Dylan, Sharks, LISNews and Cites & Insights

[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...



Yours is the third journal I've hit today, so I guess I'm safe.

I really like the idea of you getting conference reports from people and putting them into a newsletter. If my library ever lets me travel again, I'll be happy to send you one. We got hit by the budget scythe again this year.

If you feel like it's time to make changes to the C&I content you should go ahead. I like the idea of soliciting conference reports. There doesn't seem to be anyone offering this (I'm not sure what publication you're referring to that already does this). It would be good to get reports from regional or highly topic specific programs - or even good webcasts. This would also give colleagues who want to get started with publication something to say - and it might lead to larger things for them. I guess it might not be all that different from a publication that solicits book reviews, but with conference programs instead of books. ACRL is coming up in April 2005. Getting some reports of those programs would be helpful to those who couldn't attend and even for those who attended and couldn't get to everything. I think we all like reading those conference reviews that appear in Library Journal - but they only cover the big three or four.
Whatever format a new version of C&I takes I hope you'll continue to give us your perspective on whatever is most on your mind - and it couldn't hurt to throw in a little library industry gossip.

it's absurd that this is the most-read journal? People obviously like to read what you write, you are, after all, the only one of us with a column in American Libraries, the only one who writes their own zine, and I'm sure the most published one here, so it's not absurd at all. People read what you write, this isn't any different.

starting up a LISNews-related magazine is still on the back burner. If you count LISNews as 1, LISHost as 2, OSU as 3, my day job as 4 and my teaching gig this fall as job #5, I'm stretching myself thin. 5 jobs is about 5 more than I want, why can't I remember to buy those lottery tickets?

There's the felt need either to move forward or to maintain the status quo I guess. For the first time in 5 years I feel like LISNews is wearing me out, even when I take a day off. That's not to say I'll pull the plug any time soon, I'm just admitting that it's a lot of work, and I've been doing it for a long time, and all the flame wars are just tiring.

Being able to count on some fiscal support when I need it is a HUGE relief to say the least. It's tiring, but it's no longer draining my bank account.

I guess I've never thought about it, the journals do represent a growth of sorts. Thanks to Slashcode there's a second area of the site where anyone and everyone has a voice. The readership continues to grow, which continues to surprise me. I always wonder if we post too many stories some days.

As for the "far-less-significant" C&I... It's not at all less-significant, but rather, I'd say, more significant because it's an original work, not just a bunch of links to stories written by other people. It's full of analysis, insight and original ideas. How the hell you have time to do it I'll never know.

I like the conference reports idea, that's one thing I've never thought about doing here. Since I can't seem to find the time or money to make it to conferences, it's something that I'd read. I can't speak for anyone but myself here, but I can say that at least I'd read it.

If I do the conference-report thing, it would be an extension, not a replacement. As for library industry gossip, that's unlikely: I never hear any gossip, not being an industry insider.

Without naming the publication in question specifically, let's just say that the predecessor to Cites & Insights appeared in it--before (and briefly after) the new publisher bumped subscription rates.

Ok Walt - thanks for clarifying that it would extend not replace. That's even better.

Hard to believe you don't pick up on some good library-type gossip (just kidding about the gossip - I think we can get that elsewhere anyway).


I'm not sure I'm the only LISNews reader with an (about-to-end) American Libraries column; I'd be surprised if the two columnists on the pages following "Crawford Files" don't dip in here from time to time. I'm just the only one with an in-the-clear user name and a journal.

OK, I'll say C&I is significant in different ways. LISNews brings in more voices and reaches more people. C&I is a different animal. And, Blake, particularly with your fivefold mantra, you know better than to say:
"How the hell you have time to do it I'll never know." Same back to you (but, of course, you're a lot younger and more energetic).

Part of me says the conference reports idea (which I've had for quite a while now) is just missing the good old days of editing the LITA Newsletter, which at one point had such a quantity of good reports that we did an issue as a perfect-bound paperback. (The saddest claim to fame in my checkered history is that I edited LITA Newsletter for more than half of its life as a print publication. Would that this were not true.)

Part of me just wants to be able to read those substantive reports--to get the benefit of all those sessions I don't attend.

Whether I want to edit those reports in order to make them available--that's another issue, and why such an expansion seems dependent on some level of support (or some other change in my situation). Still, I think it would be a nice addition to the resource commons/circle of gifts.