Monday, September 5, 2011

labor day

It's Labor Day, so I've been laboring. I spent most of the day at my library job, engaged on the epic task of cleaning up the giant mess that our catalog database became on its recent system migration. The back halves of about 10% of the records fell off, so I've been putting them back on, the matching between volume numbers and barcode/accession numbers is completely off (more of an aesthetic problem, as we don't have automated circulation), and half the titles with nonfiling articles at the start file under them.

One of my delightful discoveries is that our new catalog programs, like most other programs not designed for professionals, can't read the markup code that specifically identifies nonfiling articles. Instead, it merely takes the words A, An, and The at the beginning of a title and backshifts them to the end. Assuming it's working at all. This is not so great if you're working with a lot of material in foreign languages, or have books with titles like A is for Abraham or A to Z.

This is the last day I'll have free to work on the database for over a week. I'm trying to get it in a state fit to be seen by the world, i.e. the web, assuming the world doesn't look too closely at it, but I don't think that's going to happen this week.

It's very quiet, in fact the whole place is deserted, which is good because of the number of committees and classes on busier days that like to take over the library as meeting space and slightly resent having somebody working away on the computer. Downside is that all the restrooms were locked (I have a key to the library, but not to the restrooms), so that was the most heroic part of the day's work.

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