Archive for the ‘blogging’ Category.

The mildly perturbed librarian

Some folks that I respect a lot now respect Library Journal a lot less, due to LJ’s decision to pick up The Annoyed Librarian. And, since people have asked me for my take via email (and, last week, in a live Q&A session), I figured I’d come out and say it:

I understand why LJ hired her. I’m going to keep reading LJ (well, at least the random bits and pieces I read before). I’m going to continue to write for LJ (well, at least the bits and pieces where they haven’t fired me).

OK, why?

  1. LJ is a business, and this is a business decision. Any uproar about the AL plays into their hands: They’re looking for clicks, so they can attract advertisers. They don’t care whether you check into the AL because you love her, or because she… annoys you.
  2. LJ is owned by Reed Elsevier, folks. (At least til they manage to unload it.) Reed Elsevier isn’t your librarian-next-door — they’re in this, again, to make money. If you didn’t stop reading LJ when Reed bought them and the budget skimping started to become more apparent, the AL probably shouldn’t push you over the edge.
  3. The AL’s posts have nothing to do with the content of the rest of the magazine. If it was useful to me before, it remains useful to me now.
  4. LJ has posted annoying, insulting, and downright stupid content before (*cough* “Revenge of the Blog People” *cough*). Although this excited comment, no one really dropped LJ because it lent legitimacy to these views by publishing them. I don’t see pseudonymity as the straw that makes the difference.
  5. LJ employs other bloggers whose work I respect; it seems to make just as much sense to read LJ because it’s lent legitimacy to these people, as to not read LJ because it’s lent legitimacy to the AL.

OK, are you saying that you respect the AL?

Nope, I’m simply saying that I respect LJ’s decision to pick up her blog. There’s a place for pseudonymous online expression, but this ain’t it — hiding behind a pseudonym in order to attack other people by name is both cowardly and lame. I’m saying that I respect LJ’s decision, but wouldn’t necessarily have made the same decision. And, for what it’s worth, the AL has gotten much less interesting since she joined LJ, I’m guessing because of the pressure to post regularly and not when the annoyed muse strikes; I haven’t bothered to click through from her feed for a while.

Alas, poor computer media…

LJ is cutting my “Computer Media” book review column; October’s will be the last. So long, and thanks for reading! :)

Since this leaves a gaping hole in the review literature, I’m thinking of starting a new computer book review blog for librarians. To this end, if you purchase computer books for your patrons, please do me a favor and take this short survey on whether this sort of thing might be useful to you, and what you’d like to see there. (This is a little free SurveyMonkey survey limited to 100 respondents.)

A blogger needs an encyclopedia like a…

This initiative by the Encyclopedia Britannica to give free access to “online publishers” fascinates me — I think I’m going to apply and see what happens. Not sure what the criteria are here, other than:

Note: This program is intended for people who publish with some regularity on the Internet, be they bloggers, webmasters, or writers. We reserve the right to deny participation to anyone who in our judgment doesn’t qualify.

I’m assuming they’re doing this in an effort to raise visibility of their subscription service, but wonder what, if any, effect it will actually have on sales. Here’s their FAQ for more info.

How (not) to respond to negative reviews

[Disclaimer: I haven't read this book, nor do I intend to.]

However, if someone wrote a blog post like this about one of my books, I don’t think this is the way I’d choose to respond. (Give it a minute, the comments get more … shall we say… pointed.)

Don’t blog. Write. (ouch!)

Tomorrow, you will say to yourself. Tomorrow I will start afresh, and I will type all day to make up for the pages I have not written today. With the best of intentions, you will go to sleep...But on the morrow, when you wake and rise, you will not write. You will blog.

- Vampires of the Internet

Any Wordpress Gurus?

So I’m planning to convert this blog to Wordpress. It’s installed on my ISP’s server, and the test blog is up and running. However, the Wordpress import function doesn’t work on Blogger FTP blogs, only on blogs. The only advice I can find online is to first convert this blog to a Blogger-hosted blog on, then to import it into Wordpress.

My thought is, if I do this, I lose the current URL and it will be very difficult to point people to the new blog. Anyone have suggestions on how I can import to Wordpress with minimal disruption?

"Ice Cream"

It’s “funny” because it’s “true” — the “blog” of “unnecessary” quotation marks. Not to be confused with Apostrophe Abuse

(You don’t have any of this going on in your library’s signage, right?)

Reading, ‘Riting, and Ranting

Since I’ve finally waded my way out of the Deathly Hallows (and don’t even get me started on that ending!), it seems timely to point to “Teens Weigh in on Changes in Publishing, Media” over at O’Reilly Radar. This quote cracks me up:

“As high school students with busy lives, going to a bookstore is just not part of our schedule. It isn’t that we don’t want to read, but with schoolwork, sports, and personal life, not enough time is left open to both find interesting books, as well as read them.”

Yeah, gosh, that is different than when I went to high school… but, sarcasm aside, some thoughts there about reading for information v. reading literature. And about movie hype v. book hype, which displays a pretty major lack of understanding as to the comparative economics there, but so it goes.

On that note, we’re also off to play the blogs vs. print game again… Current Cites points to “What a Difference a Publisher Makes” over at OptimalScholarship, with a fascinating look at recent studies on copy editing changes and the implications for repositories. Stephanie Willen Brown at CogSci Librarian asks which is better, blogging or print publishing, and Jim Rettig responds over at Twilight Librarian.

Brown writes: “…does it matter that librarians are writing more on blogs than in print?” Are they? This, I’m not so sure about. Some librarians are writing more on blogs than in print. Some librarians are reading more on blogs than in print. Some librarians still wouldn’t know a blog if it came up and bit them. I think it’s more useful to argue that different formats serve different purposes. Brown quotes Stephen Abram along the lines of: “It doesn’t matter where you write, just get your ideas out there.” Well, yes, and no. It does matter where you write if you’re working towards tenure. It does matter where you write if you are targeting a specific audience, or trying to impress your boss, or your work needs some editing editing, if you are worried about the longevity of your work, or want a bigger audience than might flock to your brand new blog, or … It does matter where you write if you are concerned about timeliness or if your thoughts flow more freely in a more informal medium or if you have a built in audience online, or …

In principle, though, Abram has it right. The answer to the question of blogs or print is: YES. The more of us that participate, in whatever medium, the wealthier and more robust our profession.

Then again, publishers don’t help themselves in cases like Eric Schnell’s, who details his two-year saga over at The Medium is the Message in “Where is My Manuscript? part 1 and part 2. Perhaps one of our measures of a journal’s prestige should relate to its responsiveness and timeliness. T. Scott weighs in here with “Publishing Faster,” talking about the five-six month turnaround time at JMLA and the basic issues with timeliness and quarterly publication.

Note also his comments on the other issues with Haworth journals when considering where you might yourself wish to publish… Then again, you could always self-publish on!

Luminously Indiscriminate

I’ll leave this indiscriminate reporting business alone soon, I promise, but just wanted to point to this hysterical post, which includes such gems as:

4. Novels written by M.F.A.’s, or their friends and lovers, will be reviewed glowingly. The reviews will contain language such as “breathtakingly original” and “hauntingly luminous.”and

9. Each review will contain a quotation from Jacques Derrida, such as, “The epoch of logocentrism is the moment of the global effacement of the signifier.” (No, I can’t wait either.)

Also, as Sarah Johnson pointed out in a comment on the last post, this GalleyCat post notes that, 1) as one of the few bloggers to actually review Kohler’s book, Johnson also reviews historical fiction for Booklist (and has written a book on the subject), and 2) Kohler’s poor publicist has been going around trying to pitch the book to literary blogs.

The Pace of Publishing

Way back in December, I read Dorothea Salo’s post on “Why I Am the Enemy,” checked “keep new” in Bloglines with the intention of responding to the bit of her post containing a lament about the slow pace of print publishing, and then… well… didn’t. (I guess the faster pace of blogging only works if bloggers are on the ball!)

I already talked last year about some of my reasons for the continued viability of book publishing. Now that I’ve been blogging a bit longer, I still believe in all of those pluses — but also in the complementary nature of the two formats. I believe that a big chunk of the readers who see Dorothea’s chapter in the upcoming Information Tomorrow book will be unfamiliar with her blog, and that her ideas need to be seen by this different audience. I believe that conversation about her work, and that of the other contributors to the collection, will explode online post-publication, and that this is a Good Thing.

ALA Editions posted an interesting book production timeline on their blog a while back, which might provide some insight into why book publishing takes so darn long. And yes, I get frustrated with the slow pace of print publishing as well, but understand it a bit better now that I’m seeing it from the other side.