A few years back, I had a breakfast conversation about possible distributed publicity campaigns for American public libraries. I had the notion that, if properly defined, every library was a star: That every public library does something unusually well, something worth publicizing.
(No, this actually isn’t a comment on one particular magazine’s “star library” listings. I don’t want to get into that, lacking enough background to comment knowledgeably.)
When I decided to do a followup to The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008, one of the changes was to avoid having one huge, somewhat indigestible, chapter with all the blog profiles (that’s pages 122-268 of the book–as I say, it’s a huge chapter). Having them all in one alphabetical order is great for quick lookups, but doesn’t really encourage reading the profiles–there are just too many.
So, for But Still They Blog: The Liblog Landscape 2007-2009 (on its way soon–I need to choose a cover photo, prepare the cover, upload it and check over a trial copy, but first there’s a little matter of Thanksgiving, where we’ll host twice as many people as ever before), I decided to distribute the profiles:
Several chapters include lists of blogs that are noteworthy in one dimension or another. For most of those lists, if the blog hasn’t already been profiled, the profile appears at the end of that chapter.
So, for example, chapter one ends with 87 profiles, chapter two 56, chapter three 41, chapter four 105…
Did every blog wind up profiled in one of the main chapters? Not quite. Some liblogs, including a few that I consider particularly important, just didn’t stand out in terms of quantifiable metrics–which aren’t, to be sure, the most important things about blogs.
But most did. The final chapter includes the rest of the profiles, and it only has 55 profiles out of 521 liblogs in the book: 10.6% of the total. Even using a relatively small set of metrics, 89.4% of blogs had some noteworthy (positive) characteristic. If I’d included lists of standouts for 2007 or 2008, which I generally didn’t, I’m sure I would have picked up even more. (Quick inspection says that’s definitely true for 22 of the 55.)
As for libraries? I still think it’s an interesting idea, but not one I’m in any position to pursue.