LISNews: Many Facets for Many People

Rather than just post my boring slides from CIL last week I'll expand on my notes and post a series of essays here that explore what I talked about in greater detail. I'll also be able to cover some of the things I never got to in my session. Yesterday was What Gorman Got Right, to is LISNews: Many Facets for Many People
I attempted to start my presentation by doing my best to really define what LISNews has become over the years by saying what LISNews is Not. LISNews is not (primarily) a “interactive electronic diary� where the unpublishables communicate our thoughts. Quoting Gorman again, I wanted to point out we are much more "newsy" than most blogs, we do more "real" reporting than reflecting.

So what is LISNews? I think it's different things to different people.

Online librarian community
I think LISNews is a community because the members pay to keep it running, they write about LISNews and each other. I think there are people who feel they are a part of LISNews. People have friends and enemies on the site.

Slashcode powered weblog
Maybe this is where the lurkers fit in. For most of the readers that visit the site we're a place to catch up and read some news and comments. It's just a weblog that uses Slashcode and they stop by to see what's going on. For the majority of our readers, we're just a weblog, a place to read and a place to learn.

Mailing list
For several thousand people we're also a mailing list, and for some of them, we're only a mailing list. I'm always surprised when someone tells me they only read the email and never visit the site.

RSS Feeds
Maybe I'm just splitting hairs, but I think a site is different when viewed through RSS colored glasses. It's not better or worse, just different, a feed reader presents the site in a different way. There is practically an unlimited number of feeds coming out of LISNews now, and a feed reader really limits you to just certain parts of the site.

Collection of blogs
The LISNews journals section is one of my favorite things about Slashcode. Not only can you come and read the index page where we post the news, you can also read a separate section that allows anyone to post anything. You never know what you'll find, and it's almost always interesting.

User comments
Come for the news, stay for the comments. The comments make it a place for discussion of ideas. Sometimes the comments become more interesting than the stories themselves. The comments correct, and often add to the stories to make them more interesting and useful.

The News
Last but not least LISNews is, the news. Stories from around the world you'd never see anywhere else dropped into nice neat categories for easy browsing.

Some other ideas I tried to explore.
LISNews is a database of:
14,000 news stories, links and articles
3,000 journals (blog) entries

LISNews is a loosely connected group of librarians and others who share things they find interesting

LISNews is an online collaborative community of librarians (and others) who take time to educate, inform, infuriate and amuse others

LISNews is just one of over 200 library blogs that can be read @ In many ways we're very different than most of them, but we're also just one of the gang.

So if I had to describe what LISNews is to someone who had never visited the site, off the top O' my head, I might sum it up like this:
It's an online community, it's a place where librarians gather to discuss news and events, and it's a place that allows everyone to participate in most everything that happens. We share and educate each other, we amuse and enrage each other, and we do it because we enjoy what we do. It's all about collaboration.

Up next will be strengths and weaknesses. This may take me a few weeks to get though.


Excellent summary.

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