From Free to Fee in 10 Easy Steps

Just take a look at ABQ's homepage and you know what business they're in, advertising, plain and simple. The stories take a back seat.

Reading the story on how the moved from free to pay just reinforces that. Citing increased costs, and lowered paid subscriptions to the print paper Donn Friedman argues there is nothing wrong with building a wall around your website, after all, they made a quick $100k. Page views are up 30 percent; advertising revenue is up more than 50 percent. And print subscriptions are not falling.

"Like anything else you consume, you should pay for your local newspaper, whether you get it on your doorstep or online."

So why can they charge people? They "… happen to be the sole provider of local news in a remote place, like Spokane or Albuquerque... In remote places, charging for news online can work, the logic goes, because readers don't have another place they can easily go to get the content and service you provide."
In other words, we've got you, you owe us, and you're going to pay. What're you going to do, there's no where else to go!

The arrogance runs deep in this piece, but what really strikes me is this paragraph:

"Reporters may be your hardest sell. What reporter would be in favor of reducing his potential audience? Reporters often choose journalism because they want to report the truth and share it with the largest number of people that they can. Journalism is a higher calling to them, not a business."

I've always felt journalism is a higher calling; it's not just a business. Journalism a corner stone of democracy, and it needs to be as open, accessible and honest as possible. There is nothing wrong with making money with whatever you do, but I just don't feel good about the politics of greed and power that control what gets reported, and in this case, who reads it. Especially in this case because they " happen to be the sole provider of local news in a remote place." In my mind this is an argument to leaving access open, to finding another way to get the site to pay for itself.

So, lets play what if… What if some, most, or worse case scenario, all local papers start charging for access? What happens to weblogs, alternative local papers, the newswire services and other news outlets? Do weblogs dry up and die from lack of places to link to? Do we start to become sources of news? Do we simply rely on any free sources we can get our grubby little links on? There is nothing wrong with having a profit motive behind what you do, but I really believe it should take a back seat in many cases, and it never does.

"What I do has value, he said, and people ought to be willing to pay for it."

…And if they're not willing to, we'll force them to pay.


I'm not a librarian, I just work for a library. I'm considering going for an MLS after I finish my undergrad, but things may change.

In memory of Wallace Kuralt, a David among Goliaths

Read yesterday of the death of Wallace Kuralt at age 64, former owner of Chapel Hill NC's Intimate Bookshop and brother of journalist Charles Kuralt.
He ran the store for over thirty years, but had to close it down in the late '90s due to the growth of the mega-chains, Barnes & Noble and Borders. He was a hero among indies (independent booksellers) for launching a suit against the chains; regrettably the judge ruled against him, but an appeal is planned(see website:


Well. The memo came out several days ago that there were going to be cuts at the seminary where I work (standalone seminary in the south). It's depressing naturally. But its feeling more than depressing too. No one knows who will go/stay.

It means that I have to screw up the courage (again) to look at job ads. I thought this would be the last place I'd work until retirement in twenty something years. Now I feel torn; have to do what is right for the family and all.

There has NEVER been an implicit deal

Just caught this little tidbit at The IMDB:

Mark Fiore cartoons

Wonderful site of liberal-oriented animated cartoons -- this guy is talented and infinitely on target regarding our Federal government and politics California style (his home state). There's a new cartoon every week--check it out:

Working on a blog

Well, I've finally caught up, but now I moved onto a new project. I wanted a blog for work and personal, so I figured 'Why go the easy route?'. Instead, I spent part of the weekend installing and configuring drupal ( It's nice, configurable, and I've got the necessary requirements. Its still a work in progress, so its not online yet.

Mozilla Bugs Me

2 Things on Mozilla I want to remind myself to submit as RFEs:
1. I can't search within a tech box using ctrl-f
2. Long text doesn't wrap within a text box

These 2 things make Mozilla painful to use for me. They seem like such minor things, but I do it all the time, and it's quite an annoyance.

I've found my catchphrase!

Thanks to Bill and Gene, it will forever be, "Boys who are into sports tend not to become librarians."

Too busy...

Following the flu during ALL of Thanksgiving week (took care of my sick girls during the first 3 days), I'm finally catching up with my workload so I can get back to reading all my favorite blogs and sites. Missed LISNews, but I did try to scan the headlines everyday. Finished a column, working on another and two additional projects. Trying to prepare for an interview and schedule a vacation. Gotta love the holidays.

Image links?

Look it works! hehehehe

And linking to a web page???

Merry christmas and Happy New Year!

Deleting bib Records

Law periodical bib records will be delted or shadowed if they can't be deleted.

will anyone ever read this? Will I ever read it after I start it??? LOL

I'm using it for records of stuff we're doing in cataloging.

Wal-Mart is the pits

As we look forward to next year, hopefully with a new president and an improving economy, I think we should all bear in mind some of the factors that helped to diminish our present economy, big box stores included.

An excellent series of articles from the L.A. Times -- please read what you can, and pass the word: don't patronize Wal-Mart.

First entry

So. I keep thinking I should write something here, but I can't really think of anything. I'm not very good at keeping journals and I already have a blog, so I think I'll just keep blogging over there. If I ever come up with something to write in this journal, I will, but I don't want to force it. Trust me: it would not be pretty.

In the meantime, if you're interested, you could read my blog, BentleyBlog, if you like.

"Do you read fiction?"

That's what a coworker asked me yesterday in the lunchroom. Apparently the correct answer is, "Not at work." Now that I think about it, I almost never read fiction, except on vacation. I read lots, but it's mostly professional or news; when time gets tight, it's the fiction that gets pushed aside.

I need to do something about that.

BPL board chair Bill Taylor. Censored reorganization plan.

Boston Public Library board of trustees chair Bill Taylor, mayor Tom Menino and BPL President Bernie Margolis have censored the reorganization plan documents of our Boston Public Library Departments.

It's not what I do, it's what I am

If you'll forgive me for paraphrasing Dewey.

It's Christmas shopping time again, and my mother visited to do her shopping this weekend just past. She wants to buy my daughter books for Xmas, so she dragged me along. Not because I know what my daughter likes to read: because I'm a bibliographer. Well, that's not the terminology that she used, but I was clearly wandering around the childrens' department of Chapters applying the usual collection development criteria to book selections for a collection serving a single 9 year old girl.

Questia adverts on Yahoo's libraries page

Questia is advertising on Yahoo's directory page for library links:

Kung Fu Karma (revisited)

Again, not that I care, just a point of reference for the future. It seems that Karma caps at 100, a nice round number.

TV logic from Kung Fu dictates: To know nature is to put oneself in perfect harmony with the universe. Heaven and earth are one. So must we seek a discipline of mind and body within ourselves.

Therefore, be content with your Karma, since it does have a limit.

The Numbers Game

So here's a little more on moderation and participation. Unfortunatly I don't have time to really get into it like I want to right now, some day I'll really break it down. While Rothman's post goes overboard, he's at least getting people talking about things, which is always good.

There are currently 2371 user accounts on LISNews, most of which have somewhere between 0 and 5 moderator points. A very small number of those people participate in some way, whether it be a comment, moderation, meta-moderation, journal, suggesting a story, or whatever. On a good day we'll get maybe 10 or 20 people moderating the 10 or 20 comments. Most people can not moderate and comment on the same thread, so most of the time it's different people posting and moderating. I broke it down over the relatively short amount of time we've been running slash, and the results look something like this:

Here's a little CSV file [Link Fixed] in case you'd like to crunch some numbers as well. It's just the top 50 busiest people, with no identifiable information provided.
Total moderation so far look something like this:

Basically there are a few people who do a lot in terms of moderation, a bunch of people who will seldom wield the moderator sword, and the vast majority who never participate. I'd imagine the numbers are similar for other slash sites as well. Rather than being sad that so many people aren't participating, I'm quite surprised at just how many people do participate, and very surprised at how many people really participate frequently. It's all very interesting and worthy of further writing and study.

No, it's not perfect, everyone who runs a slashsite will tell you that. There's talk of rewriting the moderation code, so that may help, part of the problem with the code is it doesn't always scale down well. With most software you run into troubles when you try to overuse it. With slash, you start to find problems when it's under used. Slash is designed to run Slashdot, which is a crazy busy site. When it's run on little ol' LISNews things don't always work quite right, and moderation is one of them. Moderation works quite well, most of the time, but not always. Such is life, there's no point in crying myself to sleep at night. As I get a better feel for the code I'll be able to make changes, and as the slash team adds features we'll be able to put them to use.

I think for a bunch of bigoted, ornery, balky, luddite librarians we do a pretty damn good job running our site.

And like I always say, anyone who disagrees with you is wrong, and probably an idiot.


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