Archive for the 'Writing and blogging' Category

Raining on parades?

Posted in Writing and blogging on August 2nd, 2011

Maybe this shouldn’t bother me, but it does–possibly because it was just about the first thing I encountered this morning, going through email–indeed, sent at 6:05 a.m. (my time).

I won’t include the writer’s name; that’s not important. Here’s the text, other than salutation:

You said

“If your public library/library district currently uses Twitter, Facebook or both, I’d love to get some feedback to help me prepare a book on public library use of social networks, to be published by ALA Editions next.”

Have you considered that such a book would have a short shelf life if not be DOA on publication, as the social media landscape is changing so fast?

I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on
1. how your proposed book would/could be used by librarians (catching up with this trend, or ?)
2. the utility of books on rapidly-changing phenomena vs other means of getting the information out, e.g. blogs or ??

Sorry to sound like a wet blanket. I do wish you well on your project.

I responded as politely as I felt possible…and then did a little checking. The person who sent this signs herself as a chief researcher for a research firm. Searches for that research firm on Bing and Google turn up nothing but this person’s LinkedIn profile. That profile shows that the person is a special librarian.

Not a public librarian. Not, apparently, involved in public libraries. Not, shall we say, one of the target audience for my question.

I find myself unable to read that first question as a question, rather than an assertion. (Indeed, “Have you considered…” is such a leading form for a question that I’d generally assume it’s an assertion, not a real question.)

Since the person asking the “question” isn’t within the target audience, I have to wonder: Is this just gratuitous, well, wet-blanketing, to use her term? Does she troll the blogosphere (or lists) looking for projects of which she does not approve, then ask leading questions of those involved?

Can I expect an Amazon one-star review similar to the “review” of Open Access: What You Need to Know Now, but this time emphasizing that, you know, it’s insane to write books about “rapidly-changing phenomena”? (Facebook and Twitter have both been around for quite a while–seven and five years respectively–and I regard “social media” as a nonsense term primarily used by SEOs and marketing gurus.)

I dunno. Are there lots of people who go looking for chances to “challenge” other people, insinuating that what they’re doing is a bad idea? Or is this a special case?

[As to the preferability of spending a substantial amount of time preparing a study, then getting it out via a blog: Been there, done that, not thrilled with the results. Of course, I *also* got email from an Important Named “Research” Group that’s studied 100–count them, 100–libraries of all types on their use of social networks and prepared “data” (sorry, but for that sample size, I have to use scare quotes) that it will sell at a substantial price…. and, for all I know, there could be things about the anecdata that make it worth the money.]

Still looking for feedback…

For those of you who are in public libraries, note that I’d still love to get feedback if your library uses Twitter or Facebook or, for that matter, if your library used to use one or both and has stopped.



How intrusive are with-post ads?

Posted in Writing and blogging on April 29th, 2011

I’ve received some clarification on matters hinted at earlier (not the two books: those are jes’ fine), and am now looking into what I should do about Walt at Random and Cites & Insights. Those are two very different topics, to be sure.

This post is about the former. Namely, what I might do to generate a little revenue from this here blog.

I could sign up for AdWords again, and might do so, but I’m a little chary of the “only pay for actual clickthroughs” model, particularly for a blog that reaches mostly library people. So I’m also thinking about some other ad model (via Google? Dunno: haven’t investigated that yet), including models that pay for exposure and those where ads are actually fed along with individual posts in RSS feeds, not just on the sidebar here.

Example within the library field: David Lee King’s blog–not every post, but at least some of them. There are others.

So the questions are:

  • How intrusive do you find such ads? Are they likely to make you unsubscribe?
  • For that matter, how intrusive do you find banner ads and “in-stream” ads (ones that appear between or within posts on the site itself)?
  • Any other suggestions as to how to make this blog a source of income?
  • Can you suggest any reputable ad networks that might work for this blog, and that pay based on views, not just clickthroughs?


Aggressive spam

Posted in Writing and blogging on April 27th, 2011

Hey, if you’re going to spam somebody’s blog, why not be aggressive about it?

Here’s one that actually got past my filters–but not the human filter:

The subsequent time I read a weblog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I imply, I do know it was my choice to read, but I actually thought youd have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you can repair for those who werent too busy searching for attention.

I see the logic behind this kind of attack: If I believe in open discussion, I’m certainly not going to suppress a comment just because it’s being critical of my post, right?

Right. Unless the comment:

  • is semi-literate (and that wouldn’t knock it out)
  • is attached to a post for which it really makes no sense
  • oh, lookie there, has a pseudo-commercial site as a link to the “author’s” name…

Actually, I’ve gotten lots worse–but those are trapped by Spam Karma 2, and it’s really difficult to transcribe the comments into a new post (you can’t cut-and-paste from the review panel).

Expect another post soon about the status of various projects…if I’m not too busy working on them.

Anniversary Post: Six Years!

Posted in Writing and blogging on April 1st, 2011

It’s anniversary day for Walt at Random; this thing’s been around for six years now.

I would say that I’m posting less now because FriendFeed gets more attention, and that might be true—but it’s a hard case to make, given that my annual output (adjusted for the weekly Library Leadership Network posts that I removed once they removed me) really hasn’t varied much—and if I keep going at the same rate in 2011, I’ll wind up with around 224 posts, which would be a typical year.

Still, I feel like I’m posting less now, and certainly being a lot more active on FriendFeed. As for Twitter…well, I have an account, and I check maybe twice a day, but I still don’t seem to have many things to say that fit in 140 characters or less (“I’m a wordy bastard”), so there it is.

Walt at Random continues to be, well, random: A mix of announcements for Cites & Insights (and my generally-failed experiments at Cites & Insights Books), brief comments on old movies & TV movies as offered in Mill Creek Entertainment megapacks, and posts on a strange variety of topics…once in a while even relevant to libraries and librarianship, although most “relevant” stuff winds up in Cites & Insights.

I can’t provide stats for the past year, because my brief experiment in “paid blogging” (which never yielded any revenue) means there are no stats for July 1 through September 30, 2010. For the nine months excluding that quarter (and excluding most of yesterday, since Urchin seems to run a day or so behind on this blog), I show 321,353 sessions or an average of 880.42 per day (but that’s averaged across the entire year, so meaningless), and 1,105,677 pageviews. Really? More than 1.1 million pageviews? It’s possible that most of those are either spiders or RSS feeds or spammers (I get typically 40 to 80 spamments a day, and that’s with comments locked down two or three months after a post).

Let’s look at the last six months, for which I do have stats:

  • 276,057 sessions: 1,517 a day.
  • 998,680 pageviews: 5,487 a day. There are a few true spikes in that set, one day apparently up around 16,000 hits.
  • Ignoring category and monthly pages—which do seem to account for most of the “most popular pages” along with the home page, supporting the possibility that these numbers are mostly meaningless—the most viewed pages include “Public Library Blogs Posting Frequency” (March 2008) with 1,741 views, “Bandwidth of Large Airplanes Take 2” (June 2010) with 1,474, “Liblog Landscape Opinions Requested” (August 2010) with 1,469, “Of Chaos and Stability, Two Minor Mini-Posts” (November 2008) with 1,455…and, two years after the post had any meaning whatsoever, “Bloggers Salon Palisades Not Avila” (June 2008), 1,441. That first page is actually the 109th most “popular” page…but then, I’d expect that the bulk of actual post reading happens in RSS (FeedBurner says I have 900 subscribers at the moment, but a day with two posts may cause a couple of people to leave).

I have no deep comments to offer. Hmm. That could even be a new subtitle for this blog. To close, here’s the liblog profile, as it would appear if something like 300 more copies of the book ever sold…

Not going away. Post frequency will continue to be wildly erratic.

Walt at Random

“The library voice of the radical middle.” By Walt Crawford. US. WordPress. Began April 2005; lasted for 62 months (through May 2010). Group 1.

Overall Posts


Per Month






























Post length




















Conv. Intensity











Trolls I have known and ignored

Posted in Writing and blogging on February 14th, 2011

Seems like some interesting trolling’s been turning up of late, in library lists and posts.

Which might make this a good occasion to offer some irrelevant thoughts on the Annoyed Librarian(s).

Plural, because of what I see as the history–probably falsely, but that’s OK: when you’re dealing with a pseudonym, you get to make up your own story.

Back in the day, here defined as “early in AL’s blog, and before it had the imprimatur of Library Journal,” I once thought that I knew who they/he/she/it was/were. That may have been naive, and was based in part on one or more people coming up to me (that is, either one person or a group of people at the same time) and informing me that she/he/it/they were/was the AL, and swearing me to secrecy.

At one point, there was a popular guessing game as to the AL’s identity. One library person came up with the same guess as my thought. I did not, of course, confirm it.

Different AL entirely, or a remarkable split personality?

Here’s the thing, though: to me, the LJAL (Library Journal Annoyed Librarian) doesn’t seem to be the same person or group as the AL (pre-LJ Annoyed Librarian).

I can think of both of them as AL in much the same way that Darrin Stephens was always Darrin Stephens (those of you who don’t get the reference, get offa my lawn)–entirely different actor, very different persona, but the same name.

I had some respect for the pre-LJ AL, at least some of the time. I can’t say the same for LJAL, who I regard as a troll and attractor for LJ ads.

Heck, LJAL could even be a retired LJ editor, for all I know… (Say, now, there’s a rumor…)

I can only assume one of three things:

  1. I never actually knew who or what AL was, which is quite possible.
  2. LJAL really is a different group/person/thing than the original AL.
  3. It’s the same group or person, a group or person that incidentally has a very respectable blog or group of blogs, and that group or person has evolved a distinctly split personality and writing skill. (The good writing is saved for the respectable blog(s).)
  4. There is no AL. It’s the result of a clever algorithm put together by some librarian, most probably with the first name Pete.

What? Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.

Not really zombies: Blogs reborn

Posted in Writing and blogging on December 24th, 2010

A little more holiday cheer–and why not?

While I’m avoiding any real writing until post-Xmas, I did do some prep work today toward a probable essay. The essay is not about blogging–although it’s also not entirely unrelated. (A new essay about blogging? Soon, probably…)

Clever people accessing my Diigo account might be able to figure out the topic I’m working on, if they happen to know my tagging methods–and particularly the suffix I add to a tag when I’ve printed off a leadsheet for the article/post/whatever, partly so I don’t accidentally print it off again. None of which is important.

What I’m celebrating here is something that I was reminded of while doing this work.

Namely, some of the “dead” liblogs are, in a Pythonesque turn, not quite dead after all. At least two library folks whose thinking I respect have come back to blogging.


I’d like to think this return may be in part because people are getting past blogging as an obligation and various nonsense about how often You Must Blog To Maintain Your Brand, and are seeing blogging as an opportunity–to be used when it’s the right way to say something and to be ignored otherwise.

Or not.

In any case, it’s good to see these folks returning to the scene. I hope to see a few more in 2011…people who, once in a while, have things to say that don’t fit comfortably in 140 characters or even 140 words. (This post is right around 250 words long.)

The blog in review

Posted in Writing and blogging on December 10th, 2010

Dorothea Salo, one of the most thoughtful and worth-reading libloggers around, has an annual tradition I’d forgotten: posting and commenting on the first sentence of the first post of each month that year.

What a good idea! A post that isn’t me pushing books (a generally futile but unamusing exercise) and might actually be fun. So, here, goes.

  • January: “I’d like to call your attention to this post by Jennifer Macaulay on Just Another Day (you may know Macaulay from her previous blog, Life as I Know It).” Pointing to the first and, AFAIK, the only review of But Still They Blog: The Liblog Landscape 2007-2009. [Apropos the final paragraph in that post, I downloaded OpenOffice yesterday and may see whether it gives me a reasonable road to ePub. Meanwhile, BSTB is up to almost 20 copies sold…]
  • February: “When last I discussed the possibility of a book combining all 33 of the Open Access-related essays in Cites & Insights from 2001 through 2009 (plus one “disContent” column from EContent Magazine), the issue was whether it was worth doing an ePub version: Whether anybody would want it.” Raising the question of whether it was worth doing Open Access and Libraries if it didn’t have an index. Comments convinced me the answer was Yes. I did. I have no idea how many PDF freebies were downloaded, but hope it’s a few and that people have found them worthwhile. (Since this book was done with no expectation of sales, I’m not even recording them.)
  • March: “Maybe I need to learn something from mainstream merchants: That is, the value of constant, repetitive advertising.” I didn’t, and it didn’t seem to matter anyway.
  • April: “This blog began on April 1, 2005–five years ago.” So it did.
  • May: “Last weekend, Safeway had a really good price on Ruby Red grapefruit from Texas–and they looked like pretty good grapefruit as well.” Ah, good: A post that has nothing to do with PoD books. Not much to do with libraries, either–it’s about my changed expectations for what constitutes “great fruit” after going to Farmers’ Markets. Specifically, while good Ruby Red grapefruit from Texas via Safeway is still good fruit, the yellow organic grapefruit from Lone Oak Farms at the local Farmers’ Market is great–and that’s a good reminder that I can look forward to that grapefruit in another month or four. (Local navel oranges are just starting to get really good about now.)
  • June: “Maybe that’s too broad a question.” What question? The post title: “Does every librarian need to be an involved expert on everything?” My contribution to a discussion in which a certain library guru directly insulted any librarian (or “info pro”) who chose to quit Facebook because of its appalling privacy practices. Remember the money quote from the guru? Here it is:

I also would expect to be able to receive informed, current and excellent advice and training on how to deal with the emerging social tools from my professionals in the social institutions I frequent (public libraries, schools, univerisities, colleges, etc.).

[That’s a direct cut-and-paste.] I’ll stand behind everything I said in that post, particularly concerning the guru’s response (where he seems to say that HR departments would reasonably reject applications from librarians who aren’t where “the majority of users” are–which, among other things, means rejecting any non-Christian applicant who isn’t part of a heterosexual marriage and anybody who believes in evolution).

Oh, go read the post…and the comments. I’m proud of this one.

  • July: “Very short post, with the heart of it in the title above, so as to encourage FriendFeed participation.” Again, that’s meaningless without the post title: “What year did downloaded music start outselling CDs/vinyl?” Most commenters were way ahead of me on this one.
  • August: “The good news: I’ve started in on The New Project (a fast-turnaround, relatively brief book for a real library publisher, on a topic I’m quite comfortable with–more later).” The start of a post on progress/regress on various fronts. That project is in production right now; it will be my first traditionally-published book in quite some time. Eight years, actually…
  • September: “Not much blogging lately.” The post title is “Arggh: A quick update,” and much of it has to do with the perils of sorting an Excel spreadsheet while some columns are hidden.
  • October: “Just for fun, and in the absence of anything serious to say (hey, I’m 99% finished with a Real Book Project…), here’s some great stuff from today’s spamments:” Another one worth reading–some of the most remarkable attempts at spam comments I’ve run into, before or since, including one that begins “Go screw yourself!!!” and goes on from there.
  • November: “Available immediately–but only for four months or 100 copies, whichever comes first: disContent: The Complete Collection.” Still available, but only 97 copies and 2.6 months left. The first and quite possibly the last hardbound (casebound) book from C&I Books.
  • December: “If you’re somebody who might remotely consider buying The Liblog Landscape 2007-2010, I have a question for you–and answers don’t in any way obligate you to buy the book when it comes out.” The question had to do with the separate PDF with larger versions of the 34 figures/graphs in the book.

One caveat: It’s possible that the posts for January, February and March weren’t actually the first posts in those months. I removed posts–something I rarely do–that were nothing more than publicity for the Library Learning Network after I was summarily dismissed from my position with that project, which was later shut down. (If you’re wondering, I do plan to post about the status of the related project–the status being “nothing’s happening, and I’m probably going to delete the archives.”) It’s possible that those posts came earlier. But those were mirror posts anyway, so I don’t think they count.

Liblog Landscape 2007-2010: Item along the way

Posted in Liblogs, Writing and blogging on December 3rd, 2010

The book is nearing completion–I’ve prepared the index of blogs (the only index, but it is 13 pages) and done a second pass checking the layout, etc.

Next comes the cover, another doublecheck, final PDF.

Probably some time next week: Upload, make it available for sale…and then take the earlier Liblog Landscape off the market.

Just one item along the way

There are a few miscellaneous facts about the book that won’t appear in the book itself or in Chapter 1 (the portion of the book that will never appear in Cites & Insights, even if the other 10 chapters might eventually appear, one at a time, sort of like a serial novel except nonfiction).

This one does appear in the book, although it doesn’t jump out at you. I’m giving you the item without the actual blog that’s involved…

  • As in the earlier books, I use quintiles to show most metrics–that is, the top 20% (by whatever metric is under consideration), the second 20%, and s0 on.
  • There are three key metrics in addition to many other metrics, and four quarter-long testing periods (March 1-May 31, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010). The key metrics: Frequency (number of posts), Average post length, Conversational intensity (average comments per post).
  • If blogs were random in where metrics fell, there would be one chance in 125 of a given blog being in the same quintile for all three metrics (this is easy: one over five to the third power), and one chance in 625 of a given blog being in the same quintile for a given metric for all four years (one over five to the fourth power).
  • The odds of a given blog being in the first quintile for all three metrics in all four years would appear to be one in 78,125.
  • But of course blogs aren’t random, particularly in year-to-year characteristics, so the odds are better, but still not particularly high.
  • One–and only one–blog is in the top quintile for all three key metrics for all four years. It’s probably not one that would immediately spring to mind for most of you.
  • The only thing I’ll say here is that it’s not a U.S. blog–which actually narrows things down quite a bit, since 880 of the 1,216 blogs for which I had country of blogger are from the U.S.. You’ll find it in the book, of course.

Liblogs 2007-2010: Something that won’t appear

Posted in Liblogs, Writing and blogging on November 21st, 2010

As I’ve been finishing the draft of Chapter 11 (the final chapter, but Chapter 1 isn’t begun yet and the others all need revision), I’ve thought about one topic that could deserve a special discussion in Chapter 1, but won’t. For the purposes of this discussion, let’s call it “The AutoCompanyBlogger“–for a couple of reasons, neither of them terribly compelling.

In practice, I’m not discussing bloggers this time around, only blogs: Blogger’s names only appear in cases where the blogger and the blog name are identical, e.g. David Lee King. (And this year’s index will only have entries for David Lee King, not King, David Lee–because, again, I’m not discussing bloggers as such.)

TACB, for short, is a special case.

Most libloggers have one blog, or sometimes participate in a shared blog. A fair number have two (or control one and participate in one shared one). Several have three. A couple might even have four or five.

TACB has at least 22 blogs. Six of them are represented in the study. Two more could be, if I’d ever encountered them anywhere during the study. The other 14 are sufficiently removed from library interests that I’d probably never encounter them under normal circumstances.

Five of the blogs are active, sort of–that is, five have at least one post in 2010.

More typical patterns:

  • Four posts over three months.
  • 26 posts over two months.
  • Eight posts over three months.
  • Thirteen posts over three months.
  • Nine posts over two months
  • 27 posts over three months.
  • Seven posts over four months.
  • Three posts over one month.
  • Four posts over three months
  • One post over one month–two of those, actually.
  • No posts whatsoever: A blog that doesn’t even have a “hello world” post!

The unfortunate thing about all this is that the blogger comes up with some fairly good blog titles, which then are essentially unavailable to bloggers who actually have something to say about the topics.

Of the blogs that made it into the study, one is active and visible enough to be a Group 1 (Core) blog, among the 500 liblogs currently most active. Three more make it into Group 3, the blogs that are essentially invisible and/or inactive, but have had at least one post in the past six months. The other two are in Group 4, apparently defunct. Of the two I didn’t pick up but could have, one would be in Group 4, one would be in Group 3.

And maybe that’s more than needs to be said about TACB. You can probably guess what platform all 22 of the blogs are on (if there are others on another platform, I’ve been spared knowledge of them).

Am I suggesting TACB should stop founding so damn many blogs? Not really; that’s TACB’s business, and I already know TACB’s response when criticized about any of his/her/its/their self-publicity or other activities. I found the whole thing amusing, but probably not bookworthy. But hey, it’s Sunday afternoon and I’m too lazy/tired to do anything productive…

Stepping Back, Moving On

Posted in Stuff, Writing and blogging on September 17th, 2010

Yesterday (September 16, 2010), I finished gathering metrics for the 2010 liblogs study–or, rather, I almost finished. (I’d forgotten one specialized directory that I was going to check; while most of the blogs in that directory are school library blogs, there were eight more blogs for the list, which is now just over 1,300. I did that check this morning–that is, Friday, September 17, 2010.)

One Little Spreadsheet

So the spreadsheet stands, except for adding countries and total posts if and as I receive more of those. There are 31,296 potential data elements on the spreadsheet: 1,304 rows of 24 columns (not including the column names). There aren’t nearly that many actual data elements, to be sure–for example, blogs that started in 2009 won’t have anything in the six columns for 2007 and 2008, and there are always missing elements for reasons of measuring difficulty.

On the other hand, when I start doing analysis, there will be more columns (probably on derivative sheets)–lots of them. Just offhand, I see somewhere between 27 and 37 additional derivative data elements per blog, thus, potentially, up to 44,548 more elements for a total of more than 75,000 data elements in all. I’d guess the actual total will be closer to 50,000. (None of this includes all the second-order derivatives: averages, medians, quintiles, correlations–but those are numbered in the hundreds, not the thousands.)

Oh, and there’s the Exclusions page, with two elements for each of 1,327 “blogs” that aren’t part of the study–and for a few hundred of those, some summary numbers may be significant.

Lots of data, in the plural science/statistics sense. I can’t imagine doing something like this as a hobby/obsession before today’s powerful spreadsheets–I mean, I’m going to be doing loads of sorting and subsetting when analysis begins, and it would be incredibly tedious without Excel. (Of course, without today’s computers, there wouldn’t be 1,300+ liblogs…)

“Little”? Excel’s not known for compactness, but each copy of the spreadsheet is just under half a meg–481K–which really isn’t bad. (That includes last year’s Derivatives sheet, which isn’t complete and is mostly still there to pick up some mildly annoying formulas.) (After my idiot Oopsie, scrambling one data element apparently because I sorted with some columns hidden, although that might not have been the reason, I’m keeping three copies of the spreadsheet, so I can always regenerate the raw data if when I screw things up during analysis.)

I’ve set that project aside, with this post as a stopping point–probably for at least a month.

Open Access

The primary project on my plate between now and then is Open Access: What You Need to Know Now–but I’m hoping for feedback from two of three external reviewers (having already received enormously useful feedback from D. Salo), and they have until October 1 to send me notes. So, while I’ll do a careful readthrough and some paper-copy markup next week, I won’t actually start editing the manuscript until October 1.

That will definitely be my primary focus from October 1 until it’s done–which I’m guessing will be a week or two. Or three. Or four: I’m going to give it as much time as it needs.

After that, and after figuring out the November issue of C&I, I’ll return focus to The Way We Blog. No estimate as to when it’s likely to be done or what “it” will be, except for the certain knowledge that “it” is not going to include 1,304 individual profiles of liblogs–not unless someone who’s crazier than I am comes through with a substantial payment to do such profiles.

Leadership and a Fall Cites & Insights

I made the C&I version of (parts of) But Still They Blog a September/October issue both because it’s almost three times as long as a typical issue of Cites & Insights [comments that there’s no such thing as a typical issue of Cites & Insights will be cheerfully blocked] but also because I wanted to clear time to do a careful job on OA and to finish up the metrics for The Way We Blog.

Well, and also because I was a little burned out on writing Cites & Insights, and had been feeling that it wasn’t getting the links it used to, although downloads and pageviews are still strong.

I really haven’t done any writing for C&I for two months–since completion of the August issue in early July. And while I’m sure I’ll start again, probably next week, I’m not sure just how and on what.

I’d thought I might have a burst of energy and do a Fall issue before the November 2010 issue. The burst of energy instead went to adding more complete metrics for the blog study–essentially, tracking all available numbers for all extant blogs instead of the most robust subset, and adding the total-posts number, which–in combination with a “Life” number (number of months from a blog’s first post to the last post prior to 6/1/2010)–should yield some interesting information.

Then I thought about something else: The shutoff of the Library Leadership Network and the 108 LLN essays (of the total 180+) that I’d saved off in HTML form. I’ve seen no real interest in finding a proper home for these, and looking back at them, it’s clear that they’d need enough cleanup (eliminating now-defunct links, etc.) that I couldn’t Just Do It without funding. To date, no approaches with any support at all.

What about taking some of the essays where my own writing played a primary role and putting them together as a special issue of C&I? That would make them available, if nothing else.

I just went through the set of essays. I could put together a cluster on blogs & wikis, but that feels a little dated. I could put together a cluster on open access, but I’ve already used some of that material as background for the book. Beyond that, most of my own writing already came from this blog or from C&I–and most of the other essays are combinations of posts, where I add a lot less annotation and commentary than I would in a C&I essay. (That’s deliberate: My primary role for LLN was as editor, not as commentator.)

So that’s really not promising. I suspect the essays will mostly just die of old age, and at some point I’ll reclaim the disk space.

I don’t believe there’s going to be a Fall 2010 Cites & Insights. I believe the next issue will be November 2010, technically the first of three “tenth anniversary” issues. What will be in that issue? Well, there’s a sizable Offtopic Essay, and I’m starting on some notes from magazines that fall into various places. Otherwise, I have a “bloggingethics” cluster in delicious that looks promising, and among the 1,237 items and 150 tags, there are a bunch of other possibilities…

Stepping Back

What I suspect I should do first, though, is take a weekend off almost entirely–not skipping email and FF and the like, probably, but letting the folders and source material just sit. Read. Listen to music. Go to the Saturday Farmer’s Market (that’s a given). Take walks.

But Still They Blog: The Liblog Landscape 2007-2009 has been a somewhat frustrating experience, even though it didn’t (obviously) wipe out my interest in tracking the liblog field (or biblioblogosphere, if you must). The book has sold 17 copies to date. The partial retelling in the September/October C&I has had 630 downloads to date–which is great, since it means some 37 times as many people have seen the work, but not so great, since there’s zero revenue from 630 times zero. I lowered the book prices to a nominal $10 for PDF download–with no shipping or handling–and $20 for the trade paperback, figuring that a few people might at least pick up the PDF to look at the liblog profiles. Total sales since the lowered price, including PDF downloads: Zero.

[Also a little frustrating in its own way: During the period since July 1, 2010, the September/October C&I is only the second most frequently downloaded PDF, just ahead of the August issue, which of course was also seen piecemeal several hundred times as individual HTML articles. The most frequently downloaded PDF, with another 800+ downloads during those 10 weeks? Need I say? The title includes quote marks and it appeared in early 2006… If I just had $0.50 for each download and HTML view…]

C&I isn’t going away, at least not yet. Some things are hanging fire that might get straightened out in the near future. Or not: We shall see. I suspect that by next week I’ll have a little more enthusiasm for putting together some interesting essays…

[No, the blog isn’t going away either. Some day, I might even write substantive posts again.]

Stepping Further Back

Then there’s ALA. Not membership–I’m eligible for a deal that’s really too good to pass up, so I’m likely to stay a member for a good long time. (LITA? No such deal, and that’s going to be a tough check to write.)

Not membership, but conferences. I made a point of getting support for Midwinter and Annual built in to my employment contract at my last two employers–in one case, as the only real raise in switching employers, in another, as the one perk for a part-time contract position. I missed one Annual and no Midwinters from about 1975 (I still have the ALA Centennial mug) through 2010–although, thanks to the shutdown of that part-time gig, I attended Annual this year thanks to the kindness of friends.

Next year and beyond? That’s partly a September decision, since the early-bird registration bundle is only good during September. So far, I haven’t signed up for it. I think about what I do during ALA and Midwinter and it’s getting increasingly difficult to justify the money, particularly if it’s our own money. (Annual was also a little disappointing, since the social event at which I’m most likely to catch up with virtual colleagues didn’t happen this time around–and I have no idea whether it will return in the future.) The locations for 2011 are more tempting than usual, but it’s still a case where some thought is required. I’m not running away from FriendFeed nor dropping out of writing, email, etc….but is the F2F still all that valuable for me? Flying isn’t getting more enjoyable, I like our new home better than any hotel room I’m likely to be staying in, I’ve almost given up on formal conference programs anyway, and the areas I deal with in the field happen more on the web than they do in the exhibit halls or discussion groups.

Stepping back, then moving on. For the writing, I know one will–sooner or later–be followed by the other. For the conferences: Not so clear.

It’s mid-afternoon on Friday. This seems like a good way to shut down for the weekend. Maybe turning 65 turns out to be a bigger deal than I thought, or maybe I just need a little break. We shall see.

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