Reference Question from Atlanta on Line 1

It was a bit of a long day today but the usual pattern of getting stuck behind the circulation desk because we’re short staffed again was broken up by an unusual reference question.

M called. She’s a former coworker who utilized me and my research skills to all kinds of degrees when I worked for/with her and still makes use of having a good friend with an MLS under her belt.

Today’s question came from the editorial department of some people who, considering the word “Library” is in the name of where they work, might have thought to call their own reference desk before calling long distance. But apparently that doesn’t occur to those types, who rang Atlanta instead.

The issue at hand was a 95 page password protected PDF. Apparently this editorial type was calling M on a last resort to see if SHE could crack the file before they brought in a temp to transcribe the 95 pages. M, being the sensible and practical woman that she is, took a few shots at cracking it and then called me. Did I know of anything?

I recalled that the National Library of Medicine recently started putting up a PDF converter tool and that I had chucked it into my del.icio.us list–to be brought up at just such a moment. DocMorph anyone? Only–that creates PDFs, not reverse. Okay, no problem. While introducing M to del.icio.us and getting her totally hooked on the idea of browsing through my favorites, other’s peoples favorites, etc etc– she chose one of the PDF converters. I’m looking for the link but I can’t find it and it’s too late to call M and ask tonight. Perhaps in the morning.

She had the file unlocked and transferred to Rich Text Format in about five minutes.

I asked her to provide the following response when she sent it back to them and they exclaimed “How did you do it?” : “I called my librarian.”

And I saved them a 95 page typing job. That was my reference service du jour.

Moment of wow.