So how does this "Blogs To Read" list happen, you ask?
Once again this year I started by looking back at last year's choices to see how our choices looked. The good news is I think we did pretty good. They're mostly still active, and they're all still writing some interesting stuff. In '06 I was happy with 9 out of 10, and last year I'll call it at 9 out of 10 again. I hope if you followed those blogs for the year you were happy with what you read. If you weren't, I'd love to hear from you. First, a bit about the votes.
It felt like I got a million suggestions. In reality, I got about 30 from the comments on the site, and about another 60 via email. Getting feedback from 2 people on something is above average, getting feed back from almost 100 is just overwhelming. I had grand plans of listing all the nominated sites and adding those links to this post. The best laid plans... I will finish that list at some point, let's just say it's loooooong. The total number of links was well over 100 and I looked at every single site I wasn't already following.
I put the top 2 vote getters on the final list. The Annoyed Librarian and Library Stuff received far more votes than the next bunch of nominees put together, so they were the easy choices. Nothing about the final 8 was easy. The next top 10(ish) in the top 10(ish) voter getters (assuming that's a word) were separated by only a few votes. That is to say, there were 2 sites that were very popular, another 8 or 9 that were popular, and then another large group.
Farther down the list, "The long tail" of the nominees were all voted for no more than 3 times. So the list had 3 clear groups, the top 2, the top 10(ish), and everyone else. There's probably a name for that. I kept the most popular blogs, and began the long process of weeding the other 90 or so. That list got cut easily to about 30, and cut again to another 10 with a little more effort. Sites not updated very often were cut. People who write about non-librarian topics too much were cut. Then, I was left with 24 finalists. I knew those top 2 would make it, but now I was really stuck picking the last 8 for the final list of 10. The LISNews authors each got to pick and choose, and the list I was left with was really close. I got really stuck on the law blogs, it's not my area of expertise to say the least, but it was nearly unanimous when I threw that list back to the authors. That left me with 9. I had a choice to make for #10. Do I think big? Do I try and pick a blog that will change the world? Do I stay serious and educational, or do I pick a blog that makes fun of book covers? You can probably guess what I chose. Laughter, after all, is the best medicine.
This year's list was incredibly hard to finish. And there were several blogs that should have made the list, but didn't. Let me explain, because that doesn't make much sense, even to me as I write it. I found a bunch of good new (to me at lease) blogs to read from all the votes. The final list couldn't be based solely on votes, otherwise it would've been most tech bloggers or blogs that are already widely read. That's not what this list is supposed to be. It's both a subjective and objective list in that we start with votes, and then make the list diverse and original. It's not supposed to be "A Listers" or just popular sites. I was more tempted this year than ever to make the list 20 or 30 blogs long, but what would that leave us for next year? How could you possibly follow that many blogs? Plus, 10 is just a nice round number. In the end I did my best to make the list reflect as wide of a range of topics and styles as possible.
As I was finishing up this years list I also started to think a bit about next year. I already have a list started, 10 or 15 blogs I'll be reading closely to see if they will be standouts for 09. I'm also thinking of tightening up the rules, maybe picking 10 categories and choosing blogs to fit each. If your favorite blogger isn't on the list, feel free to complain (though double check they weren't on the 06 or 07 lists first). If you're not on the list, go ahead and complain. 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 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.