Marginalia 21 – A bunch of advice

Today's Marginalia is a collection of advice I've read that may (or may not!) be useful for you in your situation.

A while ago I got a shock when I was checking my wifi connection and had forgotten that a year or so earlier I'd renamed our home wifi network “ASIO Surveillance Van”. I was reminded of this recently when reading A conversation about wifi naming, Thursday Bram's brief meditation on the politics and cultural valence of SSIDs, and some of the things to think about when naming your own wifi network (hint: don't defame your neighbours).

If you need IT assistance to rename your wifi, something that was written a few years ago but you will find super helpful is Ruth Kitchin Tillman's How to write a useful support ticket. I endorse everything in this – especially Before writing the ticket, and What you expected to happen , both of which seem to be easily forgotten or not even considered.

Edward Shaddow has some helpul advice for a different situation:

You've found yourself on a professional committee and you're organising a PD event, well done. But, uh oh, you're about to book a speaker that might have been involved in some “controversies.” Whatever shall you do?

Mr Shaddow is back on his “do no harm” bandwagon, and I have to tell you – I'm here for it. Dealing with the same crap like this week after week can be exhausting and result in “burn out”. Ashley Blewer has collated all the advice she's received about dealing with burn out and shared it. What I particularly like about this is Blewer's careful framing: Here are some things that worked for me or for other people. They may work for you, but they might not.

Stephen Francoeur has some thoughts on language and design for library discovery systems and other websites. This is a pretty short post but covers some very big ideas that any librarian involved in communicating with library users (spoiler alert: every librarian) needs to think deeply about. The core question Francoeur grapples with is this: to what extent should we just go with the words or phrases people use when they ask for information or assistance? This seems like a simple question, but as Shaddow just pointed out, the words we use and how we use them matter. Francoeur doesn't address Shaddow's concerns at all because he's dealing with a very different issue, but it's useful to read these two pieces together because there is a relationship there that needs to be interrogated. But also Francoeur just has some reasonably sensible suggestions.

Oh, your library users speak a language from Southern Africa? You probably need to watch Sakhile Dube demonstrate how to pronounce Zulu clicks. They may alternatively (or additionally!) have a hearing impairment – Nikki Anderson has some great advice on how to help reduce “deaf anxiety” by making things more comfortable for everyone.