March 21, 2006

Scientists R Us

A couple of interesting threads at ScienceBlogs:

  • The Best and Worst parts of the Scientific Life, by Alex Palazzo in The Daily Transcript. I find this really interesting, first of all, because there are 10 worsts and only 3 bests. The bests revolve around the intellectual rewards of the scientific life: discovery, discussion and creativity. The worsts around the impact of those bests on the emotional and lifestyle health of the scientist: being scooped, begging for money, having a family, tenure and other milestones and other things. I think it's useful to keep some of these things in mind when we do our liaison work, to try and concentrate on making the best things easier for our patrons to accomplish (of all levels -- a lot of the same pressures and joys affect grad & ugrad students too) and to moderate the effects of the worst things where we can.
  • Taxonomies of scientists, first life scientists (with a comment on how real life rarely matches taxonomies exactly) and then physicists, with a overall comment. Two things that attracted me to this thread. First of all, I always appreciate anything that will help me fill in the gaps of my own imperfect understanding of all these various fields. Second, It made me think a bit about how we classify librarians, both externally and amongst ourselves. It seems to me that there are three main classification schemes, one by the institution where we work (public, academic, corporate, etc), one by the subject we support (science, engineering, business, etc) and the other by what we do (collections, reference, cataloguing, systems, etc). We all get slotted in multiple locations in at least two of these domains -- for example I'm an academic science and engineering reference, collections and liaison librarian.

    Update: Afarensis has a couple of posts on anthropologists, although these are more silly than the lighthearted but useful nature of the earlier posts. Just so you know.

No comments: