or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk

Reference Question of the Week – 9/16/07

   September 22nd, 2007 Brian Herzog

Talk Like a Pirate Day logoSince there were plenty of posts about International Talk Like a Pirate day this week (which was Wednesday, 9/19), I avoided talking about it. However, this week's reference question concerns it.

A patron came up to me on Wednesday and asked:

Patron: Why are people talking like pirates today?
Me: Today is "International Talk Like a Pirate Day."
Patron: Yeah, but I mean, why today? Why September 19th? Did a famous pirate die on this day or something?

Well, huh. That I didn't know.

So, I first grabbed our Chase's Calendar of Events, which we keep at the desk for ready-reference. We looked up September 19th, but unfortunately, the description of "International Talk Like a Pirate Day" did not explain the choice of date. It did, however, list contact details for more information on the day, including the web address www.talklikeapirate.com.

We went to the website, and in the FAQ we found an answer: 9/19 is "Cap'n Slappy's ex-wife's birthday."

The patron wasn't really interested in who Cap'n Slappy was, and took this answer as "good enough."

Later in the day I wanted to go back to this website to check something else, but accidentally mis-typed the url as www.talklikeapirateday.com. I don't know if there is a connection between the two websites, but this one also had a similar history: "Founded by John Baur and Mark Summers during a raquetball game and, coincidentally, occuring the same day’s as Mark’s ex-wife’s birthday." (So I guess that tells us who "Cap'n Slappy" is.)

While looking through this second website, I realized that I really liked it - it is one of the best examples I've seen of a website using the power of WordPress as a content management system. It had blog posts, pages with content, an integrated wiki, a flickr badge - all the trimmings (even a pirate-speak translator). And the design was simple but interesting. Very nice.

If you're interested in such things, I would highly suggest checking out this website. It's a great example of what can be done, as an alternative to flat html files. Plus, the examples of pirate-speak are much better than most of what I heard on Wednesday.

libraries, library, pirate, pirates, public libraries, public library, reference question, reference question of the week, talk like a pirate, talk like a pirate day, wordpress

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