Library Day in the Life: Monday

Assistant librarian, Guardian News & Media (media library)

– Library Day in the Life project

So, a quick catch up on my day so far.

Today is an exciting one for the Guardian – its investigation into the Afghan war, in conjunction with the New York Times and Der Spiegel (using data provided by Wikileaks), went to print this morning and is causing ripples (the White House isn’t happy…). Wikileaks got hold of five years’ worth of army incident logs, which have been analysed and processed by journalists here.

Our role on the project was to create a glossary of terms, posted on the Guardian Datablog, to explain some of the numerous acronyms that pepper the reports. We’ve been working on it for a couple of weeks – finding new acronyms, then trying to identify their meaning using web resources. It was nice to come into work first thing and find my byline in the paper!

Otherwise it’s been a normal day in the office.

  • Uploaded Saturday’s From the archive article to the website, which was printed in Saturday’s paper (we no longer work weekends so we catch up on weekend jobs every Monday). Basically, it’s an ‘on this day’ column that runs in the paper Monday-Saturday; we find and edit the articles, and once they’re published we add them to the series page on the Guardian website using InCopy software, tagging them with relevant keywords (one of my colleagues commented the other day that tagging is just a new method of using a very traditional library skill, like marking up newspaper articles for placement in cuttings files in the old days). Then we tweet them using the department’s account (@guardianlibrary). I’ve written about the From the archive series before here.
  • Checked over From the archive articles for the next few weeks (they need to be edited down to 420-460 words)
  • Attended a department meeting about new roles that are going to be created at the end of the summer.
  • Helped rewrite my job description (I’m going on maternity leave in 7 weeks so we’re advertising for cover). It was so out of date it mentioned Access, a programme I haven’t ever used here (and I’ve been here ten years).
  • Took a query from the Graphics department – they’re planning an interactive graphic for the web on the London 2012 Olympic site, so they asked me to find as much info as I could on the plans for each building. I’ve had a quick look on the web but I think I’ll need to ring the Olympic Authority later.

Now for lunch.

It’s been a quiet morning but the phone has started ringing now. The number of queries we get from journalists varies wildly day to day – some days we only get a couple, like today (so far!), other days the phone doesn’t stop ringing.

  • A journalist is writing a feature piece on David Cameron’s first 100 days in office. Firstly, I had to clarify which date will be his hundredth (a bit tricky – do you count the day he took over as day zero or day one?) Now I’m writing a timeline of key Cameron moments so far, which will aid the writer but might go in the paper too (and will definitely go onto our intranet). One of those “why haven’t we been doing that anyway?” moments
  • Profile, interview and news search on Greg Mortenson for a journalist – interviewers often want background info on interview subjects
  • Showed a colleague how to update our BP oil spill timeline online
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