Tag Archives: KNDU

Leaving Room 413

At the end of March, 2014, I’ll retire from full-time service as a professor at Kyoto Notre Dame University (KNDU). I’ve taught at KNDU since October 1, 1977, and I’ll continue to teach on a part-time basis as I devote more time to other activities.

As a part-time teacher, I will no longer have my own office at the university.

Room 413, a small office with only bookshelves, a few chairs, a desk, and a filing cabinet.

I had the same office from 1981 until March 11, 2014. For nearly 33 years I sat at the same desk in the same chair and talked with hundreds, maybe thousands, of young women over two generations. Some have sat in the same chair that their mothers had used. The room served as consultation space, a tutorial and small seminar room, a lunchroom for English Speaking Society members and various small groups, and quite often a refuge for people who needed advice, comfort, and encouragement.

The door was always open, and students dropped in whenever they wanted to talk or just sit in the comfortable chairs that faced the window that overlooks the Matsugasaki residential area and Mount Hiei.

Mount Hiei from Room 413

I’ll miss Room 413 and the view of Mount Hiei, but I’m looking forward to finding new spaces for good talks with colleagues and students.

Decommissioning the POETS Web Server

At the end of 2013 (January 1, 2014 here in Japan) I shut down a Web server, Personalized Online Electronic Text Services (POETS), at Kyoto Notre Dame University. Now all requests to POETS are redirected to a page on my personal Web site at the university, POETS Web server retired December 31, 2013.

As I near retirement from full-time service after more than 36 years at the same university and 41 years of working for a living, I’ve become increasingly aware of how professional life exists in a web of associations, obligations, human relations, and even technological relationships. For example, the POETS Web server used databases, texts, and software that had been freely contributed to the online community.

I’ve tried to express my gratitude to people who generously gave away the results of their hard work, but I find it difficult to adequately express my gratitude for having been encouraged, nurtured, mentored, criticized, and occasionally thanked by people who helped me gain expertise in UNIX/BSD/Linux system administration, text processing, and other technical areas. These connections go back to 1971, when I was encouraged to learn BASIC programming on a mainframe terminal, and then around 1980, when I began to program personal computers. In the mid-1980s, as we began to use modems in Japan, I used various dial-up Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) and then joined the global community of UNIX users and administrators on USENET and on BITNET and Internet mailing lists. Developing the original POETS Web server in 1993 enabled me to exercise some skills that I had learned and to express my gratitude by creating a useful and free service.

I hope that young people who are now beginning to discover the joy of making useful software and Web services will receive similar encouragement and then, in turn, encourage others. We cannot adequately express our appreciation directly to all who contribute to our successes, but we can perpetuate their spirit of generosity by passing it on to others.

Librarianship in the 21st Century (2011-01)

Librarianship in the 21st Century – Original English Version

This essay was written in January, 2011, for KNDU librarians and LIS students, translated to Japanese by Akio Hattori, and printed in the KNDU Librarian and School Librarian Program Newsletter, Vol. 6 (PDF, Japanese): 京都ノートルダム女子大学 司書 司書教諭課程・ニューズレター 第6号.

In the 21st century librarians must possess knowledge and skills that my high school librarian, Mrs. Ruark, could not have imagined in the 1960s. Although librarians today share much in common with their predecessors, developments in information and communication technology (ICT) continue to bring revolutionary challenges and opportunities to their ancient profession.

Every day a flood of “content” is released on the Web, and anyone can find popular information with large commercial search engines like Google. However, finding the most valuable materials for particular needs may require sophisticated information retrieval (IR) skills and, in some cases, knowledge of subject-specific gateways, databases, organizations, and repositories.

The publishing industry is changing dramatically with the appearance of books in electronic formats (ebooks), online periodicals, and news on the Web. Consumers use a variety of electronic devices, such as PCs, ebook readers, digital cameras, video cameras, sound recorders, and mobile phones. Ordinary people have become authors and publishers as they create Web sites and blogs, participate in social networking (Facebook, etc.) and microblogging (Twitter, etc.), and share their photos (Flikr, etc.), audio recordings (iTunes, etc.), and videos (YouTube, etc.). Librarians must keep up with changes in technology, data formats, and trends in publishing in order to make wise acquisitions and serve their patrons well.

The legal use of materials requires understanding of intellectual property rights and restrictions. The use of copyrighted materials may be severely restricted or very open, depending on the conditions under which those materials are released. Without a clear understanding of copyright laws and conditions of use, it is quite easy to break the law.

Many librarians now create and maintain digital repositories in which digital objects such as texts, images, audio recordings, or video recordings are prepared, cataloged, and organized into collections. Some objects are digitized from handwritten or printed materials, audio recordings, photographs, films, or videotape, and some objects are born digital. Many repositories are accessible on the Internet, and now metadata about many collections can be harvested automatically for subject gateways and other information services. Digital repositories can be extremely valuable for the preservation and sharing of cultural heritage materials, creative works, research data, papers, monographs, and educational resources. Some universities have even placed the contents of entire courses on the Internet. Twenty-first century librarians must understand the principles of good digital collections, and they must be able to collaborate with members of their communities, technology experts, and others to make their collections valuable and accessible.

The 21st century is a very challenging time for those of you who study and practice librarianship. You need knowledge and skills that previous generations could not imagine. However, whatever challenges you may face, remember your predecessors. For thousands of years librarians have been accumulating knowledge and wisdom, and they have used their professional skills to serve their communities and maintain the vitality of human civilization. So will you.

Welcome to Greg Peterson’s Blog

Welcome to Greg Peterson’s Blog.

I live in Shiga Prefecture in Japan, about 10km from Lake Biwa, and I teach at Kyoto Notre Dame University (KNDU). Information about KNDU in English and other languages is at the International Education Center.

I’ve been teaching at KNDU since 1977. For many years I have been a university administrator in library/ICT services and international programs. I am currently Dean of our Academic Information Center (in Japanese).

You can find links to course information and audio recordings on my university site, Greg Peterson at Kyoto Notre Dame University. I also maintain some English language services at POETS.

Here at gpjp.me I’ll post essays on library and information services, intercultural communication, media, and other topics that interest me. I plan to include topics that extend beyond my professional interests.