About j’s scratchpad

j used to be a news librarian who worked for one of Harvard’s news offices. That’s how this weblog came to be on a Harvard domain. This weblog has nothing to do with Harvard or that job directly. It’s just j writing broadly about the profession of news librarianship and many relevant topics.

Presently working on Needlebase at ITA Software by Google, j is an official affiliate of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School and a job seeker. As you can see from a short resume or long resume, j has a broad mix of skills beneficial to a variety of settings and experience in the software industry and libraries.

The scratchpad has a few other contributors, like Rich, who works in a public library; Amy, a news librarian; K, a special librarian; Kim, a Wikipedian; and Pat.

j had two of those funky nontraditional librarian jobs that had to be explained to people ’cause no one knows what it is (sometimes, coworkers and j didn’t know what j did, either) and most of the time, that conversation begins with an explanation of what a special librarian is.

What am I doing here? Well, I ask myself that all the time, but I don’t have an answer.

j began this blog in April 2003 as part of an experiment. Now that it’s here, j’s still trying to figure out what to do with it. Things you might find here include items of interest to librarians (particularly news librarians), personal opinions, things j thinks are nifty or weird (duh–if j wasn’t interested in them, why would j put them on a blog?), and who knows what else. j is trying to make this blog more about a profession than personal life, otherwise, the entries would be much shorter and much more boring than they already are. (j can be incredibly sarcastic and often tries to use humor in blog posts, even though most of the time it doesn’t work.) j maintains this blog as a hobby. It is not something done as part of a job.

j is of the mindset of my blogging friend Jay: What did you expect to learn when you came here?

So…who are you? And why are you reading my blog?

Nothing expressed on this site constitutes anything official by Harvard University.

If you want to e-mail j, there’s no guarantee of a fast response, but you can find j at jkbaumga at most major, free Internet e-mail services affiliated with search engines, particularly those brought to you by the letters y and g.

A note on platforms and whatnot. This blog began on the platform Manila, which is produced by Usersoft, as part of the community blog server the Berkman Center for Internet & Society runs at Harvard University. In the spring of 2007, very bad circumstances beyond almost everyone’s control (well, the spammers had a choice, didn’t they?) led to the switch from the software Manila to WordPress. Blog software does not easily allow the migration of content from one system into another. The geeks at Berkman did their best to make the switch as easy and painless as possible for us bloggers, but due to a number of challenges (like Manila allowing linked post titles and WordPress absolutely having no field that maps to that link nor anywhere to put that link or Manila having a separate section (stories) for long posts, like conference notes, which does not exist in WordPress), there is still a lot of brokeness on the imported blogs. With more than 5,000 posts at the time of migration, j had to make a decision between checking imported content for competeness and its ability to work properly and making and maintaining new content. Needless to say, a lot of the old stuff does not work, is missing links, might not have WordPress-compliant formatting, and may otherwise be problematic. Please keep that in mind when reading this weblog.

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