On the bus this morning I was tapping away on my laptop as usual, flipping between an XML editor and a browser window rendering the output. A woman sat down beside me and, after a moment, asked if I was working on a game. “No, it’s a bibliographic database”, I answered, and added, “I’m a librarian”. An apologetic note crept into my voice as I said it (why do I do that?) She seemed disinclined to learn any more about it, and our conversation flagged. I got back to work.

I’m not sure why she thought it might be a game; there were some bright colours in the browser, but nothing was moving and the text was obviously bibliographic, I’d have thought. Then, once in my cubicle, I read Tim’s posting at Thing-ology: “Is your OPAC fun?”, which tied together a lot of recent discussion about playfulness in the library interface. Now I wish I had answered, “Why, yes, it is a game, in a way”, and shown her a couple of the fun bits.

Of course, the fun bits wouldn’t have worked offline; and anyway she’d have seen through me in an instant. Right now she’d be blogging: “I met this weird librarian on the bus this morning…”