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"10 Blogs To Read in 2007" came from my never ending quest to find the best and brightest doing the most interesting and original writing on the web. Here is a group of librarians working hard to increase understanding in our profession and how we fit in the rapidly evolving online world. Our list is made up of 10 writers covering different aspects of our profession. Think of this year's list as a place to find something new to read each day, or a place to gain better understanding of a part of librarianship you don't think much about. We all have much to learn from each other, and these bloggers are working hard to share their knowledge and understanding with you.
Before starting this year's list, I took a look back at last year's choices to see how our choices looked. The good news is I think we did pretty good. They're all still active, and they're all still writing some interesting stuff. I think 9 out of 10 were very good choices. I hope if you followed those blogs for the year you were happy with what you read. Now it's 2007, another year, more tough choices. More about all these sites, and how the list was made, below.
1. Tame The Web
Dr. Stephens was an almost unanimous choice in voting, and Tame The Web is the most popular blog on the LISHost server for good reason. He writes often, he's interesting, and his posts are accompanied by images that help convey his ideas in a way that make complex ideas easy to understand. Michael was an easy choice to head up our list this year. When he's not holding class at Dominican, he's holding it at Tame The Web.
2. Conversational Reading
Scott Esposito writes like a man possessed, or perhaps a man obsessed. An amazingly consistent and prolific blogger he covers books and publishing in amazing detail. Don't miss His Friday Columns, the amazingly long essays on publishers, books, bloggers and everything in between. I have a feeling that Conversational Reading isn't as popular and widely read as it should be. If you're interested in books in any way I think you'll find it worthwhile to read Scott's site regularly.
3. Tales from the "Liberry"
The blog's tag line says it all:"An employee of a small town "liberry" chronicles his eternal quest to remain sane while dealing with patrons who could double as extras in a David Lynch film."The regular feature "Actual Telephone Conversations Heard in Actual Libraries" are some of the funniest, saddest and most compelling reading you'll find on any library blog. Reading what happens in "The Liberry" makes me wish I had gone into public librarianship. Though at the same time, reading what happens in "The Liberry" makes me really glad that I didn't.
If you were familiar with LISFeeds, then consider Libworm to be LISFeeds 2.0. It doesn't (yet) have all the features I wrote for LISFeeds, but I think you'll find it a great way to follow all the blogs you can possibly handle. It's nice to have a tool that specializes in aggregating the biblioblogosphere, and I'm looking forward to seeing what LibWorm adds this year.
5. Ubiquitous Librarian
Written by Brian Mathews, a librarian at the Georgia Institute of Technology, The Ubiquitous librarian writes regularly writes about a wide range of topics impacting our little profession. He asks his readers to rethink the role and traditional values that librarians hold and in doing so he looks around at the big picture to find issues that allow us to see how we might use uncommon tools to grow.
6. Resource Shelf
Gary Price has been pouring it on for years at the shelf. He's had help from a few over the years, currently Shirl Kennedy currently fills the Senior Editor post with Gary. The Resource Shelf is unique in that it's a collaborative site, and it's a commercial site. I'll let them summarize what they do: "Every day, they add high-quality web-based resources, including databases, lists and rankings, real-time sources, and multimedia. They also post comments and observations about news in the information and web industry."
7. Burger's Blog
A unique opportunity to follow along with the President of the ALA. I hope to read about what it's like to be president of the ALA, dealing with all the lunatics pulling her in a million directions, the interviews and traveling through the year.
8. Information Wants to Be Free
Meredith Farkas [NOT Merideth Wolfwater like I wrote originally] is another super busy blogger who regularly writes long and interesting posts that delve into the theory behind librarianship. Merideth received the second highest number of votes in our polling because, as one person put it, "She's always writing something that makes me think." More than almost any other blogger I can think of, her posts are lengthy essays that go into great depth on topics important to librarianship.
A blog about museum librarianship?? A blog about museum librarianship!! Another rare collaborative blog, Musematic is written by "An intrepid cast of experts from the Museum Computer Network and AAM's Media & Technology Committee." I've always felt the best thing about librarianship is the amazing range of places you can work. I work in a power plant, these folks work in museums, you just never know where you'll find a librarian. Check out Musematic for "Rants and raves on the latest trends in the world of museum informatics and technology."
10. YALSA The official blog of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) is one of the many association blogs out there now. At YASLSA you'll find more than just an hard to pronounce acronym, you'll find news and views relating to young adult librarianship, and a regular podcast.
First, let me apologize for being so late with this year's list. I had hoped to finish things up last weekend, but I ended up with 2 sick babies at home who needed extra attention (and diapers) so things got pushed back. I didn't think anyone would notice, but I was surprised to get 6 emails on Monday alone asking what I was up to with the list.
I actually found this year's list was much more difficult to finalize than last year's. A few of the blogs were easy, but most were not. I got far more votes this year than last. This lead me to a few new blogs I didn't know about which made things more difficult because I had to go back through their archives and see what they've been writing.
My goal was to make a list of 10 blogs that do different things, blogs that will help you keep up on different areas of our profession. So while it would be very easy to name 7 tech blogs, and through in a few others, I did my best to limit the geeky influence over the list, which was no easy task. The votes were clearly biased towards those of us who write about tech/computers/web/geeky stuff, and my most difficult task was to limit this list to just a couple of the geeks.
In the end, just like last year, I forced myself to be subjective and make judgment calls based on my experience and reading. I was looking for people who wrote about libraries on a regular basis, and when I looked at the final group of 10, I wanted to see diversity, not just a bunch of people writing about wikis and code.
I thought I might be done a couple weeks ago, but I was never happy with the final list, and though I'm not 100% happy with the list now, I can't find the perfect balance I'm always looking for. This is the reason why it's a list that I'll change every year. It's also why I don't claim this is a "Top 10" or a "Best Of" list, it's just 10 blogs to follow this year. This year, even more than last, I took off many names that should be there, and left one or two I'm not sure should be.
My goal was to focus, for the most part, on librarian oriented stuff for this list. It would've been easy to add Boingboing and Scott Adams, but they ain't quite librarians. 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.
Once again thus year, after I finished I felt 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. At one point I thought Gorman & the blogger bashers might have 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 K-Fed and nail polish. This might be a list they can start with to see what's going on, and what they're missing.
Once again there's no "honorable mention" list, no "see alsos," or "just in case," just a simple list of 10. 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.
Don't like it? Let me know who I missed!