Spamity spam! Sorry, got carried away there …
Spam. We all get it. We all know there is NOT a Nigerian prince needing help. My personal email spam has an extremely high opinion of my libido. Still spammers gotta spam. They’re getting wiser about it. Now I get emails that purport to be from my very own company telling me to do things. And invitations from my professional social media account, again asking me to update information. Spoofing they call it, pretending to be something they are not.
Still it surprises me that spammers are going old school and hitting the phones now. They spoof there too. I get calls telling me my credit card has problems – and they cite a company I do not do business with. And that my student loans are in trouble – which is amazing since I never had student loans (having gone to school when it was still semi-affordable). All of these calls come from real phone numbers – numbers that belong to an individual and it is completely legal! It is both amusing and frightening to get a call from your own phone number, answering to find that you are “behind on your student loan payments”.
Registering with the Do Not Call list does not stop these spoofers. Block the number and you may find you are blocking a friend. And if it your number, you may get tons of calls from upset people who have been getting telemarketer calls from your number.
So what is the answer? I have none except for diligence. Do not give personal information to someone who has called you. Instead, look up the number (do not use the number they provide) and call back to ensure it is legitimate before providing information. Likely you will annoy whomever is calling you – remind them of the potential issues of simply giving this information to anyone who calls. An annoyed person is much better than a lost identity.
Yesterday I conducted a very unofficial and hugely informal user test to see how the young ones search. I explained to my subject that there were no wrong answers, I just wanted to see and learn how non-professionals search. I’m way too far removed from the experience; as with cataloging I cannot help but know the path to follow. The following is what happened [note I am not naming names because that makes it seem so much more official]
Subject was (and is, I suppose) a recent college graduate. I provided a topic and asked “please find two peer reviewed articles and one book that you might use as a source as if you were writing a paper on the impact of Jimmy Carter’s presidency”. I asked “please go to your library website to start the search”.
Subject went to unnamed university library website, logged in [yay still worked after graduating!] and put in search terms. What search terms? Subject typed “jimmy carter impact” in the search box provided. No Boolean, no truncation. Subject did not use any of the limiters available (such as ‘limit to peer reviewed’). Results were quickly scanned. Anything of interest went into a new browser window to review. At one point subject stumbled on google scholar and asked “WHERE HAS THIS BEEN THE LAST FOUR YEARS?” I explained the history, basically been around since 2004. Groans met my explanation, subject noted “knowing this would have been very useful!”.
I watched the subject go outside the library website for each item of interest. Subject took any citation of interest (actually, just the title) to the open web to find it. Once found, subject scanned the content quickly to see if it would answer her “impact of jimmy carter’s presidency”. Subject never varied search terms nor used any other tool on the library site.
I asked “what does peer reviewed mean?” Subject noted this meant “a scholarly article”. Uhm, yeah, sort of …
I asked “if you had to cite an article found in APA style, how would you do it?” . Subject went to a new browser window and opened the Purdue OWL site, explaining this was the site used since high school.
As we finished, I showed the subject the features on the unnamed university library site where the limiters, citation builder, etc. all reside. I noted these are all within the areas the search began but were skipped/ignored. I further explained that all the full text that had been ‘discovered’ on the open web were due to the library purchase – because the subject logged in to the library website, the proxy took effect and full text was found. Subject was astonished and wondered why this was not shown to students. I asked if they had any library instruction – “well in one class we were shown JSTOR”. I asked why the library site was not used more, subject said “I’ve just always done it like this”.
Now, is this typical? I have no idea. I just asked one person to do this and had no formal method of testing. It does make me wonder though and and pushes me to the belief that library instruction needs to be part of the school experience – from kindergarten on up really, with new bits and parts each year to build upon, like we do with grammar, math, etc…
Print has been on my mind and apparently on others too…Two stories strike me:
NASIG‘s recent conference in Albuquerque had a session “E-books for the Classroom & Open Access Textbooks: Two ways to help students save money on textbooks” which [full disclosure] I did not attend. However, one of my colleagues did and told me about it. Sounds great – basically the University of South Florida noticed the extremely high costs of textbooks and looked at ways to solve this. Fantastic! Their way seems to be moving in an “e” direction. I understand this, providing the “e” is cheaper but …most students are saying they prefer print to e. Check it out: Tech Times, Washington Post, Education Week. I would love to see a session bringing that into the mix of cost and access. What would you do as a poor student?
Lately on Serialst there has been a lovely discussion which confirms the move away from print serials to electronic. Some noted that they are retaining print due to:
- unavailable electronically
- cannot afford the electronic version
- continuing historic collection / preservation
Again cost rears up. Isn’t it interesting that print is cheaper for journals but more expensive for books? Also, here we have preservation coming up – students note that having the print textbook is something they can markup and keep for future consultation. You can do markup in the e too, or so my apps tell me, but they prefer print. And then we have preservation …
Paper. It lasts and lasts doesn’t it?
Mike Rowe, I’ve loved you for a very long time. I love how you glory the non-glamorous. Love how you speak out for the unspoken (careers, that is). I could not possibly agree with you more on the beauty of skilled labor*; on the idea that college is NOT for everyone; on the thought that blue collar is not inherently less but is, in fact, much much more.
Now I find that you are rocking my thirst for knowledge. My need for info – bites. My desire for your voice to stream erudite in my ear. I haven’t been so happy since I found Mental Floss!
Check out the new The Way I Heard It for mini-bits of Rowe knowledge. I only presume he is working with a professional to ensure the facts are checked and double checked before each episode is recorded. If not, I know a whole bevy of librarians who’d be happy to help –
Psst, learn more about the trades and options available at Mike Rowe Works by going to your local library. We carry tons of information on every possible trade … and if we don’t have it there, we can get it for you. NO CHARGE!
*Funny! Wikipedia notes ‘skilled labor’ as not just the trades & getting your hands dirty but also notes computer skills, accountants, etc. … skill is skill is skill. And labor is key in every job.
I love my job. I love traveling to all sorts of libraries all across the land to provide service and help. It thrills me to be allowed into all these venerable institutions, to listen and learn and perhaps make their lives easier with services.
What I do not always enjoy is the game “find the library” and “find the parking”. Each new-to-me institution is a new adventure which often involves the quickly squashed hope of finding exactly where to go to park.
Some are wonderful. Wait, no, make that a few. And others, whilst not gentle, are still doable/findable. Some librarians are long versed in the difficulties of ‘outsiders’ finding their homes and have developed lovely maps and …. dare I say it? LibGuides for Parking. One very memorable librarian even extended the directions to indoors (“turn left at the green couch”). Another took the campus PDF and inserted very helpful notes (seriously thought the “too far” was “too fat” and wondered what that meant).
Most however are exercises in frustration. Hours spend trying to enlarge the type on the campus provided map. Why, oh why can the library not be listed in the map legend as “library”? I don’t always know that it is called Jim Bob Book Learnin’ Place and have spend up to 20 minutes trying to find it on the itty bitty PDF (enlarged for my old eyes then many, many, many mouse moves to examine each inch). The ‘interactive’ maps are even worse – they quickly zoom down to the library (when you have the right name) but how do I find it from parking/walking? And can I get a print* to take with me on my trek?
Then there is the adventure of where am I allowed to park? Can I park? Do I need a pass? Where do I get a pass? What documents do I need (insurance, license plate, driver’s license, blood type, DNA sample…)? Does it cost? Can I pay with credit? Do I need cash? Do I need quarters (yes, this has happened)?
Sigh. OK. Back to figuring it all out.
*yes, fine, I am a Luddite who likes the printed map. I like to see the bigger picture. And since the GPS does not lead me to parking on your campus … it is necessary.