In some ways, this is another promotional post for the forthcoming July 2010 Cites & Insights (which, as of right now, seems likely to emerge on June 9 or June 10 and to be 40 pages long). The first such post appeared yesterday, and raised some troubling issues regarding the future of C&I (and of my involvement in the field).
To the extent that the second section of that post was a touch downbeat, I apologize–sort of. And I do apologize to the colleague with whom I had an email conversation (not sparked by the post), a conversation that revealed to me that I’ve been more demoralized by some events of this year than I’d realized. (Don’t worry: I won’t be wandering around DC being gloomy–I don’t do that at conferences. In fact, overall, I’m not gloomy…)
What Is Happening
The forthcoming issue has, I believe, some interesting stuff. The first piece starts a new project that might or might not continue; I think it’s interesting and maybe relevant to some libraries. The second piece–the big essay–is relevant to almost every librarian (in my opinion) and continues what I regard as strong Zeitgeist pieces (most of which could equally well be Making it Work pieces, this one less so).
The third piece is a traditional collection with a difference–it’s about products, but in most cases with brief (or not so brief) essays rather than pure descriptions. Then there’s a set of brief takes on old movies, always fun…or not. (This group includes three classics and three more that I thought were near-classics…indeed, this time I thought three-quarters of the flicks were worthwhile.)
And I close with an overdue PDF-only section of snark, only about half of it related to the wonderful world of high-end audio
But I thought I’d also talk about…
What’s Not Happening
There’s no Making it Work essay in this issue. I’m pretty sure there will be one in the August issue–there’s certainly plenty of source material, and I’ve started splitting into semi-manageable chunks. (How semi-manageable? 44 items in one big chunk, 25 in another, 26 in a third, and a bunch of smaller groups.)
There’s no Perspective as such–and in that case, I have a working “On” title that will almost certainly get written very soon (I would have written it for the July issue, but this issue was already overlength, and the particular topic can only benefit from a little more thinktime). For that matter, I could treat an MiW chunk as a Perspective…and quite easily come up with an all-Perspective issue.
By far the largest group of Delicious items relates to Google Book Search and the proposed settlement…but there’s no indication of when or whether a settlement will actually be approved, and I have no idea whether it will even make sense to dive back into that particular pool.
Blogging, copyright, writing, reading, social networks, ereaders, ebooks…lots of future topics with lots of worthwhile source material.
It’s clear to me that, if it makes sense to keep C&I going, having enough varied material and ideas won’t be a problem for years to come. Does it make sense to keep C&I going? That’s a tougher question…
What’s Also Not Happening
Beyond C&I–and at least one promising individual project that I won’t discuss until it’s final–there’s some potential research that isn’t happening. At least not yet.
- I’m now fairly well convinced that it’s futile for me to spend time on library blogs, even though it would be fascinating to do a qualitative/quantitative study focusing on those library blogs that appear to be succeeding (based on comments or Google Page Rank). The field seems to have told me in no uncertain terms that my work in this area is simply not valued, so there’s little point in even considering additional bruises on my forehead.
- Liblogs–blogs by library people–are another question. Not that But Still They Blog is setting any sales records (I do appreciate the purchase of PDF versions of both liblog books last Friday–thanks, whoever you are!)–it’s now up to 16 copies–but, well, this one still interests me. Maybe. I can think of two approaches for a future study, but in my saner moments I think that neither one may be worth pursuing. (One approach: An attempt to capture the entire field, but only at a gross level–that is, without individual commentaries or difficult metrics. The other, which may be complementary: A detailed analysis of a smaller group of blogs, focusing on those that can be said to be currently active.)
- Anything else where my skills and tenacity might be worthwhile. It just doesn’t make sense to do this kind of stuff on speculation, based on results to date.
That’s it for now. Once again, I’d love to discuss possibilities with people or groups, before I admit that “semi-” in “semi-retired” has become a lie.