Long simple day at work today. I received an email requesting advice/help with a search yesterday that was described as being for a systematic review. Now, in medicine, systematic reviews are the cream of the crop in terms of documentation/publication. They take a lot of research (in the literature), a lot of care, a great deal of analysis, are incredibly practical and focused, and are meant to be regularly and eternally updated. I thought, "Yes! I'm going to really do a good job on this and be part of something really useful!" I worked all day preparing the search, checking definitions, finding subject headings and synonyms to ensure that the search would be comprehensive, and I wrote back to the requester mid-stride to make sure they were aware of what I was doing and what they could expect. Also, for stats purposes I wanted to know whether they were faculty or professional health care staff... Near the end of the day I get a response saying that they are a student actually working on an assignment that they will be handing in (the first part of, anyway) to US!!! All that work for someone I can't do the work for! Gaaahhhh!!! Well, hopefully their supervisor (this person is on a work assignment outside of the school doing this research) is the one doing the systematic review so that I can at least give the work to someone. Maybe. Who knows. At least it was a good experience and the next time a request like that comes in I have learned a few tricks and tips to help me do an even better job!
It's funny though. This really came at an appropriate time. I have been thinking lately about how I (and other librarians) really should do "more work" helping our users. Not that librarians don't already do a lot of work, or that we have loads of extra time on our hands. I just feel as though we could (and should) be doing more impressive work for our users. For example, not many libraries do literature searches for their patrons. Many, if they do, charge for the service. Bracken Library here at Queen's University does this for staff and faculty and health care professionals for free (at least on an individual level). But even though these are time consuming, difficult, and usually much better than the user could have done alone, sometimes I feel as though we're still not doing enough. I discussed this with a colleague of mine and I'm not as confident in this opinion as I was... I'm not quite sure what exactly we could do more, given our time and education restraints, but I feel as though we are not quite as impressive as I know we could be. Or perhaps I'm just feeling as though I could do more and wish I had the opportunity. I don't know.
On a completely unrelated note, I've been playing the free beta version of Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO) for the past week or so. It's not bad. World of Warcraft (WoW) is still my favourite but I can definitely see how someone could like LOTRO more. The graphics (of the environment) are much more impressive (flowing grass, more realistic animal behavior, etc), the quests and activities, etc. are much more involved, serious and have many more layers than WoW. But there're still some things that are keeping me in WoW: the interface graphics are much nicer and clearer, the world seems much bigger and full of more possibilities, and there are vastly more people using it making the experience a little more varied in terms of interactions and socialization. They both have jerks and morons who cheat, swear, hate, disturb others, or don't play "fair" although I'm surprised at the numbers of these players who have swarmed into LOTRO already. I'll play it until I have to pay, and then move on to another free demo/trial edition: Final Fantasy, Matrix Online, Star Wars Galaxies, Star Trek Online (whenever that comes out), etc.
My daughter is suffering from a bad headache right now. Well, actually she's probably asleep now but she was feeling pretty bad before she went to bed a while ago. Aren't headaches about the worst kind of pain you can imagine? It hurts sometimes just to think, and try not thinking for a while! Go on, try it. LOL Unfortunately, migraines seem to be common on both my side of the family and my wife's.
And I just finished watching my current favourite show on TV now: TVO's "The Agenda with Steve Paikin". Not for the faint of heart, or rather, mind. A political show, but one that deals with issues calmly, rationally, and intelligently. Today's show discussed France's upcoming presidential election, and the recent provincial vote in Quebec. One of the leading candidates in France (in second place no less) is a woman, who, if elected, would be the first female president in France's history. It always dismays and confuses me why, in this day and age why (US, Canadian, European, etc.) political leaders are still always white and male. Are voters the last to be able to see past our prejudices? And an interesting last note in the French election portion of the show was some comments about the animosity France has for the States, talking about how France sees itself as having once what America has now, and that it represents for France both their worst fears and their best dreams for their future. At the end of the discussion about Quebec politics, one of the "panelists" spoke of how Quebecers tend to vote for and respect intellectual candidates more than Ontarians (gawd, what a mouthful). I think this is a trend throughout Western society (and probably the whole world), that we seem to be getting smarter on average and yet we still despise or at least avoid intelligence. Quebec may be able to fend this bad habit off a bit more, thanks to a language barrier between them and us english-speaking troglodytes but we'll bring them over to the dark side yet! LOL Finally, at the end of the show, Steve spoke with one of the producers of the show, which totally cracked me up. Following on the heals of the anti-intellectualism comment, it was brought up that the producer had (and has) spoken to guests on the show about words they cannot use: "narcissism" and "ontological" being two examples of words that "don't travel well". Writing this down now makes me wonder why I totally cracked up at this at the time! LOL