Wrapping it up: Liblog Landscape 12

First the pitch:

Buy the book!

The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008: A Lateral Look.

This 285-page 6×9 trade paperback looks at 607 liblogs (nearly all English-language) and, for most of them, how they’ve changed from 2007 to 2008.

It’s the most comprehensive look at liblogs ever done–and the only one I know of that shows how they’re changing from year to year.

From now through January 15, 2009, and only from Lulu, The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008 is available for $22.50 plus shipping.

On January 16 or thereabouts, that price will go up to $35.00. If and when the book is available on Amazon, it will immediately sell for $35.00.

Why there’s not more personal commentary and evaluation

At least a couple of you have said you were looking forward to my comments about blogs–and, at least on the individual level, I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed.

The book includes lots of comments about how liblogs work in the aggregate and how they’re changing. The first 11 chapters are very much in my voice and include my opinions.

But I don’t attempt to discuss what bloggers are posting about–that’s just too complicated and too transitory. To be honest, with some of the more prolific blogs, I was just marking-and-counting: Adding up the number of posts, comments and figures, and measuring total word count, but not really reading each post. (Hey, the blogs included more than 22,000 posts during March-May 2007 and more than 19,000 during March-May 2008. I’m a fast reader, but that’s a lot of reading–more than 9.5 million words, or the equivalent of at least 95 good-size books.)

As I was building the preliminary version of Chapter 12–that is, building the profile for each liblog as I measured its metrics, knowing I’d go back and fill in some derivative measures later on–I was adding a brief evaluative comment in some cases: One or two sentences describing the blog’s nature as I saw it during the 2008 period.

I wound up stripping out all of those comments for four reasons:

  1. In a few cases (maybe half a dozen?), I didn’t feel I could include a comment because I really didn’t like the blog (or some aspects of the blog, or disliked the blogger)–and I’d already decided to follow the “grandmother rule” (If I couldn’t say anything nice, I wouldn’t say anything at all.)
  2. In a lot of cases (scores of them), I didn’t find that I had anything useful to say, because the blog was in an area I don’t understand very well or for other reasons.
  3. As I worked my way through, I found my comments becoming less and less useful.
  4. The killer: Those comments would take up at least 100 pages of the book, probably more like 150 pages. Maybe it might make sense to write “Walt’s BIG Book of Liblogs” some day, but this isn’t the day. I was hoping to keep the book under 300 pages (and finally succeeded, partly by using slightly smaller type) and certainly wanted to keep it under 400 pages.

But still…

Part of me wants to do that part–but I think it would be a separate book. Is that book worth doing? Am I the right one to do it? (Would I be able to keep on as even a part-time participant in the library field after doing it?)

Damned if I know. For now, I’m not sure how I’d go about it. The task of categorizing and judging 19,000 posts is far beyond me, I think; the task of providing useful evaluative comments on even 500 blogs–well, possible, but I’m not yet sure how.

We shall see. Meanwhile,

What’s here, the remainder

Here are the remaining liblogs included, with the number of times each appears in the index.

10 Responses to “Wrapping it up: Liblog Landscape 12”

  1. Kathleen de la Pena McCook Says:

    We’ve ordered it at South Florida. We even have 2 copies of _Balanced Libraries: Thoughts on Continuity and Change_
    I think maybe all this (blogs) may fade and that your books may document the movement. You always remind me of Eadweard Muybridge somehow.

  2. Kathleen de la Pena McCook Says:

    Clarification on Muybridge comparison, come to think of it…I meant the ecclectic observational capacity, not his personal life.

  3. walt Says:

    I don’t know enough about Muybridge to be troubled by either one. I suppose I’ll have to find out more…

    Well, my books only deal with one very small but, I think, significant part of blogs as a whole–I’d say a little less than one-tenth of one percent: Blogs somehow connected to libraries and librarianship. And, for that matter, only the (roughly half?) portion that’s in English.

    Personally, I don’t expect blogs to fade away any faster than email lists–although, as with email lists, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them become less and less the flavor of the day. Actually, I think the latter has already happened.

    Wired’s run a piece saying that blogging is over; that augurs very well for the future of blogs as useful tools.

    Whether I’ll be able to document things on an ongoing basis…well, I’d love to, but funding is a serious issue. I just can’t justify doing it on a serious ongoing basis, just for fun, while operating on a basis where earned income is less than our expense budget.

  4. Blake Says:

    This was “Posted in Uncategorized”

  5. walt Says:

    Blake: Thanks. Must have been a long day as I was finishing up the series of posts… (“Uncategorized” seems to uncheck itself as soon as you check anything else…when you’re first posting, that is.)

  6. Lindsey Says:

    are you by chance going to be at ALA Annual?

  7. walt Says:

    Well, I’ve registered for it (via the two-conference early-bird special), so it’s extremely likely…barring unforeseen circumstances, which I’ve become aware is not just a silly addition.

  8. Lindsey Says:

    I was just wondering if you might be selling books during the weekend (at any kind of discount).

  9. Lindsey Says:

    Oh and I meant Midwinter, not annual. Oops.

  10. walt Says:

    Ah. Yes, I’ll definitely be at Midwinter (assuming good health and that Frontier keeps flying)–but no, I don’t sell the books directly under any circumstances. (Can’t, without changing my tax status and a bunch of other complications.) And, to be sure, I’ll be at Midwinter as an ALA member–not an exhibitor.

    This book is steeply discounted until January 16–and two other books will go on discount (instead of going directly OP) at the turn of the year.


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