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CODE4LIB  May 2011

CODE4LIB May 2011

Subject:

Re: If you were starting over, what would you learn and how would you do it?

From:

Mark Jordan <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Code for Libraries <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 6 May 2011 13:32:42 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (153 lines)

Agreed: "Patience, Elbow Grease, Trial and Error" plus stick-to-it-itivenes (to use a word from Seymour Skinner).

Mark

----- Original Message -----
> Ceci,
> 
> I'd honestly recommend just continuing to play, experiment and try
> things. You don't mention programming/scripting in your initial post,
> but I can promise you that it's at the core of the cat/sys
> intersection
> you speak of.
> 
> There's a wealth of information out there on trying to start learning
> this kind of thing, and I really would recommend just jumping right in
> and trying. Here's where I'd start if I was coming from a cataloging
> background:
> 
> * Find a large file of MARC data (you can find free samples and files
> from a number of publishers, or experiment downloading 1 by 1 over
> z39.50 or OAI.
> * If your not using MarcEdit already, install it and have a look at
> your
> data.
> * If you know MARC well, and want to learn XML, download yaz, and use
> yaz-marcdump to convert your marc file to MARC-XML and have a look at
> that. (This is a single line typed at command prompt).
> * Install a scripting environment of your choosing (I'd probably
> recommend one of: ruby, perl, php or python), and the MARC
> library/module/gem for it. Go here for more information on MARC
> libraries, MarcEdit and sample MARC Files:
> http://wiki.code4lib.org/index.php/Working_with_MaRC
> * Google "Hello World" [your chosen language], and follow the
> instructions in the first couple hits you find.
> * Start playing. In ruby, for example, a simple "hello-MARC-world"
> like
> program that loops through a set of records and prints the title of
> each
> one is 6-8 lines, from here, think about things that you might want to
> dig through records for. Think about questions you might ask a file,
> such as if the titles not the main entry, print me the main entry, and
> try to figure out how they might work. As you find yourself having
> specific questions, you'll find answers to a lot of them online, in
> sample code, in Q&A forums like Stack Overflow, and on myriad blogs
> and
> articles.
> 
> I recently stumbled across a LifeHacker thread on teaching oneself to
> program:
> http://lifehacker.com/5401954/programmer-101-teach-yourself-how-to-code
> 
> The last section, titled "Patience, Elbow Grease, Trial and Error" is
> the core of the matter to my mind. I think this pretty much echos
> Devon
> & Eric's responses as well. Play with things, have fun, and try not to
> be intimidated. Ask questions here and read voraciously. Most
> importantly, though I've already said it: PLAY, and have FUN!
> 
> Hope that helps, and have a great weekend.
> -Corey
> 
> On 5/6/2011 3:24 PM, Ceci Land wrote:
> > Thanks Mike. That's exactly the straight up kind of answer I'm
> > looking for. I presently work in cataloging so I find myself really
> > interested in what I'd call the "intersection" of cataloging and
> > systems work. But at my present library, that intersection doesn't
> > exist, the two worlds are kept quite separate.
> >
> > I have realized that getting the degree will not likely prepare me
> > to do the kind of work I want to do. Nor will my present job. I'm
> > actually considering (fearfully mind you) finding some internships
> > while I'm in school that challenge me more. I'd have to give up
> > health insurance and take on more debt to do so though...ergo the
> > fear.
> >
> > Thanks for your reply.
> > Ceci
> >
> >
> >>>> On 5/6/2011 at 2:11 PM, in
> >>>> message<[log in to unmask]>,
> >>>> "Michael J. Giarlo"<[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> >
> > Hi Ceci,
> >
> > I hope you don't interpret this as a glib throwaway, but the best
> > answer I've seen so far was blogged by Dan Chudnov a while back.
> > Here
> > it is:
> >
> >        http://onebiglibrary.net/story/advice-to-a-library-school-student
> >
> > Worth a read, IMO!
> >
> > Best of luck to you,
> >
> > -Mike
> >
> >
> > On Fri, May 6, 2011 at 15:07, Ceci Land<[log in to unmask]>
> > wrote:
> >> Hello everyone. The recent thread asking people what they would
> >> like to learn if they had the time brought another question to my
> >> mind. If you were looking to get into "this side" of the
> >> profession, what would you recommend focusing on?
> >>
> >> IOW, suppose you were a current MLIS graduate student (that's me)
> >> who has a techy sort of inclination. But also assume that your
> >> current job as paraprofessional staff involves minimal computer
> >> skills, no programming or scripting and this situation will not
> >> ever change. Imagine that you've taken every programming and
> >> database class you can fit into your schedule, but you realize that
> >> course work will only take you slightly beyond a beginner level
> >> even if you make A's. (in an IS based program, not CS. I would have
> >> preferred the CS route, but work could not accommodate the
> >> class/lab time during the days)
> >>
> >> How would you choose to develop your skills from "baby" level to
> >> something useful to the profession? Will developing projects on
> >> your personal time and hosting them yourself be enough to get
> >> noticed when they day comes that you graduate with your shiny new
> >> diploma? What core skills would you choose to focus on? Would you
> >> give up a secure job with benefits to find an internship that could
> >> really challenge your programming, web development etc. skills?
> >>
> >> I see many people on this list with very strong skills, but in the
> >> job world, I don't see many 2nd string/entry level jobs that would
> >> allow someone to hone their skills to the level I often see here.
> >> I've been thinking that I should focus on further developing my
> >> abilities in: HTML/CSS of course, XML, XSLT, PHP, and MySQL
> >> (because they're all readily available for someone to play with
> >> despite not being employed in a systems department). It seems that
> >> anything I can learn about metadata transformations/crosswalks and
> >> RDF would be useful too. I also find some classification theories
> >> very compelling (ok, I admit that colon classification really got
> >> my attention in my first MLIS class) and found myself drawn to
> >> potentially being interested in taxonomies and controlled
> >> vocabulary. I know nothing about Drupal, but I wonder if I should
> >> include in my smorgasbord. How much is too much and where you y'all
> >> recommend I put my energy?
> >>
> >> Any advice is greatly appreciated. The more specific the better. :)
> >> Thx!
> >>
> 
> --
> Corey A Harper
> Metadata Services Librarian
> New York University Libraries
> 20 Cooper Square, 3rd Floor
> New York, NY 10003-7112
> 212.998.2479
> [log in to unmask]

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