the DVDvariablecoverLASER to copy a regular cover to use for the display container, because it came with others in a boxed set of Stanley Kramer films. You should see the 14 titles (plus bonus disc!) which I had to make up for the Alfred Hitchcock Masterpiece Collection (and no, we’re not going to lend 15 discs at once just because they came in a boxed set at a better price). For many of those, since the display container would not otherwise have a description of the movie, I’ve started to add one from the notes in the bib record.

Titles: some of these are not in English. Since not all of our staff (me included) have the various languages, I adjust the 245 field to what’s on the container. Therefore, Black girl was originally (in the record) as La noire de … . Consider trying to teach all our student workers how to understand (if not actually pronounce) titles in French, German, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese… I did mention our selector is heavily into film, right? So, I cheat to make it easier on the people doing the retrieving from the stacks, not to mention the patrons.

And other stuff.

I use pink pages for DVD and blue for Blu-ray inserts. (It’s gray for some of us either way, but between that and the Blu-ray logos, it works out.) We use our regular label format to print barcodes/spine labels ( manual here ) which produces two barcodes and a spine label once we assign barcodes to item records.

I have the Cutter and date in a separate field from the Dewey part of the call number. That way, I only have to change that most of the time, as long as I have the proper insert format. Then I change the titles and whatever else, and the OCLC number. For TV seasons, I separate the Cutter and date, and just change the date, season number, and as needed, the OCLC number. I’ve adjusted the season numbers in the 245 title field so it reads digitally (“the complete 1st season”) with the alternate in a 246 field (“the complete first season”) so in the catalog, the display sorts more conveniently.

Necessity, as the saying goes, is a mother. But we are handling it and have developed a routine, which is what it’s all about for Tech Services.


GDPR so far

The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has a lot of my emailers sending me notices. So far, I’ve been able to get off several elists which never produced any usable links.

That’s not what I expected when this went into effect, but, you know: serendipity.

[serendipity: finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for]

Passwords to go?

(updated 2018.5.10, 2019.4.9)

ZDNet has a post on how Microsoft is working to eliminate passwords.

“For Microsoft, multi-factor authentication and biometrics is seen as a good replacement for passwords — using a physical key, and/or your face or fingerprint to log into your device instead of a string of letters and numbers.”

So, we have yet another “key” (more like a USB plug) on our key rings, to forget and leave behind someplace plugged into the computer. I work in a library – do you know how often people forget USB flash drives?  Often, despite our warnings.  Some people should just give up and buy a retractable key ring reel for their belt.

Or we have our faces, which have already been counterfeited with photos (and if your photo i.d. is stolen from online, how do you change your face?!?!).

And there’s fingerprints. Better enter all of them, because if you have a bandage on them (oops! hot object!), it’s useless. And the same problem as faces – even easier to counterfeit (does your smartphone sense real flesh? Mine can be fooled with a stylus) and your fingerprints are impossible to replace if stolen from online storage.

This might not be the answer for a while, yet.  Keep working, Microsoft.


Oh, I see the browsers are doing this.

“That’s thanks to an emerging W3C standard called Web Authentication or WebAuthn, which is enabled by default in Firefox 60 and is coming later this month to Chrome 67, and Microsoft Edge. It’s also under consideration for Safari.

By removing passwords, the WebAuthn API will make phishing attacks a lot harder and gives users more convenient authentication choices, including hardware security key dongles such as a YubiKey device, fingerprint readers on smartphones, or facial-recognition systems like the iPhone X’s Face ID.”

I don’t have a dongle, and my staff computer has no camera or touch screen. So the Firefox 60 I just updated to wants me to start logging in to sync all the stuff I can’t use.

No, thanks, at this point.

(updated April 9, 2019)

And here we go: Cybercrime is selling full digital fingerprints already. Didn’t take long, did it?


Windows Updates gripe

Rant mode = ON.

So ZDNet has a post saying we should not disable automatic updates.

At least they admit that vendors make it problematic.

Here’s what I’m talking about: last week I had to write a check to a plumber and print it on my computer, since that is how I handle that.

What would I have done, if at that moment, Windows 10 had decided it needed a half hour or so to do updates, like it or not? It wouldn’t be the first time that I booted up and found the system was going to stall me while it did something like that. Just a few days later, it did exactly that – fortunately, I wasn’t in a rush then. But still…

The post says “Ideally – and I know I’m asking a lot here – patches shouldn’t require a reboot, or reboots should only be done when absolutely necessary. And ideally, if a reboot is required the operating system should return to the state it was prior to the reboot, complete with whatever apps and documents that were open.” That’s far too weak a requirement!

THAT’S what bugs me right now — I have no control over this when it requires a reboot. That’s obstructive as well as irritating.

Now, I am pretty good about getting updates. And the ones which don’t require a reboot install themselves. But this business of forcing a delay while working up to it is a pain in the fundament!

Until Microsoft and other vendors can find a way to avoid that, they are going to have people looking for ways to disable updates in order to avoid the interruption.

Mind you, I am okay with shutting down and THEN having the computer delay while it works on updating; I can walk away and let it do that and then shut down.

But this tactic of forcing you to wait during bootup is not just a pain, it can actually delay critical work. What if I’m trying to write a check for a service person standing there? (“Just wait a fifteen minutes for the update to complete, and I can charge you another $89 labor on top of the existing bill.”) What if I’m trying to lock the library doors with an app since it’s a snow day, or some other emergency, and the doors will pop open before the update is finished tying up my computer? Come up with your own rush matters, and it’s easy to see how this system is not functional.

Updates will be more popular when they become less obstructive.

Rant mode = OFF.