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Obviously the last few months of 2010 became a more time-consuming phase than expected.  Grading, office hours, editing the departmental journal, publishing a new ARLIS book review….combined with an intensive research project on Teotihuacan iconography and continuing the Santa Fe gallery commute twice a week combined to throw me into a whirlwind.

The new year brings a new semester and new opportunities.  Likely a new whirlwind as well, though I am resolved to chart the process more often.  The most exciting change is starting my research assistantship this week at the Bunting Visual Resources Library, where I will be cataloging for the VIRCONA (Visual Resources Catalog of Native American Artists) database.  This is a great chance for me to get back in a library and get some new experience. 

This spring also brings my first symposium.  I will have to determine a research project suitable to present to my colleagues, which is somewhat daunting.  Luckily I am taking two courses in Native American art with two of the professors I would like on my committee, so their input will be valuable.

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An interesting discussion started today on the newlib list about collection development of entertainment materials.  In a CD twist I’ve never heard of before, a misguided library director has decided to acquire only videos and DVDs rated 4 stars by Leonard Maltin.  There are various major and minor problems with this logic: 

 1) Leonard Maltin??!!!! I would sooner listen to a review by Dwight Schrute.

2) Effective CD policies take into account popular opinion.  Even though a movie such as American Pie may be a critical crapheap, there’s no denying that’s what the majority of the viewing public wants to watch.  And we do still live in a democracy, even in libraryland.

3) Don’t the local librarians have some say? Isn’t informed, critical selection of materials one of the reasons we’re required to have a master’s degree? Was that collection development class just a COMPLETE waste of time?

4) No reviewer has the chance to watch the majority of important/interesting/entertaining films that come out every year.  That’s a whole heck of a lot of material that’s being ignored entirely.

5) Seriously, do we want to move towards a society where Leonard Maltin shapes our cultural standards?

Eep.