D'Arcy Norman in our Teaching and Learning Centre appears to have had some spare time over the past couple days and has unleashed an altruistic project upon the citizens of Calgary - CalgaryBlogs.net. The front page of the site reads:
CalgaryBlogs.net is a free weblog hosting service. There are no ads, and no subscription fees. What’s the catch? There isn’t, really. I had some spare space on a server, and threw a copy of the excellent open source WordPress Multiuser blogging software on it. If you want a blog, help yourself. I do reserve the right to nuke any spam splogs and link farms. Assume your mother/firstborn/spouse/boss will read your blog. The only rule at the moment is “don’t be evil.”So hey, if you're a Calgarian, were a Calgarian, or maybe even wanna be a Calgarian, why not sign up? Tons of themes available - easy customization, and you can't beat the price, eh? Thanks, D'Arcy! (Wonder how we can get an announcement about this into Facebook w/o paying for ads...)
Oh this is good - saw someone reference the Blog Readability Test (what level of education is required to understand your blog?) and of course plugged mine in to learn:
Then just for fun I grabbed the first blogger I thought of who actually writes, and this is what Meredith at Information Wants to be Free gets:
That's absolutely hilarious. I suppose it could be a compliment that she writes so well more people can understand... Make up your own mind if you want to trust this tool :-)
R-mail, one of the first RSS to Email utilities I really liked, was acquired earlier this year by NBC, of all things. After quite a bit of development work, R-mail has now been re-introduced as SendMeRSS. Site looks really slick, and if you click on the banner at the top of the page (only later did I see the Watch Video button) you'll get a nice explanation of the fact that they're simply sending RSS feeds to an email box.
Just learned about the Social Software, libraries & distance learners blog at the University of London - it's part of their LASSIE (Libraries and Social Software in Education) Project. LASSIE "is exploring how social software might enhance distance learners' use of libraries. It also considers more widely the value of new technologies, commonly called web 2.0, or social software, for libraries and also explores the role of the library as a social space." Should be a really interesting one to watch!
Technorati Tags: LASSIE, Distance_Education
Over the past few weeks especially I keep seeing references to the iLibrarian blog run by Ellyssa Kroski at Columbia University. If you're at all interested in the stuff that makes up "Library 2.0" you should check it out.
Meredith Farkas is repeating the survey she did a couple of years ago to try and get another snapshot of the Biblioblogosphere. If you're involved in the library world and are a blogger, please consider taking her survey. I just finished it and have a couple of suggestions for clarification in the next iteration :-) 1) Define large urban area (Calgary's pretty large for this country, but maybe not for the world - I said we were large at just over 1 million in population). 2) For the revenue question, I'd be really interested in learning how much people earn. From my Google Ads I make just enough to cover my annual subscription to TypePad...
The results of the 2005 survey can be found here, including the following breakdown: Demographics, Blog Demographics, Attitudes and Behaviors, and Why we blog.
A couple of things to note before the weekend - Roddy MacLeod has a really good overview article on RSS in the most recent issue of the FreePint Newsletter: "RSS Update: It's RSS, Jim, but Not as We Know It". Lots of good links in there, including one to a project he's working on called TicTOCs. TicTOCs, an RSS Table of Contents alerting service, will be free to all when launched, hopefully by Spring 2008, and will initially be aimed at the UK crowd (major sponsor is JISC), though Roddy says it should be usable worldwide. You can follow along with developments at the ticTOCs blog.
And if you're interested in that article, you may be interested in the SIRSI/Dynix Institute presentation Meredith Farkas and I are doing on August 7 on RSS for Libraries. Registration is free for the one-hour session, and a recording will be made as well.
Technorati Tags: RSS, Libraries, ticTOC
The opening section in Walt Crawford's most recent issue (August 2007) of Cites & Insights really resonated with me. Entitled On the Literature, he begins with, "I believe that gray literature—blogs, this ejournal, a few similar publications and some lists—represents the most compelling and worthwhile literature in the library field today." He goes on to describe how he uses blogs for his primary source for information on contemporary library literature, and cites his recent book, Balanced Libraries, as evidence of that.
I, too, get most of my current library info from blogs; both the original thoughts of their authors, but also pointers to the best of the traditional print literature. I try to stay current with the print literature, but it's so much more convenient to receive postings in my aggregator (though I do of course receive what TOCs I can via RSS). I recently read an article about IM reference service, and actually started at the list of references to see if any blog postings were referenced. Not a one. While the article was solid, I wondered if the authors had read the most current information from the front lines - the reports from the bloggers. Why no mention of the coverage of this topic in the Library Best Practices Wiki for an organic way of keeping up-to-date on this (or almost any other) topic?
Later in this same section, but also creeping into a later seemingly unrelated section, are quotes from bloggers on why blogging is so much better at disseminating current tech information than the traditional literature (mostly a matter of currency) and why librarians decide to publish in which medium. Stephen Bell is quoted (out of context by me and with emphasis added) as saying,
I can’t say any individual has developed a blog that has emerged as the ‘voice of academic librarianship,’ ” noted Bell in response to my query. “Why? If I had to advance a theory I’d say that as academic librarians we are still geared towards traditional, journal publishing as the way to express ourselves. I know that if I have something on my mind that I’d like to write about to share my thoughts and opinions, I’m more likely to write something for formal publication (e.g., see this piece.)
That couldn't be further from the truth for me! If I've got something on my mind now, I want to get it out there now, now months later. It's exciting for me to get a good thought-provoking post up (rarely though that may be ;-) and see what other people have to say about it. It's satisfying to see my name in a peer-reviewed journal a year after I started the submission process, but it's not exciting. Lorcan Dempsy, responding to the same opening in Walt's essay, understands that too:
Gray? Gray! Blogs, reports published on the web, web journals: these are brightly colored and shining. They are connected to the life of the web - link and search - and are visible, referencable and available.
In contrast most of the formal library literature is a very dreary affair. Dull publications, hidden for the most part from the web. Determined not to have any influence outside their niche. Gray, Gray, Gray ....
I guess all I'm trying to do here is side with Walt. There's great information in the traditional literature, but there's also wonderful information, sometimes even written by the same people, in the blogosphere. I read it and I'm proud of it. I write it, and I'm proud of that too. But I'm preaching to the choir here, aren't I?
Mashable has just posted The Ultimate RSS Toolbox - 120+ RSS Resources which provides briefly annotated links to tools in the following categories: RSS Readers for Windows, Mac, Linux, Web, Cross-platform, and Mobile, RSS to email converters, Feed validators, Browser plugins, RSS Managers, Feed mixers, Ping tools, Feed Directories, Tips and Hacks, and Miscellaneous. Impressive! I'm aware of a few tools that didn't make these lists, but it's a pretty darn good place to start!
Did I mention that Meredith Farkas and I are doing a SirsiDynix Institute web seminar together? It's on RSS for Libraries. August 7, 11AM Eastern. Free. If you're going to be on vacation then, subscribe to the podcast feed.
Technorati Tags: RSS
Well it's been an awfully long time, but Sherri Vokey, with three posts in the past week, really really does seem to be back posting at schwagbag. Yay! Sherri's a librarian at the University of Winnipeg, and was a prolific and most excellent blogger a couple of years ago, but gave it up about a year ago when she moved from UNLV to the U of Toronto. Back in Winnipeg, where she was an intern to start her career, she seems to be itching to blog again, and 'bout time too! So if you've just started reading blogs in the last year or so you won't have hers in your aggregator, but you should. In the past, lots of similar interests to what you'd find here (we spoke together at Internet Librarian in 2005), but different too, of course. Definitely check it out, mkay? Hey Sherri, where's the link to your archives by date?