The Future of Cites & Insights

That title can be read two ways. This post is about both of them.

Coming Soon

Cites & Insights 10:8, July 2010, will be out soon–some time later this week, Gaia willin’ and the creek don’t rise. It’s a varied issue, but also a big one, perfect for those long flights to & from DC. I’m not sure just how big, but 40 pages doesn’t seem improbable at this point. (I’m in the third-stage editing & copyfitting process; right now, it’s just over 42 pages.)

An earlier discussion involved the possibility of a special “summertime fun” issue combining two Offtopic Perspectives on old movies and the first installment of my new digital medium archaeology project–but after thinking about responses, I decided to integrate those into regular issues. If I’d done the special issue, the June 2010 issue would have been 26 or 28 pages long, the Summertime Fun issue would be out right about now and would be 16 or 22 pages long…and the July issue would come out after ALA and probably be 32 pages or longer.  The only downside of not doing the special issue: The July issue doesn’t have any true essay-style Perspectives, although several are coming in future issues.

The biggie for this issue: A new Zeitgeist essay, “One Facebook to Rule Them All?” That’s roughly half the issue. Unless things change, there are four other sections with a fair amount of variety in each one.

This is also the final issue of C&I sponsored by the Library Society of the World, and that only because I chose to count the “getting Walt to Washington” contributions as also being direct support for C&I. Which brings us to…

Future Sponsorship and Publication

As of next week, I have no sponsorship for Cites & Insights and only one very small source of any income related to writing, editing and librarianship.

The direct sponsorship course hasn’t worked out terribly well: Other than LSW’s special effort, total donations received to date are in the low three figures, with none of that coming in since that special effort began. This does not appear to be a plausible revenue source for the long term.

I could really use sponsorship–with or without paid ad columns or even full-page ads in the issues. Or even with sponsorship (and an ad) for Walt at Random included.

Without such sponsorship (or some part-time telecommuting situation that takes advantage of my skills and offers plausible rewards), it’s hard to justify attending ALA once or twice a year (and I’d really like to go to both 2011 conferences, for starters), since it would be pure out-of-pocket, not even deductible as a business expense (you really can’t deduct from nothing). Maybe we could afford it, but it’s hard to convince my wife–a reasonable and intelligent person–that it’s a good expenditure under the circumstances.

Without attending ALA at least once a year, it becomes more difficult to stay in touch and to justify to myself the time spent on Cites & Insights. Which gets tricky, because in many ways I’d prefer to keep doing what appears to be something unique and valuable within the field. It’s that “valuable” word that starts to get difficult: Valuable to whom? How does that value translate into, say, meals, clothes, utility bills and gasoline? (None of which are endangered, to be sure; we’re really talking about extras–wine, vacations, those fancy $6.31 lunches at Canton Villa…and going to ALA Annual and/or Midwinter.)

If C&I is no longer valuable, then I should give it up. If it is valuable…well, it sure would be nice to find some sponsorship.

(Yes, I’m considering alternative models along the “Freemium” lines. Honestly? I don’t see that working out very well. The four annual volumes of C&I are partly “Freemium” items, especially the PDF versions…and the total number of PDF versions sold to date has been zero.)

ALA Annual would be a great time to discuss possibilities with people. I’ll be there from Friday morning through Sunday evening. I think I have one related conversation scheduled, although “scheduled” overstates the fixity of the situation.

The email address is, as always, waltcrawford at gmail dot com.

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