Monday, July 31, 2006


The Parable of the Missing Book

Melchor F. Cichon

Monday is almost always a busy day in the library.
It is the time when students would return the reserve books they borrowed the week before, and reserve books anew for the next day.
One mid-Monday morning, one of the staff of a library noted that a reserve book has not been returned by Jane, not her real name. It turned out that that particular book was the only copy available in the library. And some students would like to borrow it because they would have a test the following day.
Later in the day, the staff saw Jane. She asked her of the book. Jane asked the staff when the book was borrowed.
"Last Saturday."
"But Ma’am", said Jane, "I was in Antique last Saturday. So I could not possibly borrow it. You can see on the list of students who came to the library that Saturday."
The staff checked the attendance. Jane’s name was not there. But the name of a certain Josephine appeared in the list. Josephine belongs to the same school where Jane studied and they were not in good terms.
"Can I see the book card, Ma'am?"
"Look Ma’am,’ this is not my ID Number, and beside that is not the way I write my name. Somebody else must have borrowed it. But definitely not me!"
"Right," said the staff, "the ID number here lacks one digit—there are only six instead of 7."
The staff requested Jane to help find the culprit.
"O.K. Ma’am."
The staff informed her supervisor of the missing book.
The supervisor inquired how it happened.
Early Saturday morning, a female student came to the staff to reserve a book. The student was asked to fill-up a reservation slip. Since it was Saturday the policy of the library was to issue the reserve book immediately after it has been reserved.
At that time, the book was still being used by a student from the other college. And since the book had been reserved by someone else, it has to be given to the person who reserved it.
Because of confidence, the staff issued the book to Jane without even asking for her ID card.
But the problem is the staff could not remember the name of the student who signed out the book. Nor her face.
The following day, the news of the missing book was all over the college where the book was being used.
Fortunately, it came to the attention of the student who was using it before it was issued to a female student. The problem was he did not know her name, although he could recognize her once he saw her again.
Another student came and informed the supervisor of her knowledge of the missing book. She was around when the book was issued to the student and she mentioned her name, Josephine.
When the supervisor learned about this, he called for Josephine to come to his office.
Josephine came the following day.
When the supervisor asked her about the missing book, she denied. She was somewhere else that day.
But the supervisor showed her signature in the list of library users that particular Saturday. The supervisor further told her that somebody saw her signed the book card and when the library staff gave the book to her.
Josephine just kept quite.
Then she said, I could not have taken it out illegally.
The supervisor told her to bring her parents on a particular day and time to the University Librarian for a meeting.
The supervisor also informed Jane to bring her parents to the University Librarian for the same purpose.
After this, the supervisor briefed the university librarian on the missing book and that the parents of both Jane and Josephine would come for a meeting with her on that particular time and day. The witnesses were also informed to attend the said meeting to shed light on the matter.
Prior to the meeting, the mother of Josephine texted Jane. She was asking for an apology of what had happened.
The day of the meeting came.
All the important characters were present: Jane and Josephine, their respective parents, the two witnesses, the library staff who issued the book, the university librarian and the supervisor.
It turned out that the parents of Jane and Josephine are friends, and that Jane and Josephine were friends when they were still in high school.
After presenting the evidences: the book card, the overnight reservation slip, attendance sheet of those students who used the library, the supervisor presented the witnesses to. After they testified, the mother of Josephine informed the group that indeed it was her daughter who checked out the book, except that the book got lost. But they are willing to pay the whole price and they requested that the matter should no longer be brought somewhere else.
After the testimony of Josephine’s mother, she was told to ask for forgiveness.
And Jane and Josephine hugged each other.
When Jane was asked why she took out the book illegally, she said that she has a grudge on Jane because one time Jane marked her absent in a certain activity. Josephine said that Jane was not really around in that activity.
What lessons can be learned from this incident?
Never trust all your users. Some maybe honest, but others are not.
Checking of ID card is a must before any library is issued to the borrower.
Be friendly to students because someday they might help you solve your problem.
Be vigilant.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Parable of the Sandwiches

The university librarian called for an emergency meeting to discuss how the university library staff would participate in the forthcoming university anniversary.
So the library was temporarily closed for a total participation of the staff in the meeting.
So the meeting was held.
For more than an hour the library staff discussed the activities.
Then they discussed on what to eat for lunch.
One staff said that the staff just buy food at the university canteen.
Then somebody said that they buy sandwiches from a known foodstand.
This was approved by the whole group. No question, except that a sandwich might not be enough for a lunch. But then nobody objected on the decision to buy sandwiches for lunch.
The next day, a staff member canvassed on the prices of the different sandwiches.
When he returned to the library, he told the administrative officer of the prices of the different kinds sandwiches.
By then somebody changed her mind and refused to buy the sandwich. This encouraged other staff not to buy it.
The administrative officer had told everybody else about their decision not to buy sandwiches anymore, except the university librarian and the readers services head..
When the readers service head learned about it, he inquired why.
It turned out that one staff member from the technical section backed out from the agreed decision.
He just wondered why the univesity librarian did not act on this. It turned out that she herself did not know of the change of the decision.
When she knew it, she did not raise any voice.
Later it was decided that the group would just bring his/her own food.
The issue here is not on what to eat for lunch.
But on the implementation of a group decision and how the group decision was suddenly dropped without the approval of the group that made it.
And the lost library services to the students while the staff were discussing on what to eat for lunch.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Vernon R. Totanes: the Filipino Blograrian


Melchor F. Cichon
July 27, 2006

He must have been influenced by his Ateneo elementary librarian for his decision to pursue a librarian profession.

Or it could be his real love for books and service to his fellowmen like his retired parents that he sticks to librarianship.

His mother, Mrs. Florentina Totanes, a retired public school teacher, taught him his ABCs and 123s, and his father, Major General Virgilio Totanes, who taught him how to read—with intelligence. He was born in Quezon City, 18 August 1973.

Whatever it is, Von, as he is fondly called by his friends, has elevated further the library profession in the Philippines by bringing closer the Filipino librarians to the world of the internet.

Or spefically, "it has brought Filipino librarians and libraries into the consciousness of people who just assumed that what they knew about us (librarians) was all they needed to know."

His website, Filipino Librarian ( ) and his blogging activities were given an international exposure when he delivered a paper, Blogging 101, in the General Conference of the Congress of Southeast Asian Librarians (Manila, Philippines, March 25-30, 2006).

In this paper, he expounded, among other things, the importance of blogging.

And it was through his blog that his name has become famous among bloggers, and his writing skill has improved.

Von is now in America on his way to Canada for his PhD degree at the University of Toronto this August.

Hopefully, he will be the next Filipino librarian with a PhD degree, although he said: "i haven't really been officially a librarian since i graduated and got my license in 2004... except on the blog. it's really ironic".

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Parable of a Sweet Tongue

Every member of the library knows that Senag has a sweet tongue, yet she can make a deal with her co-workers. And when she is able to get what she wants, she will forget her promises. I do not know what power she has that she can twist the minds of her co-workers in her favor.

My wife called me up that she is allowing me to borrow money from our cooperative for Senag. So without any hesitations, I loaned five thousand pesos for Senag. She promised to pay the loan in a month's time.

Two months after, she has not paid the loan. She told me she was still waiting for her loan to be released by the GSIS. So I waited. But when her loan was released she just kept.

I noticed that she was always banging the door of the library when she gets inside or when she goes out. And she was always out of her desk--doing something else.

Six months passed and still she has not paid the loan under my name. She has many other reasons for not paying the loan.

And two years, still she has not paid the loan.

I prepared an agreement that she is responsible to pay the original loan plus its corresponding interest . She agreed. And she signed the document.

Three years after, she has not yet paid the loan. This time, she said she could not pay it because her daughter would go to Singapore as part of her practicum and so she needs money.

But when you look at this woman, she would always buy merienda as if she has no debt. She would wear new dresses. I just do not know whether she buys them in the ukay-ukay or somewhere else. She would always tell our co-workers that she had bought new things for their house.

I have been thinking of filing estapa case to this woman so that she would be forced to pay me and she would stop her unethical behavior.

But I do not know why I cannot even talk about it with a lawyer.

Meanwhile, I can not loan money from the cooperative because of my outstanding debt.

Monday, July 24, 2006


The Parable of a Friendly Student

Raymond, a fourth year college student, has always been coming to the library not only to read and borrow books but also to meet friends. He would often ask me reference questions on fisheries, and since I am a fisheries graduate myself, I can easily give him the materials he needs. If I could not find one, I would refer him to the SEAFDEC-AQD Library in Tigbauan, Iloilo. This library has a vast collection of materials on fisheries. And the chief librarian of this fisheries institution is an old friend of mine, so I find no difficulty in asking her help.
Since Raymond has been familiar to me, he has become a sort of friend like other students. So I trusted him with some reservations, of course.
He would freely browse our collection of books and journals, just like any other students in our library.
One morning, Raymond saw the exhibit of books and a school organ I displayed along our corridor. These materials could be seen through our glass divider.
He got inside the library and proceeded to the displayed materials. Then he came to me and asked me if he could photo-copy one of the displayed books. I told him, he could.
But he changed his mind. And he put back to the display the book that he showed me. Then he left the library.
Suddenly it came to my mind to see the displayed materials.
I suddenly noticed that the first page of the school organ, Pagbutlak, was missing.
I went out and checked whether he was still around.
He was gone.
Immediately, I informed my colleagues about the missing page one, and the person who probably has taken it out without permission.
Few minutes after, Raymond came to me and asked me why I wanted to talk to him. One of my co-workers had spotted him inside the library and he was informed that I wanted to talk to him.
I asked him why he took the first page of Pagbutlak.
He denied. I told him he was the only person who came to the library that morning. And he acknowledged it.
He told me he did not go the displayed material.
But I told him, he even showed me the book he wanted to photocopy, which was one of the materials on display.
OK sir, he said.
But he still denied having taken the page.
I told him, he would just return it and that would be all right.
OK, he said, he would replace it with his old copy tomorrow.
OK, I said.
So I waited for him.
That was one week ago and he has not returned to me yet.

Thursday, July 20, 2006


Book Review: Fish Processing Technology in the Trophics

A comprehensive book on fish processing technology in the trophics was written by Jasmin Espejo-Hermes. It was published in 1998 by Tawid Publications

All said, Espejo-Hermes is a specialist in tropical aquatic products, having had extensive experience in the handling, processing, product development, and marketing of fish and other aquatic products. She holds a Master of Science in Fisheries (Fish Processing Technology) from the College of Fisheries (now the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences), University of the Philippines.

As stated by Dr. Leonor M. Santos, the author's former professor at the University of the Philippines, in the Foreword, of this book "is a most welcome addition to the very few books by Filipino authors on this topic....The inclusion of procedures for products found in the tropics makes the book a valuable reference for teachers, students and extension workers. On the other hand, the author's review of research work on the different processing technologies, especially those undertaken locally, serves the researcher well."

The book is divided into 17 chapters.

Chapter 1 deals on the status of fish processing in the world, in the Philippines and other southeast Asian countries. It also gives basic information on the nutritional importance of aquatic products.

Chapter 2 focuses on the handling of fresh (wet) aquatic products. It points out how bacteria, enzymes, hygiene and sanitation can contribute in the spoilage of aquatic products.

Chapter 3 to 11 gives the various methods in preserving fishery products from chilling to canning.

Chapter 12 gives the types of additives and their purpose.

Chapter 13 discusses on minor aquatic products like seaweeds, fish oils, shark fins, jelly fish, fish protein concentrate, sea cucumber, fish meal, fish silage, and shells and shellcraft.

The rest of the chapters deal on marketing of aquatic products, packaging of aquatic products, quality assurance in fish processing and waste management.

In addition to some illustrations, this book carries a 14-page bibliography, appendices, and an accurate subject index.

If we look at it, this book really is a comprehensive one and it can be used not only as a reference material for fish technology classes but will also serve as a review material for the Professional Regulation Commission Board Exam in fisheries technology.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Filipino Fisheries Scientists

So far there is no book that gives profiles of Filipino fisheries scientists.
Because of this, this writer started to write short profiles of Filipino fisheries scientists. Some of these profiles can now be read in my other blogspot:
I hope that these profiles can provide the felt need on the profiles of Filipino fisheries scientists.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Library Budget

Library budget is one of the many problems being encountered by librarians, fisheries librarians included.
And in allocating budget for each of the departments in the whole institution, usually the unit that gets the lowest is the library.
So how to get more budget for the library?

1. Utilize to the fullest what is given to you. If you do not spend the money allocated to your unit, then the administration will say that you do not need the money.
2. Prepare a project plan with the necessary back-up like a survey on the clientele needs, present capability of the organization, statistics of use. Use graphs for easy understanding.
3. Set a conference with your administrator or the head of the organization and present your problem. Be ready to bring your supporting materials. A visual aid can sometimes do magic.
4. Let your performance do the talking. Once your administrator has seen your work, then he/she will give you the needed budget.
5. If it is really difficult to get funding from your office, seek outside help. Contact your alumni and other friends.
6. Use the internet to ask for donations.

I know there are other ways to get more and higher budget.
If you have any technique to share, please send your comments.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Seaweeds of Panay

A new book on the seaweeds of Panay was launched at the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center-Aquaculture Department in Tigbauan, Iloilo, Philippines on July 7, 2006.

Entitled Seaweeds of Panay, the book is the second edition by the same authors: A. Q. Hurtado, Ma. R. J. Luhan, and N. G. Guanzon, Jr. Except for Luhan, Hurtado and Guanzon used to work with SEAFDEC-AQD.

Dr. Hurtado was then a Senior Scientist of SEAFDEC-AQD and presently a Visiting Scientist of the Seaweed Program , Research Division of the department, while Dr. Guanzon, jr. was a Scientist I at SEAFDEC-AQD when he left the department in July 2004. He is now a professor of biology in the Life Sciences Department, College of Arts and Sciences at Central Philippines University, Iloilo City, Philippines.

Ms. Luhan is a Researcher at the Seaweed Project, Farming system and Ecology Section, of the department. She has a Master of Science in Fisheries Biology at the University of the Philippines in the Visayas in 1991.

This book is fully illustrated in living color.

Each species included in this book has its description, habitat, economic importance, and collection site.

Monday, July 10, 2006


Fisheries Librarian

Fisheries Librarian


Fisheries Websites

Fisheries scientists are very discriminating as regards to their choice of information for their researches.
Since hard copies of fisheries journals are very costly, fisheries librarians resort to using free websties that can provide fulltext or abstracts of peer reviewed journals.
One such website is
This website provides fulltext articles from peer reviewed journals. Some of them of course are sold per article.
Another important website that provide free abstracts is
If you have other websites that provide realable but free abstracts and or fulltext, please send them here.


Very Good Website for Fisheries Researchers

There is another website which is very good for fisheries researchers and to those other researchers on the other sciences. Some articles provided in this website are in fulltext, the rest are abstracts. As far as I have searched, only scientific journals are included in the hits.
Try it:


Why This Blog?

Fisheries is one of the most important industries in the Philippines.
For the past decades, thousands of Filipinos have been employed in various aspects of fisheries, from aquaculture, fish capture, sustainability, education to marketing of fisheries products. The Philippine Fisheries Profile, 2000, reports that "The 1990 Census of Population and Housing conducted by the National Statistics Office (NSO) indicated that the fishing industries provided empoloyment to about one million or twelve percent of the agriculture, fishery and forestry secttor labor force estimated to be 6,589,176 persons. In aquaculture, about 9.2% (74,537) fishfarmers were angeaged in different culture methods; municipal contributed 46.4% (374,408) and commercial fisheries, 44.4% (357,984)"
In each of these categories, and more, fisheries libraries and related information centers play a major role in making these activities effective and efficient.
But in the process of managing fisheries information, a lot of problems are encountered by fisheries librarians like library budget, staff management, clientele-library staff relationship, specific information and data, like fisheries, fisheries statisitcs, and many more.
Of course, there are a lot of happy things that happen in fisheries libraries or information centers.
It is for this reason that this blog was created: To provide information related to fisheries and aquatic sciences.
the Philippines and abroad, to share ideas to become partners in the development of fisheries in the Philippines.

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