"The wise learn from their own experiences but the truly intelligent will learn from someone else's!" - Benjamin Franklin. Welcome

Akbani Informatics: A full-service consultancy for training, and information management. For Information services, Research, Content management, Training, Human Resources, Helpful Advice & Related Services Visit www.akbani.info  

Thursday, November 22, 2007

How to Fail as a CIO

The awful truth about being a CIO is that there are a lot more ways to fail than to succeed:
  1. You can fail to deliver key projects.
  2. You can be ambushed by deficiencies in your infrastructure (e.g., customer credit card information leaks out).
  3. You can be overwhelmed by thousands of small things that add up (e.g., massive support problems due to poor control over PC's).
  4. You can waste millions of dollars on tools and infrastructure because unreasonable user demands force you to support too many conflicting platforms.
  5. You can focus your organization’s efforts on the wrong things (usually discovered when your company’s competition comes out with something that you could have done).
  6. You can even do everything else right but fail because you don't hit it off with the other executives.

But let’s be clear about all of these failures. They all come down to the statement I made earlier in this article: If the company expects “X” and you deliver “Y” then you fail. Sure it’s important for you to be able to deliver, but in my experience ninety percent or more of CIO failures come from not managing the expectations of your business executives. Make sure that if “Y” is going to be delivered, then “Y” is what’s expected. Managing expectations is the way to avoid CIO failure.

Continue reading The MakingITclear® Newsletter, March, 2007: article

Google for info on CIO Qualifications

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

World's No. 1 guru is an Indian: C K Prahalad

MUMBAI: India gave the world the word “guru”. And now, an Indian has been declared the world’s foremost management guru. C K Prahalad, professor at the University of Michigan’s Stephen M Ross School of Business, has been crowned the greatest management thinker alive by Thinkers 50, an annual ranking of the top 50 management thought leaders in the world. .. continue reading full news story

Same page: There are three other Indians in the top 50: CEO coach Ram Charan at No. 22 (up from No. 24 last year), innovation guru Vijay Govindarajan of the Tuck Business School at No. 23 (No. 31 last year); and Harvard’s Rakesh Khurana at No. 45 (No. 33 last year).

see also: Untapped $5 trillion market

Monday, October 29, 2007

John’s Eight Laws of Library Technology

Greetings. I have worked in the information technology industry for over a decade, mostly as a web developer for IBM. One day I was in my local library, looking at the library OPAC, thinking, ‘Why isn’t this more like Amazon?’ That thought took me to library school. It turns out librarians were thinking the same thing, and they are busy reinventing the OPAC. To my surprise, what I learned at library school was that I was less interested in library technology than librarianship. I have recently launched a new blog, slowreading.net, where I intend to focus more on reading research and practices in libraries and in culture. But I have a number of thoughts on information technology that I have not unpacked. I wanted to do small justice to them by summing them up in a single post. I hope they are useful to somebody in the library field. [The 8 Laws of Library Technology are]:

1. It all comes down to data and rules... 2. Organized information is handier than disorganized information... 3. The rate at which data is being recorded is accelerating faster than our ability to manage it... 4. Librarians should not build their own software systems... 5. These days there is only one way to acquire a system: buy a package, and two, custom build it... 6. RSS and XML are cooler than you think... 7. Print is the next evolution in information technology... 8. Library technology is less interesting than librarianship... Continue reading

Filed under: librarianship, libraries, library2.0, print, software, technology

[NB. info courtesy: Sukhdev's World: Library Technology ]

See also:
  • Librarians and Techies – A NEXUS
  • Mining The Library Catalog: Emerging Trends, A Literature Survey
  • Alternative Cataloging / Information Visualization
  • Saturday, October 20, 2007

    How can i practice gratitude

    [PDF] The Saint, the Surfer and the CEO

    See also videos:

    Nuggets of wisdom, inspiration, and advice
    Search by topic By faith By name

    and much more @ Inspiration -- Beliefnet.com

    Thursday, October 11, 2007

    Announcing Academic / Research Librarian of the Year DEADLINE

    Do you know the next

    The deadline is quckly approaching. Please get your nominations in by December 7, 2007

    This award recognizes an outstanding member of the library profession who has made a significant national or international contribution to academic or research librarianship and library development. This award recognizes and honors achievement in such areas as:

    • Service to the organized profession through ACRL and related organizations
    • Significant and influential research on academic or research library service
    • Publication of a body of scholarly and/or theoretical writing contributing to academic or research library development
    • Planning and implementing a library program of such exemplary quality that it has served as a model for others

    Award: Plaque and cash award sponsored by YBP Library Services

    Send nominations to:
    Academic / Research Librarian of the Year Award
    ACRL, 50 E. Huron Street , Chicago , IL 60611

    See details in the Awards Section of the ACRL Web site: http://www.ala.org/acrl


    ACRL News

    ACRL forms positioning libraries task force
    ACRL/LAMA Joint Spring Virtual Institute accepting proposals
    ACRL releases “Achieving Racial and Ethnic Diversity among Academic and Research Librarians”
    ACRL seeks nominations for 2008 awards recognizing outstanding achievements in academic librarianship
    ACRL announces forthcoming title: “Studying Students: The Undergraduate Research Project at the University of Rochester"
    More News

    Monday, October 08, 2007

    Audience participation ideas

    "Depending on the size of your group, and especially when you're conducting a workshop or longer training, you will want to encourage participation from your audience.

    There are always some participants who participate more and some who participate less. It's easy for people who are shy to sit back and wait for the more outgoing members to speak up. How do you keep some people from dominating and help others to break out of their shell?

    Here are some ideas that have worked for me:
    1. Toss a Koosh ball or beach ball into the group
    2. Hand out small cards or pieces of paper with words or phrases on them for participants to discuss.
    3. Use an anonymous question box. continue reading details at

    Speak Schmeak: things I'm thinking about speakers and speaking

    Saturday, October 06, 2007

    Indian Library Professional Earns International Award

    Mr. Debal C. Kar, Fellow, Library and Information Centre, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), was awarded with the SLA Diversity Leadership Development Program (DLDP) award for 2007 for his commitment and dedication to the profession. The Special Libraries Association (SLA) based in Alexandria, USA, a nonprofit global organization for innovative information professionals sponsors the award. SLA serves more than 11,000 members in 75 countries in the information profession, including corporate, academic, and government information specialists.

    Mr. Kar besides being a technical expert on India’s library and information science, is also a sitting member on several government of India committees on library and information science and a board member of several of India’s leading library related associations. He has organized two International Conferences on Digital Libraries (ICDL) in 2004 and 2006 respectively. The first ICDL was the largest digital library conference in the world and its organization and conduct was widely appreciated. He has published 25 articles in refereed journals and presented papers in more than 20 conferences. Source: THE MADRAS LIBRARY ASSOCIATION [MALA]'s Infozine (www.sla.org).

    Monday, October 01, 2007

    A word about Taxonomy and standard platform @ Google

    Here is an interesting insight, trend and prospects by Special Libraries Association Asian Chapter outgoing president's Jane Macoustra.
    See the article 'Goolge Librarian: An Assessment' byJane Macoustra, SLA Asian Chapter NEWSLETTER 2006: Vol.3 Issue 3 & 4: 3-5

    See also in the same newsletter:
    Advancing your career: Mentoring, networking, grants and awards, p. 6 -7

    Sunday, September 16, 2007

    Gurudevo Namah

    Posted at Thursday, 06 September 2007 10:09 IST
    Gaurav Saxena

    The guru-shishya parampara may be a thing of the past but still Teachers' Day is an occasion to express one's gratitude towards teachers. September 5, the birthday of a teacher and former Indian president Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, is celebrated as Teachers' day. "Teachers are like candles who burn themselves to enlighten the careers of their students," goes the old adage. However, with changing times, computers have stepped in the shoes of teachers and the human angle is slowly and gradually vanishing. As far as classrooms are concerned, the increasing number of students has made inter-personal communication an impossible task, therefore the guru-shishya parampara no longer exists. continue reading

    Sunday, September 09, 2007

    Higher education for the high-tech savvy

    "As professors look for ways to engage a generation raised on the Internet, podcasts and chat groups are replacing the lecture hall

    From Friday's Globe and Mail
    September 7, 2007 at 4:14 AM EDT

    Students at Hamilton's McMaster University can hear the first lecture of the year for introductory psychology this week without going anywhere near a classroom.

    In a break with tradition, the course's main lectures will be prerecorded and posted on the Web, available for students to watch when they have a free half hour and an Internet connection.

    The online lectures, on topics such as colour perception and sexual motivation, are available only to students and, to ward off procrastination, are posted for a limited time. They include interactive slides, practice quizzes and a search function.

    Students can pause or rewind, join chat groups or e-mail questions. "

    Psychology professor Joe Kim, left, of McMaster University in Hamilton records the program's introductory course lectures for the web. The site is searchable and interactive, with hidden (easter eggs) links. (Glenn Lowson/The Globe and Mail)

    Sunday, September 02, 2007

    Academic Librarians as Emotionally Intelligent Leaders

    Book Description
    Emotional intelligence (EI), as based on the work of Daniel Goleman and his colleagues, has received a lot of attention in the Harvard Business Review and elsewhere as a leadership theory. It is composed of five domains: Knowing your emotions, Managing your emotions, Motivating yourself, Recognizing and understanding other people's emotions, and Managing relationships (managing the emotions of others). Its practitioners become particularly adept at managing the mood and performance of both their organizations and themselves. In Academic Librarians as Emotionally Intelligent Leaders, Hernon and company present a solid overview of EI, its connection to other leadership theories, and its particular application to academic librarianship. By moving beyond basic "people skills," they claim, library leaders can come to appreciate not only the unique challenges of personal and organizational growth, but how their own reactions and feelings are perceived by others. Particularly noteworthy is a strong focus on issues of diversity, including a chapter on how librarians of color regularly engage in self-renewal and restoration.

    About the Author
    PETER HERNON is a professor at Simmons College, Graduate School of Library and Information Science. He has authored 7 previous titles for Libraries Unlimited. JOAN GIESECKE is the Dean of Libraries, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. CAMILA A. ALIRE is Dean of University Libraries at the University of New Mexico.

    Sunday, August 19, 2007

    Decision Makers - R U Wise or Otherwise!

    NB. If you are wise, you will enjoy reading the following post by Chris, called Mr. and Mrs. Average.



    Aug 10th, 2007 by Chris Hoskin
    See how you compare with the UK’s IT and Business Decision makers in these Silicon.com surveys.

    Do you think a business blog can be a good way for companies to communicate with their customers?
    View Results

    What is the biggest expenses claim you’ve ever made?
    View Results

    When you are on holiday, how often do you check your work email?
    View Results

    How long have you been with your current mobile phone provider?
    View Results

    How do you interact most often with your boss?
    View Results

    How many emails on average do you get in your inbox per day?
    View Results

    How would you describe your normal stress level at work?
    View Results

    Who is in charge of IT risk management within your organisation?
    View Results

    Would you be happy to go through biometric security checks in airports?
    View Results

    Have you ever visited a virtual world?
    View Results

    How much time in the office do you spend using social networking sites each week?
    View Results

    By 2015, your working week will be…
    View Results

    How often do you work from home?
    View Results

    Are you worried about potential health risks associated with using wi-fi?
    View Results

    Tuesday, August 14, 2007

    Not Working at Work is Common

    Celebrating Work by Not Working
    By Mary Lorenz, CareerBuilder.com writer

    Some people need their daily YouTube fix even more than they need their 10 a.m. coffee break. If you’re browsing the Web on company time looking for the latest in viral videos, you’re not alone. A new MSN-Zogby survey of 3,800 office employees nationwide reveals that engaging in non-work related activity at the office is far from uncommon. continue reading

    See also:
    Emails stress out 1 in 3 at office

    London, Aug. 13: Emails are causing unprecedented levels of stress among office workers as they struggle to cope with an unending tide of incoming messages. A team of researchers has found that one in three office workers who use computers regularly suffer from email stress.

    The deluge of emails also affects the performance of people at work, researchers belonging to Glasgow and Paisley universities said. Computer scientist Karen Renaud of Glasgow University, with psychologist Judith Ramsay of Paisley University and her colleague Mario Hair, a statistician, surveyed 177 people, mainly academics and those involved in creative jobs, to see how they dealt with emails received at work, the Observer reported.

    Pressure to check and respond quickly to emails makes some employees check their email inboxes up to 40 times an hour. The research team also found that office workers checked their emails more often than they admitted in a survey. Almost half of the 177 participants said they looked at their email more than once an hour, with 35 per cent claiming to check every 15 minutes, but monitoring equipment fitted to their computers showed it was more often.

    The research revealed that 34 per cent of participants felt “stressed” by the sheer number of emails and the obligation to respond quickly, and a further 28 per cent were “driven” because they saw them as a source of pressure. The team characterised just 38 per cent as “relaxed” because they did not reply until a day or even a week later.

    “Email is the thing that now causes us the most problems in our working lives. It’s an amazing tool, but it’s got out of hand. Email harries you. You want to know what’s in there, especially if it’s from a family member or friends, or your boss, so you break off what you are doing to read the email. The problem is that when you go back to what you were doing, you’ve lost your chain of thought and, of course, you are less productive.

    People’s brains get tired from breaking off from something every few minutes to check emails. The more distracted you are by distractions, including email, then you are going to be more tired and less productive,” lead researcher Karen Renaud said. <source>

    Monday, August 13, 2007

    Applications Now Being Accepted for Emerging Leaders 2008

    The American Library Association is now accepting applications for the 2008 Emerging Leaders program. The program is designed to enable 120 new librarians to get on the fast track to ALA and professional leadership. Application deadline is Wednesday, August 15. [nsls.info]

    PS. Info courtesy: Rachel @ Beyond the Job

    Wednesday, August 01, 2007

    Using Mentoring and Coaching for Knowledge Management LO29961

    by Sujatha Das
    "While information entails an understanding of the relations between data, it generally does not provide a foundation for why the data is what it is, nor an indication as to how the data is likely to change over time. Information has a tendency to be relatively static in time and linear in nature. Information is a relationship between data and, quite simply, is what it is, with great dependence on context for its meaning and with little implication for the future. Beyond relation there is a pattern, where pattern is more than simply a relation of relations. It embodies both a consistency and completeness of relations which, to an extent, creates its own context.

    When a pattern relation exists amidst the data and information, the pattern has the potential to represent knowledge. It only becomes knowledge, however, when one is able to realize and understand the patterns and their implications. The patterns representing knowledge have a tendency to be more self-contextualizing. That is, the pattern tends, to a great extent, to create its own context rather than being context dependent to the same extent that information is. A pattern which represents knowledge also provides, when the pattern is understood, a high level of reliability or predictability as to how the pattern will evolve over time, for patterns are seldom static. Patterns which represent knowledge have a completeness to them that information simply does not contain.

    Wisdom arises when one understands the foundational principles responsible for the patterns representing knowledge being what they are. And wisdom, even more so than knowledge, tends to create its own context. These foundational principles are universal and completely context independent." Continue reading

    Thursday, July 26, 2007

    Shape-Shifting Leadership

    Three kinds of leadership for three different situations.
    By Dan Kimball, Mark Driscoll, and Leith Anderson
    Leadership in the emerging church is a paradox. I am someone who fully sees the value of mission statements, organizational charts, and a strategic approach to leading. I read everything John Maxwell and Bill Hybels write, and they fuel my heart and passion for leadership. The irony is that most growing up in our emerging culture are critical of anything that looks like "organized religion." My church doesn't want anything too business oriented or too structured.
  • Mark Driscoll: Leading Yourself First
  • Leith Anderson: Leading by Influence continue reading

  • see also:
    NB. Your Leadership Is Unique:
    Good news: There is no one "leadership personality."
    by Peter F. Drucker
    The one and only personality trait the effective ones I have encountered did have in common was something they did not have: they had little or no "charisma." Read more.

    Saturday, July 14, 2007

    Seven deadly leadership sins

    Special to The Globe and Mail, July 6, 2007
    So much is written about what constitutes a good leader.
    But what about the bad?
    Clearly, a good leader will want to avoid the kinds of behaviour that go with the flip side.
    See if you recognize any elements of your leadership, or the leadership of your bosses, in these bad-leader archetypes:
    continue reading

    Wednesday, July 04, 2007

    Managers work rather than holiday - Are you there?

    Many UK employees might feel that they don't receive enough time off work, but this pales in comparison to their boss' Holiday time, according to new research. continue reading @ Holiday hypermarket

    Monday, July 02, 2007

    leadership @ blogosphere - What's up now?

    Viewing search results from your Blog's desktop: Experiment successful!
    Take a look here, the results are always current and up-to-date

    Sunday, June 10, 2007

    Fat pay? Indian bosses work longest

    Zee News. Singpore, May 29: Business leaders in India and Argentina work the longest hours, clocking up 57 hours a week, according to a survey published on Tuesday, while Italians work the shortest week at 47 hours.
    A survey by London-based accounting firm Grant Thornton International also found that more business people in mainland China, Taiwan and India said they experienced more stress at work this year than in the previous year.

    The survey involved 7,200 respondents in 32 countries.

    Top 10 countries with the longest working weeks (Average hours worked per week)

  • 1. India 57
  • 2. Argentina 57
  • 3. Armenia 56
  • 4. Australia 56
  • 5. Botswana 56
  • 6. Turkey 55
  • 7. United States 55
  • 8. South Africa 55
  • 9. Singapore 54
  • 10. Hong Kong 54

    Top 10 countries where leaders reported higher stress levels this year compared to 2006

  • 1. China
  • 2. Taiwan
  • 3. India
  • 4. Russia
  • 5. Botswana
  • 6. Singapore
  • 7. Hong Kong
  • 8. Malaysia
  • 9. Philippines
  • 10. South Africa

    Bureau Report

  • See also:
  • It's back-breaking for India Inc bosses,
  • Tuesday, June 05, 2007

    Balachandra Rajan

    Dr. Balachandra Rajan, India, 1955-1956

    K. B. Gulati

    At 87, Balachandra Rajan lives today largely by himself in his London , Ontario , home. His wife, Chandra Rajan, an avid and talented translator of Kalidasa and other Sanskrit texts, lives a major part of the year in New Delhi . Just a short walk away from his residence lives his brilliant professor-daughter Tilottama Rajan , Canada Research Chair in English and Theory at the University of Western Ontario . B. Rajan is a man of legendary discipline and energy in his personal life as well as his scholarship. His stellar achievements generate respect and admiration among academics anywhere.

    He has published seven books and edited or co-edited fourteen others. He is an honoured scholar of the Milton Society of America and the recipient of the James Holly Hanford and Irene Samuel awards. An English scholar, Catherine Belsey, describes him as the “subtlest of Milton ’s readers,” and an American scholar, Janel Mueller, now Dean of Humanities at the University of Chicago , calls him “one of the (twentieth) century’s leading Miltonists.” Joseph Wittreich, himself an honoured scholar of the Society sees Rajan as “having blazed the way to a new Milton criticism…, refitting Milton to the twenty-first century.”

    But the fact is Rajan is not simply a Milton scholar. He has written highly influential books on Eliot and Yeats and a wide-ranging study, The Unfinished Poem (the only one of its kind) beginning with Edmund Spenser and ending with Ezra Pound. The extent and distinction of his scholarly accomplishment earned him the Chauveau medal of the Royal Society of Canada in 1983, eight years after his election to fellowship in the Society.

    Latterly, he has interested himself in the comparative study of imperialisms, editing two books on this subject and publishing a far-flung exploration, Under Western Eyes, of western perceptions of India from Vasco da Gama to Macaulay.

    His two novels on India , are surprising for many in that most academic readers are not prepared to accept that the critical mind, even at its best, can also be a creative one. One wonders if Rajan would have been the major critic that he is had he not had the talent to create the imaginative worlds of The Dark Dancer (1958) and Too Long in the West (1961). Both the novels have been translated into three European languages. The first of these was a Book Society Choice. George Woodcock is among those who have written appreciatively on both novels.

    When The Dark Dancer first appeared, Kirkus Reviews described novelist Rajan's theme as "the parallel struggles of individual and state." Lewis Garnett observed in the New York Herald Tribune Book Review, “Young Krishnan's problem is not his alone, but is shared by the whole world. Seldom, in the West, are such themes explored with such a combination of honesty and charm."

    Reviewing The Dark Dancer for The Yale Review, M.K. Spears wrote,

    Here at last is a novel that honestly confronts the dilemma of the Indian intellectual, caught between East and West, and instead of expounding some neat solution, explores it with magnificent intelligence and awareness.

    Whereas The Dark Dancer, according to The Times Literary Supplement, “was concerned with racial division, Too Long in the West is about the clash of Indian and American cultures." In its treatment of the immigrant's experience and its multi-cultural dimensions, the novel anticipates many future novels by South Asian writers in Canada and the U.S. It offers a gentler view of life than The Dark Dancer and remains singular in its comic tone. Santha Rama Rau had a telling (and still valid) comment on the novel:

    Nobody ever believes that Indians can be funny. We are known to be neutralists, revolutionaries, mystics, serious, disagreeable -- anything except funny. Well, at last [in Rajan’s Too Long in the West] the score is evened. And by an Indian. That's important.

    June 2006 witnessed the publication of his Milton and the Climates of Reading . The book is a unique attempt to bring the South Asian fields of interest and concern to Milton studies. As well, it is almost alone in engaging Milton in various contemporary reading contexts: post-structural, post-colonial, and global. His co-edited publication Imperialisms: Literary and Historical Studies (2004) attracted glowing praises from the doyen of post-colonial studies, Harvard professor, Homi Bhabha:

    Our anxious moment of global achievement has ushered in a new age of the politics and poetics of Empire. This complex and contested term represents a crucial turn in the revisionary thinking that is nowhere better explored with greater critical acuity and more creative panache than in Rajan and Sauer's volume.

    In 1938, when Rajan was barely eighteen years old, he left Presidency College , Madras , to go to Trinity College , Cambridge . Three years later, he completed his Tripos with first class in economics. The following year, he earned another degree, with first class in English. In 1944, he became the first person to be awarded a fellowship in English in the 400-year history of Trinity College and earned the Ph.D. in English from Cambridge University in 1945. From 1945 to 1948, he was Director of English Studies at Trinity College . Rajan's first publication, Paradise Lost and the Seventeenth Century Reader (1947), contextualized Milton within the intellectual milieu of the poet’s own times. The book quickly established Rajan as a leading critic in Milton studies. Sixty years later, it is still in use. During 1945-50, he also founded and edited Focus, a journal dedicated to criticism on contemporary authors. Rajan would have continued to teach and write at Cambridge , but despite his achievements, England in 1947 was not yet ready for an Indian professor of English.

    Having been active in Britain among Indian students as the President of the Majlis at Cambridge working for India’s independence, Rajan returned to his interests in economics and public policy and joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1948. During the thirteen years he was with the IFS, he was the Chairman of the Executive Board of UNICEF and a member of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna . He was on the team that drafted the Statutes of the Agency. Joseph Wittreich draws attention to Rajan’s consistently “mediatorial role” in a half century of Milton scholarship. That role is the academic translation of his experience as a diplomat.

    It was during those busy years as a diplomat that Rajan branched out from literary criticism to writing fiction.

    In 1961, Rajan resigned from the Indian Foreign Service to resume his academic career. During 1961-1964, when he was Head of English and Dean of Arts at the University of Delhi , he wrote W B Yeats: A Critical Introduction (1965). One reviewer described it as being "as deep as it is broad, everything is related, everything is synthesized in this sound and sensitive book.”

    After moving to Canada in 1965, Rajan published three collections of essays on Milton, as well as three other books: The Lofty Rhyme: A Study of Milton's Major Poetry (1970), The Overwhelming Question: A Study of the Poetry of T S Eliot (1976), and The Form of the Unfinished: English Poetics from Spenser to Pound (1985).

    He was a senior professor at the University of Western Ontario for nineteen years preceding his mandatory retirement when the University held in his honour a two-day conference titled "The Poetics of Indeterminacy" and then conferred on him an honorary doctorate.

    After retiring, Rajan continued to direct doctoral work in imperialism and post-colonialism until an advancing disability made that difficult.

    In 1994 he delivered the Tamblyn Lectures for the University. This is a series that has been graced among others by Northrop Frye, Edward Said and Noam Chomsky.

    In 1999 he published Under Western Eyes: India from Milton to Macaulay. This book is a scholarly interpretation of historical events such as Vasco da Gama's voyage to India and colonial documents such as Macaulay's Minutes on Education that were involved in the imperial discourse. Rajan focuses on the feminization of India by the West and the way in which India responded to that feminization, i.e., not by denying it but by making a virtue of it.

    This study marks an important advance in documenting the understanding, or more correctly, the misunderstanding, of India . In this volume of unprecedented depth, it is Rajan's contention that the history of the West's perception of India commences with Vasco da Gama's voyage, and not with Kipling. By taking the narrative back to Vasco da Gama's voyage to India , Rajan gives the reader a proper perspective on the roots of Western perception of India and its consequences for both India and the West.

    The turn from literary criticism to post-colonial studies in Rajan's career may seem abrupt to some observers, but it had been in the making for some time. It had anticipations and even roots in his previous work. For example, The Form of the Unfinished (1985) ends with a strong statement on the politics of the fragment and includes a note (p. 307) on misunderstandings of Indian thought. The post-script (a translation of Rig Veda X, 125 by Chandra Rajan) fortifies the shape of things to come.

    More importantly, Rajan's paper, “India and the English Mystics,” which he read for the BBC's Third Programme and which was subsequently published in The Listener (November 20, 1947), anticipates much of what was argued by Edward Said thirty years later in Orientalism (1978). Similarly, The Dark Dancer arguably anticipates some of Salman Rushdie’s perspectives on expatriate writing, his “imaginary homelands.”In fact, Under Western Eyes might be viewed as a large-scale implementation of the propositions originally advanced in India and the English Mystics, where Rajan wrote:

    Englishmen have gone out to India to make quick profits or carry the white man's burden. At their worst, they have been tyrannically arrogant and at their best benevolently paternal. But they have not understood; to understand a civilization is to see it on its own terms and within its native values; the British have seen only that part of Indian civilization which their imperial commitments made them see.

    Surely, Rajan’s work on colonial history and post-colonialism will receive its due recognition in the years to come. Meanwhile, his reputation as a scholar of Milton , Yeats, and English poetry remains quite strong. In describing Rajan’s presence in the academic community as a “pure bonus,” Canada's other Miltonist and literary theorist, Northrop Frye, goes on to make clear that his contribution to that community is more than scholarly:

    He is a most effective speaker at academic conferences, but his effectiveness is not itself simply academic; sincerity and authority have their own body language which is intelligible in itself. He is the kind of colleague who inspires a sense of security even in those at other universities who hardly ever see him; they still know that in his office or classroom at least, the job is being done right.

    K. B. Gulati is Professor Emeritus of English at George Brown College, Toronto . He was Professor Rajan's student at Delhi University . More at: Literary Voice

    19 questions for you to ask yourself

    Mary Pergander is director of the Lake Bluff (Ill.) Public Library. Send comments or questions to working@ala.org
    [PS. While the following 19 are from the desk of a librarian, note that a librarian neither works from the outer space nor practices rocket science! The bottom line is: these questions can be for you, even if you are not a librarian, & / or wear any other hat]

    By Mary Pergander, American Libraries Columnist
    Working Knowledge: A Monthly Column about Life on the Job, Column for May 2007

    • Am I present and ready to work on time every day?
    • Do I minimize personal computer/e-mail/phone time at work?
    • Do I limit my work hours, take my breaks and vacations, and in other ways practice good selfcare?
    • Do I set and meet my goals, and keep my commitments?
    • Do I speak respectfully to and about others, even when they are not present?
    • Do I exemplify excellent customer service?
    • Do I use my time effectively and deliver high-quality results?
    • Is my work complete, timely, attractive, and well organized?
    • Do I work cooperatively and collaboratively with others?
    • Do I make good use of the time of coworkers?
    • Do I smile and acknowledge others?
    • Do I allow others to speak without interrupting?
    • Do I return all calls the same day I receive them?
    • Do I follow up on e-mails as promised?
    • Do I encourage others?
    • Am I open to feedback?
    • Am I honest and authentic?
    • Would I want to have myself as an employee?
    • Would I want to have myself for a boss?

    See also my previous related posts:
  • 2007 ALA Annual Poster Sessions Abstracts - Online!
  • Toxicity in the library workplace - a survey
  • ALA Emerging Leaders Poll - Survey
  • Success and Motivation: What I learned from Bobby Knight
  • Diversity Resources - Accommodation, Tolerance and Coexistence
  • Friday, June 01, 2007

    “Amritjit Singh first foreign-born to win rare honor”

    English professor Amritjit Singh receives lifetime achievement award
    ATHENS, Ohio (March 13, 2007) -- Ohio University Langston Hughes Professor of English and African American Studies Amritjit Singh will receive the 2007 MELUS Lifetime Achievement Award at the 21st Annual MELUS Conference this spring.

    India Abroad, NYC -- Community Section – April 20, 2007
    - Aziz Haniffa
    Amritjit Singh, Langston Hughes Professor of English and African American Studies at the Ohio University in Athens , Ohio, was last month honored with the 2007 MELUS (Society for the Study of Multi-Ethnic Literature in the United States) Lifetime Achievement Award at its 21st annual conference in Fresno, California.
    This was the first time MELUS has honored a foreign-born American professor with the prestigious award for contribu¬tions to ethnic American literary scholarship.
    A national organization of college and university professors, MELUS states, “it is committed to expanding the definition and canon of American literature through the study and teaching of African-American, Latino-American, Native-American, Asian¬American and ethnically-specific European-American literary works, their authors and their cultural contexts.” Read the full story

    continue reading

    A26-April 13, 2007—INDIA-WEST NATIONAL – US
    English Prof. Receives MELUS Lifetime Achievement Award, a Staff Reporter
    FRESNO, Calif. –– Professor Amritjit Singh, professor of English and African American Studies at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, was honored with the 2007 MELUS Lifetime Achievement Award Mar. 26, capping the 21st Annual MELUS Conference held March 22-25.
    He is the first foreign-born American to receive the honor.
    MELUS, the Society for the Study of Multi-Ethnic Literature, honors scholars with the Achievement Award for their contributions to ethnic American literary scholarship. Read the full story

    Thursday, May 17, 2007

    Remembering my father, Ebrahim Sulaiman Sait, by Tasneem Ebrahim

    I remember the passing away of someone close to one’s heart is at all times a difficult thing. This is more so when that someone happens to be one’s own father: a figure so prominent in one’s life as to defeat any effort at recollecting a time when he was not there in one’s living memory – a memory that started off with one’s entry into this world. Indeed, next to one’s mother, the father remains the cause of that entry, the human source of preservation, of protection and guidance for one’s life, post the entry into it.

    It is then not without the deepest sense of deprivation, sorrow and irretrievable loss, that this writer can hope to recollect the memory of the late Ebrahim Sulaiman Sait: a man, a personality, who while being the leader and public figure that he ultimately became, was also father to this daughter and to all her other siblings. Much, of course, has been said about his activism for the cause of the Muslim community in India over the past half a century of his dignified public life. In fact, nothing should be a better testimony to this than the fact that he was elected a record eight times to the National Assembly as a Member of Parliament. But, it is not one’s intention here to dwell upon the details of his steady growth in stature as a genuine Muslim – indeed, Indian – leader of our times. As his daughter, on the other hand, one’s purpose here is only to highlight those basic traits of the man which endeared him to all those who came into close contact with him. For, while even at a distance - even from mere hearsay - Ebrahim Sulaiman Sait commanded respect and admiration, for those who got to know him more closely, they could not but come away with a feeling of affection and love that bordered on reverence for the august personality that he undoubtedly was.

    Beyond the cherished memories of a childhood wherein the fatherly love and attention poured on his children came without asking – without any asking back in return – what shall permanently be etched in memory, perhaps, was his ability for self control without in the least being unaffected by the events and situations he found himself in, whether in his personal, family or public life. It was a trait remarkable for its presence in a man who faced the unending storms that visited his long career as the representative of a hapless minority in India. More than the trait itself, it was his perseverance with it - no matter what the provocation - that saw him climb a pedestal of human character where he stood unassailable by lesser human beings. In anger, or in sorrow, he exhibited that optimum, that elusive, balance of temperament so much so that it is difficult, even by the admission of his own children, to recollect an instance when he might have exploded in at least justifiable frustration. In many undeniable ways, therefore, Ebrahim Sulaiman Sait belonged to that rare class of people who owed their rarity to their perfection of manners and etiquette. In having lived in close company with him, one can hardly fail to ponder over that timeless admonition of the last messenger of God when he declared that ‘the best among you are those best in manners.’ Ebrahim Sulaiman Sait’s strengths were, therefore, of a very different kind from the strength and power associated with people of prominence today. Yet again, Prophet Muhammad’s words that ‘strong is not he who floors his opponent in a fight, but strong is he who in a fit of anger controls his temper’ is the best explanation for the strength of character exuded by the persona of Ebrahim Sulaiman Sait.

    In remembering him, one must easily concede that in all his affairs Ebrahim Sulaiman Sait was meticulous, indeed, systematic. To this writer, it was among the simple joys of life to watch him manage his mundane, day-to-day affairs: his regulation dressing sense and style, immaculate as it was with his matching clothes right up to the headgear which was among the few gifts he heartily acknowledged and cherished, his unhurried, yet firm, deportment in arranging everything from his traveling suitcases to his pillow and bedding, and even his alignment of pen and paper after his having used them. In retrospect, one finds that his most trivial acts registered an indelible influence on the immediate members of his family, inspiring in them the true meaning of orderliness and systematization. As a natural corollary to this emphasis on order and discipline, his appreciation and respect for the value of time was likewise among the most unforgettable aspects of his character. Like this writer herself, the other members of his family will unfailingly remember that on appointments he would invariably be there before time. In later years, when he had to depend on others for traveling, he preferred to be accompanied by the present writer’s husband particularly because he was a stickler for punctuality himself.

    As a communicator with, and well-wisher of, all those whom he came into contact with, Ebrahim Sulaiman Sait had never the need to be pretentious or artificial. Communicating with others came naturally to him: so much more the reason behind his popularity as a mass leader. It was in his nature to remember and address not just his acquaintances but even those related to them by their names: a gesture that was immediately reciprocated by the attention of those whom he so addressed. In fact, this was but part and parcel of his inborn talent in understanding the myriad masses that cut across a strikingly varied cross section of the public starting with his family members, party activists, kings and government heads, the rich and the poor, Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

    It was his wont to encourage the goodness and talent that was in others whenever it was displayed before him. Himself a master in many disciplines, he would not be wanting in his warm praise for any achievement or effort that was done to his liking. His concern for the affairs of those whom he met was genuine, and was often punctuated by his personal attention and care. This saw him going out of his way to address and solve problems affecting others with a diligence that was remarkable for the rank that he possessed. Indeed, to him, it was perhaps exactly because of that perceived rank in society that he had to exert himself even more in the service of his family, his acquaintances and the public that he led and addressed.

    On one particular occasion, when a recent marriage in the extended family was on the brink of termination, with the bride confined to her house in Bangalore, and her husband staying put at his native place in Cochin, Ebrahim Sulaiman Sait was immediately at his persuasive best. Despite his own busy schedules as a public figure, he personally visited both husband and wife individually and at their respective places of residence and, over time, engineered a certain warmth and affection once again between the two: a bonding that was just enough for them to get together again and to thereafter get on with their married life. He had spared no opportunity, no chance for dialogue, no relative from each side, wherefrom, and through whom, he could bring about a rapprochement between the young couple who already had had a child between them.

    It is in this context of his commitment to the cause of others that, at least for this writer, one incident will forever stand out amongst her most treasured and touching memories of her father. It is touching in the sense that it came about a few days before he passed away forever from her earthly presence on the 27th of April, 2005. Having to travel to Calicut via Cochin on Saturday, 24th April, for the first state conference of the Indian National League five days later, he was supposed to have been accompanied by this writer’s husband, his preferred travel companion. But while this writer was busy helping him pack his suitcase for the coming journey, he turned to her at one point and referring to her husband, said: “Inshaallah, Shajahan will be back on the morning of April 27th.” He had known – and remembered - that the 27th of April marked his daughter’s wedding anniversary which, although not an event for celebration going by his strict principles, was an occasion wherein he sensed that husband and wife would prefer to be together. However, as fate would have it, by the evening of April 24th he was feeling uneasy and had to be admitted to Manipal Hospital where he finally breathed his last three days later.

    One also remembers that his last three days in hospital were days of heavy rain. The streets outside Manipal Hospital, where he practically lay on his death-bed by his room window, were enveloped in an untimely gloom and wetness. But despite the wet and gloomy weather outside his seventh floor window, Ebrahim Sulaiman Sait would surprisingly see through it the beauty of a resplendent spring: a scene that he would repeatedly describe to those attending to him in his room. Perhaps, in further visions of what was to come, or maybe because of these visions, he would read aloud prayers of forgiveness (istighfaar) to God in front of all who visited him, and would ask each visitor to confirm whether he had read the prayers aright. His preferred travel-companion – this writer’s husband – who was there in uninterrupted attendance till the end would remember later that on the night before he passed away, his father-in-law would thank him profusely for all that he had done for him, before he finally asked him to retire to bed. But, in every following hour till the hour of his passing at around 5: 30 AM, he would awaken and enquire with his son-in-law about the time. Earlier that evening he had insisted that his youngest son, Siraj Ebrahim, take down his written statement that was to be read out in his absence at the first state conference of the INL due to be held a couple of days later at Calicut. Seeing his father’s condition, Siraj Ebrahim had reminded his father that he could take down the statement the next morning, but Ebrahim Sulaiman Sait had been strangely adamant that he must do it then and there. ‘There is little time left to wait:’ he had counseled his concerned son. Uncharacteristic of him, the statement, when its dictation was finally over, was unusually long, covering, as it did, a host of issues confronting the Muslim community not just in India, but throughout the Muslim world.

    Uncorrupted to the very marrow of his bones, Ebrahim Sulaiman Sait never had it in him to possess what was not rightfully his. Indeed, even if this was the only thing known about him, it was sufficient to prove that even in corrupt times such as these, a clean and morally strong politics - of which he was a prime exponent - was still quite a possibility. In later years, this writer’s husband would complain that his father-in-law would diligently strive to repay even a ten-rupee currency note that he had borrowed from him. Before he passed away, he had handed him a bank-cheque which he had, in his hurry, forgotten to sign. The amount written across the cheques was a loan that had to be repaid to his son-in-law who, to this day, has preserved that unsigned bank-cheque as a token of the fondest memories he has of Ebrahim Sulaiman Sait – the man, the father, the husband, the politician, the leader, the visionary and the patriot all of which he easily and undeniably was.

    PS. This article has appeared in Young Muslim Digest, May 2007, print version.

  • Complete profile and ideas: Ebrahim Sulaiman Sait Akbani, 1922 - 2005; and
    Muslims in India have to begin again Somewhere by Mohammad Siraj Ebrahim, Young Muslim Digest, April 2007: Click here

    See also a prvious message in this blog about my mentors. See:
  • Prof. Isaac Sequeira, 1930 - 2006
  • Friday, May 04, 2007

    ALA Emerging Leaders Poll - Survey

    I'm one of the ALA Emerging Leaders this year, and I'm part of a work team that is looking at options for “rebranding the library profession in the digital world.” We've decided to survey as broad a spectrum of library professionals as possible in order to see what we think of ourselves.

    Please take a few minutes to fill out our survey. We'll be presenting the results and a plan of action as a poster session at ALA annual conference.

    The URL is: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=371423757475

    Please feel free to forward this onto other librarians.


    Brendan A. Gallagher
    Network Support Specialist
    Bibliomation Inc.
    32 Crest Rd.
    Middlebury, Ct 06762
    phone: 203-577-4070 x119

    Sunday, April 29, 2007

    Words of Wisdom from Technology Guru Bill Thompson

    [The following is an extract] Interview with Bill Thompson,* technology columnist for the BBC, March 6, 2007, Posted by gaurav

    You know Mr. Thompson, even libraries have sort of shifted. They are increasingly interested in providing Internet access.

    Yeah, it is and it is search rather than structure. And you know the fact is that search tools make it easy to be lazy and we are a lazy species and therefore we will lazy and we will carry on being lazy until we are forced, until something bad happens because of our laziness at which point we will mend our ways. Continue reading in Interview with Bill Thompson -Part IV - Fragmented Information

    * Bill is a regular on BBC TV and Radio and started the Guardian Newspaper's first website. Source: David Hamilton - Blog

    See also my related posts:
  • The Ubiquitous Reference Service & Return On Investment
  • Searching Revisited: Horizontal, Vertical, Diagonal, etc.
  • Searching Is Polarized; Will The Five Laws Get a New Revised Version: Every Search Engine Its Searcher
  • Information Seeking Behavior - Quote of the day
  • Go to the library - ways to survive life without the Internet
  • Sunday, April 08, 2007

    Ideation: The Birth and Death of Ideas

    I always wonder where do ideas come from. I know that ideas form wisdom, but where to find an answer (about source of inspiration) is a billion dollar question. My librarian's wisdom would take me to The Dictionary of the History of Ideas. But thanks to Nimmi, she brought a book to my notice that has some corporate touch in it (see below).

    PS. Thanks to Aa..ha! [Thinking Inside The Blog!]
    ... Here are some more tidbits from the book....
    - Ideas are classified as Problem Solution, Evolutionary, Symbiotic, Revolutionary, Serendipitous, Targeted, Artistic, Philosophical and Computer-Assisted Discovery.

    Book Description
    Douglas Graham, a leading expert in the field of innovation, shows business leaders how to realize step-ahead ideas and Thomas Bachmann, a financial innovator shows how he has put innovative ideas into practice

    PUNCHLINE: In 21st century someone may think that they can cook ideas in a microwave, of course--why not: WATCH the video and decide yourself

    Sunday, March 04, 2007

    Leadership Basics for Librarians and Information Professionals

    A book just out in the market. A review of this may appear here, later. And, a review is scheduled to appear in Journal of Web Librarianship
    Leadership Basics for Librarians and Information Professionals, by Evans G. Edward, and Patricia Layzell Ward. Scarecrow Press (2007) Description:
    "With the start of the 21st Century, information services around the world are facing a host of challenges and changes unique to this era of exponential technological growth. However, this change is further compounded by the high turnover rate in senior positions. Focusing on leadership, this text--ideal for young, emerging managers and supervisors--is meant to guide future leaders in making the appropriate choices and decisions in response to and in anticipation of the competition."

    See also:
  • Mentors and Mentees in Librarianship
  • Monday, February 19, 2007

    Success and Motivation: What I learned from Bobby Knight

    You said, and Im paraphrasing: "Everyone has got the will to win, its only those with the will to prepare that do win" Full article