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Calvin, Kogitans, and Thinking in Chunks

As a quick follow up to my last post, something I forgot to mention was LISFeeds. If I really wanted a quick way to read all the library blogs I could handle I'd pay more attention to our little project, but alas, it sits, mostly ignored, at least by me. I am looking forward to the Bloglines account Aaron popped together for me. Maybe I just don't want to read library news after it's been run through the blogfilter, I prefer to read it in it's native format. In some ways I feel like more of a creator and less of a consumer of librarian news and information. I know that's not exactly true, since most of what we post isn't original, but we bring on the news nonetheless.

I might as well come clean on the lie I've been living for the past several years. Though I've been working as a librarian and I have my MLS, I only became a "real" librarian 2 months ago, that is, I've only had a cat for 2 months. I know it's written somewhere, maybe in the ALA charter, maybe it was Ranganathan or Dewey, someone said that all librarians must own a cat. I've never lied about owning a cat, I've just always avoided the topic. I knew that the secret would've leaked out to the liberal media at some point, they always find the truth.

I know many of you are gasping, maybe a few people spit your morning coffee all over your keyboard, someone fell off their chair, but it's true, to be a real librarian you must own at least one cat, and having more than three isn't weird, it's seen as normal, all the cool kids have at least 4!

So, I'm officially the last librarian to own a cat, and now I feel like a real librarian, next year at ALA I can sit around and say "oh my cat's much cuter than that, you'll never believe what he did last week…." and so on, just like a real librarian.

Speaking of librarian traits, I was thinking about how "we" think. Do Librarians tend to think in chunks? Do they think in terms of issues, volumes and pages? Do they think about things in a linear, regularly ordered way. Do we need a world where one volume or issue follows another in an ordered in predictable way? Is this how we used to think, that is, is this how "olderbrarians" think, and us darn kids can't be bothered to think in this nice orderly way? I wonder about this because I wonder about librarians embracing blogs.

Maybe these are stereotypes, seeing how librarians have embraced the web, but are librarians really embracing web logs? I'm obviously very biased in my opinions, but I see a real value in what we do, not just at LISNews, but all of us bloggers. So what does the average librarian think about blogs? Do they care about them, do they see them as a trend? Can we be a blog and a source for original news? Since I now work as a solobrarian I'm rather out of touch with what the average librarian is up to these days.

Traditionally libraries have dealt with monographs and serials. There was order, there was continuity and there was predictability. You knew when the next issue of Library Journal was coming in, you could count on your standing order with Scarecrow to arrive each month, or you knew which catalogs to check for good psychology titles. Then along came the web (along came a spider almost worked so well there). Suddenly there was chaos, but librarians, strangely enough, embraced it. Though we continue to attempt to bring some kind of order to this chaos through projects like the LII or through the infinite number of best of the pages built at most library sites.
It's something I've always asked myself, and the other authors at LISNews, how can we do a better job, can we be real reporters and actually have original work, can we be not just like Slashdot, but more than Slashdot, more like LJ or AL. The very idea frightens me, the work involved, the tax forms, and all that jazz. Not to mention the new idea of having employees, pay checks, deadlines. Questions that this would raise: How do we get paid? Who does the writing? What do we report on? Can we do a print version? Do I need to INC us? Can we be a non-profit INC? How would ever want to read this crap? Are we just duplicating what's already being done elsewhere? Is there any audience for what a bunch of nobodies would write about? Is Kogitans a good name for a journal? Can't I even answer my own questions?


I've never lied about owning a cat, I've just always avoided the topic. I knew that the secret would've leaked out to the liberal media at some point, they always find the truth.

No no! It's not the liberal media you have to worry about--it's the conservative blogosphere. Man, you're history! I've always suspected you of defelinistic tendencies. You are going to be all over Powerline, Captain's Quarters, and Instapundit! You are so "Trent Lott" toast!!! ;-)