The story up to now
- In Part 1, an old friend reminded me of what I should have known–that I needed to follow my passion, or in less Left Coast wording, do what I care about
- In Part 2, the big secret was revealed at considerable length–the project I’m working on, most likely entitled The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008.
and now, without further ado (and at much less length than yesterday, I hope), we present:
Part the Third: In which a possibly-useful project is deferred or abandoned for what may or may not be the right reasons.
For all the talk about why libraries (every library, or most libraries, or whatever) should be doing blogs and what wonderful benefits they’ll derive, I believe these were and are the first objective looks at what’s actually out there, other than a few handpicked examples.
I believe they were landmark projects, at least deserving of some discussion and criticism.
Two shrubs fall in the forest. No one hears.
They were wholly ignored by the gurus of library blogging. Wholly.
Reacting charitably, I’ll assume that none of those gurus are aware of either Cites & Insights or Crawford at Large, and so were and are wholly unaware of the books.
There are less charitable reactions, to be sure. Kate Davis, one of that remarkable group of Australian libloggers, raised one possibility in a March 14, 2008 post at virtually a librarian.
And, for that matter, a July 12, 2008 post at Marcus’ World seems to argue that social software and other initiatives should not be evaluated–or at least not yet. I’m trying very hard to avoid the phrase “faith-based librarianship,” but when I’m told that we shouldn’t be asking whether new services are effective, I have to wonder. (To my mind, a perfectly legitimate objection would be “You’re not measuring the right things”–which then raises the issue of what those right things would be. To say that we shouldn’t be asking such questions at all–that seems a bit odd.)
Maybe it was a bad idea to begin with
Actually, in details, I’m entirely willing to agree that the books might (should?) have been done differently, with a lot more discussion of analytics and a lot less text from each blog. I thought examples would be useful. Maybe they are, but they made it easy to dismiss the book as “just stuff taken from the blogs.” That’s wildly unfair, I believe, but the I’m biased.
Going forward or not
The public library portion of the project was (is) somewhat interesting on its own merits, but was a lot of work for very little apparent result.
The academic library portion of the project, frankly, got less interesting as time went on. And was even more work for even less apparent result.
So there’s very little in me crying out to take the next step–which would involve longitudinal studies (looking at changes in blogs over time) and a whole lot more up-front discussion.
If there was some form of external sponsorship, or if things suddenly picked up this fall, that could change–in which case, I’d look at the possibility of doing a two-year comparison (2007 & 2009).
Most likely, though, I’ll write this one off as a reject.
So just how badly (or well) did the books actually do?
That’s Part 4. Stay tuned.