Posted tagged ‘puzzles’

Mystery Hunt Begins

January 16, 2009

I’ll be off all weekend to participate in the annual MIT Mystery Hunt, essentiallyh 3 or so days of self-inflicted, puzzle-solving torture.  The hunt may be the highlight of my year, which kind of sucks considering it’s only the second week of January, but it is that awesome.

This’ll be my fifth year hunting I think, my second with the Grand Unified Theory of Love.  The event definitly falls more on the geekery side of my life than the librarian one, but there is some crossover potential here.  My main contribution to the team is probably as a researcher, which is something that comes in handy.  In past year’s I’ve had to conduct searches on lines from romance novels, excerpts of 80’s music videos, obscure license plates, plots of b-movies, world maps from 8-bit video games, and the typography of magazine logos, just to name a few.  Really there’s nothing like the hunt to remind you how being a reference librarian can actually be fun.

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Librarianship as Gaming

June 15, 2008

This might single me out as an even bigger dork than usual, but I think I have come to view my job in gaming terms, and this is something that seems to help me out so I thought I’d share. As I mentioned the other day I have a little trouble focusing on specific tasks. It can be a nuisance sometimes, but more often than not keeping my mind broadly focused has been a great aid when it comes to problem solving.

Take for example the 200 or so Russian books I had to find records for the other week. Given that I don’t know the language or the publishing conventions this was a pretty difficult task. So I went into the project thinking of it as a cryptograph (it does help that I took some linguistics courses back in college) and it became far more enjoyable. Similarly when I was creating original records for one of our manuscript collections I was able to look at the job as a puzzle (I actually did use oneacross, a crossword puzzle solver to help decipher some of the handwriting).

This is just how my mind tends to work. I look at everything from reference questions, to cataloging, to fixing network issues as puzzles to be solved. That mindset keeps me thinking creatively, and it keeps me optimistic since all puzzles have answers.

But enough of me as the self-help guru. I’ll try not to do this again.