Projects and rejects 5 – Possible changes in C&I?

The story so far:

  • As I was slogging through the slough of despond, lacking inspiration and the desire for perspiration, I got the word: Nobody else will walk it for you, you have to walk it for yourself. Or “follow your bliss.” Or do stuff if I really care about the results–life’s too short to do stuff you don’t care about (unless you’re getting well paid for it or it’s essential to life and health).
  • Returning from Anaheim with blue skies, twittering birds and a bright future ahead, I decided to carry out one big project where I really am interested in the results–and where I believe I can put together a package that others will find interesting and useful, maybe enough for some of them to pay $29.50.
  • Clearing away the decks somewhat, I identified a probable reject–a case where the only plausible way to do the study would be up-front funding, and I see no likelihood of that happening. And one of my favorite bloggers and thinkers pointed out some good reasons that the previous part of this reject was largely a failure.
  • In the penultimate episode, we went over actual sales for the two library blog books–an exercise in transparency that’s probably a stupid idea in its own right. (I would add four different self-portraits to that post, but why bother?)

We conclude this exciting enervating story (which I might tame somewhat when turning it into a Bibs & Blather for the September 2008 Cites & Insights–and if that link works, then you’re coming to this post late) with:

Part the Fifth: In which, referring all the way back to Part the First, we consider how “doing what you care about” might affect the future of Cites & Insights.

Remember when Cites & Insights was all about personal computing?

That’s a trick question. It was never the case that C&I was “all about personal computing.” The informal definition in the first issue was “Libraries, Media, Technology & Stuff.” I’d estimate that the first issue was roughly half PC-related, half otherwise.

PC-related material dwindled over the years, partly because the field just got less interesting–but more because there were other topics I was more interested in.

In Part 1, I noted that I’ve pretty much given up on censorware–recycling a handful of printouts in the process because I just don’t see much point in discussing them.

Looking at the “current list” of recurring sections (in C&I’s About page), here’s what I think as total word count nears two million (probably the December issue):

  • Trends & Quick Takes hasn’t really been about trends (or just about trends) for a long time. It’s not going away, to be sure; mini-perspectives are convenient, and this “miscellaneous” placeholder even more so.
  • I haven’t actually reprinted a disContent column in quite a while, but I’d like to start again–but certainly not until I complete the Retrospective series.
  • Most everything else seems safe enough–although interest ebbs and flows. I continue to care about relations between old and new media (and in that context ebooks/ebook readers have reappeared), I think some net media issues are fascinating, Making it Work still matters… But there is one exception, or maybe it’s four:
  • Copyright. Sigh. I just don’t know. I did something in this issue, and something three issues ago, and I’m not sure my heart was in either one. There hasn’t been a “term & extent” section in a year–or a “fair use and public domain” section in more than two years. I won’t say copyright coverage is going to disappear–but it might seem that way, except for the possible special case.
  • What about new areas? They emerge, perhaps slowly–and sometimes only as a series of Perspectives. That’s probably a good thing. (I’m inclined to believe that some of the best issues of C&I have been entirely Perspectives, most of them not directly traceable to a standing section.)

As for C&I itself–well, I do note that 2008 may be the first year that it’s “only” a monthly–but most issues are a bit on the long side. I wouldn’t attach much significance to either of those facts.

You know how a good novel or movie has to have a strong, satisfying ending?

Well, this five-part post clearly doesn’t qualify.

I’m not going to come up with any clever ideas to harness my supposed “thousand fans” by offering “freemium content.” I thought I might have staggering changes to suggest in C&I, but that’s not the case–and, frankly, dropping copyright would put me in good company of late. (It just gets discouraging…)

Thus endeth the saga of Projects and rejects--for now, at least. I’ll try to clean this up (and make it significantly shorter) before reusing it in Bibs & Blather…

Now, off to write the December disContent, or work on ten more liblogs, or…well, given this summer cold, or just take a nap.

[A note in closing: If any or all of this five-part post seems even more disjointed and distracted as usual, I haz an (invisible) excuse…I was trying to multitask, chatting at LSW Meebo while preparing the posts. It’s not much, but it’s all I got.]

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