Topics and Tags: An update

I asked readers twice to offer comments on possible topics for the next Cites & Insights, taking a short break after publishing the current issue and feeling a little overwhelmed by the number of tagged items in Diigo.

I also raised the question on FriendFeed in order to get additional comments.

Some notes on some of the responses…

  • The huge pile of items related to Google Book Search didn’t excite anybody–and at this point, that includes me. I’m not even ready to prune that stack yet, much less cope with it. I’m guessing there’s lots of time before the settlement is “final,” whatever that means.
  • Michael Golrick said, among other things, “And maybe after you weed/look at/subdivide e-books, a plan will leap out at you.” Good suggestion…
  • Golrick also mentioned blogging and copyright (I’d mentioned copyright).
  • Steven Kaye sees ebooks as a moving target (certainly true) and thinks “death” discussions are too easy. In one area, I agree; as for deathwatches in general, well, maybe those belong in My Back Pages, as they mostly fall into the category of “Stupid Things People Say,” in the subcategory “…And Make Big Bucks Doing So.”
  • Colleen Harris also felt that “death of books” has been done (ahem) to death, and maybe she’s right…but I see a slightly different angle emerging.
  • At FF, there was discussion of the possible impact of Google Books, blogging, and social networks on the future of books. I don’t think I’m going there at this point, for various reasons…
  • And Steve Lawson said something that may result in a Bibs & Blather piece:

“I like essays where the author’s voice and point of view and biases and loves show through. So whatever you write about, I hope it’s an essay like that.”

It will be, Steve, it will be–or, rather, they almost all will be. The possible B&B piece? If it happens, it will be about the intended transparency of C&I’s personality–that is, I’m almost always offering my own point of view and trying to use my own voice, with no claim to neutrality. I don’t claim that C&I is a neutral observer; I tend to question such claims in general. (At least Faux News’ “We Distort, You Deride” motto is so absurd as to be laughable, where others aren’t quite so extreme.)

The second chance post included the ten most frequently used tags in my Diigo account:

  • gbs (Google Books Settlement): 195
  • ebooks 193
  • tqt (Trends & Quick Takes, a catchall): 119
  • blogging 101
  • ereaders 78 (and I’d guess most of these are also tagged ebooks)
  • socialnetworks 52 (but I’ve subdivided many of these)
  • deathbooks 43
  • sn-twitter 43
  • deathprint 38 (some of those also in deathbooks)
  • miw-service (a librarianship subdivision) 35

How times and tags change

That list was correct as of February 15. Even though I did, as promised, wait until February 17 before starting to do leadsheets and organize essays (actually, I haven’t quite started that yet), I did do some retagging, based partly on Michael’s comment and partly on my own waking thought: “A pass through the ‘ebooks’ pile may show me that a bunch of them should be tagged “reading”–and maybe it’s time to start that series again, with a different slant.” (That’s me commenting on my own FF thread…)

Indeed it did. With apologies for anybody foolish enough to follow my Diigo account and believe they’ll get broadly useful information out of it, given the asocial nature of my Diigo tagging, here’s what’s happened:

  • The “ebooks” tag no longer exists. Neither does the “ereaders” tag. Neither, I believe, do the “deathprint” and “deathbooks” tags.
  • Sigh. I need to go through and subdivide the 50+ “socialnetworks” items, but haven’t done that yet.
  • Ebook/ereader items were either deleted (almost all of the individual ereader reviews, all of the items from one blogger who’s now joined my small “quoting this person is more trouble than it’s worth” blacklist, some other items that either 404ed or just didn’t seem relevant any more) or retagged either as “reading” (because that was the primary focus) or one of six new subtags: eb-futurism, eb-libraries, eb-marketplace, eb-rights, eb-textbooks, eb-vs-pb
  • Of those six, all but “eb-futurism” have big enough clusters to make for large and interesting Perspective sections; two (eb-marketplace and eb-vs-pb) have enough to make whole Perspectives, as does reading.
  • I suspect the April issue will include at least one ebook-related or reading-related essay. I have no idea what the whole set will be–and, since that issue may appear as late as five weeks from now, it’s a little premature to say. (Who knows? Libraries or librarians could suddenly decide to buy The Liblog Landscape 2007-2010, enough copies so I publish Chapter 4, which is a really interesting chapter…)
  • Here are the current top ten tags, with the caveat that Diigo doesn’t always seem to update its counts very rapidly (e.g., an alphabetic list still shows “ebooks” with 41 items, even though clicking through reveals the true 0 items):
  • gbs (Google Book Settlement) 196
  • tqt (Trends & Quick Takes) 114
  • blogging 99
  • reading 72
  • eb-vs-pb 67 (how ebooks complement, compete with, or are claimed to replace print books)
  • eb-marketplace 51 (factors within the ebook/ereader marketplace)
  • sn-twitter 42 (self-explanatory?)
  • ebooks 41 [This is a phantom count: there are zero ebooks items]
  • miw-service 35 [service/services aspects of libraries/librarianship]
  • ereaders 33 [Another phantom count: there are zero ereaders items]
  • It looks as though eb-libraries (31) and ethics (28) are the actual ninth and tenth places–but all those counts may be a little off, and note that some items have more than one of these tags.

Thanks for your feedback. I should note that I have a new/old “waste of time” that’s actually making some boring chores (indexing C&I, checking & retagging items, printing leadsheets when I do that) much more tolerable…but that’s a topic for another, probably long and boring, post.

Update at 3:30 PST, Friday, February 18: If you’re inclined to go look at those sets of documents on Diigo, don’t be surprised when “reading” comes up a little short…as in zero. Looks like that might be the first big essay for April, and when I print leadsheets, I add an “x” to the tag so that I don’t accidentally reprint it later–since leadsheets can sit around for months if I split a topic or there’s just too much material. As in this case, probably: The folder’s pretty thick…

8 Responses to “Topics and Tags: An update”

  1. Michael Golrick says:

    Glad I was able to help.

    As a comment to your closing remark, I’ll note that it is interesting what people read and focus on. I think that one of the virtues of blogging is the personal connections we make, partly when we post the stuff that is “boring.”

  2. walt says:

    I certainly agree…as I should, since most of the posts here are obscure or “boring.” The post I haven’t written yet isn’t so much boring as odd, including the oddity that, unless I’m mistaken, it’s virtually impossible to comment on without raising Spam Karma flags. I’ll get to it soon…

  3. Steven Kaye says:

    With apologies for anybody foolish enough to follow my Diigo account and believe they’ll get broadly useful information out of it

    *shakes his fist* Crawford!

  4. walt says:

    Sorry about that. Maybe “asocial” isn’t the right word for my use of Diigo. Maybe “antisocial” is closer to the mark: It’s entirely a way of organizing and tracking potential source material for Cites & Insights–as my Delicious account was before. I’m probably “doing it wrong” but fortunately, as with blogging, there’s no such thing.

  5. Steven Kaye says:

    Possibly combining a few areas, I’m wondering about the Digital Public Library of America. There’s already been some discussion about various initiatives to promote ebooks and secure more rights for libraries on the discussion list (ALA, Chief Officers of State Library Agencies,, LibraryRenewal). Might be a way of carving off a more manageable piece of the ebook topic?

  6. walt says:

    For now, I’m staying away from DPLA–I joined the list, but I’m a lurker. [Comment redacted by author.] I’m staying entirely away from LibraryRenewal. Period. End of discussion.

    [Comment redacted by author.]

    I have carved ebooks into several “manageable” groups and am currently working on one such group, which has combined with stuff on reading left over from last year–“Writing about Reading,” or part of it, will be the first and probably the only major essay in the April (and maybe May) issue. About one-third of the way through the source material, with 15,000 words written, but I may be able to cut that somewhat…

  7. Steven Kaye says:

    Didn’t mean to piss you off, and having read through recent discussions on the list I think I need to walk away for a bit as well.

  8. walt says:

    Steven: You didn’t piss me off at all. It’s a good suggestion–but by now I think you see why I’m not inclined to pursue DPLA. I redacted my comment because, well, for the same reason that I’m staying away from commenting on DPLA and, for now, on LibraryRenewal.