Ejournal as blog: A novel experiment?

One of the founders told me about In the Library with the Lead Pipe earlier this week–but somehow I failed to blog about it then. Let’s make up for that…since I think this is an interesting experiment off to a good start.

What it is

In the Library with the Lead Pipe is intended to help improve our communities, our libraries, and our professional organizations. Our goal is to explore new ideas and start conversations; to document our concerns and argue for solutions. Each article is peer-reviewed by at least one external and one internal reviewer.

It’s a group of six librarians–all named, all with biographical pages, from academic, public and school libraries.

In addition to essays by its founders, In the Library with the Lead Pipe will feature articles by guests representing special libraries and archives, as well as educators, administrators, library support staff, and community members.

What’s novel

Look at the boldfaced sentence in the first quote (emphasis added). These aren’t traditional blog posts.

They’re articles–and they’re peer reviewed.

They’re not scholarly articles (although I suppose some of them could be), so this isn’t precisely a Gold OA journal. It is, though, an ejournal–it has an overall name, there are individual signed articles, articles are peer-reviewed–in the form of a blog.

No ISSN (yet), but they plan weekly publication (in your reader every Wednesday!), going twice-weekly if there’s enough material.

What’s here

In addition to the welcoming post that explains what this is, there’s the first article: “What happens in the library…” by Brett Bonfield. It’s an article-length review of Pop Goes the Library–and it’s both a good read and, I suspect, a very useful review. (Hey, it’s got me interested in reading the book, and that’s a surprise.)

There are two feeds–one for posts, one for comments.

Minor grumps

The WordPress design is carefully thought out, I suspect, and probably well suited to this experiment.

From my specialized perspective as a sometimes quant analyst of liblogs, it’s not ideal: The home page includes only the first few lines of each article–and, at least for now, the archive shows only the titles (and incorrect comment counts). But, again, that’s from a specialized perspective–for 99% of readers, the design will work just fine.

Closing

This is an interesting idea and I suspect the group behind it has enough commitment to make it a serious experiment. I wish it well–and it’s certainly in my feed list.

You might want to give it a try. You won’t be bombarded with 10 posts a day, that’s for sure. If future articles are at the level of the first one, there’s likely to be some good reading here.

Oh yes: Here’s the subtitle:

The murder victim? Your library assumptions. Suspects? It could have been any of us.

3 Responses to “Ejournal as blog: A novel experiment?”

  1. DerikB Says:

    Thanks for the attention and comments, Walt.

    For what it’s worth, the shortened content on the home page is because our articles are going to be long, and we wanted (or at least I did and no one argued me down) to let people see something about two posts at a time. Sometimes I found a new blog and the first post may be great, but then I discover it was a bit of an anomaly.

    I’ll look into the archive page displaying. That’s harder to deal with until there are a few posts to archive.

  2. walt Says:

    Derik,

    I think that, for nearly all of your potential users, the shortened content makes sense. I’m not at all suggesting that you change it. There aren’t going to be hundreds of people doing quantitative blog analysis; probably not even three. It would be absurd to change a good, working design to suit one person!

    The problem with the archive page is that it’s showing zero comments for both posts, which is wrong in both cases. Probably just a tweak…

  3. Brett Bonfield Says:

    Walt,

    Thanks for the kind words and for sharing your ideas. Derik responded to a few points already. Some other notes:

    We faxed in the ISSN application on Wednesday. We hope to have something lined up in 6-8 weeks.

    We’ll likely include abstracts on the front page, instead of the first few words of the article as we do now. Unfortunately, that probably won’t meet your needs, but you did get us thinking.

    If you ask each of us, you’ll probably get six slightly different responses, but for me the inspiration behind our version of peer review is primarily essayist and VC investor Paul Graham, with a considerable debt to The Code4Lib Journal as well.


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