article response #1


Thank goodness for Bonnie J M Swoger.

This piece is a succinct and also humorous description of metadata that makes it readily apparent that metadata is not some new, untouchable thing.  Metadata is that page that’s in the front or the back of the book (I always used to like to find those because the one-sentence summaries of plots, even those for children’s books – I especially remember doing this in my Dear America books – are always woefully but understandably understated) and metadata is, like I like to tell my friends, how we of the internet make our stuff findable.  (See also, yesterday’s defensive metadata strategies.  I will clarify that this is not a concept I picked up anywhere else, in the terms I used, but more one that has sort of a home-grown quality that I’m wondering if other people are aware of.)

And making the article dryly funny, referential, makes it more memorable and also more understandable for non-library science folks.  And that’s what’s really important, I think.  People that aren’t just our people should be aware of this.

a thought


I know in some of my circles (mostly Tumblr) that some people actually practice what could easily be called “defensive metadata usage.”  Goodness, I do this sometimes.  (I also call it dummy tagging.)

Essentially, it’s the work of tagging things or posting them in such a way that they’ll only be found by the chosen few.  (Most commonly, I see this when my friends want to discuss the negative aspects of fictional characters or canons.)  This can be as simple as replacing vowels with punctuation (@ for a, ! for i, etcetera) or as involved as tagging things literally with “I am feasibly dummy tagging this.”  (I tend more toward the latter for my rants, as in the Tumblr system only the first 6 tags are searchable by the general public, so I have developed a system of tagging nonsense in the first 6 tags and then putting the information for my friends to find the post [name, show, etc.] in the latter tags.)  And this has me thinking: is there such a thing as defensive metadata in the “real world”?  Is it used more strategically?

Would anyone be interested if someday I wrote a book on this stuff?

566 introduction


It’s been a while since I did an introduction, so let’s do this business again.

I’m Brynna.  I don’t use my name very often online simply because I… don’t.  I don’t know.  (Also, my current Twitter handle, @leiabrarian, was chosen because I would like to use it for a while and I personally always remember the online presences that have clever names.  Well, that, and it’s true.  I do want to be the Leia Organa of libraries.  Alderaan was hardcore into cultural development and preservation, it’s not entirely out of nowhere.)  I’m from Oregon (a la That Thing You Do! I describe myself as a “permanent West Coaster,” because I have designs on the Seattle area for the future) and I went very nearly from undergrad to grad school straightaway.

I volunteer in a medical library (I mostly handle ILLs and other article requests/shares) and I’ve been doing that since I was still in college.  That’s the extent of my experience working in a library, but it really is useful and it really is interesting.  For my “day job” I’m part-time at an eyeglasses retailer, serving as an optician, so I hear jokes about glasses making people look like a nerd/geek/schoolteacher/librarian at least once a week (if they’re made in a conversation that I’m a part of, I’ll say “and what’s wrong with that?” cheerfully, because there’s a certain level of acceptable customer banter).  This suits me, though, because I’m a full-on glasses on a chain, librarian energy through the roof proud nerd.  (That’s another thing to know about me.  I’m prone to dropping quotations and references in conversations, partially because that’s just part of how my brain works [quietly neurodivergent, c’est moi] and partially because I like seeing who gets it.)

I’m also a definite citizen of the internet.  I have a recreational blog/Tumblr/Twitter that I keep separate from my academic work (primarily focused on my nerd media pieces of choice, with a side of passionate feminism and social justice) and I’m both quite familiar with a variety of interfaces and fond of excessively detailed metadata tag usage in my posts.  (I rarely use Facebook despite having one, partially because I don’t need to see yet another set of someone’s engagement photos and partially because I find it a frustratingly basic interface – it doesn’t even allow html.)  I’m also fluent in Photoshop and just about any semi-regular word processing software, and I’m glad to pick up other things of that nature.

I am afraid of conflict but I will still have the impulse to fight you if you are anti-feminist, sexist, racist, homophobic, heterosexist, ableist, etcetera.  Or if you make fun of millennials.  Or if you make fun of nerds, of course.

One of the easiest ways to get to know me, recreationally but also so that might influence my persona, is to look at what I’ve named all of my stuff.

  • My cats are River and Simon.
  • My car is Mellie.
  • My phone is Jiaying.
  • My iPod is Nora.
  • My camera is Angharad.
  • My laptop is Iris.
  • My hard drive is Irri.

And etcetera.

So there’s all of that.