Notes along the way

Spring is here, spring is here… (no, I’m not going to advocate doing anything to pigeons, for Lehrer fans). Time for a few updates on previous posts–in the midst of a muddled time and in lieu of anything definitive.

In other words, lots’o’links (mostly to myself), not so much substance. (“What else is new?” say some of you…)

Five alternatives

I posted five items on February 28, 2009, “seeking group wisdom, advice” on four possible fairly large research/writing projects. The introductory post noted that I thought I could do one of these (or one per year) along with C&I, PLN, my two columns and, well, life itself–but was totally up in the air about which one to do. Or, for that matter, whether the “fifth choice”–do none of them, and generally take semi-retirement more seriously–makes sense.

Based on feedback to date, here’s what I see:

  1. Balanced Libraries, second edition: Apparently no interest whatsoever. Which also suggests that, although Library 2.0 and “Library 2.0″ continues to get ridiculous numbers of downloads as a freebie, I can predict that essentially nobody would be willing to pay for an updated book version. Good to know. (Andersonomics only works if there’s a market for “freemium.”)
  2. Blogging for Libraries – Replacing Public Library Blogs and Academic Library Blogs with a very different combined book about the reality of library blogs (including lateral metrics). The only positive feedback was a comment suggesting that “any book that gave concrete suggestions for better blogging would get snapped up by both the library school AND public library markets.” That might be true–but if that’s the reason people would buy the book, I strongly suspect they would buy Library Blogging instead–it’s by Jason Griffey and Karen Coombs, two brand-new Movers & Shakers (and highly knowledgeable librarians); it got a rave writeup on TTW; it’s from a real publisher. Look, if I had to make the choice, I’d buy the Coombs/Griffey book first–and might find it real hard to justify buying a second book, a self-published one at that by someone who’s not even in a library, on what appears to be the same topic. So as a basis for doing the new book, that one seems a little vague. The other half? No positive feedback.
  3. The Liblog Landscape Revisited. One positive comment about the current edition; zero positive feedback about redoing it. If you’re wondering: Two sales so far in March 2009, plus one each for the two library blog books. This is, admittedly, the project I’m most reluctant to abandon–but as long as I’m not independently wealthy (and thus happy to publish the results for free), it’s increasingly difficult to justify.
  4. Libraries and Publish on Demand. Lots of comments here–but only one actually favoring the project, and that primarily dealing with a tangent (future projections) rather than the core (“how to do it good”). Here again, as with #3, if money wasn’t an issue at all, I’m confident this would be a real service to the field and get used quite a bit–if it’s free. Maybe I’m too spooked by my experience with the desktop publishing workshop, but I get a similar feeling here–that is, this would be a lot of work to do right (including both OpenOffice and Mac versions of the template, the Mac version being especially difficult since I can’t risk $1,200+ on “oh, sure, there’s going to be LOADS of revenue”) and could very well result in a couple dozen book sales and one badly-attended workshop.

I haven’t made any decisions. Given the disruptions involved with possibly moving (amazing how 11 years has erased memories of just how long and severe those disruptions actually are!), I’m unlikely to make any decisions much before ALA Annual–unless other events and serious self-examination lead me to an expanded version of #5, the “dial back your professional involvement substantially” option.

The Rules

I’m fairly proud of this post. I’m delighted with the feedback that I got.

I suspect the post will have no effect. (Since this is probably true of 99% of all posts on 99.9% of all blogs, I’m not taking that personally!) I’m afraid too many of us (maybe most of us, and “us” doesn’t exclude me) experience a bit of schadenfreude now and then in finding others less worthy–and telling people they’re doing something wrong, even if it’s only wrong because you say so, must satisfy that “I’m better than you!” instinct. (Why isn’t there a good native English equivalent for schadenfreude? Smugness ain’t it. Neither is superiority. It may not even be the right term for this situation.)

The new Cites & Insights

If it seems as though large portions of this issue were written in February–well, yes, that’s true. See earlier regarding long, massive disruptions in daily life…I was afraid that might happen and wanted to leave time for it. With good reason.

But they’re all good essays, in my not-at-all-humble opinion.

What’s next?

As ongoing disruptions permit, I’ll get moving on the start of essays for the next C&I–with no promise as to when that might appear or what might be in it.

I’ll try to avoid making premature decisions on projects…or irritable decisions on professional activity and social network involvement.

Meditation and contemplation should be high on the list. Those are particularly difficult at the moment. (Yes, I really am a left-coaster.)

And I will try to avoid the desire to shout epithets at those who seem awfully eager to dance on the (not yet filled) graves of “old media” and other things that aren’t shiny enough for them.

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