Post-ALA, post-OCLC: What’s next?

Ever thought you or one of the groups you work for or with could use a Walt Crawford?

Here’s your chance.

The RLG-OCLC transition will be complete in September. I’ve received a termination notice from OCLC, effective September 30, 2007.

I’m interested in exploring new possibilities. For now I’m trying not to narrow the options too much.

The basics: A new position could start any time after October 15, 2007 (possibly earlier). January to April 2008 might be ideal as a starting date, but earlier or later is quite possible.

I’m looking for a mutually-beneficial situation, which could be part time, could be full time, could be based on sponsorship of current writing and possible expansion to new areas, could be contract or consulting. I’m open to an exclusive working relationship–but also to more piecemeal possibilities.

Writing is important to me–but so is sensemaking, at the heart of what I’ve done at work and professionally for a few decades. I find numbers interesting (particularly exposing weaknesses in statistical assertions and finding the numbers that make most sense for an organization) and understand them well. I’ve been analyzing, synthesizing, designing (sometimes programming) and communicating throughout my career. I’m interested in the whole range of issues surrounding the intersections of libraries, policy, media and technology, and have demonstrated my effectiveness as a writer and speaker in those areas.

You can get a good sense of what I’ve published here, including my 15 (to date) books and many of the 400+ articles and columns.

I would certainly consider a short-term (say two to four years) situation–but if you have something that makes sense for both of us for a longer term, I have no set retirement date.

If I had to name an ideal, it would probably be roughly two-thirds time with benefits (or full time if Cites & Insights was considered part of the job. But that’s an ideal; an excellent situation could be much more part time.

Clear limitation: There are very few places we’d be willing to relocate, most of them in temperate parts of the Pacific Rim–that is, California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Hawaii, or maybe Australia or New Zealand. Otherwise, for most possibilities outside of Silicon Valley (or the Tri-Valley area around Livermore), I’d be looking to telecommute–and perfectly willing to travel on a reasonable basis.

If you have acquaintances who are unlikely to see this blog, within “groups that work for/with libraries”–publishers, vendors, search-engine makers, consortia, what have you–where you think I might be a good fit, I’d be delighted if you told them about this. If you’d like to blog about it, please do, saying whatever you like. (Schadenfreude? Be my guest.)

I don’t have a proper resume. I suspect I’m more likely to be hired by someone who knows who I am or is more interested in a full vita, available here. (OK, I’ll be 62 in September and I have an international reputation that is only slightly related to my daytime job: Maybe not the ideal combination for a classic “hit ’em with the keywords” resume.)

The brief bio that appears on my home page also appears below.

Offers, inquiries, questions, comments should go to me at my address: waltcrawford. If you’d like to talk during ALA Annual, let me know: Same email address.

For those of you who care about Cites & Insights: I have every intention of continuing and, with luck, improving C&I. I have every intention of keeping it free to the reader. I’ve been thinking about a spinoff in an area that I find increasingly important and that requires more room and time than I’ve been giving it–and that spinoff might or might not be free, depending on arrangements that come to light. Naturally, finding the right position will help ensure the future of C&I.

Here’s the brief bio:

Walt Crawford is an internationally recognized writer and speaker on libraries, technology, policy and media.Crawford was for many years Senior Analyst at RLG, focusing on user interface design and actual usage patterns for end-user bibliographic search systems. Through September 30, 2007, he works on RLG-OCLC transition and integration issues.Crawford is the creator, writer and publisher of Cites & Insights: Crawford at Large, an ejournal on the intersections of libraries, policy, technology and media published monthly since 2001. He also maintains a blog on these and other issues, Walt at Random.

Crawford’s books include Balanced Libraries: Thoughts on Continuity and Change (2007), First Have Something to Say: Writing for the Library Profession (2003), Being Analog: Creating Tomorrow’s Libraries (1999), Future Libraries: Dreams, Madness & Reality (with Michael Gorman, 1995), and eleven others going back to MARC for Library Use: Understanding the USMARC Formats(1984).

Crawford writes the “disContent” column in EContent Magazine and has written columns for American Libraries, Online and Library Hi Tech. In all, he has written more than 400 library-related articles and columns appearing in a range of library publications.

Crawford was recently cited as one of the 31 most frequently cited authors in library literature 1994-2004 (the only American writer on that list outside academic libraries). In 1995, he received the American Library Association’s LITA/Library Hi Tech Award for Excellence in Communication for Continuing Education, followed by the ALCTS/Blackwell Scholarship Award in 1997. He was president of the Library and Information Technology Association in 1992/93.

More information is available at Crawford’s home page.

19 Responses to “Post-ALA, post-OCLC: What’s next?”

  1. Kurt says:


    IF I was in a position to hire anybody, and IF I lived in your selected geographic region, and IF….. well, I’d hire you. I have read your words for quite some time now and respect your integrity, wit, sincerity, and insight (and incite!).

    —Some guy you don’t know

  2. CW says:

    Sorry to hear this, Walt. I’ll keep my eyes and ears open for you – I’d LOVE you to move Down Under 🙂

  3. walt says:

    I’m not sure whether we’d qualify as landed immigrants or otherwise eligible to move there, but it might be worth pursuing for the right job…(haven’t talked to my wife about that, but we did enjoy what brief time we sent in Australia. Hmm. Just promise her reef snorkeling every few months…) Anyway, thanks for the thought.

  4. jessamyn says:

    You are being much more gracious about this turn of events than I ever could be. I hope that works in your favor and you get employers who deserve you.

  5. Good luck, Walt! Keep in touch with the library world.

  6. walt says:

    Thanks everyone–for the comments here and for the posts elsewhere. I plan to leave this post as the “top entry” for a week or so, but I’m certainly not going anywhere. I should be back with new posts next week.

  7. Karen Kramer says:

    As a long-time reader of your work, I’m appalled that your former-employer-to-be didn’t understand the value of your continued employment, wherever you happened to be physically located. At any rate, best wishes for rapid re-employment by a truly discerning library entity.

  8. Cathy Doyle says:

    You know, I thought that with OCLC buying RLG they’d finally make use of the wonderful talent that they had in you. Having this happen never crossed my mind.

    Good luck with finding just the right job.

  9. WoW!ter says:

    Rather unfortunate that our climate doesn’t suit you. So I wish you all the best with finding a suitable position in a location of your liking. Perhaps it’ll leave some extra time for your publishing work.

  10. Jennifer says:

    Dear Walt,

    I’ve been a lurker for many years and truly appreciate your Cites & Insights. Best of luck in your new adventure in life–and smooth sailing!

  11. John Dupuis says:

    Hi Walt, I don’t know if you follow Bora Zivkovic’s blog A Blog around the Clock, but you might find his story about how he found his new job at PLoS ONE interesting:

    It’s a new world in many ways and strange and wonderful things can happen unexpectedly.

  12. walt says:

    John, No, I follow a couple of the scienceblogs, but not that one. Fascinating. Now if some of you want to send me perfectly-fitting job announcements that might or might not require being onsite…heck, I’ve already got the “I’m available!” post. Right here.

    Maybe next week’s second post (after thanking everyone) should offer a specific scenario for which I’d need a taker–e.g., someone to sponsor the new ejournal I’d like to spin off and maybe C&I itself, for a reasonable but not excessive annual sum to be negotiated…as the meat of a mixed writing/[speaking if anyone’s interested/maybe teaching/maybe consulting stew. Maybe not.

  13. Have you considered teaching in one of the programs that does distance education online w/ a few f2f sessions? Seems to me you are teaching online right now and would be a great asset to one of the programs.
    Not sure what you mean by “post-ALA.”

  14. walt says:

    “Post-ALA”: While I hope to be talking to possible employers during ALA Annual, none of this happens until long after ALA Annual.

    Distance-ed teaching: That’s on the table (as Mark Lindner revealed in his related post). Assuming I can figure out what I should be teaching, and that I don’t wind up in a near-full-time position (in which case Cites & Insight would trump teaching), it’s a good possibility as part of a set of futures. I think what I’m doing now is a bit different than formal coursework, but it’s been a long time since I’ve done formal coursework from either side…

  15. Paula says:

    Walt — this was quite a surprising development… But, I’m confident that you’ll find something interesting and rewarding. Thanks for your many contributions to understanding library technology issues. Best of luck!

  16. Elena O'Malley says:

    I know you’re not asking, and probably not wanting, but you have my sympathies. Transitions of this kind can be stressful and anxious times. My best wishes for finding a truly good match for your skills and inclinations.

    You’ll always have work as one of my heroes. (I use that word advisedly.) Unfortunately, as you’ve assuredly already noticed, the pay is terrible. On the other hand, I offer flexible hours and telecommuting.

  17. walt says:

    Elena–Thanks, and you have no idea how much I appreciate what’s been said the last couple of weeks.