Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hello, my name is Nikki and this is my blog

I've been writing Eagle Dawg Blog for a little over seven months and have always had a bit of an existential identity crisis in the middle of it. At first this was because I had no idea if I'd continue writing here since this was just a continuing education (CE) course assignment to fill in time before my pending job offer was finalized. However, I found that I not only continued writing after the CE was done, but that others were actually interested in what I had to say. This still really surprises me most days and I thank you for your time. I genuinely value it and hope to always offer you something useful except on Friday Fooleries, where there are no guarantees.

Who are you?

I'm fairly certain that if you're currently reading this you know exactly who I am in real life. There aren't many of us with brand new distance learning degrees from Texas running around in the Washington medical library community, but before now I have never officially connected the two identities. So, hi. My professional name is Nicole S. Dettmar and I work for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) which is coordinated by the National Library of Medicine (NLM). If you call me Nicole you've either known me prior to summer 1990, are a telemarketer or someone calling about Official Business, or have made a cognitive disconnect due to repeated Facebook exposure where I waltz around with my legal name. In real life, both professional and personal, the post-1990 crowd calls me Nikki. I've updated my Blogger profile to reflect me as me. It trips me out when people call me Eagle Dawg, but I do respond to that too now.

What's the big deal about going by your name?

The big deal is, to my knowledge (please correct me if I'm wrong so I don't feel like such a freak) I am the only one in NN/LM & NLM currently writing a personal public blog about my perspectives in health informatics, medical librarianship, NLM resources, etc. In my real life fledgling medical library career I am often referred to by my employer more than who I am as an individual. That is fine within the context of my job, but I want to make a few things crystal clear here about me and Eagle Dawg Blog:

  • This is not an official NN/LM blog.
  • I have not and never will write here on federal taxpayer time, ever. I take that very seriously.
  • Some inherent bias towards NLM/NIH/HHS resources is probably unavoidable.
  • If you're an American taxpayer, you've already paid for these resources so it's not like I'm trying to sell you something.
  • Criticism of NLM/NIH/HHS is probably unavoidable. Don't you have days where you go bonkers from the bureaucracy?
Why are you going by your name now?

The truth? I don't know what direction scholarly publication will take in the future. I don't think it will include blogs in their current form, but what will these evolve into? I want all my work in this field to be known by and attributed to me as me and not me as a pseudonym. Yes, the recent Annoyed Librarian hiring at Library Journal spurred on this change to a certain extent, but so did receiving a recommended resource list with blogger pseudonyms instead of real names a few weeks ago.

What the heck is an Eagle Dawg anyway?

I was trying to think of what sounded creative and not cutesy with Blog for a name. Dawg quickly became obvious, the Husky is the mascot for the University of Washington & we are DAWGS not dogs. UW is where I (finally) received my Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Sciences and Communication in 2005 thanks to the evening degree program. I have also worked for UW for over 10 years, hopping from one department & career to another while getting married, having a chronic illness (now in remission), having a child and earning two degrees. Not many employers allow that much flexibility and I am most grateful for it. I wouldn't be where I am now without the unbelievable support of my former bosses and many coworkers.

If I was going to use Dawg as part of the blog name, then I also had to include the Eagle. That is the mascot of the University of North Texas, where I received my Master of Science in Information Science degree in 2007. The Eagle not only sounds better first, but needs to be thanks to an overwhelmingly generous fellowship UNT awarded me in distance learning health informatics. I have much to give back because I was given so much.

There you have it. Any questions?

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Timothy said...

Thanks for reminding me of my airheadedness with the "Nicole" comment on fb. (But probably I wasn't the only one...?) It's only going to get worse since I *only* see you on there these days.
- timothy

Eagle Dawg said...

You are far from the only one, Timothy, believe me :) Don't worry about it and save the neurons for the crazy times you have ahead!