I’m going to officially retire this blog, rather than let it languish, neglected, as I move on to other ventures. My last day at the San Diego Zoo will be July 9. From there, I’ll be focusing on packing and moving to Chicago, then starting a new job at the University of Chicago (but not as a librarian, for the time being).

I’ve still been reading and keeping up with zoology and ecology, but nothing has inspired me to post in the last month or so. It seems as though nearly all of what I’ve been reading has to do with the Deepwater Horizon spill and the ensuing ecological disaster, and I just can’t bring myself to comment on this. It’s too horrible for words, and I find myself feeling so fatalistic that it almost seems better to just distance myself from it.

I’m going to spend my free time doing the small things that can to help contribute to reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. Maybe at some point I’ll start a blog documenting my adventures on public transportation, or experiments in gardening and home-canning local, sustainable produce. Instead of having our beer shipped in, we’ve been making our own.

Wish me luck!


I’ve been following the Open Researcher & Contributor ID (ORCID) initiative since its announcement late last year, but the collaborators have been quietly hammering out the details behind the scenes. As of this week, they’ve just released a PDF with a lot more information, including some ideas on how the implementation will work, such as potential manuscript submission interfaces, metadata importation, and mock-ups of interfaces for authors to input publications, affiliations, and contact information.

It appears that ORCID has come a long way since their initial announcement. They now have over 90 participating organizations (is your organization involved yet?), up from an initial 23, including big name publishers like Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, PLoS, Springer, Taylor & Francis, and many large research universities, including Harvard and Cornell. Now that the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) has firmly taken root in scientific publishing, a clear-cut author identification program like ORCID should be widely implemented easily, especially with substantial backing from Nature Publishing Group. A 2009 Nature editorial discusses some of the potential applications of ORCID, such as allowing researchers to create an ongoing digital curriculum vitae, or to receive credit for work which isn’t part of a high-profile publication but still has a major contribution to a body of scientific knowledge.

There are still many kinks to be ironed out—the latest announcement notes that “privacy and access rights as well as funding issues are being tackled.” They also indicate that “ORCID may be linked to other registries, such as the International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI) a draft international standard for tracking creators, actors, artists and performers,” but it bodes well that they’re taking all of these factors into account. With all of the Professor Zhangs and Dr. Wilsons floating around publishing prolifically, a standard name identification scheme like ORCID is overdue and poised for success.

These beautiful digital collages of wildlife are made out of old maps by artist Jason LaFerrera. Archival prints are for sale on his Etsy shop. These are really striking, and would make a great, unique gift for lovers of wildlife and/or maps!

I’ve been posting here much less frequently than I’d like to lately, and you deserve an explanation. Yes, you. Let this serve as both an explanation for my intermittent absence, and a sincere apology and promise to do better by you, Internet Audience. There are so many wonderful things I’ve been meaning to tell you about, like the miracle elephant baby in Australia, elephant twins in Thailand, and a reminder of 85 reasons to be thankful for librarians (ahem).

For what it’s worth, I have several good excuses for my absence. First, this was given to me by my darling boyfriend, along with a proposal.

He proposed, not unreasonably, that we get married and move to Chicago together, since he’s been offered a very good postdoctoral position at Northwestern University. I’d be crazy to turn down an offer like that (and while I may be crazy, I’m not that crazy), so I’ve been terribly busy planning a big party, looking for a job in Chicago, and trying to locate a home for us in the Chicago area.

I’m still busy with those activities, but nonetheless, I promise to do better by you, Internet Audience. Now, I’m off to busy myself with making good on that promise. In the meantime, if you know of any jobs in the Chicago area, please contact me for my resume.


Today is the last day of National Library Week 2010. In honor of libraries (and librarians!) everywhere, please enjoy some library porn I’ve been saving for you.

You can find those photos and many, many more at “Librophiliac Love Letter: A Compendium of Beautiful Libraries“, on the Curious Expeditions blog.

The Huffington Post (I know, I know) has a photo album of The Most Amazing Libraries In The World, where you can rate each photo.

For a historical viewpoint, check out this article on The 7 Most Impressive Libraries From Throughout History.

Just in case you’ve forgotten what it takes to run a library, here are 85 reasons to be thankful for librarians.

And finally, if you feel like a tear-jerker, I listened to this story on NPR on the drive to work one morning last year, and tears were running down my face by the time I got to my library. Of course, I’m a bit of a sap, so your mileage may vary.

If you find yourself with more time or money than you know what to do with, I hope you’ll consider donating some to your favorite library. If you’re an independently wealthy person of leisure, you could even pursue a career in libraries!

Coinciding with National Library Week*, the Library of Congress announced their plan to archive Twitter. Yes, all of it.

Have you ever sent out a “tweet” on the popular Twitter social media service? Congratulations: Your 140 characters or less will now be housed in the Library of Congress.

That’s right. Every public tweet, ever, since Twitter’s inception in March 2006, will be archived digitally at the Library of Congress. That’s a LOT of tweets, by the way: Twitter processes more than 50 million tweets every day, with the total numbering in the billions.

The announcement came via LoC’s blog, and Twitter itself later blogged about the preservation efforts.

This is unequivocally a big deal. Regardless of how inane you may think Twitter is (I think I’m in the minority with that opinion, but whatever), the impact it’s had on our cultural landscape has been enormous. After watching the Mumbai bombing unfold on via Twitter in 2008, one of my first thoughts was, “Who is archiving this?” As LoC steps up to the plate, I’m looking forward to see what they take on next in the realm of digital preservation.

*Neil Gaiman is this year’s National Library Week Honorary Chair. If you haven’t seen his library yet, you’re in for a treat.

The San Diego Central public library remained closed last Saturday, March 20 — the first closure of its kind in the last 18 years. According to their FAQ [PDF], the Library’s budget was recently cut by $3.8 million, as part of city-wide budget cuts due to a drop in tax revenues.

Despite this, the city seems to be still moving forward on the “schoobrary” plan to construct a much-needed new Central library. NBC has a “San Diego explained” video that spells out the math behind the budget for this project. Essentially, a mix of state grants, school district bond funds, donations, and downtown redevelopment taxes (that are earmarked only for new construction in the downtown area) will be used to build a new library building with a charter high school on top of it.

The closing statement of the San Diego examiner article, (“When the San Diego budget is hurting for money so bad that it can’t keep the libraries we have open for business, it is not unreasonable to ask why the city wants to spend so much money on a brand new one”) really rubs me the wrong way. Any library supporter can clearly see that the old 1950s building currently housing the library is wholly insufficient for a growing San Diego downtown community. It’s an eyesore in an area that’s been slated for huge redevelopment since the ballpark opened. It’s always been embarrassing for me that my hometown is a place that can support building a new ballpark and is discussing building a new football stadium, while our library has been neglected for decades, languishing in an asbestos-ridden building with rotting infrastructure. The library building has been outdated nearly as long as Qualcomm stadium has even existed.

Contact San Diego mayor Jerry Sanders to weigh in.