Author R.L. Stuemke



A Techno-Dinosaur Fights Extinction

Posted on March 29, 2010 at 7:42 PM

And here it is - my very first blog!  (Considering the difficulty I had figuring out how to post this, the subject is extremely appropriate!)


                                                       A Techno-Dinosaur Fights Extinction


     In September of 1977, two months after I started my job at the library of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, the fall semester started with a real bang. Polk Library became one of the first libraries in the UW system with an online circulation system, CLSI! Hey, this was big stuff! And it was my first introduction to working with computers. But it was very new; it was just the circulation system that was computerized – we still used a card catalog.

     In the decade that followed, I developed a lot of pride in this library’s use of computers, and in library automation overall. Forget Marian the Librarian! Libraries were at the forefront of computerization: cataloging had been computerized at the very start of the computer age, and it seemed like new library uses were popping up all the time. Interlibrary Loan. The Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC). More and more efficient integrated library computer systems, using the same basic system for all library functions. Reference librarians doing detailed Online Data Base Searches at patron request.

     And as long as I worked at Circulation, and later in Interlibrary Loan, I kept up with all the innovations. I also had several friends who were right at the front with personal computers, and they influenced me to start doing my writing on a PC rather than (horrors!) my old electronic typewriter.

     Then, in the eighties, as the Internet was busy with its worldwide takeover, my job began to change. Stacks Management took me away from the front desk; I was no longer involved in Interlibrary Loan, and by the mid-nineties, I wasn’t doing any of the patron billing anymore either. I needed to keep up with using PCs for record-keeping, report composition, and, of course, email, but I didn’t need to dive as deeply into Internet use as other library positions required. Because of money issues, I was very slow to update the computer system I used at home. I kept falling further and further behind.

     I’m no longer in the forefront of computer usage, especially with my personal usage. I have to rely on very good (and understanding) friends to help me with such things as joining groups, and my personal website has only been functional for around two months. I don’t know the terminology anymore; I really have to struggle to figure out how to format manuscripts the way prospective publishers want them; and now there’s self-promotion! I’m so far behind, I’m virtually a dinosaur!

     My brain is resisting having to learn more types of usage. I keep shying away from yet another website or online group for which I need different user names and passwords. I hate the idea of having to constantly learn new programs, and different ways of accessing information. There’s a loud voice in my head screaming about how I’m supposed to be planning my retirement, and that shouldn’t involve spending more and more money on upgrading my home computer. Those dinosaur scales are really making a lot of noise, and I’m already extremely tired of the headaches.

     But I don’t want extinction! Those tar pits – so smelly, so hot – NO! That is not an option! And these days, staying in one place is actually sliding closer to the ugly black stuff. There is only one way to survive, and that is to evolve!

     So, here I come. I’ve taken a few cautious steps: submitting to online publishers, visiting more and more websites and working with friends to establish my own, exploring online reviewers. I admit to being scared, and to hoping against hope that my friends will forgive all my questions and my pleas for help. But I WILL keep my feet out of all that hot tar, I swear it!

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Reply Heather
8:23 PM on March 29, 2010 
Congrats! Well done on getting this up there...
Reply Denyse
8:26 PM on March 29, 2010 
Nicely done, Roberta - told you that you would master it easily. Great job!

Reply Colleen Love
8:27 PM on March 29, 2010 
Wonderfully done, Roberta!!
No worries, you live and learn! I didn't know anything when I first started either and here I am flying on my own now. :) You'll get there, just keep going! You have wonderful tales to tell!