Pointing with Pride

Some time back, I realized that Cites & Insights lacked one element of writer’s satisfaction I used to get from its predecessor, one that I still get from my remaining column. It’s something you don’t get from blogging and do get–in spades–from traditional book publishing.

That is, the shock of seeing your words (possibly with editorial revisions) fresh, some weeks or months (or years) after you wrote them. Once in a while, it’s a pleasant shock: “That was really good!” (Once in a while it’s a less pleasant surprise, but let’s not go there.)

So I decided to read C&I–but not the current or recent issues. I started with the first 2004 issue in late 2005. Once Volume 5 was complete, I kept the print issues along with the bound volume I prepare at the end of the year instead of recycling them immediately, and have done the same since (I recycle each individual issue after I read it). I basically look to read about one issue a month, as though it was one of the many magazines I read (I put them in the backlog of magazines…)

This week I reached the Midwinter 2006 issue, Library 2.0 and “Library 2.0.” Sure, I’d glanced at the issue when preparing Balanced Libraries: Thoughts on Continuity and Change to decide how much I should incorporate (answer: almost nothing, but I did pick up a few pages of the July 2006 followup, “Finding a Balance: Libraries and Librarians”). but I certainly didn’t read it start to finish. I remember being nervous when I published the special issue–the longest essay and longest issue in C&I’s history until a couple of weeks ago, and one I expected to be pretty controversial.

Yesterday I finished the issue. You know what? I’m proud of it. Very proud of it. Substitute a four-letter word starting with “D” for “Very,” and you’ll get how I really feel.

I was even looking at the essay and wondering whether it had legs enough to deserve republishing, along with the July 2006 followup but with no editorial changes at all, as a sort of memorial instabook in the easier-to-read trade-paperback format, probably for $20. (Terrible idea? Good idea? Yawn? Comments are open.)

Not that it hasn’t been pretty widely read. When the final reports for C&I at Boise State were run in late May 2007, they show that the PDF version of that issue was downloaded by 12,276 visitors–and the HTML version by another 14,097 visitors (who I hope didn’t print it out, as that’s far more wasteful than printing the PDF). The last time I ran full stats for the current C&I (at the end of May), they show another 1,469 PDF downloads and 619 HTML pageviews. That totals more than 28,000 readers (no doubt inflated)–and for all I know, the issue may be archived elsewhere as well. Actually, strike that: I know it’s archived at least one other place, in the OCLC Digital Archive (you can link there from Worldcat.org), and there may be others for all I know–the CC license explicitly permits them.

That’s about it: Just pointing with pride. The essay was a considerable effort. Looking back, it was worthwhile.

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