Jobbook Diary

I asked my mom, a retired librarian, if she could find some good librarian blogs to add to She found four, but she wanted me to add them to the home page. She didn’t know how to edit wikis and she didn’t want to learn.

If you have trouble, I said, something is wrong. (My mom is more computer-literate than I am. She was using email before 99.9% of the rest of us — before me, for example. Her mom told her in the 1950s that computers were going to be a big thing.)

She reluctantly agreed to try. She clicked on edit on the home page, which brought up an edit box. To add her line, she erased everything in the box. You don’t want to do that, I said. Hit the delete key, I said. To demonstrate — this was over the phone — I hit the delete key on my screen. Oops, the whole page was gone!

I couldn’t figure out how to restore it. Which shows how much I know about wikis. I emailed Aaron and he fixed it. You restore a page, it turns out, by going to the history page, clicking the edit link for the version you want, and Save-ing it.

Page restored, my mom tried again. She successfully added a line for librarian with a blog link. However, she had found four blogs she liked, so it seemed like a good idea to add more links, if only to make the point that there could be more than one link per line. Since there were no pre-existing examples of multiple links per line, it wasn’t obvious how to do this. I think you do it like this, I said:

librarian: [blog] (address) [blog] (address)

Correct, it turned out. Now the issue is how to separate links. They now appear on the page separated by one space, which isn’t enough, my mom thinks. I don’t know how to increase the spacing but maybe Aaron does. up and running, a website to help students choose careers, is up. Aaron Swartz and I have been working on it for several months. We hope that it will eventually contain lots of first-hand information about jobs so that students (and anyone else) can learn what the jobs they are interested in are really like. Aaron has called it an “encyclopedia of jobs.”

To decide what to do, Aaron and I visited several schools around the Bay Area. At San Francisco State, a nursing student said, “I’m a nursing major, but I barely know what nurses do.” When I was in school, I could have said the same thing: By deciding to go to graduate school in experimental psychology I was choosing to become a “professor major” but I knew little about what professors did. Even as a graduate student I barely knew what they did. This reflects a truth about modern life: It is hard to learn what jobs are like. You can do an internship, but schools like UC Berkeley don’t make that easy. And internships take a lot of time. The goal of is to provide the same information much more easily. is a wiki — a Wikipedia-llke website than anyone can edit. We hope that people on both sides — people with job knowledge and people who want job knowledge — will contribute.

If you have a job (any job!), we hope that you will offer to be interviewed about it. (To make that offer, just add your job, location, and contact info to the home page.) You don’t need to wait to be interviewed: You can simply describe an actual day of your job and add that description to the site.

If you are interested in learning about any job, we hope that you will request an interview. (To make that request, just add the job and your contact info to the home page.)

We hope that these offers and requests will produce interview transcripts that will be added to the site. If you know of a helpful link (such as a book or magazine article), we hope you will add it.

Last night, there was a meeting for interested students in the Channing-Bowditch (a Cal dorm) lounge. I expected no one to show up. Four people did. Next meeting: next Monday (Nov 5), same place, see home page for details.

Sabine Alam, Khoi Lam, and Michelle Nguyen are the Advisory Board who have been giving Aaron and me sage advice. Thanks to them.