Tighten Up METRO

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Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has so much potential and so many users daily. The system is fantastic, has an active Twitter profile and really does send out alerts for events such as slow train traffic or construction re-routes. But it needs one major improvement – that of train operators who speak clearly so that travelers (local and tourists) can hear the next train stop. There is a growing number of complaints in “my book” from train users who don’t hear the next stop called out. This is either due to inconsistent PA systems from car-to-car (which is possible though not probable) or, more likely, train operators are not trained or do not care to speak clearly and deliberately to enunciate each stop as it happens or is about to happen. This is just a matter of a little more training and a second more patience with words the train operators are theoretically saying anyway. We just need these words to be spoken with the rider in mind.

Thank you.


85 Miles and an Airport

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Does anyone know the Warrenton-Fauquier Airport? It’s a tiny local airport being used by single-wing planes and maybe even crop dusters. I assume this fact because it’s surrounded by farms that smell of real farm-work. Quite beautiful cut fields, cows in the mud and tractor lawn-mowers.  There was some kind of trick-plane taking off  behind another single-winged plane. They were taking off at the same time – which looked like they were supposed to be practicing their time in the air together. The highway (Highway 28) I took to get there is not very busy during the early-early afternoon. But these cars do fly fast. There is a minimum shoulder and in some places there is none at all. This did not worry me, but it was noted.On the return trip, a freight-train rolled to my left through the trees. very cool.  A day of bikes, cars, planes and trains.
Highway 28 exits south out of Manassas‘s historic downtown toward proper highways – large bridged interchanges and everything. Then it narrows to 2 lanes with basically a foot of “shoulder” on most of it. The shoulder is inconsistent too. It switches back and forth from a foot to too narrow to use. Bikes needs a little room to play. That is, they need a little room to react to wind and cars. If the bike is already on the edge of the shoulder or in the gutter, there is no space to think and accidents are more likely to occur. Plus, Virginia state law permits bicycles to ride on state highways such as this. The speed limit is only 45 mph. This means then that going south of Manassas and back north again via bicycle presents a situation in which drivers themselves must take on the responsibility alongside the cyclist for the cyclist’s safety. On other words, it takes a village of drivers to produce safe bicycle traveling – assuming of course the cyclist has also followed the laws and rides appropriately. 
I connected to 28 South through Centreville, Va on the Fairfax County Parkway Trail. The description of the trail at TrailLink says this path is inconsistent but very usable. Their words are true. It is full of cracks, weeds growing through it at regular intervals (I have written on this in another post about the W & OD Trail) and it crosses lots of streets and driveways (which are closed in by bushes and trees which makes it hard to see if any cars are pulling out). The other downside with this trail is that drivers, while seeing if they can take a right out onto the main street (in this case, Braddock Rd), hog the space where the bike needs to go right onto the trail through the intersection. Once today, I had to make sure a huge SUV saw me before I went around it to the front. And twice, I was hoping cars would stop for me as I crossed the intersection to get to the trail. We worked it out. I got home safely – though quite tired fighting long slow climbs and constant gradual winds “against me.”
It was a good 85-Mile round trip. I finally got to use the Fairfax County Parkway Trail and had never been through historic Manassas before. 

Post any comments or route suggestions below please.

Comment on British Library Printing Guide

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I finished reading Michael Twyman’s THE BRITISH LIBRARY GUIDE TO PRINTING: HISTORY AND TECHNIQUES, my first book-length read in this area. My intention with this post is to bring attention to this item and the series because M. Twyman’s writing is ridiculously easy to read and I assume the others are just as easy. I plan to invest time in the rest of these books over the next several months. Some comment will be made here as the history of printing is part of the history of libraries, book arts and rare books and this writer is committed to mention of rare books, special collections (of which rare books and book arts are sub-fields) and libraries. The University of Toronto Press has published several more books in this series. A few of them are: THE BRITISH LIBRARY GUIDE TO BOOKBINDING: HISTORY AND TECHNIQUES by P.J.M. Marks, THE BRITISH LIBRARY GUIDE TO MANUSCRIPT ILLUMINATION: HISTORY AND TECHNIQUES by Christopher De Hamel and THE BRITISH LIBRARY GUIDE TO WRITING AND SCRIPTS: HISTORY AND TECHNIQUES by Michelle P. Brown.

Looking forward to learning more in this area and blog readers should expect mention of these works in the future.

Noted Today on a 76-Mile Bike Ride

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In the area west and southeast of Washington, D.C is a grand trail that starts in the southeast at Mt. Vernon and continues along the Potomac River near Reagan National Airport and connects via Arlington County Trails to Washington & Old Dominion Trail all the way to Purcellvile, Virginia. Round trip, this is a 90-mile route. Please comment if this is not correct. But there is a section between Reston and Herndon in which roots have undermined the smoothness of the trail. In this case, they have created regular trail-wide cracks that cause an annoying bump every 25 feet or something. They look like roots that have caused cracks through which grass has grown anyway. This W & OD Trail is an amazing gift, but these little things slightly erode smoothness and speed.  C’est la vie. Not only that, it is amusing to see yet another effort by humanity (even with regular upkeep and attention) get slowly destroyed by nature’s relentless crawl against human artificiality. 


Bicycle Commuting Coach

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I have been riding my bike in all kinds of towns – Chicago, beach towns and in Washington D.C. Each space is different, each place has a slightly varied culture in how it reacts to and “allows” bicycle transportation. DC certainly has its own plan, as well as do Maryland and Virginia – the two states between which is sandwiched The District. I like to ride my bike and put in an average of 150 miles weekly. Have no fear, this summer will see an increase in those mile counts. The point is that I have gained experience riding and very much am an advocate of commuting via bicycle. But sometimes it takes encouragement and just a little advice to work it out. This might mean the rider has questions about clothing for all types of weather or does not feel comfortable with negotiating a certain type of intersection. 

Sometimes it only takes one time to ride with an encouraging person to “get” the ways of bicycle commuting. It’s such a fun activity and need not be scary.  Right now, and through this summer at least, I am making myself available as a Bicycle Commuting Coach on a per-contract basis. This just means that for a small fee, I will advise on clothing, lighting, picking routes and bicycle technique so that each rider can improve their bicycle commuting skills and have more fun as their overall confidence grows.

Thank you. 

E-mail me: JL.taglich(at)yahoo(dot)com

PS: I am curious how people find this post. I am asking that whomever comes to this post, even if you don’t need my services, that you leave a comment on the page or send an e-mail about the path you took to get here. Thanks so much.

On the Radio and in the Library

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On Thursday, 12 April 2012, I was on the radio (Our Digital Future) at University of California – Irvine talking about librarianship and digital aspects in the field. Very fun. I got to talk about library school and bicycle riding (and the differences in the cycling scene between the DC Metro area and Chicago (where I used to live). But I also was given the opportunity to discuss projects underway at the Folger Shakespeare Library. Some of these projects are standard preservation and patron service projects. Great stuff indeed. But the Folger is also linking data to finding aids from their Luna Insight database, in which they keep their digital objects. Folger has a huge collection of digitized objects – full books, manuscripts, letters and all kinds of other rare materials. And they have the right team of professionals as they have staff who have been on committees deciding standards for a full range of rare materials. Folger is a highly professionalized place. And right now, they have an exhibit titled: Shakespeare’s Sisters: Voices of English and European Women Writers, 1500-1700 in the great Hall. 

The best resources are here to stay and somehow manage to make their presence known again and again.


A Thought on Linguistic Diversity and Classification

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I have a tendency to believe linguistic diversity is also a sign of knowledge diversity and am very frustrated with attempts to globalize knowledge into one vast pot. I point to the impact of global mass communication content and technologies, the lack of allowing the “other” to truly be and the impact of the World’s most widely used library classification system, Library of Congress Subject Headings. I am not taking a stance against The Library of Congress. I live in America and make use of their diverse resources regularly. Also, their main building is a work of architectural art. No, I question standardization of “knowledge” at the expense of diversity and questions. It seems to me that if we classify all the world’s knowledge under one system (which is not the mission statement of the Library of Congress), then we have declared globally what everything in the world is “about.” This action is accomplished by all kinds of groups around the world who write indexes to be LC compatible. But if those local knowledge resources and populations have to use another “aboutness” structure other than their own, have they not committed a kind of murder of their own knowledge system? Believe me, this is a bit scary. I am not sure that we can separate “knowledge” from “questions.” I note this point because it seems to me to state up-front what something is about has already annihilated many potential questions – and thus knowledge types. How can this tendency sit well with ongoing questioning? Somehow, I feel this happens because we are afraid of uncertainty. This is not an overshadowing fear in this context, but a fear nonetheless. Surely it is different for different people. But why should we be afraid of conflicting and disagreeable classifications in information organization?