[First: Go read other journals. As rarely as I post, it's absurd that this is the most-read journal. Now, we return to our previously scheduled posting.]
"He not busy being born is busy dying."
The shark is forever swimming, forever feeding. It stops, it dies.
See a connection? Yes, I've been musing on Blake's story from last week for a while--and continuing to muse on the future of the far-less-significant Cites & Insights. Actually, not just Blake's most recent comment, but his earlier thoughts about (for example) starting up a LISNews-related magazine...
I think that, for both of us, there's the felt need either to move forward or to drop back. (And if I'm putting words in Blake's mouth, well, he knows how to comment.)
I don't think it's lack of recognition or appreciation (in either case). Blake even knows that he can count on some fiscal support when he needs it. (I may have been too clear about not actually needing it!)
I do think it's about the "grow or die" situation.
Not sure how that works out for LISNews. The journals represented a growth of sorts. The readership continues to grow. Already there are enough stories that if you only visit once a day you'll have to bring up old stories to get the full picture.
For C&I, well...technically, it's been growing, in pages, coverage, and (I think but can't currently be sure) readership. Support pretty much stalled after the first couple of weeks. The COWLZ-related posting, as you can see, drew zero comments: That still seems permastalled.
Given my druthers, and if I could put together the support mechanisms (e.g., say, three or four vendors or regional library networks--none of whom get dealt with directly in C&I, so conflicts of interest can't arise, agreeing to serve as cosponsors for a modest sum), here's what I'd like to do:
Keep C&I itself in the same semi-fluid state it is now, but...
Start a new set of additional issues, explicitly serving as conference report issues--"LITA Newsletter replacements" of a sort, but broader and narrower. That is:
Open an invitation to people to submit reports on library-related conference programs (for ALA) or some combination of programs and overall conference themes (for other library-related programs).
Take reports in RTF (or maybe .doc, as long as NAV is good about scanning for virii), requiring:
1. A legitimate email address, real (traceable) name, and contact information
2. Agreement to abide by the Creative Commons Attribution/Noncommercial license for submitted material.
3. Agreement to accept my editorial decisions (cleaning up as little as necessary for coherence, formatting, trimming to length and rejecting inflammatory commentary, maybe even rejecting some reports outright, for example those of one couple who specializes in reporting on how they would have done conference speeches better)
Whenever there were enough reports to make a 12-26-page issue, I'd do one--consisting entirely of such reports, with maybe a brief Bibs & Blather to introduce the themes. I'd list myself as editor in the banner and change the subtitle from "Crawford at Large" to "Conference Reports." The issues would get sequential numbering and would be included in the index. I'd hope that the ISSN Patrol didn't notice the varying subtitle...
C&I already has a substantially larger readership than the one library-related newsletter I know of that has included a fair number of conference and program reports--and it beats the price of that now-overpriced publication all hollow! I'm beginning to despair of LITA itself ever getting the kind of substantive program reports that we used to have (geezer alert) in the good ol' days of the LITA Newsletter; this might be one partial solution.
It might also to be another stupid idea from ol' Walt. And yes, there's still that small temptation to slide gracefully into early tired senior status and spend all those extra hours reading books and the like...