Archive for April, 2006

Cites & Insights 6:6 available

Posted in Cites & Insights, Libraries on April 6th, 2006

No rain today in Mountain View, for the first time in two or three weeks–what better reason to publish a Spring issue?

Cites & Insights 6:6, Spring 2006 is ready for downloading.

The 26-page issue (all essays except the last also available as HTML separates at the C&I home page) includes:

  • Perspective: Discovering Books: The OCA/GBS Saga Continues – Keeping up to date on various projects to make millions of books more discoverable.
  • The Library Stuff – One featured website and ten articles and posts worth reading.
  • Trends & Quick Takes – seven items, fromclick fraud to AllLearn.
  • Good Stuff Perspective: Journal of Electronic Publishing Returns! – Notes on all but one of the articles in the first new issue of JEP in 3.5 years
  • Following Up and Feedback – belatedly, six pieces of feedback
  • Net Media: Blogs, Google and [Prawn] – that last word’s wrong, but I’d just as soon not have this blog blocked.
  • My Back Pages – nine comments and curiosities, exclusive to the PDF edition.

Sometimes you just can’t win

Posted in Language, Writing and blogging on April 4th, 2006

I’m doing some early editing on pieces of the next Cites & Insights. In “The Library Stuff” section, I have this sentence:

It’s an interesting treatment, although I wonder about the seeming inevitability of, say, journals in art and architecture going all-digital.

[If you wonder about the context--well, the issue will be out within the next two weeks.]

I do leave Word’s real-time spell check and grammar check on. Sometimes, grammar check has a really good suggested alternative.

In this case, Word gave the evil green squiggle to “all-digital” and suggested “all digital” as an alternative.

So, OK, what the heck. I changed the hyphen to a blank.

And Word gave the evil green squiggle to “all digital.”

You guessed it: The suggested fix was “all-digital.”

Who needs editors when you have advice like that?

Big Copyright has a new name!

Posted in Copyright on April 3rd, 2006

I found this post at EFF’s DeepLinks blog fascinating. It’s about the first of a series of hearings on limitations to DMCA (the copyright office has triennial rounds on such limitations)–and this new group (well, new to me!), the Joint Reply Commenters, that appears poised to respond to any outrageous attempt (read: any attempt) to limit DMCA in any way whatsoever.

On the other hand, maybe I’m missing the formation of a new rock group, “Steven Metalitz and the Joint Reply Commenters.” Their first big hit will be a riff on Paul Simon’s Kodachrome, the chorus line being “Hey mama don’t take our DMCA away…”

Actually, I like this: If it becomes clearer that the forces of absolute copyright and locking down everything speak with a single voice, it may be easier to deal with them…or not.

We need a new term? (As Huey Lewis didn’t say)

Posted in Language on April 3rd, 2006

In my post celebrating this blog’s first year I noted, “I’m trying out a new neologism, since I’m as sick of biblioblogosphere as others: any takers?” while using “biblogworld.”

I have no problem with neologisms that serve a purpose and roll pleasingly off the tongue. I can get sick of overused, trendy, or pointless neologisms pretty quickly; the same is true for neologisms that are ugly or hard to say.

In this case, a number of people had noted that they really didn’t like “biblioblogosphere,” mostly because it really doesn’t roll pleasingly off the tongue or keyboard–it’s too Germanic for most tastes. (In construction, not in derivation.) More recently, there’s the other issue–a sphere implies a center, and the world of library-related blogs has no such center.

“Biblogworld” is a non-starter, as the comments have made clear. “Library blogs” has the problem that the part of the arena that most interests me doesn’t consist of library blogs so much as blogs by “library people.” Library blogs–those run by and on behalf of specific libraries–can be enormously valuable if done right, but they really fall in a different, if related, category. And “Librarian blogs” is a little tricky, although it would allow me to investigate as an interested outsider–but it would also eliminate great blogs by other library people who don’t (or don’t yet) hold the degree. (Sorry, but as long as I’m an ALA member and nobody’s chosen to give me an honorary MLS–and boy, is the latter improbable–I’m unwilling to call myself a librarian. Drives my MLS-holding wife crazy, it does, but there it is.)

Suggestions? Some short phrase or pleasing term that encompasses the field of weblogs written by one or a small group of “library people” (as identified by themselves) and at least in part vaguely related to libraries and/or librarianship?

I can even provide a Cites & Insights hook. Yes, I do plan to do a newer, larger, different version of the “investigation” I did last year, and I’d like to have a good name for it.

One year down

Posted in Writing and blogging on April 1st, 2006

Two hundred seventytwo posts. Eight hundred eleven comments. Walt at Random is one year old today.

I had no real idea where this was going to go. The description, “Libraries, music, net media, cruising, policy, and other stuff not quite ready for Cites & Insights,” was a best guess (and I think that description has changed over time?).

I knew it wasn’t going to be a heavyweight post-every-day, aiming-for-the-A-list blog: After all, Cites & Insights is my primary outlet in the library field, and that’s going stronger than ever. I was hoping for an average of two posts a week; it looks as though I’ve averaged around five per week, but in wildly erratic patterns.

I was thrilled the first time a non-spam comment showed up. (Two days ago I had the first day in months when none of the comments awaiting moderation was spam. Things are, unfortunately, back to normal.) I was astonished when some posts gained lengthy, serious, involved comment threads. This one, with 35 comments to date, is close to astounding. (The link says that’s post 272. Apparently I must have deleted four posts along the way, or prepared drafts that never got posted, or something… The count that heads this essay is from the administration panel, which says there were 272 posts prior to this one.)

Let’s see. My categorization is as sloppy as my writing can be, but the sidebar seems to show that writing and blogging come first, followed by net media in almost a tie with libraries, followed by movies and TV, followed by “stuff”–my wonderfully articulate description of almost a quarter of the posts.

I haven’t written as much about music as I expected (but that could change). “Policy” in the description covers a lot of ground; I don’t think I’d ever use that as a category, but it includes copyright, censorware, many of the library posts, and quite a few in other categories. Cruising? Well, like speaking, I haven’t been writing about it as much because I haven’t been doing it as much–our most recent cruise was last June, and we don’t have one scheduled. Still, I’d guess I’ve written more about cruising (that is, on boats and ships) than anyone else in the biblogworld (I’m trying out a new neologism, since I’m as sick of biblioblogosphere as others: any takers?).

Yes, this is April 1, and I deliberately chose that date for the first post (although I cheated on that one: It was written the day before and postdated. This post is real-time writing: I started after breakfast on Saturday morning and will post it as soon as it’s done and I’ve done a quick “no bizarre formatting” preview). But this post is no more a joke than the blog as a whole–and the blog as a whole has turned into a little more than I expected.

No promises here. On reflection, might I have worded some posts slightly differently? Probably, although I can’t think of any that I completely regret posting. Do I consider this blog to be a big deal? As much as I did a year ago, which is to say not all that much–but I’m not inclined to give big-deal status to many other blogs either.

Well, let me modify that: One promise: Assuming continued health and all that, I’ll keep blogging when the spirit moves me, on topics that feel right at the time.

Who knows? I still want to go back and look at some title CD-ROMs, to see how (whether) they run on a contemporary system (mine’s 3.5 years old, but I regard any 1.5GHz+ PC with XP or OS X, at least 512MB RAM, and a decent graphics card as “contemporary”) and whether the stories they told are being told as well or as effectively “elsewhere” these days. I’ve been meaning to start that process for three years. Maybe, if time allows, putting those mini-reviews here rather than in C&I makes sense. Maybe both. Maybe time never will allow: There are so many magazines and books to be read, so much music to listen to, so many DVDs to view, and so many blogs to read…and, when spring finally does arrive, so many walks to take and flowers and trees and people to appreciate.

I’m not going away. It’s fun around here.


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