Sunday, November 05, 2006

Enforced procrastination

You know, my (required, and therefore hated) LIS 501 class is making it very hard to focus on our database assignment. We are "reverse engineering" LibraryThing, creating entity-relation diagrams and a paper explaining it all. And this requires me to poke around LibraryThing in order to figure out how it works.

Do you know *just* how many books I've either ordered or put on my "to read" list or gone to Wikipedia to read more about, just today? Gah! I really want to sit down and catalog my personal library (I already keep track of what I've read using LT, but haven't gotten around to adding in books that I actually own), but it has to wait until the semester's end so that I can get this project (and others) done!

And to boot, I actually like creating and playing with databases and was looking forward to this assignment. Hell, I get paid to do that at work. But I really don't think that LibraryThing was a great example for the poor people in my class who have had little or no previous experience with databases. I mean, I consider myself an intermediate database creator and *I'm* having problems with the assignment.

This class really is a bonding/hazing experience for all of us proto-librarians.


Tim said...

Yeah. It's not a small thing. I mean, the "trick" of LibraryThing is in having both a local/personal level and a global one. The easy way to do it would be to create a single, rational "global catalog" that everything belongs to—every copy of X is going to have the same title, dammit, and you can't change it! But that goes against what LT is trying to do—allow users to do what they want, and THEN make sense of it.
Hope you don't mind the comment. I think you're one of the people who wrote me, right?

Yana/Jenn said...

Oh, I don't mind the comment at all! And yes, I was one of the people who wrote to you. I'm spending a lot of time today on LT, stressing out your servers. Along with everyone else in my class, I'm betting, since the assignment is due tomorrow. :-)

Yeah, the lack of an authority file and the flexibility of LibraryThing's setup is a tough act to balance, I'm sure. But I'm having fun figuring everything out, no matter how much I whine. Database geeks unite!