ASSOCIATES (vol. 5, no. 1, July 1998) -


Dear Colleagues:

With this issue, perhaps the quietest member of the ASSOCIATES Editorial Board finally comes out! This is Joy Wanden communicating to you from Rancho Cucamonga, California - at the edge of the desert about half way between Los Angeles and Palm Springs. Today I am taking my turn as guest host of our electronic journal. Somewhat appropriately, this is also the month in which we premier our very own Web Page, a site I originally created and coded with HTML, one keystroke at a time. Please let me share my thoughts as a library careerist at this exciting time in ASSOCIATES' evolution.

In 1994, along with six other subscribers to LIBSUP-L, I agreed to participate in a sort of "feasibility study" to see if we really could get an electronic journal up and running. I knew nothing about how to do this, of course, but thought it sounded like something we should be capable of doing. At least I had some experience as a print journal editor in two previous situations - as a volunteer for a children's organization and as part of my job at OCLC Pacific, the western regional training and support office for the OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc.

I won't take the credit for any of the early technological contributions that made ASSOCIATES work. Despite the fact that I am employed by a high-tech company, I am merely a long-term USER of what technology offers (e.g., automated cataloging systems, word processors, spreadsheets, and listservs) rather than a DEVELOPER of technology. In fact, until this year, my modest goal as an editor was merely to revise at least one article each issue and occasionally, to mentor the novice writer who might need a little encouragement to submit an essay. I said to myself that my quiet help makes the workload a little lighter for my Editorial Board colleagues.

What changed this year is a natural outgrowth of the fact that I am hooked on education and a bit of a fanatic about the value of library support staff. In educational issues, I am both a perennial student - attending courses, workshops, conference sessions - and a teacher - formerly at the community college level and presently training library staff how to use OCLC. Since the Internet and the World Wide Web offer yet another style of learning, naturally I am hooked on it, too. I don't mean I play games or visit chat rooms, but I see what this technology can provide for the self-motivated learner.

Last fall, when I decided to take a course to learn how to create Web documents, I was also curious to see how these skills might serve my personal interests. When the course requirements were announced (create several different types of Web documents), I promptly envisioned designing not just my own personal Home Page, but a really elaborate Web site for ASSOCIATES. I queried my colleagues on the Board about my idea and was immediately overwhelmed with truly positive feedback, very kind words, and exceptionally sincere encouragement. Some of those on the Board, like Kendall Simmons and Katie Buller, knew what I was getting myself into, but fortunately, they did not tell me I would soon be dreaming in HTML codes!

During the next 12 weeks I reviewed hundreds of Web sites, including every electronic journal available, envisioned how to present ASSOCIATES' many aspects, and learned the skills of font codes, gifs and radio buttons. As required for the class, I created every single page keystroke -by-keystroke, ignoring the fact that there are plenty of good software programs available that will easily translate text into HTML. Capturing the navigational buttons at the bottom of each page almost defeated me! Still, when I demonstrated the site on the last day of class I had to admit I was terribly proud. Proud that I could actually pull this off and proud to share all that ASSOCIATES represents with a new audience (my classmates). The only problem was that the site was stored on the school's server and not guaranteed for continuing use. It has taken us six months and several false starts, but ASSOCIATES finally has a permanent home.

The fact that ASSOCIATES now employs Web technology is only just. Library paraprofessionals have always been involved in new technologies. I only need to remember how OCLC transformed my copy cataloging position almost two decades ago. Mary Kalnin confirmed her willingness to get involved in new technologies by sponsoring LIBSUP-L. Kendall proved her enthusiasm by reinventing herself as a Web guru at the University of Kansas. Martha Parsons and Walter F. Nickeson knew what I just learned back when they first created the Library Support Staff Resource Center Web site. Katie's eagerness will be demonstrated as the on-going Webmaster for ASSOCIATES. And the list goes on, in small libraries and huge institutions just like yours.

The evolution of ASSOCIATES reminds me exactly why I enjoy working with my library colleagues - we are willing to try things we've never done before, we are disciplined about getting results and, always, we are supportive of one another's efforts. Congratulations to all of us!

--Joy A. Wanden

[From the Editors: The new website will, with luck, be up this weekend. The URL will be ...many thanks to all.]

[Ed. note: The above site is no longer active. Click here to go to the current website.]

Modified 10/7/2004

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