He is also an amateur photographer, a big fan of science fiction and very interested in digital devices, all of which help colour his approach as shown in this delightful, life-affirming account of his day.
6:00 am Turn off the alarm clock and go to English Language Institute
In Korea, English is rarely spoken in everyday life. But English language skills are essential for college admissions, employment and promotion at work. Most Koreans including me are lifelong learners of English. I have even more reasons to learn English: for business meetings with foreign publishers and writing research papers. Getting up early and attending a language class in the cold winter like today is not that easy for me.
Sometimes I have the chance to take the class alone. My teacher is from Wales. I discuss science fictions with him and he talks to me about British history. Apart from improving my level of English, it is also a very good time to learn more about foreign culture.
8:00 am Get back home and prepare to work
I wake up my kids and help them wash while my wife is preparing breakfast. After breakfast, my children go to kindergarten by school bus and I go to the office on foot. My workplace is only about 100 metres away from home. During the ten-minute walk, I think about my to-do list and talk with my colleagues, whom I meet by chance, about the latest news. I am very happy to live near my office. If I had to live in a big city like Seoul, it would take about one to two hours to commute to work. I enjoy valuable time while strolling. Also it helps save some money.
9:00 am Instruct joint licensing condition to the consortium member libraries
Although it is the end of the year, librarians contact us and ask about electronic resources licensing. Our team members explain KESLI joint licensing conditions repeatedly.
KESLI is the biggest library consortium in Korea. This year, 540 libraries have participated in KESLI. I am very proud that I work in the KESLI team. It is because KESLI helps libraries save costs by joint licensing, and researchers can get related research information quickly. On the other hand, I always feel the stress in negotiations with publishers to provide the required resources by the member libraries at affordable prices. Publishers continue to raise prices by a variety of strategies and libraries demand lower prices using consortium bargaining power.
10:00 am Negotiate joint licensing condition
On behalf of KESLI member libraries, our steering committee negotiates with publishers. Committee members are librarians from the member libraries. This year, there is still one negotiation pending. The Committee chair person is struggling for settlement. He and I discuss the follow-up negotiation process by phone. Then I send an e-mail report to the government authority.
I take the minutes of this morning's issue on the Wiki. This year, we installed Wiki software and are recording KESLI work processes and minutes. My boss is one of the founders of KESLI and has hugely influenced the proliferation of electronic information in Korea. We believe that KESLI has been successfully promoted by his intuition and insight. But there is a need to make robust KESLI business processes systematically. The wiki is very effective in document recording, sharing and archiving co-operatively, but uncomfortable editing features are a critical disadvantage. My teammates are reluctant to use it.
11:00 am Prepare to present
A KESLI tour for university students is scheduled this afternoon. Many presentations are prepared already. I only need to make some minor updates.
“I am a devoted reader of Computer Arts magazine … and have gained a lot of inspiration to design educational materials through CA.”
Mac Keynote, Wacom tablet and Photoshop are my best tools for making presentation materials productive. For the last few years, I have been visiting many universities and companies to promote our National Digital Science Library system. I create multiple versions of the training materials, including multimedia, visual effects to participants to deliver the messages and make the presentation as lively as possible. Mac Keynote is a pretty cool presentation tool for presentation files including text preparation, video interviews of users, system instruction screen captured video, sound effects and also screen transition effects. I am a devoted reader of Computer Arts magazine that is published in the United Kingdom and have gained a lot of inspiration to design educational materials through CA.
12:00 noon Workout
At noon, I usually exercise at the fitness club near my office if I have no lunch meeting. Lunch-time exercise relieves the stress I have accumulated in the morning and gives me power to work again. Even though I enjoy running outdoors, in winter it is not easy. There is a very good running course along the river in my neighbourhood. The scenery of Korea is different every season: spring, summer, autumn and winter seasons have very distinct charm. Breathing hard while running, I look at the clouds, sunsets, trees and buildings reflected in the river. The scenery is always dynamic and full of beauty.
13:30 pm Give a presentation to the visitors
After exercise, I finish lunch quickly.
I complete the Keynote presentation material and upload it to Dropbox to synchronize with my iPad. I can hardly remember a time when I carried a laptop since getting an iPad. Almost all of the materials are stored in it. I always carry it for reading and taking notes.
In the meeting room, I connect my iPad to the projector. Oh, no! As soon as the screen is on, the students get excited and yell while watching my Keynote presentation! The iPad has great showmanship. Proceeding to the presentation with a few slides, I give students some simple quiz questions. Correct answers are rewarded with small gifts. At times like this, I can barely get over how cool my iPad is :-)
16:00 pm Answer licensing query
There is a note on my desk. It says that one of the university librarians called with a problem and requested a call back. With a deep breath, I need to think how to respond before I pick up the phone. It looks like another battle again.
National universities and institutes should follow the domestic contract law when licensing electronic information, but the exclusive supply arrangements raise some legal issues. The audit department constantly claims that libraries should follow the competitive bidding process when licensing. Also in accordance with domestic law, vendors should warrant pre-paid fee by insurance. So far, none of the foreign publishers provides warranty insurance. The situation is outside of our control.
Without the ‘pointy solution’, the call eventually ends. It is frustrating that KESLI is only a representative of the library, as a library consortium, and could not solve the annoying situation, for now. It is necessary to make a library procurement policy and solve the legal issues.
“For [my kids] I am the mountain to conquer, the monster to fight against, the engineer to fix the toys and a reader of fairy tales. When I see them sleeping, I can forget the toil of the day.”
19:00 pm Night Owl
Finish work and then go home.
At home, my kids are waiting for me. For them I am the mountain to conquer, the monster to fight against, the engineer to fix the toys and a reader of fairy tales. When I see them sleeping, I can forget the toil of the day. Life is short but our children will grow and sustain humanity. Striving to give them the world as a better place, although my contribution is small, I will continue to work hard. Until late at night while my children dream, I read and write research papers.