10 Blogs To Read in 2006

"10 Blogs To Read in 2006" came from my quest to find the people doing the most interesting and original writing on the web. Here is a group of librarians working hard to increase understanding our profession and it's place in the rapidly evolving online world. I tried to choose 10 writers who cover very different aspects of our profession, 10 sites that inform, educate and amuse.
You can think approach this list as just one man's limited understanding of what's being written by people writing about libraries on the web. I think you'll also find it a great place to find something new to read.
Most importantly I hope you'll use it as list you can send to your friends and coworkers who have a negative opinion of blogs.

  1. The ALA Tech Blog
  2. Carnival of the Infosciences
  3. Lorcan Dempsey's blog
  4. A Librarian's Guide to Etiquette
  5. Catalgablog
  6. Library Marketing-Thinking Outside the Book
  7. The Kept-Up Academic Librarian
  8. Librarian.net
  9. Library Link Of The Day
  10. Conservator

Below you'll find expanded descriptions, and some thoughts on the creation of the list.(Cross Posted to the LISWiki) 1. The ALA Tech Blog. ( http://www.techsource.ala.org/blog/) The ALA Tech Blog is a breed apart from the rest of us. They are a group of talented writers paid to write. They have an editor, and they write lengthy original posts. In short they're everything I've been trying to make LISNews be for the past 6 years, they just found the money to do it. Though their focus is narrow, the Tech Source Blog should be a shining example of what any collaborative blog could be. 2. Carnival of the Infosciences (http://infosciences.pbwiki.com/) The Carnival of the Infosciences is a weekly weblog post that endeavors to showcase the best posts in the blogosphere about topics related to the wide world of Library and Information Science. Started by Greg "Open Stacks" Schwartz, the carnival moves from site to site each week and is a great place to focus if you want to know what's going on in the minds of those who write library blogs. The Carnival summarizes writings from dozens of sites in one place. 3. Lorcan Dempsey's blog (http://orweblog.oclc.org/): Though it seems hard to believe he'd have time to write so much and still work as the VP of research at OCLC, Lorcan Dempsey proves that not all bloggers are underplayed kids with too much time on their hands. His posts are insightful, interesting and well thought out. 4. A Librarian's Guide to Etiquette (http://libetiquette.blogspot.com/) "A polite librarian is a good librarian." Sometimes snarky, occasionally nasty and almost always hilarious, the LGE is a perfect Friday afternoon stop if you need a good laugh. 5. Catalogablog (http://catalogablog.blogspot.com/) Just in case you think there's nothing you need to know about cataloging, add David Bigwood's site to you list of reading. Who would've thought cataloging could be so interesting? The OPAC is still the backbone of the library, and how things end up in there should be on the top of your mind. 6. Library Marketing-Thinking Outside the Book: (http://librarymarketing.blogspot.com/) Jill Stover's description says it all; "Resources, readings, news and ideas for librarians who seek outside-the-book marketing innovations for their libraries." Jill points to a wide variety of sites that can help spark ideas you can use to better market your library and yourself. 7. The Kept-Up Academic Librarian (http://keptup.typepad.com/academic/) Steven Bell describes his site as " designed to provide academic librarians with news about developments, events, new research, and more - almost any news about higher education I can find that may be of interest to an academic librarian." If you're working in an academic library you should get Kept-Up on a regular basis. 8. Librarian.net (http://www.librarian.net/): Jessamyn has probably been on ever damn list of blogs ever written by a librarian. She writes regularly, covers some interesting and original stuff, and she's been doing it longer than any of us new kids. Her writing covers many different areas of librarianship, and is good for it's breadth of coverage. 9. Library Link Of The Day: (http://www.tk421.net/librarylink/) A daily link for library enthusiasts. Also available via e-mail or an RSS feed. The Link O' The Day is a blog that posts only one link a day, so is it really a blog? Well, it's close enough . It's easy to fell overwhelmed when presented with 20 links from one site in a single day, why not just focus on one? 10. Conservator (http://conservatorblog.com/): Conservator's "Thoughts on libraries and freedom". If you're a librarian chances are you're not conservative, and I bet you don't read much from those on the other side. Conservator is one place to get a feel for why the other side is right, and you're so wrong. Jack Steven's opinionated site provides a different view point of what a librarian's role is in society, and how a conservative approaches what is a very liberal profession. This was a tough list to compile. If you followed Chris's A-List post you'll notice only Jessamyn made my list. I tried to be a bit more subjective, or maybe subjective in a different way. I was looking for people who wrote about libraries on a regular basis, and when I looked at the group of 10, I wanted to see diversity. I was much more limited than Walt's Great List "Investigating the Biblioblogosphere" which would've taken me about a year to finish had I attempted a list like his. I also decided against using the PubSub Librarian List, though it would've made sense. I did use it as a place to make sure I hadn't missed anyone, but I'm still a bit sceptical of the links=authority idea. Still, the PubSub list makes for some interesting reading. It feels like this took me forever to finish. I first sent out a call for nominations last October. The file sat for months before I picked it up again a few weeks ago. Since then I've been slowly subtracting names from the original list of about 50 sites. I thought I might be done a couple weeks ago, but I was never happy with the final list, and I'm not 100% happy with the list now, but I am about 80% sure, and that's going to have to do for now. This is the reason why I've labeled this the Blogs to read for 2006, each year the list should be revisited. That's also the reason I dropped a copy on LISWiki. I took off many names that should be there, and left one or two I'm not sure should be. For example, I excluded my good friend Steven M. Cohen, not because I don't like what he writes, but because he doesn't write about libraries much these days. There's nothing wrong with that, but I'm really trying to focus on librarian oriented stuff for this list. I also had to exclude C&I since it's published just once a month, and because it comes out in PDF format, and although I've always considered it very "bloggish", it seemed like a real stretch to put it on the list. My goal here was to incorporate ideas from a variety of sources, build a list based on what everyone else thought, and make some subjective judgment calls based on what 10 blogs I think will give you a good overview of what's going on in the LIS world. This list should provide anyone with an interest in librarianship an introduction to what's happening in our field. No that I'm finished I feel like I have a much better understanding of what's being written by bloggers. It occurred to me time and time again while I was working on this list that people who dismiss blogs as being worthless are really missing out. I always thought Gorman had a point, but now I'm convinced he chose to retire a few years too late. You might want to send this list to your coworkers who think bloggers are a bunch of teenage girls writing about Bennifer. This might be a list they can start with to see what's going on, and what they're missing out on.
  I also decided to leave the list at 10. I started making an "honorable mention" list, but it grew to outnumber the original 10, which seemed to be counter productive. There's also a couple blogs I wanted to include but they're so poorly done I can't possibly recommend them, even though some of what they write would be worth reading, much of it was just nonsense. I tried as much as possible to leave my personal feelings about authors and the subject matter out, hence you see one blog written by someone who told me "you make me sick" and another written by an organization I don't support. I also trimmed a few blogs from the list because they got too "personal". Remember, my goal was a list of people who write about libraries, not what they're up to personally. If I have more time I'll write my thought process behind each choice, who they beat out and why I chose them. If you don't like my list, please do supply your own, or let me know who I missed or who I should've left off. About half of the list was easy, it was the other 5 that took me awhile to settle on. Don't like it? Change It. I'd like to see someone fit a public library oriented blog and a school library oriented blog into the mix. I tried, but couldn't decide who to remove. Below I've tried to explain why I chose each site. It'll be interesting to see which site I am most thoroughly abused for including. The ALA Tech Blog. (http://www.techsource.ala.org/blog/) This was the easiest one for me. Say what you will about the ALA, I hope you'll agree the Tech Bloggers are doing some fine work. Carnival of the Infosciences (http://infosciences.pbwiki.com/) The carnival seemed like an obvious choice because it covers so much. It also seemed like it didn't quite fit because it's not "A" blog, but rather can be on any blog. In the end I decided it's "meta" and makes a great starting point for an intro to what we're up to in our little world. Lorcan Dempsey's blog (http://orweblog.oclc.org/): Lorcan was at first a tough choice. He was in my initial list, and then popped on and off as I worked my way through all the other names. In the end his consistency and insights made his writing stand above others. A Librarian's Guide to Etiquette (http://libetiquette.blogspot.com/) Humor is subjective. That being said, if you don't think this is funny you're just wrong. Catalgablog (http://catalogablog.blogspot.com/) Cataloging has always seemed to me to be the unsung hero in the library business. As uninteresting as catalog is, I've always thought David does a great job at finding interesting nuggets to write baout Library Marketing-Thinking Outside the Book: (http://librarymarketing.blogspot.com/) Librarians do a terrible job marketing themselves. We need more people who aren't afraid to find new ways to make us all look good. The Kept-Up Academic Librarian (http://keptup.typepad.com/academic/) I think Steven does the best job in posting academic oriented stories. I wanted to find a Public and School Library site similar, but I couldn't do it. PLABlog came close, but it didn't make the cut. There must be a Public and an SLMS site out there somewhere I'm missing. Kept-Up seems like the best place to keep up in academia. Librarian.net (http://www.librarian.net/): The final three were some of the most difficult. Jessamyn has been doing it longer than anyone else, something that I couldn't over look. She also does a good job, better than most. There is no shortage of sites similar, but I think her style and experience makes her a standout. Library Link Of The Day: (http://www.tk421.net/librarylink/) Is it really a blog? I guess so. There are days when reading 30 stories @LISNews are overwhelming for me, so I can just imagine it's very easy for other folks to get turned off by feeling overwhelmed. I think John's approach to posting a single like is like the "easy listening" approach to blogging. Conservator (http://conservatorblog.com/): If there's a million librarian blogs, 900,950 are written by people who aren't conservative. Most of the other 50 are just painful. I found Conservators approach to be far from balanced, but the most informative, which is was a requirement to be included. There's plenty of blogs written by one person that take a political view point on things, after looking at them all this is the one I settled on.

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Just one note

Cites & Insights absolutely does not belong on this list. It's not a blog; it's not in reverse chronological order; it's more formally written than I'd do in a blog.

The only things "bloglike" about it are that it appears on the web and that it's by one person. It's an ejournal. I have a blog (which also doesn't belong on that short list, and isn't there).

Re:Just one note

Well, that'll teach me to skip "Preview" even on a short post. I used the B tag where I intended to use the P tag. I really didn't mean to emphasize the last three sentences that much!

Re:Just one note

Since this leaves an opening I'd like to mention a very good weblog by a school librarian, Infomancy. There are sure to be others out there, I'm not a school librarian an so not in that loop.

Your quaint notions of different publications...

amuse me. :oLink of the Day isn't exactly what I'd call a blog either -- no comments, no punditry, no sponsor.... and besides if I have something to say about library news, I know where I'll post it -- but as recent chatter on blogs vs. wikis touched upon (as as students so admirably demonstrate), tech is blurring the line between different publication formats.Rory had this objection with Library Juice ("it has an ISSN!") as well. I say, suck it up, if you're anything posting online nowadays, you may as well call yourself a blogger.- J

Re:Your quaint notions of different publications..

J or anonymous, whoever you aren't, since Blake urges us to be civil here, I won't provide my real response.

I do call myself a blogger. The blog is Walt at Random.

Of course, the ideas that a blog necessarily has a sponsor (true of, what, 0.01% of blogs?) and comments (not true of a substantial percentage of blogs) are just plain wrong.

If "quaint" means "recognizing useful and important distinctions," that's fine with me. D-Lib Magazine doesn't call itself a blog. Google doesn't call itself a blog. First Monday doesn't call itself a blog. Marylaine Block doesn't call Ex Libris a blog. But by your standards, they're all quaint. As opposed to what you are...(but I'll stop here).

Here's to plain speaking...

Oh dear, this is like those grammar debates between formal rules and how people actually speak. There's a reason people call individuals'* online writing blogs. And when enough people call something a blog, then under my linguistic worldview, it is a blog. If you don't want to call C&I or Slashdot a blog, that's fine, but you need to acknowledge that's not how others use the word (even if their definition is "wrong"). Fair enough?In J's (ie. me -- sorry for posting anon up there) defense, my snarky post intended to state that there are new formats which blur the lines, and make the need to distinguish between publications less important (and therefore 'quaint distinctions'). Is this site a wiki? How about this?All too often I see faculty and librarians get carried away with publication type and format discrimination. I've seen research assignments that require students to not use the web (at all), for example. How useful is that nowadays?Is C&I a blog or an online journal or a newsletter? And who really cares?All I know about it that it's a good read, and I'd have to quit my job to produce something like that. I don't even have time to put together a coherent blog comment. So... Library Link of the Day stretches the "blog" definition the other way. No blather, just a URL. So is it really a blog then? Beats me.* "you're posting anything online," should not be read to include "your organization is posting anything online" -- I'll grant the straw man that Google is not a blog. :) And by "sponsor" I mean that to include "ads," and I'm sure a browse through library blogs for ads would yield more than 0.01%, unless you're just countering my hyperbole with that deflated statistic. :0Anyway, just trying to re-state things more clearly. I certainly didn't intend to get any ad hominem arguments going.

Hey, Walt

Wah, wah, wah. Want some cheese with that wine?

Re:Here's to plain speaking...

I'm not a prescriptivist, but I'm also not ready to accept a loss of precision quite that sweeping--and I'd bet that most readers of C&I don't call it a blog, since it has none of the characteristics of a blog other than being online. (And Library Juice was distinctly not a blog either...) The likelihood that some people can't bother to make distinctions does not make the distinctions invalid. I'm sure not ready to give up on all distinctions among types of online writing...I really don't think we're there yet.

Well, geez, lots of organizations have blogs, so I don't see that your proposed distinction makes any difference.

So under your linguistic worldview the proper pronunciations are "liberry" and "nucular," since so many people say them that way?

But we're getting way away from Blake's list...

Words, words, words...

Well, I dunno, setting the terms for the discussion seems right-o on topic to me.>And Library Juice was distinctly not a blog eitherTrue, Rory Litwin was emphatic that it wasn't a blog. Maybe it's just that, to me, this whole, "it's a journal, not a blog" thing smacks of some sort of nod to viewing blogs as inferior to journals. You're protesting too much.>some people can't bother to make distinctionsWho are you referring to? Acknowledging a "blurring of the line" shouldn't be taken as being unwilling to deign to make any distinctions.>Well, geez, lots of organizations have blogs, so I don't see that your proposed distinction makes any differenceI said that individuals who write online (whether or not they sort them in ascending or descending order... or other characteristics "not true of a substantial percentage of blogs," gasp!), are writing blogs. How does the fact that organizations blog too invalidate this?>the proper pronunciations are "liberry" and "nucular,"I only mentioned meaning, not intonation. But, wait, are you suggesting they're *not* supposed to be pronounced that way?

Wow!

You dissed three of my projects in one fell swoop. Damn you Blake. ;-)

Lists like these are great because you really can;t argue against ones personal likes and dislikes. It's Blake's list. Don't like his list? Make your own.

My list will not include anything by Blake T. Carver. :-)

Re:Lowering the tone, but...

I see the possibility of an interesting poll.

For me, at least, it's not at all an issue of inferior/superior. To suggest that what I do in C&I is superior to, for example, Lorcan Dempsey's blog postings or Infotangle or Library Dust or [...well, you get the idea] would be a whole lot more arrogant than I am at my worst. They do first-rate blog posts, in a blog. I don't think of my writing or thinking as being up to their level, in C&I or elsewhere, but C&I is organized, published, and formatted as a journal, not a blog. It's not better: It's different.

I believe the distinction is worth maintaining--that it's a useful distinction. I'd make similar distinctions among wikis, IM, email, and lists--all of which are online writing, but with distinctive characteristics. I guess I believe that having separate words for separate things is, by and large, beneficial.

And I should probably reiterate that the apparent shouting in the last three sentences of my original comment was an HTML screwup (using "b" instead of "p"), not intended emphasis.

I added a few to the wiki page

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