December 16, 2004

Proofreading and Correcting: Librarian Style

Oh Lipstick librarian - your insight slays me this am concerning librarians and their need

http://www.lipsticklibrarian.com/blog/archives/000103.html

Okay; it's one thing to be corrected when giving a paper or a speech, or even in a blog entry, but in a casual e-mail?? That little incident crystallized what exactly irks me about socializing with librarians: our incessant--nay, obsessive need to correct others. No matter what the situation or who's involved, we can never let pass the opportunity to be right, no matter how picayune the mistake or perceived mistake (in this instance it was a grammatical controversy of the actor/actress ilk). No wonder we have an image problem.

I hope in the world of our work a typo or grammatical error would be overlooked. For the over-worked, stressed librarian there may be a typo or sentence that's not perfect. The world will not end because of this. My dear mentor of years gone by used to say "It's the library, we are not doing brain surgery here."

I would classify a lot of this "correcting" behaviour as missing the forest for the trees. One of the most frustrating things I hear from librarians I've worked with is too much time is spent perfecting a few sentences that may be read once and then filed. UGH!

With writing for school - every detail counts..every cite ..every reference. But dashing off an e-mail or a brief paragraph about some work-related something to be consumed internally does not have to be picked over. Materials for the public - yes! Intranet posts - oh yeah. Blog posts on the SJCPL Weblog - Yes indeed. A two paragraph summary of a meeting? Spell check and send it on folks...life is too short!

edited :12/16/04

Posted by Michael at December 16, 2004 08:26 AM