Pause for Breath

It has been a while since I blogged.  The great folks at #citylis have been keeping us busy recently.  Four assignments and a dissertation proposal were the end products for Term 2.  I’ve compiled a resource guide for early career Business Analysts that I’m hoping to bring to the web over the summer; written about the CIDOC CRM, a conceptual reference model for cultural heritage information; completed an information retrieval evaluation of popular online, web and social search engines (plus a bonus comparison evaluation of new human powered search engine WonderLib); created my first ever data visualisation on Women in Parliament since 1918 (a hot topic when female representation reach a new high point of 30% in the recent election); and submitted the proposal for my dissertation research on information behaviour in athletes.

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As usual I was calmly watched over through the many hours sat at my desk whether in focus or frustration by my trusty study buddy Soros the wise, inscrutable philosopher cat.  It didn’t make it any easy to do the work knowing he was dying.  A few weeks ago we took him to the vet and he was diagnosed with a large, tumour in his intestines leaking lymphatic fluid into his lungs.  It was highly unlikely he would survive any attempt to remove it and it soon became apparent after a couple of attempts at draining the fluid from his chest that it was leaking faster than we could treat it.  So we settled for a few more weeks of palliative care.  It’s never easy to make a life and death decision about another creature, especially when they are so stoic and refuse to give in easily to the fact they can no longer breathe.  He got to enjoy some last few days of spring sunshine in love and comfort and I got to enjoy his patient calm by my side until I met my deadlines.  Then he deteriorated quickly and we had to let him go before his suffering became too great.

Thanks to all those who provided support and kind words.  Fortunately the weather gods smiled so I was able to recover by sitting quietly out in the garden in the peaceful warmth of spring sunshine for most of the weekend feeling exhausted and sad but enjoying the clouds and the bright new leaves against a gloriously blue sky.

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Now, it’s time to contemplate and prepare for Term 3.  This means waiting for marks from the submitted assignments and hoping to pass the teaching component of the course and getting the dissertation proposal approved.  Then it will be working on the dissertation itself along with looking for a job or a project to move onto in October.  In the meantime there are some overflowing email inboxes to read, news feeds to catch up on, Evernote clippings to organise and file, list of blog ideas to get around to writing and a large pile of books to read on my desk that never seems to go down below a certain level.

My other two cats have been auditioning to fill the study buddy void in my life but so far they’ve been a little too needy, loud and in your face than the sanguine, quietly purring companion I’m used to.

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#citylis have also been busy building their presence on social media.  There is now a #citylis news blog to follow full of updates about the library and information science programmes at City.  There’s also a dedicated citylis Twitter account to follow in addition the familiar #citylis hashtag for tweets from faculty, current students, alumni and our guests and contributors.  If you are interested in studying library or information science you may also like to know the next City Postgraduate Open Evening is on Wednesday 10th June from 5.30pm and there is still time to apply for research studentships.  You can also read the thoughts of course director Lyn Robinson on recent debates in LIS curricula and keeping #citylis at the cutting edge of library and information science education. Finally, City will be hosting the latest in the Mashed Library series of unconferences.  #citymash will take place on Saturday 13th June (10:00 – 17:00) and is a “day of workshops and conversation for people interested in doing fun stuff involving libraries and technology.”  It is free but requires registration and anyone with an interest in libraries and tech is welcome to join in. It is a busy but stimulating time for all of us on planet #citylis!

Published by

Alison Pope

I spend my working life creating maps and models of invisible, intangible things such as ideas, concepts, organisation structures, systems, information, software and cultures. I do this to try and make them more explicit so they can be seen, understood, shared, discussed, contested, agreed, nurtured, exploited and safeguarded. I'm currently working for the University of Reading as a Business Analyst and am studying design thinking.

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