Marylaine Block's Exlibris

You may already be familiar with Marylaine Block's Exlibris. It's her weekly e-zine for librarians. She says "In part I'm doing this to pass on some things I've learned about information, searching, the net, and library users, over my 22 years as a librarian. But since there are a lot of things I DON'T do--cataloging, administration, extreme technical stuff--I am soliciting articles from other librarians who know things I don't." Also, don't miss her Neat New Stuff, links to neat new stuff she finds on the 'net each week.

Suggestions for more Quick Links are welcome.

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extreme technical stuff

But since there are a lot of things I DON'T do--cataloging, administration, extreme technical stuff--I am soliciting articles from other librarians who know things I don't."
She points out that she does not know extreme technical stuff. What has also amazed me about Marylaine is the fact that she puts her self out as an Internet Guru and she has one of the lamest websites on the planet. This site might have worked in 1996 but it is 2005. Marylaine was an Internet guru during the time when anyone that knew about computers was a guru. It is not 1996 any longer. You can't have a website that screams 1996 and put yourself out as an Internet guru.

Re:extreme technical stuff

That was harsh.Perhaps one need not hold a black belt in Python to be considered an expert on 'net or web issues? From what I've seen, most of those who can write masterful Perl Subroutines (or Java, Python, PHP, SQL, etc…), strict XHTML, CSS2 or create amazing logos are not the same people who are speaking once or twice a month at various conferences. Obviously there are exceptions to this, but for the most part there are those who do things and those who talk about things, neither group is necessarily better or more talented, they just tend to focus on and better at different things. I'd apply my theory to writers as well as speakers. You can write/speak about things on a level that is still informative for your audiences even if you can't really apply some of what you speak/write. I see nothing wrong with that.In order to be a good geek you must focus on geeky things like programming and standards. These things take time. In order to be a good speaker you must spend all your time on the road, which leaves little time for other things like learning a new language or a new program. I'd say you can be an expert at things you don't spend all you time doing, it's just a different type of expertise.There are obviously people who this does not apply to and they are somehow able to find the time to do both. The ones that drive me crazy are the people that seem to be able to write 10 articles a year, speak about 6 or 7 conferences AND continue to program and learn new languages. That's more than a little impressive.(purposely avoiding names here)

Re:extreme technical stuff

Obviously there are exceptions to this, but for the most part there are those who do things and those who talk about things, neither group is necessarily better or more talented, they just tend to focus on and better at different things. I agree. But if you are an Internet Guru there hits a point that you should at least ask for help. Using a WYSIWYG HTML editor and a book that discusses good website design her site could be greatly improved. I am not suggesting changes that require PERL or JAVA. Just a clean up to make the site look more professional. Although the comment may seem harsh I have a feeling that she is losing some speaking engagements that she might have otherwise gotten. A bad website is like a bad resume.

Re:extreme technical stuff

Care about my opinion on AP now? I think it encourages scathing responses. If I decide to be an arse at least I do it under my own name.


I liked the website personally, I especially liked the google maps and the budget links. I had been meaning to look at both and that was a fine reminder.


Website design is in the eye of the beholder. I think the best web editor ever is notepad. I like simple not dancing hamsters. Well OK dancing hamsters are fine but most intros and animations are a waste of bandwith. Like Joe Friday said: "Just the facts. ma'am."

Re:extreme technical stuff

Care about my opinion on AP now? I think it encourages scathing responses. If I decide to be an arse at least I do it under my own name.Requiring a speaker to identify him or herself abridges the freedom of speech. The speaker otherwise has inhabitions that chill speech. Is the speaker that anonymously criticizes Ms. Blocks website a chickenshit coward? Sure! I am the one that wrote the original comment and I realize I am a chickenshit. But as librarians do we really want free speech? To hear ideas that we do not agree with? To hear those ideas that we do not agree with some people are only going to say certain things if they are anonymous. Although I am a chickenshit by not putting my name on my original comments about Ms. Block's website the comments are sincerely held and were not meant to merely be flamebait. Everytime I see her site I wonder why she does not fix the graphics so that they are not fuzzy. I also think to myself, "Who is hiring you as a speaker on the "Internet" when your Internet resume (webpage) is so amateur.

Re:extreme technical stuff

I think there's a difference between being a "finding stuff on the Internet" guru and being a "creating stuff for the Internet" guru. Certainly one can be both, but I doubt that Marylaine's ever claimed to be the latter.

Even so, I agree that her site could use some sprucing up -- new graphics and a homepage re-do, at least. (Yeah, I have some crappy graphics and ugly-looking pages on my sites, but for me it's just a cheap hobby.)p>

Re:extreme technical stuff

>>Care about my opinion on AP now?I cared about them before as I do now.>>I think it encourages scathing responses.I think it does too, which is why I shut it off last time. Like I said, we'll see how it goes now. Hopefully those who do care have been paying attention and will have an opinion again later in the month, I'd like to leave it turned on for a bit longer at the very least.So far I've been happy with the reposonses, but I may be in the minority?

Re:extreme technical stuff

I do care; I've been paying attention; and I'm happy with leaving AP on (although maybe "anonymous coward" really is a better name).

Personally, I think that anonymity discourages real conversation, but I also think it has its place.

I discount any anonymous comment about 90% right off the bat, and apply a "don't feed the troll" test to replying--but I'm just as happy letting the cowards vent.

Re:extreme technical stuff

That was not to say that you did not care about them before, but rather would anyone care about them just now that I read the first reply. I was a bit undecided until then.

Its your site and you can enable or disable the features as you see fit.


It seems that any response I make to an AP always starts a war so I'll just refrain from responding to them. I don't want to start another 97 post flamewar.

Marylaine's site

I certainly wouldn't call Exlibris a lame site. It's packed with solid information. Just because it doesn't have animation, mouseovers, drop down menus and so on doesn't make it bad. Yes, the graphics are a little fuzzy, but really, this small flaw makes not a lame site.

And Marylaine's knowledge of the Internet is of the information found there, not the latest coding tricks. I've subscribed to Exlibris for years, and consider it one of the best resources around. She has turned me on to more great sites than any other resource, even the Internet Scout Report. As far as I'm concerned, MLB IS an Internet Goddess.

Re:extreme technical stuff

Thank you, Blake, for saying that so well--and I'm definitely not one of those names you're avoiding. I'm becoming more aware just over the past day or so that I can either learn a bunch of new tools and techniques (or languages, for that matter) on my own time, or do the modest amount of writing I do (and the reading and thinking that make it possible)--but not both, not without giving up the leisure-time activities that constitute a life.

Of course, I deliberately avoid the word "guru," for very good reason.

freedom of speech

Requiring a speaker to identify him or herself abridges the freedom of speech.

Er, no? It only would if the anonymous speaker had reason to expect genuine backlash (danger, job risks, etc), and I can't imagine that would be the case here, since there's no need for your lisnews.com identity to be tied in any way to your Real World identity. Nor do I think that even our angriest flamers here are in any way dangerous.

Under my undergraduate school's honor code, speakers were allowed to say pretty much anything non-malicious as long as they identified themselves. It guarantees two things: freedom of speech (since the right to air controversial opinions was guaranteed), and personal responsibility. It didn't always work, but it certainly didn't restrict dissent.

Note I don't want to require you to do anything. The fact is I read all anonymous comments with a barrel of salt, and for many readers they're probably modded too low to see at all. So it's really your lookout. I just get all hot under my virtual collar when things are claimed as preventing on free speech that, well, aren't.

Re:extreme technical stuff

I have to agree, while I have learned quite a bit about website design, the biggest hurdle I face is that of content.
The web readership is like this huge gaping whale-like maw trawling the information sea, for new stuff. If you stop updating they stop coming.

MB's site is good, in as much as, she keeps up the flow of information. You try writing a dozen or so annotations a week and see how before you burn out.

Hell, I tried to start a book of the week for my page, (real simple, I thought. I read a ton of books, and writing them up should be a snap, right?) and now I'm running 4 weeks behind on my updates. IEEEEEE!

Re:extreme technical stuff

I have to agree, while I have learned quite a bit about website design, the biggest hurdle I face is that of content.
The web readership is like this huge gaping whale-like maw trawling the information sea, for new stuff. If you stop updating they stop coming.

MB's site is good, in as much as, she keeps up the flow of information. You try writing a dozen or so annotations a week and see how before you burn out.

Hell, I tried to start a book of the week for my page, and now I'm running 4 weeks behind on my updates. IEEEEEE!

Re:freedom of speech

For starters, I have to admit the first post in this thread was flame bait. That being said, the library world is a small community, and people do talk. This is why I'm posting this anonymously. I don’t think Marylaine is the punitive sort, but she is a known enough voice in the library world, that I don’t want to start something.There are enough directors and administrators out there reading; that I don't want to say something which would get me blacklisted. I love having my crappy low-playing library job, and I want to be able to get more crappy low-playing library jobs in the future, so I keep my mouth shut. Anonymous Posting allows for some freedom, and unpopular opinions.

Re:freedom of speech

there's no need for your lisnews.com identity to be tied in any way to your Real World identity. Big sigh!!!lisnews identities are by no means great protection. I know at least twenty of the pseudonyms on lisnews and could probably figure out many more with just a couple minutes on Google and could find even more even I really took a crack at tracking someone down.

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