Archive for the 'grad school' Category


So, almost a year ago I said I’d start doing more blog posts and … nothing. I didn’t do it. Sorry. One of the biggest events in my life the past year was my graduation on June 9, 2011, from the University of Washington’s Master of Library and Information Science program (or, using acronyms, I received an MLIS degree from UW). So I’m a real, live librarian. Sort of. I have the piece of paper, but it hasn’t magically transformed into a job yet. Anyone out there want to hire a smart, hardworking librarian?

The unemployment deal has been pretty discouraging, but back to graduation: My mom and dad came to celebrate with me and spend a few days in Seattle. It was lovely.

Like to be lost

Trent has kind of a complex about getting lost, probably because he does it like, oh, all the time. Personally, I like getting lost. Today after lecture, I decided to ride around Kralingse Bos, a huge park north of Erasmus University. It can’t even touch Amsterdamse Bos in sheer awesomeness, but it was nice to ride around the lake and be out in the open. When I finally left, I thought I was heading out the same way I came in, but apparently I was mistaken. I got profoundly lost.

I rode around some very industrial areas of Rotterdam for awhile and then around some very rural areas. It was delightful I finally found my way back to Erasmus University, and I was pretty sure I could make my way back to Hotel Baan from there (not completely sure). One of the things I like about getting lost is that I’m forced to examine my surroundings more closely than I usually do, and I often see something wonderful that I would have missed otherwise. Today, I saw a bike that was a little stranger than most, so I rode closer to get a better look. What I saw made me smile for the rest of the day: A newly-wed groom was taking his bride out for a spin on his bike equipped with a big cargo cart. Things like that should happen more often.

Museum Boijmans van Beuningen

Yesterday part of the class got stuck in an elevator at Erasmus University on our way upstairs to the guest lecture. Yep, I was one of the unlucky ones who got stuck. Unfortunately, I’m very claustrophobic, so the experience was a lot more unsettling than I let on at the time. So, what does this have to do with a very cool art museum? Nothing, except that when I was looking at a painting by one of the Surrealists, I heard a weird buzzing in my right ear and suddenly got extremely dizzy — I guess my brain needed its own version of surrealism. I went back to the hotel (it was only about 5:30 p.m.) and slept until the next morning. Greta thinks it was a delayed reaction from my elevator experience, and I’m going to agree with her on this one. I’m going to try riding the elevator again when we go to Erasmus tomorrow to try to deal with my irrational fear. I don’t know, though, whether I’ll be looking at surreal paintings again anytime soon.

‘ware the chipkaart

We had our first free day – with no lecture – in Amsterdam today, so folks were left to their own devices for entertainment and enlightenment.  Well, mostly. Sue organized a canal tour in the morning, so people just had to come up with a way to fill their afternoons.

The canal tour was lovely. I had taken a tour of Amsterdam’s many canals a week earlier, but the two experiences were completely different. Continue reading ‘‘ware the chipkaart’

NISV Hilversum

NISVThe Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision in Hilversum is amazing. The building in which the archives are housed is itself a marvel of Dutch design. Every detail was planned and executed to fit with the purpose and vision of the institute. The building is 96 meters from top to bottom; it stands 26 meters above ground and descends 70 meters underground. Part of the reason for building so much of the structure below ground level is because of building height restrictions in Hilversum. In addition, the underground temperature is a fairly constant 17 degrees Centigrade, making it easier to regulate the temperature of sensitive archived materials.

The building clearly is built for function, but it’s aesthetically brilliant, too. Continue reading ‘NISV Hilversum’

Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam

I went to my first library of the trip, and I have to say that I’m deeply impressed. Judging from the Openbare Bibliotheek, it’s evident that the Netherlands values libraries. Such care was given to the design of the building and its contents, from the bookshelf arrangement to the labels on the books. I could see myself spending a lot of time there.

I was especially impressed by the setup of the children’s section. Continue reading ‘Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam’

Amsterdamse Bos

I’ve been itching to ride a bicycle around town from the moment I got here. Since today was the first clear day we’ve had, I took off toward Amsterdamse Bos, a wooded area southwest of central Amsterdam. I’m not really sure what route I took to get there; I just followed the signs posted along the bike path (fietspad – my Dutch word of the day), but eventually I got there. The woods were delightful. Bike and walking paths criss-crossed the entire area, which is roughly 2,500 acres. It was really easy to feel like I was alone among the trees. Continue reading ‘Amsterdamse Bos’

Guest lecture: Paul Wouters

Paul WoutersPaul Wouters, director of the Virtual Knowledge Studio in Amsterdam, was our inspiring guest lecturer today. He talked about a lot of really fascinating things, but one thing that really struck me was at the very beginning of the lecture. Paul mentioned how in the U.S., we use the term “information technology,” while Nederlanders use the term “information and communication technology” (ICT). Americans’ omission of “communication” in connection with technology seems pretty significant to me. After all, if it were not for communication, it would be nearly impossible for people to get information using the technology we currently have. (I could go off on the meaning of information here, but that’s best left for MLIS classes.)

Technology does, in fact, change the ways we communicate. Continue reading ‘Guest lecture: Paul Wouters’

Market day

I needed a day to wander around by myself, so I went to flower market and the Albert Cuyp market. The flower market had quite a few fresh flowers, but mostly it sold tulip bulbs and wooden tulips. I enjoyed fantasizing about planting hundreds of tulips in the scraggly flower beds outside my duplex, but I didn’t end up buying anything. The Albert Cuyp market was amazing. It’s a huge street market that is open daily (except Sunday) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and it sells just about anything you could ever need. There were stalls for bicycles, fish, stroopwafels, footwear, household items, fabric, produce and much, much more. I was tempted by several items there, but I only bought fruit. Produce here is super cheap, but it doesn’t seem to make it into very many meals in very detectable quantities. I savored my affordable apple.

Frites, churches and a group dinner

After lecture this morning, Greta and I decided to go to the Anne Frank House museum. When we got there, however, the line to get in stretched around the block, and we didn’t know if we’d have time to wait and go through before our group dinner tonight. We were both feeling a bit hungry, so we asked a man working in a nearby souvenir shop where we could find some good frites (Dutch-style fries). He gave us some convoluted directions to a shop several blocks away and assured us that all of the locals got frites there. He promised they would be “the best frites you’ve had in your life.” Continue reading ‘Frites, churches and a group dinner’