Walt's blog

Cites & Insights 9:10 (September 2009) available

Cites & Insights 9:10 (September 2009) is now available.
This 28-page issue includes the results of two followup "research" projects and a certain amount of summer silliness. The issue is PDF. While three of the four essays are available in HTML form (as links from the essay titles below), I really don't recommend viewing either of the research projects that way--they're heavy on tables, and it's fair to say that Word's HTML converter was overzealous in its preparation of tables: They may or may not look very good, and they result in quarter-megabyte downloads. The PDF version is much easier to read...

Here's what's in the issue--and yes, some of the "regular" features may return soon:
Perspective: Public Library Blogs: A Limited Update

I looked at May 2009 posts and comments, and the most recent post prior to May 31, 2009, for all of the public library blogs in the book Public Library Blogs: 252 Examples (based on blog activity March-May 2007). This update considers currency, frequency, comments and conversational intensity and how those have changed from 2007 to 2009--and includes brief notes on pioneer blogs and some of the blogs I found particularly intriguing. (The HTML is large and may not look all that great.) With this update, my work on these blogs is complete--and the spreadsheet's yours for the taking, if you're so inclined. -- Read More

Cites & Insights 9:9 (August 2009) available

Cites & Insights 9:9 (August 2009) is now available--just in time for the 2009 ALA Annual Conference. That's not a coincidence, to be sure; although the issue may not be directly relevant to the conference, if I didn't publish it now, it wouldn't be out until at least July 19.

This one's 32 pages, PDF as usual, but those who detest PDF or otherwise really need HTML can download the three articles separately.

The issue includes:
Perspective: Writing about Reading 3

The theme for this installment: Rethinking books and rethinking reading. Which means most of the long essay is about ebooks and ebook devices. (How long? A little more than half the issue, that's how long.)

Offtopic Perspective: 50 Movie Comedy Classics, Part 1

What's funny is generally in the eye of the beholder, although I suppose there may be objective criteria for labeling a flick a comedy. Watching the many early shorts and early movies in this first half of a 12-DVD collection was sometimes hilarious, frequently a little painful. (If I never see another East Side Kids "comedy" that will be just fine with me.) There's some gold here--and some dross as well.

Making it Work: Library 2.0 Revisited -- Read More

Cites & Insights 9:8 (July 2009) now available

I've just published Cites & Insights 9:8 (July 2009).

The 30-page issue, PDF as usual but with HTML versions of most essays, includes:
Bibs & Blather

Notes on sponsorship for C&I, the status of four possible future projects--and the move of Walt at Random to ScienceBlogs.

Making it Work Perspective: Thinking about Blogging 2: Why We Blog

Continuing the discussion of blogging philosophy and practice that began in Cites & Insights 9:5 with a focus on reasons for blogging.

Interesting & Peculiar Products

Seven individual items and technologies, plus eight editors' choices and group reviews. From high-def Bluetooth to whether you can call a $1,500 computer a netbook...

Perspective: On Privatization

Musings on whether Charles Dodgson had the proper theory of language (as stated by his character, noted wordsmith H. Dumpty), plus unaltered copies of the two blog posts (and most of the comments) at issue.

Trends & Quick Takes -- Read More

Cites & Insights 9:7, June 2009, available

Cites & Insights 9:7 (June 2009) is now available.

The 48-page issue is only available in PDF form (it includes 16 graphs and more than 60 tables, and it just wasn't worthwhile to generate the HTML version, which would probably run 65-80 pages).

It's another special issue:
The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008: A Lateral Look

Chapters 1 through 11 of the book of the same name, complete (except for chapter numbers and one secondary column in a few tables). It's the equivalent of 121 book pages.

The book continues to be available. (First link: Lulu version. Second: Amazon version, with ISBN.) The book includes

  • Larger, easier-to-read graphs (30% wider, 30% taller).
  • One extra data column in some tables (a data column that just could not be squeezed into the narrower column width of C&I, even by reducing type size)
  • Larger type for all tables
  • And, to be sure, Chapter 12, Liblog Profiles--147 pages containing 607 individual liblog profiles. The book also has an index of blog titles and authors.

If Andersonomics really works, a bunch of you will rush out to order the book after you've been enticed with this free version...

Cites & Insights 9:6, May 2009, available

Cites & Insights 9:6, May 2009, is now available.

The 28-page issue is PDF as usual, although HTML separates are available for most essays (from the links below).

This issue includes:
Bibs & Blather

Two million and counting: Notes on the first two million words of C&I, including the most widely-read issues (or, rather, "what I know about readership except for the first two years") and most widely-read essays since 2004. Also a note on one "why" for the two major essays--the other "why" being life changes getting in the way of original essays.

Public Library Blogs

Most of the first 65 pages of Public Library Blogs: 252 Examples, excluding some overall lists of included blogs and the individual blog profiles. If the gurus of Andersonomics are right, this free access to most of the overall text will inspire lots of you to go buy the print book... If not, at least the study will get a lot more readership.

Academic Library Blogs -- Read More

Cites & Insights 9:5 available

Cites & Insights 9:5, April 2009, is now available.

The 32-page issue is PDF as usual, with HTML versions (such as they are) for each essay available via the links below.

The issue includes:
Making it Work Perspective: Thinking about Blogging: 1

Do comments make a blog a blog? Is the "blogosphere" imploding? Have conversations moved elsewhere? And some offhand notes about blogs as a median medium, in an "interesting sweet spot in a casual media hierarchy of length, thought and formality."

Perspective: Writing about Reading 2

Ignoring the Death of Serious Reading, which is as specious as the Death of Blogs, the Death of Print Media and even (in my opinion) the Sudden Death of Newspapers, we look at some other reading-related topics--Aliteracy and Online and Print Reading. A third topic somehow moved over into...

Library Access to Scholarship

The Death of Journals (Film at 11). That's the overall title, and no, I don't believe journals are nearing sudden death either...but the topics this time around do relate to journals: Are print journals obsolete? Should professional journals evolve into blogs?

Net Media: Beyond Wikipedia -- Read More

Cites & Insights 9:4 (March 2009) available

Cites & Insights 9:4 (March 2009) is now available.

The 30-page issue (PDF as usual, but there's an HTML version of the essay) consists of one essay:
Perspective: The Google Books Search Settlement

As an author with nine out of print books (to which I hold the rights): Great! I might see a couple hundred dollars...eventually. As one who cares about fair use: Boo! Google backed away from a case I thought they could win--and did so in a way that will make it harder for others in a similar situation. As a reader: Great--Google Books Search will continue to grow, and we'll see more than snippess from (some? most?) of five million out-of-print/in-copyright books. (As for "buying" such books, or rather, "permanent" online access to indifferently-scanned pages that can't be downloaded as PDFs and don't appear to have first-sale rights: Eh.) As a library supporter and user: Unclear--extremely unclear.

We won't have final answers for a long time. Meanwhile, this issue reviews some of the summaries and commentaries, throwing in a fair amount of my own commentary.

Barring truly unusual events, the April issue will have more than one essay, and almost certainly more than two. -- Read More

Cites & Insights 9:3 (February 2009) available

Cites & Insights 9:3, February 2009, is now available for downloading.

The 30-page issue is PDF, as usual. Three of the essays are available as HTML separates (using the links below). The first, which is also the longest, is available as a PDF separate--the inclusion of embedded Excel graphs within the document made HTML creation more cumbersome than I was willing to deal with.

This issue features the article versions of my two presentations for the OLA (Ontario Library Association) SuperConference, held just over a week ago in Toronto, Ontario. The first article is a longer version of my session "Shiny Toys or Useful Tools?"; the second article includes "My own take" as the first set of Tech Trends, and that was my initial commentary during the "Top Tech Trends" session.

Issue contents:
Making it Work: Shiny Toys or Useful Tools? (pages 1-9)

Blogs and wikis aren't shiny new toys for libraries and librarians any more. They've moved from toys to tools. This article includes the only defensible definitions of blogs and wikis that I know of, some comments about planning library blogs, and sections on the state of liblogs and library blogs in December 2008. Included--for the first time in C&I--graphs, eight of them. (As noted, the link is to a 9-page PDF.)

Perspective: Tech Trends, Trends and Forecasts (pages 9-18) -- Read More

Cites & Insights Midwinter 2009 (9:2) available

Cites & Insights 9:2, Midwinter 2009, is now available.

The 34-page issue (PDF as usual) consists of either one essay or 132 essays, depending on your perspective:
A was for AAC: A Discursive Glossary, Rethought and Expanded (1-34)

That's right! Five years after the Midwinter 2004 issue, "A is for AAC: A Discursive Glossary," here it comes again, thanks to unanimous advice from those of you who chose to comment.

For 97 entries (out of roughly 100 in the 2004 issue), I've repeated portions of the 2004 commentary (preceded by Then: ) and added new commentary (preceded by Now: ) as appropriate.

Another 35 entries are wholly original to this issue (preceded by New: )

It's a little longer than the 2004 edition (34 pages instead of 20). It's mostly new material (roughly 63% new text).

Please don't print out the HTML version
I've provided the whole thing in HTML--but for on-screen use only. Please, if you're going to print it out, use the PDF: My tests show that the HTML version will require 45 pages rather than 34.
Next... -- Read More

Cites & Insights 9:1 available

Cites & Insights 9:1, January 2009, is now available.

This 30-page issue (PDF, but each section is available in HTML form from the links below) includes:
Bibs & Blather (pages 1-5)

Announcing The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008 and an early-bird special ($22.50 through January 15, 2009). Also announcing Cites & Insights volume 8 in paperback form (a great way to show your support for C&I and my blog research)...and notes on other books and the start of a new volume.

Net Media: Wikipedia Notes (pages 5-13)

"Verifiability, not truth," Wikipedia's growing pains, the power of the editor and rise of the Wikicrats, and other notes on the messy reality of Wikipedia.

Retrospective: Pointing with Pride Part 9 (pages 13-18)

Solving the "missing issue" problem (oops) and ten notes from ten issues.

Offtopic Perspective: 50 Movie Hollywood Legends, Part 2 (pages 18-26) -- Read More

The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008 now available

The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008

The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008: A Lateral Look is now available!

This 285-page 6x9 trade paperback looks at 607 liblogs (nearly all English-language) and, for most of them, how they've changed from 2007 to 2008.

Eleven chapters consider the universe of liblogs (that is, blogs by "library people" as opposed to blogs from libraries):

  • Age, authorship, country of origin
  • Number of posts during a three-month period (and change in that number from 2007 to 2008)
  • Total word count and average post length (and change)
  • Total comments and comments per post (and change)
  • Total figures (illustrations) and figures per post (and change)
  • Patterns of change from 2007 to 2008
  • Correlations between pairs of metrics
  • A look at 143 blogs from 2006 through 2008
  • Interesting subgroups (national, authorship, type of librarian)
  • The visibility issue
  • Liblogs and the larger blogosphere

The final chapter, just over half the book, provides a brief objective description and available metrics for each blog. The book includes many tables and a fair number of graphs. There is an index of blogs and authors. -- Read More

Cites & Insights Volume 8 now complete

The Title Page and Indexes for Cites & Insights Volume 8 (2008) is now available.

The 16-page PDF consists of a title sheet for the volume (both sides) and a 14-page set of indexes (one index covering articles and songs cited, the other covering books, blogs, topics, authors, etc.)

No HTML version is available, since the indexes specifically refer to page numbers that would be irrelevant in HTML essays.

That completes Volume 8, if you're looking to bind it.

I believe a paperback version of the entire volume will be available, but not for a few weeks.

Cites & Insights 8:12 available

It's only taken eight years for C&I to actually appear monthly--that is, for a volume to have only a dozen issues.

Cites & Insights 8:12 (December 2008) is now available for downloading.

The 22-page issue is PDF as usual (a nice compact PDF, as are all the other 2008 issues now that I've regenerated them with Acrobat 9), but you can also get HTML versions of most essays. (Most headings below are live links.)
Bibs & Blather

Advance notice of a special offer: The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008 will be available soon (late November or early December if all goes well), and will have an early-bird special price of $22.50 until January 15, 2009--at which point it will go to $35.00. (If there's an Amazon version, that will start out at $35.) The book will be announced on Walt at Random as soon as it's ready.

Also: News about disappearing books, notes on potential sponsorship for future research, and this warning: If you're one of the dozens (I can dream) of institutions that binds C&I, hold off--the title sheet and index will be ready in another week or two. (There will probably also be a paperback version of the whole volume.)

Perspective: Writing about Reading

The heart of the issue. An extended essay on NEA's latest sky-is-falling report--and on "stupidity and Google." -- Read More

Cites & Insights 8:11 (November 2008) available

Cites & Insights 8:11, November 2008, is now available for downloading.

The 26-page issue (PDF as always, but with HTML versions available from links here or at the Cites & Insights home page) includes five essays:
Bibs & Blather: Books and Blogs

Mostly updated versions of Walt at Random posts--library blog books going out of print soon, a progress report on The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008 (with more progress since the post) and notes on Technorati, blogs as a whole and the liblog landscape.

Making it Work: Libraries and the Social Web

Notes on aspects of social-web applications in libraries beyond blogs and wikis.

Perspective: How Common is Common Language?

An original "research" project: What happens when you try 300 everyday sentences against Google--and when you try just the first eight words of each sentence? The answers may surprise you.

Library Access to Scholarship: OA Controversies -- Read More

Cites & Insights 8:10 (October 2008) available

Cites & Insights 8:10, October 2008, is now available.

The 28-page issue is PDF as usual, although HTML versions of each essay are also available from the Cites & Insights homepage or via the links below.

This issue includes five essays:
Trends & Quick Takes

Improving patents, the future of the internet, why I give Pew such a bad tome, the HD watch, the purloined bibliography and invisible gifts, plus five quicker takes.

Interesting & Peculiar Products

Six of them--including a hockey-puck home theater PC and a digital projector that throws a 98"-diagonal image from 15 inches away--and six Editors' Picks and Group Reviews

Net Media/Making it Work: Blogging about Liblogging

A range of posts and commentary about liblogs and library blogs, some up to a year old, all worth noting.

Offtopic Perspective: 50 Movie Western Classics, Part 2

From the sublime (The Outlaw) to the ridiculous (Gone with the West), with spaghetti westerns, singing cowboys and much more in between--including Bill Shatner playing an arrogant, sexist, tinhorn ruler who doesn't happen to be on a starship but is instead a half-Comanche bad guy (White Comanche)--and Shatner also plays his sort-of-good-guy twin. I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried. -- Read More

Cites & Insights 8:9 (September 2008) available

Cites & Insights: Crawford at Large 8:9 (September 2008) is now available.

The 26-page issue (PDF as usual, but HTML versions of the individual essays are available using the links below or at the C&I home page) includes the following five essays:
Bibs & Blather: Projects and Rejects

40% less self-indulgent than the five-part post! Some new information! Otherwise, it's largely the same material. If you feel you already know all this, skip right on over to:

Perspective: Updating the Book Discovery Projects

Microsoft dropped its project--and in the process released all limits on 300,000 scanned books and gave the scanners to its partners. That and lots more in this multipart roundup.

Perspective: On Conferences in a Time of Limits

Why do we go to conferences--and will conferences change significantly thanks to high travel costs? Some semi-informed musings and non-predictions.

Old Media/New Media -- Read More

Cites & Insights 8:8 available

Cites & Insights 8:8, August 2008, is now available. The whole issue is PDF, but individual essays are available in HTML from the C&I home page or the article links below.

The 28-page issue includes:

  • ©4: Locking Down Technology - A number of skirmishes in the ongoing battle for full copyright maximalism, including strange lawsuits and even stranger threats.
  • Perspective: On Numeracy, Naivete, Google & Pew - Did your newspaper say that Pew says 21% of atheists believe in God? Read on...
  • Library Access to Scholarship - A range of interesting items, one newsworthy--and, by the way, the PALINET Leadership Network has a brand-new cluster on open access.
  • Making it Work - A slew of comments on possibility and reality--or, if you prefer, pragmatism.
  • Retrospective: Pointing with Pride, Part 4 - A few gems, including "Living with Contradictions" from way back in 2001.

Cites & Insights 8:7 available

Cites & Insights 8:7, July 2008, is now available.

The 26-page issue is PDF as always, but most essays can also be downloaded at the Cites & Insights home page or from the links below.

This issue includes:

Cites & Insights 8:6 available

Cites & Insights 8:6, June 2008, is now available for downloading.

The 28-page issue is PDF, as usual, but (since My Back Pages is missing) all segments are also available as HTML separates at the Cites & Insights homepage.

The issue consists of: -- Read More

Cites & Insights 8:5 available

Cites & Insights 8:5, May 2008, is now available for downloading.

This 28-page issue (PDF as usual, but each essay is also available in HTML form) includes:

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