Archive for the ‘Library’ Category

Himself !!!

Well, it had to happen sooner or later, I suppose. My main computer crashed late last week, taking everything with it. Fortunately, I do have backups, on standby hard drives (2), DVDs (lots), and lately in the “cloud (Dropbox). So, I think that I’ll be OK when it gets back up.

Not being a true computer geek, it helps to have family members who are part of that fraternity (sorority?) – is there a gender-neutral “ity”? By dint of hours running AV programs, we discovered that there were at least two nasty viruses (viri?) which had managed to sneak in and wreak havoc. Not sure that we have them all out – as this is written on my laptop, the main computer is struggling to heal itself.

Don’t know if there is a moral to all this or not.


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Himself !!!

I’m really having trouble getting books to readers by mail. They are sent “expedited post”, but what sometimes happens is that they arrive in the destination city, and then aren’t delivered.  Wrong street number in one case – the PO identified the correct street address but didn’t deliver it and returned the package to me. Back into the system and am waiting patiently for the parcel to get there – still checking the tracking number.

Another package of 4 hasn’t arrived – still waiting to hear why.
I don’t think that the PO staff are screwing up, but it sure is frustrating for me and for those would-be readers.

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Himself !!!

I came, I saw, I was blown away (to paraphrase some famous Roman)!!!

This fair has been going on for ever, since Pontius was a pilot. Anyway ….
I was there selling and signing my three books at the Writers’ Corner in the Public Library – I was able to make contact with some of the former guides, like Thea Fleming, and boat builders, like Charlie Cliffe ( through his daughter).
A number of people with family histories working on the Rideau Canal came to talk to me about the new book, Invisible Army. I loved it !!!!
Next year for sure and a tip of the hat to Margaret Brandt and her article in the Review-Mirror that alerted people to the Fair and to the fact that I was going to be there. It made all the difference in the world, I’m sure.
BTW, Lyndhurst has a brand new main street now, so if you haven’t been there in a while, or, even worse, have never managed to go there, this pretty village is sure worth the visit. It’s off COunty Road 43, about 10 minutes south of Delta, and can also be reached from Highway 15 through Morton ( Briar Hill Road). It has a very picturesque stone bridge as well.
With autumn leaves beginning to turn, plan a drive that takes you through Lyndhurst – you’ll be glad you did.

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I’ve learned a lot – I think – about the unexpected vagaries of submitting files to a printer. All the files are carefully proof-read – the covers have had their colours and graphics lovingly chosen. Press “Send” and sit back.

Now your lessons in humility begin. Hitherto unseen errors suddenly leap into view, but they were easily corrected. Send the files back.

The cover was another story. It took 4 cracks at it before I got a cover that resembled what I thought I was sending. I discovered that monitor calibration meant that there was no point in asking the printer what he was seeing on his monitor – the only thing that counted was what the press spit out. Whatever that was, was the truth. After going through three black and white covers ( shoulda been bluish), I gave up and boosted the blue at my end to a garish level. It worked!

I could have fiddled with it a bit more, but I decided to declare victory and tell the printer, “Full speed ahead!” So, in about 2 weeks, there “may” be some sort of announcement that the books are being shipped.

Don’t bother trying to explain it all to me.  Whatever the printing press says goes – an inconvenient truth.

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Free at last! I’ve pre-flighted and packaged up the Invisible Army.

Tomorrow it goes off to the printers – who knows what adventures await?

Still waiting for the final cover – trying to work in a late-breaking quote, but no biggie.

Now I can start work on my next project – an annotated bibliography of all the material that I consulted in the course of the research for the book. Any suggestions for the bibliographic style?

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The current concern with unauthorized access to information and the (well-founded) fear of inadvertently releasing sensitive information has, in my view, reached a new nadir.

I’ve been trying to close gaps in the record of operating staff on the Rideau Canal, a critical part of Invisible Army. Trawling through the Library and Archives collection of records on the canal, I eventually settled on some files that looked promising. I requested two of them.

Surprise! Although the files requested dated back to the 1930s and1940s, and although only part of the request seemed even remotely sensitive to me ( payroll records), it turned out that they had to go through the Access to Information Process (ATIP) to determine whether they could be released and under what conditions. Why? Because they had NEVER been requested before the ATIP came into effect.

It will come as no surprise that this takes time. There are a lot of requests for information in the queue and only a limited number of trained “assessors”. I eventually got the payroll records – great stuff! Just what I had hoped for.

A glitch arose with the other request. I noticed that when the boxes of the requested files arrived, they were suspiciously light weight. Why? Because the files had been destroyed some 35 – 40 years ago! Now I’m looking for an alternative source and I think I may have found one – more later.

I cannot blame the Archives staff – they have been unfailingly cheerful and helpful to me.  They are a joy to work with. When this book is finished, I’ll have to start another, just to stay in touch with the Archivists, Collections Office, and the Commissionaires. A great crew!

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Spent the day trying to get at “Restricted” 50 to 30 year old government department annual reports. It will take a month for the restriction to be lifted. In the meantime, a helpful librarian got them from the stacks – unrestricted – same library. Go figure!

Anyway, they were singularly uninformative – no real surprise, I guess. The staff were just great.

Day not a complete loss – serendipity struck when I stumbled across a list of engineers’ bios that was VERY helpful. Couldn’t find an update but still OK.

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