Sunday, April 17, 2022

success in Berkeley

I accomplished the research I needed for the Tolkien bibliography at UC Berkeley on Saturday with no more trouble than I'd had in Davis on Thursday, although a lot more walking with a lot more hills. The only irony is that Thursday and Saturday were the two days lately on which it's been raining and they're the two days on which I've gone out. But, after having been unable to find parking at UCB on Thursday afternoon, I thought Saturday might be easier: not only less commuting, but a number of permit-only lots on campus are open to public parking on weekends and evenings.

(And if you're worried, as B. was, that they might be closed because it's Easter weekend: nah. Not a Catholic school, after all. Open today, too, but today I'll be busy.)

I am in fact impressed at how easy UCB makes work for outside scholars. In the library's computer banks are several machines labeled "Public access terminals," and you just go into the catalogs and look up the online sources, and if you've plugged in a thumb drive the computer automatically knows to save the downloads there.

Then I needed to go into the stacks to get some hard copies, and though the privileges desk doesn't open until 1 pm, the registration process was no-fuss. Checked my ID, then (as I knew they would) asked for the call number of something I'd be consulting. I handed over one of the Mythopoeic Scholarship Award first-ballot lists on which I'd carefully written the call numbers of the two books I needed that UCB has in hard copy, and that did it.

Then there are the absolutely fabulously user-friendly scan machines in the stacks, which assume you have a thumb drive, walk you through the process, show you each page as you scan it, show the number of pages you've done in the set so far, and display big "finish" and "delete" buttons along with the "scan" (next page) button at every stage. On top of which, the scanner is sensitive to what you put on its bed, and if it's a two-page spread with a blank left page, it still scans the whole spread.

The only problem is that the main library is a huge ornate old building, and the computer banks are up here, and the stack entrance is down there, and the elevators are on the other side, and it's a long walk from the nearest parking, longer even than Davis with hills and stairs. Fortunately I know both the library and the campus well, so even in my decayed state I at least knew where I was going.

So all I need now is to wait for the stuff I've ordered by inter-library loan to come in, and the bibliography will be ready; and reading for the awards is coming along too.

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