The mandatory apologia

Seems like every time I do a Really Big Essay, I wind up doing a followup here–usually with various clarifications, apologies, whatever.

This time? Not so much. Admittedly, the issue came out in the dead of vacation time (and the stats show that), so reactions may keep trickling in, but I think the first wave has arrived.

Here’s what I conclude and will or won’t clarify based on that wave:

  • I spelled out the selection criteria clearly enough. At worst, I had to suggest that people go back and read the first part of the article. No apologies required.
  • Including non-English blogs was the right thing to do. So, I think, was not offering any qualitative comments on the blogs: Letting them “speak for themselves” through taglines, categories, and sample post titles.
  • I should possibly have spelled out more cases in which good blogs in the Great Middle fell out during metrics. Free Government Info is another case where the blog setup made metrics too time-consuming to be worthwhile (as it offers archives on a one-day-at-a-time basis). There may be others.
  • The effort was probably worthwhile, based on responses so far. Not every essay has to have a direct point, at least not in C&I.
  • The wombats will always be with us. I should remember to ignore certain of them.
  • You can’t please everybody, and I already knew that.

Further comments definitely invited. Suggestions for new sources of blogs? Not so much. I already know what I plan to do next year (energy, time, world conditions allowing), and I don’t believe it will include scouring the internet for liblogs. Unless I do two feature articles, and that’s not in the current plans. (And, as we all know, plans never change!)

So there’s the mandatory followup.

Oh, one more thing: I’m seeing lots of links to the HTML version of the essay. That’s fine, as long as you expect people to read 18,000 words online. Otherwise, you’re helping to use more paper: Remember that the easy-to-read, designed PDF takes 30 pages and the HTML version of the lead essay will typically take 48 or more. I almost didn’t do an HTML version for precisely that reason. I know some of you detest PDF for whatever reasons; but printing out the HTML really is the wrong way to go. Reading it all on screen? If that’s your preference, that’s why I did the HTML.

3 Responses to “The mandatory apologia”

  1. Angel says:

    I am probably one of the HTML folks. I don’t print it out, but I do read it on screen. PDF’s, at least at home, freeze up my older laptop half the time, so I avoid them like the plague (yes, I know, I probably should upgrade, but not happening anytime soon on my salary, haha. How those other librarians who post pics of their new laptops every six months do it is beyond me, but I disgress). At work, I can read PDF’s better, but if I get HTML, that is where I go. I often read your work a little at a time given my schedule, so looking at it here and there not a problem. And yes, your effort is always worthwhile. I know someone out there some day is going to look back and be glad you were doing it. Best, and keep on blogging.

  2. Judith Siess says:

    I am also an HTML person, primarily because it allows me to search within the text for specific blogs or words of interest. I don’t print it out in HTML, of course.

  3. walt says:

    I have no problem with people reading HTML on the screen; that’s why I do the HTML versions. As for searching within the text, I can do that just fine in PDF documents (click on Find, key in string, get list of occurrences and pointing at first occurrence), but your mileage may vary.

    Angel: If you’re able to upgrade to Adobe Reader 7, you should have better luck. Version 6 is sort of a mess.

    Meanwhile, I’ll keep the HTML coming.

    [Oh, hey, I have to have the latest & greatest. My home PC–where all this happens–is brand new. As of July 8, 2002, that is. Longest I’ve ever owned a PC…and with very little urge to replace it. At least until Vista comes out.]