Blogging and RSS: A Librarian’s Guide

Blogging and RSS: A Librarian’s Guide, by Michael P. Sauers (the Travelin’ Librarian), showed up in the mail yesterday–a signed copy, no less.

I haven’t read it yet, so this isn’t a review (maybe later…but there are also two other books that arrived this week or last, that I really should read and comment on, one from CLIR, one from DLF), but I thought a quick note was in order.

The book looks interesting. After a brief introduction to blogs and why they’re worth doing, he offers extensive examples of “librarian blogs” (22 of them), “library blogs” (8) and “miscellaneous blogs” (4), in each case giving the name, the author, the motto or tagline if there is one, and one post from the blog–and he’s got screen shots for a fair number of them.

The next chapter is special: “The Library Blogosphere, Part 2: The Bloggers”–email interviews with eleven of the bloggers whose blogs appear in Chapter 2, all of us (yes, “us”–that’s why Sauers sent me a copy) answering the same questions. Once again (as with search results at one point a while back), I appear in relationship to Lorcan Dempsey–this time because the interviews are alphabetic by blogger’s last name.

Chapter 5, “Creating a Blog,” is fairly long and appears to have about the right level of detail. Even skimming, I can see that the writing is clear, informal, and effective (as I’d expect). Then there’s an introduction to RSS, using an aggregator (also fairly long and detailed), “noteworthy feeds” beyond blogs, a chapter on creating feeds, a brief afterword, and some appendices.

So far, just skimming and reading a few paragraphs here and there, I’m favorably impressed. But then, the afterword focuses on stories and urges libraries and librarians to tell their stories–and you know I’m a sucker for that approach.

Physically: Slightly oversize trade paperback (7×10.5″), justified serif body type (sans for blog posts and some other special cases), good margins. I wish ITI would change their templates so the first paragraph of a chapter or section wasn’t indented–it shouldn’t be difficult and is pretty standard practice for books that are actually designed–but that’s my only real grump here. The book does not have the look of “HTML dumped to a page” and it’s not padded with excess leading and the like. At $29.50 for a 272p. book, the pricing isn’t excessive for the library field.

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