Monday, September 19, 2011

Humble Handmaiden of the Muse of Science

I've begun working on a 'library' project for Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. I say library in quotes because they call it their library but it's entirely intangible: a database of articles and reports in PDF form, which is in a neglected state and has hundreds of papers (i.e., PDF files in several different directories on the network) that need to be entered. NOAA in Washington had to set me up with a NOAA email address (OMG I have a noaa email address!) so I could take an online computer-security course that everyone has to do once a year. Now I have my own login, a PC set up for me and a spot to work in an unoccupied office (hey they must REALLY want me to make progress on this!); until a visiting scientist bumps me, I get to sit up on the 3rd floor of the Landing building with a view over the harbor, being a humble handmaiden of the muse of science. Whee. (There doesn't seem to be such a muse, exactly, but I know who I am.)

It first came up when I was out on the Tatoosh for the pelagic bird survey at the end of July. Liam, the OCNMS scientist who was running the survey, overheard me telling someone I was a librarian. Oh, says Liam, we need help with our library. Hooked, just like that. Helping anybody with their library is what I was born to do, you know... Besides, I am piling up the volunteer hours and earning a spot on one of the boat trips next summer. Besides besides, messing around with a digital library is new librarianly turf for me, and interesting. In a boring way.

The only problem is, I go back to work at the college on the 27th. College, tribe, OCNMS office. I now have THREE places I'm supposed to be! Well, I'll just work out a pattern of life during the quarter that includes a couple of two-hour sessions in the database every week, or most weeks, or something. At that rate I'll be working on this project for the rest of my life, but in truth my brain goes out of gear at about the two hour point anyway...

It does call into question exactly what retirement means. I have a microscopic paying job, and two volunteer gigs, and much of the time I imagine I'd really rather be lying on the couch reading.

This post cribbed almost intact from an email to a friend. It's hard to write something twice and have the second one be at all fresh...

Cars lining up for the ferry, Sealth Arrow preparing to pull out, etc.: view from the OCNMS offices. (Click for larger image.)

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