bunnyjadwiga: (Default)
Just came back from teaching an open session on "What's Google Good For?" covering some useful stuff from Google for academics (compared to what we pay for in library databases).

I had a good turnout-- 10 people; and I'm going to be rehashing it for the Writing Center tutors.
Here it is (in Google Presentations) if you are interested:


bunnyjadwiga: (Default)
sez Juergen. Juergen has some older-brother-I-never-had-and-would-have-killed moments, such as his tendency to tease me mercilessly for my enthusiasm about whatever project I'm currently engrossed in.

Right now, that's entering books into LibraryThing. Cataloging-- or at least recording-- all the books in my library is something I've been gathering my strength to do for years. Now, I'm just doing it. Right now, I'm part-way through the most accessible of my 'study' works, though I haven't touched the fiction, the pagan stuff, or much else.

Being sick allowed me to push my numbers over 300, but the updated profile page raises new anxieties. Can it be possible that I only have 85 books on herbs? That can't be true. Perhaps I should buy some more. (Fortunately, that disastrous impulse is countered by a ban on non-essential expenditures for the moment.) Where are all my books? (Answer: on the floor in the bedroom, or up in the attic.) The idea that I have more books classified medieval than I do herbs is unnerving too. How will I classify the YA fantasy fiction? Should it be in the same database? I guess so.

And sneaking into other people's LibraryThing catalogs to copy entries for non-traditional publications (the Madrone Culinary Guild series; or ancient CAs) leads me into the temptation of book lust (as Nancy Pearl would put it). The fact that I don't have space to house the books I've got (any more than we have space to house all of Sarah's yarn or Juergen's little parts off computers) doesn't stop me from yearning for more, more, more! Fortunately, being sick also offered the opportunity to read some of my collection that I hadn't gotten to.

And that brings me to weeding. Much as I resent the piddling 85 number, I've pulled out some books to remove from my collection, though I may keep one as a Counter Example of the Highest Order. It suggests, for instance, tea of lily-of-the-valley for heart patients, discourages surgery for appendicitis, and has many recipes recommending teas containing comfrey to be drunk daily for weeks on end. Since the comfrey-tea practice is what landed an old lady in the hospital with liver failure and started the research that leads to our current suspicion of comfrey-- no, no no! I'm also thinking about weeding books that I've never read. I may just go back into the catalog and mark them as 'free to a good home' if I decide to give them up... I don't know.

Yes... I've got a bibliographic issue. Is that a surprise?
bunnyjadwiga: (Default)
I started doing research for a library instruction session for a seminar on magic/witchcraft in whose title "medieval or modern" appeared. It turned out that modern 'witchcraft' would not be covered, but I thought I would note down the useful references I encountered on the subject here, in case I or someone else needed 'em.
Read more... )
bunnyjadwiga: (Default)
When a Baptist preacher threatened to mount a protest march against certain topics -- astrology, tarot-card reading, but allegedly also the sessions on yoga and feng shui -- in the Pickens library summer reading program, they canceled the whole program. (The library says they had lots of emails and phone calls complaining about the programs in general, not just the tarot and astrology, and given the nature of how people respond to incitement, I'm not surprised that the complaints got wild.)

"Despite the cancellation, library system Public Services Manager Ann Szypulski said the finale pizza taste-off is still on the calendar.
'We’ll still have the pizza party,' Szypulski said. '(But) we don’t want to be put in the situation of trying to second guess at this point what they would approve and what they wouldn’t approve.'"

Sounds like what Jesus would have done as the librarian:
Matthew 5:40. "If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also."
Luke 6:29. "Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either."

Can we buy the Baptists a "What would Dewey Do?" tshirt?
bunnyjadwiga: (Library)
I've been Cataloged.
Yes, when I was at Lehigh I gave them a copy of the Sage Treatise. They, very kindly, added it to the Special Collections under Faculty Authors, and cataloged it. You can see the cataloging record in Open Worldcat:

I have included a link in the notes for the record that points to the PDF version. I have also, in a moment of whimsy, printed out the PDF versions (both text with footnotes and cool font versions) and given them to the Amazing Drew Archivist Cheryl (who just passed her comps, so I have no idea when she sleeps, even if she only works part-time), for the Faculty Authors collection at Drew.
Yes. I am silly.

By the way, speaking of the Fabulous Cheryl, take a brief look at this exhibit put together Cheryl and the library's resident adjunct faculty member Sloane Drayson-Knigge and an unindicted co-researcher -- oh look, here's her name, Janet Stafford-- about Mildred Moody Eakin, first female professor at Drew
The reason this is important is because she worked on Methodist Religious Education materials - IN THE 1940s!-- that encouraged not just tolerating non-white and non-Christian people but interacting with them to encourage tolerance.
bunnyjadwiga: (Default)
In which someone wraps his boss's office with tinfoil, papers another office with Post-it notes, etc. http://borkweb.com/

I should not be allowed to see this. I am already having deep dark plans for the return of my boss from her sabbatical. :)
bunnyjadwiga: (Librarian)
Go see the Plymouth College Library beta library catalog in Scriblio, based on WordPress blogging software.
I want one. Right now. PLLEAAAASSEEE?!!!


No question why Casey Bisson, the developer, was nominated as a Library Journal Mover & Shaker!
bunnyjadwiga: (Default)
About 3 weeks ago I finally got a copy of Sally Pointer's The Artifice of Beauty. I'd been putting it off because I'd been broke since it came out. Well... I'm in love. After the first 20 pages, I wanted to give up teaching in the SCA and just save up to hand out copies of it. I am planning to buy a copy as a twelfth night present for Carowyn, because I think that's the best way to promulgate the info that's in it. (If you don't know Carowyn Silveroak, she is a broadcast medium. The Labrador Retriever of the Arts World. I'm telling you.) After I'd gotten through the medieval information, I decided that there was still work out there that I could do in the area. But I continue to grovel in awe.

However, this book hadn't been reviewed on Amazon yet. And I need to post reviews on my mailing lists, too. [Yes, I'm a librarian geek. I've not had an account on Amazon for years, not since the privacy scandals in the mid 90s. And you can't post a review with a new account unless you buy something. So I've bought my brother's Christmas presents from Amazon -- so I could post a review.] Now, I just need to write up the review. Here's my first stabs at it.

Sally Pointer. The Artifice of Beauty: A History and Practical Guide to Perfumes and Cosmetics. Sutton Publishing, 2005.

While there are many books out on cosmetics, perfumes, and the history of adornment, there has been a dearth of well-researched, modern historical and archaeological studies with practical information. Sally Pointer, from the National Museum and Gallery of Wales, has written a text that fills that gap admirably. The depth and accuracy of the research, and the scholarly discussion, in The Artifice of Beauty, is combined with the re-creation experiences of a skilled museum curator. Anyone interested in researching and/or recreating fashion, material culture, or personal life in history should have this book in her or his library. Those interested in dabbling in homemade cosmetics and perfumes will also find it very useful.

Pointer first lays out "The Nature of the Evidence" in her introduction, then tackles the various ages of humankind in nine chronological chapters. While none is completely exhaustive-- the beauty regimens of the nineteenth century alone have filled multiple shelves of books-- each chapter provides a good groundwork for understanding cosmetics, perfumes, and ideas of beauty in the period. Her strongest suit is in the early evidence, Ancient World and Classical world sections, but those areas have previously been the subject of much archaeology but little reliable summary. Her information about the medieval through the seventeenth centuries is a treasure trove of facts and quotations.

Of special interest is Pointer's analyses of possible make-up trends based on pictoral representations of people in the period. Were pink cheeks admired? Highly accented eyes? What color of hair was in fashion. Information about hairpieces and false hair, washes, soap and other cosmetic preparations are also included. Sidebars cover specific items that Pointer herself has researched and recreated, such as a nail stain made from alkanet root, Roman wigs, Mesopotamian eye paints, alcohol-based Hungary Water, seventeenth century 'invisible rouge,' 18th century Carmelite water. Illustrations of advertisements highlight the later chapters. The text here is interesting as well as erudite, and Pointer carefully delineates her deductions and suppositions so that the reader can tell what is documented fact and what scholarly reasoning. Throughout, attention is paid to the safety of the ingredients discussed, and the possible and documented health effects on their users. Some facts-- such as a strange fashion in the nineteenth century for nipple-piercing and a selection of medieval mouthwashes-- will surprise the reader. Others, such as the utility of pomade for the hair, that the skin-destroying properties of ceruse (white lead) were known to the historic critics of 'painting', or that bathing and washing were done with some regularity in pre-modern periods, may explode some cherished myths.

After the text history, Pointer lays out "A Guide to Recreating Perfumes and Cosmetics, with Selected Recipes Adapted for Modern Use." The second section of the book is of interest not only to historians and re-enactors but to chemists, in that it consists of a glossary of cosmetic and perfume ingredients. While not exhaustive, especially with reference to more modern ingredients, this guide will be invaluable to those curious about Behen oil, Kohl, the elusive Nard, pomades, stacte, terebinth resin, etc. Here, also, are included a number of excellent recreated or redacted recipes. The next section covers Tools, Implements and Cosmetic Containers, with special attention to the pre-modern period.

One cannot overemphasize the importance of chapter 12, on Adapting Early Recipes to Modern Usage, for the recreator, re-enactor, or cosmetics student or dabbler. In this section Pointer lays out two historical recipes, one classical and one Victorian, and shows how she worked out safe, modern recipes for the items described. (For SCA purposes, these two recipes would be excellent guides for creating competitive documentation.) The painstaking work here, and the careful explanation of what changes and compromises the author felt necessary, are outstanding. This is supplemented by a table of Modern Cosmetic Pigments to assist the re-creator, a listing of Weights and Measures, as well as an Appendix listing ingredients mentioned by Classical Authors (compare to Forbes' Studies in Ancient Technology volume 3) and "Abdeker's Library of the Toilet, 1754." The index, notes and bibliography are easy to read and useful.

I highly recommend this text for personal and library collections. Libraries with an interest in personal care, women's history, cosmetic chemistry, fashion, pre-modern culture, hobby herbalism, and historic costume and medieval culture will find this an especially helpful introduction.


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