Archive for September, 2006

Turning [a little more than] thirty

Friday, September 15th, 2006

Anna, the Eclectic Librarian, posted this item–which suggests to me that she just turned thirty.


My birthday was yesterday. Five Three score and one, three shy of the Beatles’ magic number, one past Elton John’s old “no wish to be living” cutoff (which I suspect he’s rethought in recent years…)

As for The Who, well, you know, “old” is one of those changing targets. I don’t plan to get old for another couple of decades.

What kind of a year was 60? Mixed, and not necessarily in a good way–particularly given that the 50s were such a good decade.

The good: A bunch of Cites & Insights issues that I’m particularly proud of, including one that’s edging up on 18,000 readers. Good health. A wonderful wife. Keeping on…

The not-so-good: Rocky times at work, what with being cut to 75%-time just after turning 60, primary tasks that don’t relate terribly well to who I think I am (but are important, but I do them well, but nobody else is left to do them), and all of the turmoil and continuing uncertainty of the OCLC-RLG merger…

Also the first year in more than a decade in which we didn’t manage to take a cruise, or really any major vacation (one 4-night trip, two two-night trips, none of them more than 250 miles away…)…

I’m hoping (expecting) 61 to be a little more positive in work terms, a little better in vacation terms, and no worse in writing/professional terms. Maybe not the most ambitious goals, but…

Update: Thanks to David for pointing out that five score is a bit past my current age…indeed, past any age I’m particularly interested in reaching.

Setting a fee

Saturday, September 9th, 2006

I’ve never known how to answer the question, “How much do you charge?”–one that came up when I was more in demand as a speaker. And I’ve always been too shy to ask other people what they charge (with one or two exceptions).

Rachel Singer Gordin, the Liminal Librarian, is trying to do something about this situation. She’s doing an online survey.

I’ll be very interested in the results. So will lots of others, I suspect.

The occasional joy of not writing

Friday, September 8th, 2006

It seems like weeks ago that I published Cites & Insights 6:11, September 2006–but no, that was just exactly a week ago. Yesterday was my original target for the issue.

I already had a head start on the October issue, and by the end of the long weekend I’d finished a five-year-later review of my 2000-2001 study of pioneering ejournals. For reasons too wearisome to discuss, I had a stack of annotated pieces organized such that I could write four or five good essays or sections working directly from those pieces. I organized some material on Tuesday–but also thought about doing a little more on the ejournal review: To wit, checking for listings in the Directory of Open Access Journals dating from 1995 or before that weren’t in my article.

I didn’t write anything Wednesday. Got home from work, exercised (to the last segment of one of the most incoherent “SF” movies I’ve seen–if it came from the 60s instead of 70s, I’d assume too many recreational drugs on the part of the filmmakers), showered, and was too tired to write. At all. (Well, I did a little more DOAJ tracking, but no real writing.)

Thursday? Watching a taped TV guilty pleasure from Wednesday night (9-11, Travel Channel, that’s all I’ll say). And a little more DOAJ work–coming to the recognition that there are a lot of additional journals that now show as being online before 1996, although many of them weren’t really online then–and even more of them aren’t pioneers (they didn’t begin as e-journals). Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending), I’m finding the process interesting enough to want to finish, although I’m not sure what the result will look like. Were there 200 ejournal pioneers by 1995? Possibly.

Today? Various stuff, and starting to prepare for a brief trip (an invitational symposium!), mean that this is all the writing I’ll be doing. Tomorrow, some postponed yardwork plus packing. Sunday-Tuesday: travel.

So it will be a solid week without writing. Which may not be such a bad thing.

The annotated lists are still there. The essays will get written, sooner or later. Preferably at a point where I really want to write, which usually happens after taking a few days off.

Possible outcomes:

  • The October issue comes out in very late September/very early October but is “chunky,” with the ejournal essay taking up half the issue or more.
  • The October issue comes out in October, probably still chunky but with more content.

Then there are the PoD books I keep threatening to do. When my day-stretcher arrives, maybe.

In the meantime, despite a phony set of urgency (coming from who knows where), there’s considerable virtue to taking a few days off.

Quick summer’s-end post

Monday, September 4th, 2006

Yeah, I know, September 20, and if there were still “typical weather patterns” we’d probably get a few hot days this month, but realistically, Labor Day marks the end of summer around these parts.

Particularly because it nearly marks the end of stone fruit season. (It’s also getting cool enough that I’ll probably start wearing a jacket on the way to work…)

Since I did a few posts about fruit last summer, I thought I’d offer a few updates. (I’m not linking to the earlier posts. This is Labor Day, and I’m doing as little labor as possible.)

Last year was the Summer Without Cherries, particularly the summer without decent Bings.

I’m delighted to say that this year’s cherry crops were reasonably plentiful and first-quality. First from California growers (buying them mostly at two local farmers’ markets, one a true California Farmers’ Market, the other more ambiguous), then from Washington State after the California season was done.

Great Bings. As cheap as $1.99 at Safeway, $3.99 at the purist farmers’ market. First rate in both cases.

Great Rainiers–and I always thought all Rainiers came from Washington, but that’s not true: We had weeks of first-rate Rainier cherries from local growers.

The season’s gone (a couple of weeks ago, what was left in the stores was too pathetic to buy), but I did my share to keep growers and farmer-sellers happy during the season.

Last year, I was enthusiastic about Apriums (Apria?), apricot-plum hybrids. Turns out that, after one good experience, we never really got good ones–but once we found the local farmers’ markets, we got really good apricots. True this year as well. A good thing, because our own apricot tree gave us almost nothing (and may not be doing well), and the second tree’s too young for fruit. We even got some acceptable apricots at Safeway, but of course the farmers’ market fruit was better.

Plums? A great year for plums and pluots, with some Santa Rosa plums and dinosaur-egg pluots simply spectacular. Those are still hanging on–yesterday’s breakfast featured some plums, some pluots, some truly first-rate white-flesh peaches, and some gold kiwifruit that was better than the kiwifruit’s been for a while–but, as with the peaches, they’ll be fading away.

We’re also finding more and better organic produce, both at the three certified organic stands at the Mountain View farmers’ market (which, unlike the ambiguous one, runs year-round: This is California!) and at Safeway. Of course, organic no longer means “small operation” by any means, but…

So, despite the disrupted vacation plans and still slightly enigmatic work situation, I have no complaints about the summer. We’re still here, we’re supporting local produce whenever possible (“local” meaning “within a hundred miles or so”–while the area we live in used to be prime cherry orchard territory, there’s just not much of that left in our immediate area.

C&I: Very short-term predictions

Saturday, September 2nd, 2006

As long-term readers of Cites & Insights already know, I don’t claim to be a prophet–and my ability to predict what will happen even within a publication 100% under my control has proven to be, shall we say, minimal.

At the start of this year (or, rather in C&I 6.1, January 2006, which actually appeared December 20), I reviewed my track record for predicting what C&I would be like for the year ahead. One year yielded good success at promises based on a reader survey, but I think the result was a weaker volume (2003) and, frankly, enough less fun that I considered killing off the ejournal. The next year I managed not to promise much of anything, and kept the non-promises. The other two years ranged from 0% to 50% success.

So for this year, under the title “No Year’s Resolutions,” I kept it minimal again. Ithought. “No fewer than 12 and no more than 30 pages per issue; no fewer than 12 and no more than 16 issues; continued foci on copyright and net media without abandoning other interesting areas.”

And the very next issue was 32 pages long!

I’m not going to apologize for that, since the overlength issue has apparently been read by more than 17,000 people, five or six times the usual readership, and is already cited in lots of places…but it does say something about my predictive powers for items under my control.

(Net media and copyright? Not quite as much on copyright as I expected, but maybe more than enough for readers; “net media” turns out to be fuzzier than I thought, so it’s hard to say. And there are three issues to come…)

So I thought I’d go for short-term predictions: What I believe will show up in the October issue.

Or, just to leave some flexibility, what I believe will (might) show up (probably) in the October and November issues, plus some other stuff…

  • An offtopic perspective summing up the second half of the sci-fi 50-movie pack.
  • A new department or running name for perspectives, “Old media/New media,” with notes tracking high-def optical disc and most likely (maybe as a separate perspective) some thoughts on ebooks, print books and bookstores–and maybe some other stuff as well.
  • Net Media commentaries (maybe separates) on wikis (especially the big one) and blogging, and maybe some comments on an interesting piece on phishing
  • Copyright stuff–I’m not sure what-all, but lots of it.
  • Libraries & scholarly access
  • PC Progress
  • Interesting & peculiar products
  • A five-year follow-up on the “arc of enthusiasm,” spotlighting what are now called open access journals that have been around for eleven years or more–and what else has happened within the small universe studied in 2001.
  • Some of the usual departments…

When I started this idle Saturday nonsense post, I was going to predict the October issue’s contents. If I did that, I’d probably be about half right. By making it two issues instead of one, odds are that at least two-thirds of what’s listed above will actually appear in that time frame, along with stuff I haven’t even dreamed about yet.

Which does make it enough fun to keep doing!

Cites & Insights 6:11 available

Friday, September 1st, 2006

Cites & Insights: Crawford at Large 6:11 (September 2006) is now available for downloading.

The 22-page issue (PDF as usual, but most essays are also available as HTML separates from the home page) includes:

  • Perspective: The New Site & COWLZ: A Lost Opportunity? – The largest essay: Why C&I moved, and the history of COWLZ (such as it is), from start to (apparent) finish, with notes on the gray literature of librarianship.
  • Bibs & Blather – A few things I’d rather not write about and some quick followups from previous issues.
  • Trends & Quick Takes – 4 “trends” (including a back-and-forth on gen-gen) and four quicker takes.
  • The Censorware Chronicles – 10 things you might not know about censorware and a new (and better) “Internet filters: A public policy report”
  • The Library Stuff – Nine or sixteen items, depending on how you look at it.
  • My Back Pages – Nine little rants

And for those of you who stayed away for the summer: Don’t forget Cites & Insights 6:10, August 2006: “Looking at Liblogs,” a 30-page essay looking at 213 blogs from library people.