Cites & Insights 6:10 available

Cites & Insights 6:10, August 2006 is now available for downloading–from citesandinsights.info, not cites.boisestate.edu.

The 30-page issue consists almost entirely of one big essay:

* Perspective: Looking at Liblogs: The Great Middle – a look at 213 library-person weblogs.

There’s also one little piece:

* Bibs & Blather – three brief items.

While each piece is also available as an HTML separate from the Cites & Insights home page, please don’t download the big essay if you’re planning to print it: You’ll use 49 pages instead of 30.

There will be a separate September issue, probably in September.

16 Responses to “Cites & Insights 6:10 available”

  1. Diane Says:

    Thanks for the great resource!

  2. walt Says:

    You’re welcome. I’ll take that as a “Yes, this is worthwhile.”

  3. don warner saklad dsaklad@zurich.csail.mit.edu Says:

    There are archives, archivists, records management, records managers blogs that are related to libraries and librarians.

    If you would, please consider including archives, archivists, records management, records managers blogs too !

  4. don warner saklad dsaklad@zurich.csail.mit.edu Says:

    [Comment deleted by wcc as being entirely off-topic. This is a blog, not an open-ended discussion group. I welcome conversation, but within the rules of a blog. Don\'t like them? Go play somewhere else.]

  5. David Bigwood Says:

    Walt, thanks for the overview. One group of liblogs you missed are those on MySpace. No RSS feeds, so I guess that knocks them out of many resources adn your list. Still there are plenty of them and they get comments and have readers. Most I’ve seen are more personal, rather than professional. For some examples check out:

    http://www.myspace.com/tbsmith
    http://www.myspace.com/sarahmae13
    http://www.myspace.com/iamalibrarian

    There is another often overlooked group on Live Journal, that is another subculture. Maybe an idea for next year’s look.

  6. Jennifer Macaulay Says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed the liblogs article – and found it to be worthwhile and very informative. I’m amazed at the amount of work that went into your survey!!!!

  7. Ross Says:

    Let me add my thanks to your exhaustive and individualistic survey of liblogs. I confess to having missed the first pass last year of highly-visited library-related blogs.

    The proliferation of liblogs you enumerate, and even the need for you to concentrate on the ‘great middle’ in order to get a handle on their numbers, suggests there is a crying need for everyone working in or near a library to either share the latest professional gleanings or vent about the day-to-day frustrations of a (one hopes ultimately) rewarding profession. Probably a healthy thing, by and large. I’ve populated my Bloglines with a fair smattering of more engaging blogs. Yet for all the methodology and metrics, I’m still not sure what you’re driving at here. Who among us are the busiest bloggers? Which of the great middle of liblogs solicit the most responses? You want to avoid popularity contests based on the metrics, but there’s not a great deal of non-metric evaluation going on here. I wish that I could face a prospect of looking at fewer than 213 individual blogs before selecting and winnowing from among them my favorite go-to blogs.

    Which brings me to my question. I’m curious about your exclusionary criterion for ‘library or official’ blogs. You’re obviously getting at something specific here by leaving them out. I freely acknowledge that blogs generated by institutions potentially give off a moldy fug — something decidedly ‘uncool’. The mere suggestion of an ALA-generated blog can make my skin crawl. And perhaps their very corporateness skews the metrics, suggesting we’d go to an ‘official’ blog regardless of its inherent worthiness.

    There seems to be a preoccupation with using liblogs to talk exclusively about librarianship: it goes to the question of self identification; indeed it’s their very raisons d’etre. It is that ‘voice’ we’re after, the authenticity that comes from individual or personal authorship? Is there no place in liblogs for something apart from navelgazing?

  8. walt Says:

    Ross, You raise good but difficult issues. Last two paragraphs first:

    No, I’m not getting at something specific by excluding “official” and “library” blogs. I just chose to look at “blogs by library people,” and those exclusions were one way to narrow the field slightly. It was a choice, not a reasoned philosophical decision. And I’d say quite a few liblogs involve issues beyond librarianship, but the identification with libraries and librarianship was what I was looking at. Again, a choice. I believe library blogs tend to serve one set of functions, official blogs have their own set of boundaries–and I was interested in the blogs that broadly fall in the third circle. Yes, it’s a Venn diagram: The three circles overlap. I tried to be as clear about the lines I was drawing as possible.

    As to the rest: I don’t know that I was “driving at” anything. And maybe that’s why Bibs & Blather asks about the worth of this whole exercise. I thought it would be interesting to look at that broad middle. I don’t feel qualified to evaluate the blogs as worthy or otherwise (for who? under what circumstances?), and after last year’s feedback I assuredly don’t want to be accused of having done so.

    I’ve proved to my satisfaction (the “null hypothesis” section) that there’s no really predictable relationship between Bloglines subscription count and actual readership or between link counts and readership–and I’ve never believed there was much of a correlation between readership and worth or, necessarily, between readership and influence. So I made the spreadsheet available, but chose not to use it as part of the article, and I’m satisfied that that decision is correct. For me. For now.

    It’s certainly not the case that everyone in librarydom is blogging; with something like 150,000 in the field in the U.S., I’d say it’s less than 1% of library people. Many blogs go beyond professional gleanings and day-to-day frustrations.

    Your response to the piece seems to be “What’s your point?” If that’s the right response–and it may be–then it was a waste of time. Either people find the process and the results worth reading about, or they don’t.

    That same question can be raised about quite a few C&I articles, which describe or survey without coming to firm conclusions. Actually, you could raise the question about the whole ejournal. Hmm.

  9. David Mattison Says:

    Thanks for a great job on liblogs Walt. I appreciate your including my Ten Thousand Year Blog once again. I think I pointed this out last year, but I actually started my blog in July 2002 under a different URL (http://radio.weblogs.com/0110793). I was one of the early adopters of WordPress, having used it since August 7, 2003 when it was still at pre-1.0 version numbers, and also one of the first, if not the first English language North American archivist bloggers. Although one of your commenters thought you hadn’t included some of the archivist type blogs, I could see from the ones I’m familiar with that you had. I’ll look forward to next year’s review!

  10. Ross Says:

    Thanks, Walt, for taking a slightly hysterical comment (mine) seriously. I’m glad I haven’t shaken your resolve to undertake this and other exercises in looking at the liblog picture. And you’re spot on, it’s not a clear picture. (From what I’ve read I’m not sure I’m ready to run out and start my own, mind you.)

    Your Venn diagram analogy makes it much clearer to me what you’re up to by selecting this particular subset of blogs for study: ‘the identification with libraries and librarianship was what I was looking at.’ By definition there’s not much point in including ‘official’ blogs. And having culled the personal liblogs from the herd, you can safely come to some (non-evaluative) conclusions about them. You’ve established a solid benchmark for the ‘state of the art’ (such as it is) of the great middle, which will make future analyses possible. It’ll be interesting to follow the trends.

    In the interest of full disclosure the ‘bee in my bonnet’ is non-commerical special library blogs, and I’ll keep hunting for comparable literature on them. So far it’s pretty thin, and mostly PL-centric.

    Speaking of your B&B comments, it’s good to hear that you won’t be constrained any more by your new employer than by your previous one. It would be nice if we could get some boilerplate language bloggers-on-the-inside could all use covering the balance between institutional integrity and ‘journalistic’ freedom.

  11. walt Says:

    David, Thanks. You’re one of the reasons I’m careful to say “from internal evidence” when citing start date; I know some blogs had earlier incarnations and didn’t pick up the old archives. And thanks for the note about archivists and the study, but do note the source (an old and recurring scourge who I pretty much ignore).

    Ross, thanks for the additional comment. I would say that quite a few special librarians have blogs, some in the middle, some more popular; there’s T. Scott, several in news libraries and the like, a whole slew of law librarians, and more.

    I already have plans for next year’s article (if I do it), and it will indeed use this year’s as a starting point. I think.

  12. Mark Says:

    First, thank you very much for your work again, Walt!

    “Was it worth it?” Boy, how do I begin? My first response is that I cannot begin to answer what your time is worth, and that only you can answer that question. But, to me, your time is extremely valuable. I also greatly appreciate this (immense amount of) work on your part.

    I have yet to read the info on all the individual blogs but I certainly will, and I look forward to adding more wonderful blogs reflecting individual voices to my Bloglines account.

    Also on the starting date, I actually began in January, not October, of 2005, but I’m blaming that on TypePad’s dorky Archives “feature” and not on you.

    So who knew I was so wordy? ;) I find some of this very interesting as I had had the feeling that this was a really slack time period for my blog. Of course, the whole IM question thing was in there, so that “helped.”

    I hope to be writing up some more thoughts on all this soon, but I’m still trying to move into my new place, among so many other things.

    “Do you (I) find this valuable?” Yes, yes, yes. Definitely, yes! While it doesn’t (and cannot) give any real “answers,” it does help demystify this blogging thing some for me.

    And thanks again for the new name.

  13. walt Says:

    Mark, Thanks and good luck with the move (and the job hunt). I think I’m getting the word from enough parties: You don’t always need firm conclusions for a survey article to be worthwhile. [I have to admit that asking the question in B&B was...well, you know, I'd trimmed the issue down from 34 to 30 pages, with a two-inch hole at the bottom of page 30, and...] The more direct issue raised in this comment stream has, I believe, been dealt with.

  14. WoW!ter Says:

    Thanks for the few positive words on my blog :)
    I think these exercises are really worth it. One of the uses is to show those other 19,000 professionals that there are plenty useful information resources on their profession. Let not all of them turn into avid bloggers, but readers yes. I still think there is plenty of room for growth in readership, and studies like these will make this happen.
    Last February I did a study like this for the Dutch Biblioblogosphere http://www.wowter.nl/blog/2006/02/de-nederlandse-biblioblogosphere-in.html, and there I have the same experience, that the resulting blogpost has attracted most readers of all blogposts to date. It is about time for an update already.

  15. walt Says:

    WoW!ter–thanks for the note. I just glanced at your study (which, I take it, was inspired by my 2005 article). Impressive, even if I can’t really read it.

  16. WoW!ter Says:

    @Walt, Yes you’re correct. I’ll let you know when I do the next study of the Dutch Biblioblogosphere. BTW, Bibliotheek is Dutch for library and therefore is biblioblogosphere a very apropriate term. In English it is different though. One of the first links I ever got was from a biblical study group, taking the word biblioblog as a biblical thing ;)


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