I’ve been quite busy over the past few weeks preparing the latest issue of MIDLINE for publication. Your intrepid chapter editor has been at this for a while now. This is my fifth year as editor. And how the production of MIDLINE has changed!
Under the guidance of my predecessor Cathy Perley, MIDLINE made the transition from a print publication to an electronic one with the Spring 2003 issue. The first issue under my editorial guidance was the Winter 2004 issue. Production was labor intensive. I sent a huge text file with the edited text of the issue along with the issue photographs and typesetting suggestions to the webmaster who then drafted the issue as a webpage. After a couple of cycles of review and editing, it was ready to be announced on the chapter website. Talk about an awkward process. Eventually, I tried my hand at drafting the issue myself using FrontPage. Somehow this managed to make it even more “interesting” for the webmaster. I know just enough html to be dangerous!
Moving the chapter’s web presence to a commercial vendor gave us the opportunity to produce the newsletter more efficiently. Using Movable Type as the publication platform for MIDLINE puts all of the article entry and design in the hands of the newsletter editor with a smaller workload burden on the webmaster. The text editor in MT is easy to use even for the html clueless. It is simple to insert the photographs and links. Document files can even be included as part of a story. See this story as an example. The clickable table of contents and the archives are generated automatically. All of the content is keyword searchable. The RSS feed provides an additional means of delivering the newsletter to our readers. The comments and trackback features mean that the newsletter can become more participatory and conversational. But there is some awkwardness that comes with using blogging software for publishing a “static” publication. One must be very aware of the order of story entry, for example. The first issue produced with MT, November 2006, displays in upside down order in the archival view. Oops!
The chapter also has used Movable Type to produce conference blogs for the 2006 and 2007 chapter meetings. And ConnectMidwest is the latest of the chapter’s efforts to foster information sharing and communication in the Midwest Chapter.
I have been asked many times if I think there is still a need for a quarterly publication of chapter news. And my answer is an emphatic “Yes!” Having the opportunity to blog about chapter events and subjects of interest is a great service to offer our members. But there is always going to be a place for a more formal and permanent report of chapter business and activities.
P.S. Remember: You can earn 1 point toward your AHIP membership by writing a feature article for MIDLINE!
This week your intrepid blog editor has been watching an idea spread like wildfire through the librarian blog world, also known as the biblioblogosphere. On Sunday evening, Marcus Banks (NOT the NBA Marcus Banks) posted Why Professional Librarian Journals Should Evolve into Blogs. Here is his idea:
I became firmly convinced that the traditional journal model is antiquated for sharing research and knowledge among librarians. A better course is to develop and nurture excellent blogs, with multimedia capabilities and guaranteed preservation of the postings.
David Rothman picked it up right away Monday and included the slide show that Marcus used to present his librarian blog survey results. (Yikes, my poor old Gateway takes a long time to load this page with the embedded slide show.)
T. Scott was on it by Tuesday early with Editing and Peer Review. Dean Giustini chimed in later in the day with Blogs Destabilize LIS Publishing – But Research.
Then David Rothman posted about it again later in the day with Troubled Tuesday, commenting on T. Scott and Dean Giustini and noting that LibraryStuff and LIS News had also posted the link for their readers.
Talk about a flurry of activity! Read about it yourself. What do you think?
Your intrepid blog editor thinks that for for some librarians like herself, blogs have already replaced professional journals as the primary means of “keeping up” with developments in the field. “What’s the latest and how can it be useful in my library?” just cannot be answered in peer-reviewed journals. The time to publication is too long. I hate to admit it, but the latest issue of JMLA is sitting back in the office on my desk with a bookmark at the Janet Doe lecture, still waiting to be read.
So now that we have a chapter blog, how do we get readers? Karen, our intrepid Communications Committee Chair, asked this question yesterday during our committee meeting via conference call. Well, says your intrepid blog editor, I will be posting this week to ConnectMidwest about this very subject! Because why blog if no one reads!
I snagged two useful posts about this in my feed reader last month:
One tactic that your intrepid blog editor used to increase the visibility of Conference Call 2007 was to shamelessly invite some popular libraryworld bloggers to check out the blog and mention it in their blogs. As I mentioned before, I particularly enjoyed the crossover posts with T. Scott and our MLA Pres.
ARGH! Just as I am trying to figure out Web 2.0, I find out that Web 3.0 is on its way!
I’ve been pondering these issues particularly since the upcoming MLA Educational Webcast is entitled Web 2.0 Principles and Best Practices: Discovering the Participatory Web. I like that phrase “participatory web” as a description, even better than the term “social media” used in the tagline for this blog. Here is the Wikipedia definition: “…a perceived second generation of web-based communities and hosted services (such as social-networking sites, wikis, blogs, and folksonomies) which aim to facilitate creativity, collaboration, and sharing between users.”
During January, there has been considerable discussion about the concept of Web 2.0 and its corollary Library 2.0 in librarian blogs. For a taste of the discussion, sample these posts by David Rothman, John Blyberg, and maybe even try the biting, sarcastic wit of Annoyed Librarian.
Have you seen Dean Giustini’s BMJ editorial Web 3.0 and medicine: Make way for the semantic web? I printed out the PDF and slogged through it this morning. The table contrasting Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 was very useful. If the next big thing will be the semantic web, then I’m all for it. As an ex-cataloger, I have never felt very comfortable with the concept of folksonomies and uncontrolled vocabularies. Just adding more words somehow seems to make things more confusing and searching more difficult. Dean Giustini has linked to a great video explaining the semantic web over at the UBC Academic Search — Google Scholar Blog.
Mostly for fun and curiosity, I set up a Facebook page for myself. Will you be my friend?
My collegian son uses Facebook extensively to communicate with friends on campus and at other universities. But he certainly is not allowing his mother to see his full profile and his message wall. This is understandable and is one of the reasons I wonder how Facebook can be an effective tool in serving our library clients. I’m certainly not alone in my musings. Melissa Mallon over at ACRLog is much younger than I and shares my concerns. Her post is amusingly entitled “Is Facebook this generation’s Rolling Stones?” in reference to the generation gap created between this digital generation and their parents’ generation. Here’s what she says about this generation, “They’re very secretive and protective of their niche, and they just don’t want the adults intruding.” And who can blame them?
That said, I am going to do some more experimenting with Facebook apps. This weekend over at the SLA Blogging Section blog, there is a useful post on Facebook Apps for Librarians. I want to explore some of these.
And my next question is how Facebook is being used as a communication tool among librarians? I use e-mail extensively and I’m not sure if I want to check even one more place for communications…
Today I attended the Breezing Along with the RML session Developing and Marketing an RSS Journal Service for Your Library. Is “attended” is the correct verb? Participated? I’ve never used that online presentation software before and it seemed to work fairly well. We could simultaneously see the presenters, their PowerPoint presentation or internet screen, comments and questions from the participants. I couldn’t read the smallest print on the presentation slides on my screen, however. Having to use the phone for the audio portion of the session seems so awkward to me.
I saw the presentation in Omaha and wanted to listen again so that I could get more details. Taking one of their ideas, I’m setting up a demonstration feed reader account to show to some of my library users. Right now I’m setting it up with the table of contents feeds from the the library’s surgery journals. I’m amazed to find that the Elsevier journals do not seem to have a table of contents feed. Am I missing something here? I might just have to set up a feed from PubMed for those journals. Anyone out there have a better idea?
The results of the survey are in! It is nice to see the raw results, but I am wondering about how many specific groups of librarians read quite a few blogs as I do. So how many solo hospital librarians with many years of experience like me read a lot of blogs?
Already, your intrepid blog editor is thinking about how to blog the 2008 Midwest Chapter Annual Conference just up the way in Troy, Michigan. The conference wiki has a Blogging @ Midwest page where you can list yourself if you will be blogging from the conference. And tag your posts and photos Midwest08. One thing that I really enjoyed last year was sharing Flickr photos.
I’ve picked up these conference blogging tips since the Omaha meeting. And don’t miss this tongue-in-cheek advice at A Librarian’s Guide to Etiquette. Liveblogging doesn’t really work for me. If I’m frantically blogging, I find that I’m not really able to “digest” the information. So I’m hoping that someone else might want to try at this year’s conference. How about you?
That conference wiki looks interesting! It will be a great way to share all kinds of information. Looking for a roommate? Shared transportation? Want to know who will be attending which functions? How to get there? Where to EAT?
Want to keep up with all this information? Use your feed reader! Since the conference website main page is in blog format, you will be able to subscribe to find out the latest. There is even a feed for wiki updates! Already in my Bloglines feeds!
This week’s LISNews 10 Blogs To Read In 2008 has some good recommendations of blogs which you, as a librarian, might be interested in reading. I subscribe to about half of these in my aggregator. How about you?
Today is a slow one down here in the hospital basement. So I blocked out about an hour to look through my non-library Bloglines feeds. Some of them have a ginormous number of un-read new feeds. So many feeds, so little time! I snagged this interesting interview with the author of Presentation Zen from Guy Kawasaki over at How to Change the World. I need all the presentation assistance I can get. I usually give presentations to the medical students and interns for their noon lecture. They have all been up since well before dawn and have just eaten lunch. And invariably during the lecture one or two of them will actually fall asleep. Hard to imagine that they could be bored by a presentation about PubMed LinkOut…
And speaking of Web 2.0, have you seen Kawasaki’s exercise in citizen journalism, Truemors?
Yesterday, your intrepid chapter blog editor took the Survey of Health Sciences Librarian Blog Readers for Marcus Banks. Although I realize that I monitor and read quite a few librarian blogs, answering the survey questions was a revelation to me. I read A LOT of librarian blogs. There are over 50 blogs written by librarians or published by libraries in my Bloglines feeds. Why? How else could a solo hospital librarian keep up with our rapidly changing profession? I’m always looking for ways to improve services to my library clients. Aren’t you? I’m really interested in the results of the survey…perhaps I should go to Las Vegas for the meeting myself!
And here is where I confess that there are a number of blogs that I monitor just for fun. There’s Cute Overload, Neatorama, and ever useful, The Generator Blog.