Sunday, June 22, 2008

Subway Librarian Moment

Last Wednesday (June 18) I was taking a subway in Brooklyn going to Penn Station. Since I was unfamiliar with the route, I didn't know that the train went from underground to above ground and I asked the person next to me if I was in the right direction. The person next to me was wearing a kipah and we started a conversation. I was obviously a visitor and he asked what I was doing in New York and where I was from. I told him that I was a librarian from Chicago and I was on my way to the university where I teach. He told me that I he was working on a book and asked for my help. I was reluctant to help; I didn't think I could help someone in the few minutes of the subway ride. He was getting off at the same stop I was and so I gave in.

I have always wanted to advise a publisher before publication the best way to create a title page. I helped him with the title page and some stylistic advice. He also sent me a PDF copy of the book via e-mail.

Friday morning in shul I related the story because I was so amazed that I had a conversation while riding the New York Subway. Usually we think of New Yorkers as those who keep to themselves in public places. My friend in shul said in an amazed voice, "you got a seat on the subway?"

Monday morning (June 23) I got a call from the author thanking me for my advice and asking if I had more comments. I told him that his bibliography needed to me more standard so that readers could find the sources.

Friday, June 6, 2008

One Laptop

I have been experimenting with the One LapTop per Child computer. It has some interesting features such as built - in WiFi connectivity, 3 USB ports, a microphone and a camera. It runs on a limited version of Linux.

This machine is supposed to be for children and I can't figure it out. I can't figure out how to save or use files from the USB drive. The directions and on screen prompts are not helpful. I was hoping to use it as a web browser and e-book while on a trip. It is much smaller than business PCs. The included books will not display the pages. I can't find another book to download. How do they expect children to figure out this system?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

More Ten Commandments 2

The professor who originally asked the question wrote to say thanks and he wanted to know both about the concept and the term, "ten commandments." Another reader asked if I found someone who already wrote an article on the topic. I did not look for an article. In the old days before computer data bases, researchers would tediously search paper indexes or flip through pages of the books. Google is a great tool, but it misses much older material. This reader, who is also a Ph.D, says that today researchers don't bother to look for older stuff. I thought that my research used three ways to find answers and should have been sufficient. I did find English books from the 15th century.

After talking to people today, I realize that my research is not complete. I am interested in searching for more Jewish sources for the use of the term.

Monday, June 2, 2008

More Ten Commandments

After talking to people over Shabbat about the term, "Ten Commandments" I decided that the topic needed a fuller treatment. My June issue of the Librarians' Lobby reports my findings. I am not certain when the term entered into Jewish usage. In the 1930's Rabbi Hertz used "Decalogue."

To read the issue goto: