Jobs @LISNews?

I've always tried to make LISNews a collaborative site. LISNews is not "Blake Carver's LISNews" (Though I see people write that), it's just LISNews. I never wanted LISNews to be "mine all mine", my goal has always been to provide a site for others to communicate and share with each other. LISNews is collaborative because many authors post stories and because much of what we post is suggested by and written by other people. We also allow comments by anyone on every story, and of course anyone with an account has their own little mini-LISNews, to do with as they see fit. There are hundreds of people that make LISNews so interesting. I think we've assembled a fairly active community already, but I think we can always use a little more help.

So in an attempt to make the site more interesting, more useful and maybe even more popular, I'm suggesting Jobs @LISNews. It's an idea to add more people to the "creation" side of things around here. Since we don't get paid, there really are no "real jobs" @LISNews, we all just pitch in when we have some time to post a story or two and this works quite well most days. I've always taken a very hands-off approach to managing LISNews (something I've been criticized for) because I think openness leads to better discussions and a more interesting and inclusive site. Maybe rather than the completely unstructured, freewheeling approach we currently follow, a little more structure would help? Maybe giving some people more defined roles would help make what we have to offer more interesting. Maybe, maybe not, I'm not sure, and this is why I'm asking all ya'll for feedback. None of the following ideas are really new and we already do much of what I've sketched out here. In any case, I cobbled together some ideas to see what the LISNews community thinks.

This isn't a solicitation for resumes, or a list of open positions, but rather just a call for feed back on the idea.


Reporters: This is not a blogger, this is not link poster, this is not HTML monkey, this is a reporter. A good ol' fashioned reporter. Someone who goes out and interviews people, ok, so I can't send them to Australia or California, but they can conduct interviews by email, phone, Skype or Aim. Wouldn't you love to read (or hear) an interview with Desiree Goodwin, Don Saklad, Michael Gorman or Laura Bush? I know I would, I also know I'm not the man to do these kinds of things. I suppose we can always wait till next month to read about things that happened last month in some of the major print publications, but some things are better if they are timelier.

Weekly round-up writer: This job would hold the distinction as the most difficult to say job title. Go ahead, try to say that 5 times in a row. Steven M. Cohen did fantastic job with this for awhile, I think we called it Friday Round Ups, and they were always the most popular stories of the week. It's like the semi-weekly Slashback on Slashdot. Round-Ups are basically just short summaries and follow-ups on stories and comments that were interesting from the previous week. This is something that would take a bit of time each day, or maybe an hour or so of writing once a week to compile. This is probably one thing I could do if I had less to do elsewhere.

Editor/Author for each topic: LISNews has several different sections, and each section could have it's own editor. Our first attempt at this was the Wireless Section. Bill Drew has been editing that one, and even though the section doesn't get many stories, it's quite popular, so I think if we added more editors for each section we'd really be expanding out base. Wireless is our most popular section. We could also add a new section or two. This might make LISNews more interesting, though it might make it more confusing. We're not big on putting stories into topics, I can't speak for everyone else, but I just never think of it. Approaching the site as one site, with many sections might change it a bit.

Editor In Chief(s): I'm not really sure what an editor in chief does at a real newspaper, but I do know what they'd do here. The chief(s) would clean up formatting, grammar, spelling, remove dupes, fix links, suggest new stories. I guess this wouldn't be a new job since it's something we already do (and need to do more of), and at least 2 other authors have unlimited powers to change anything on the site. This would not be a position for a new or untrustworthy member of the site. There's essentially 3 of us now, so I'm not even sure we'd need more.

List Serve Monitor: Someone who watches the lists their on and sends along any interesting threads. I think it's safe to say the vast majority of discussions in our profession still happen via email.

Internet Monitor: What's new on the web? Any new blogs of interest, and new sites, tools, or search engines? The internet monitor would post links to new and interesting sites.

News Monitor: Google News Alerts will only get me so far, more people watching more sources for more stories will make LISNews more interesting.

Programmer and/or Sys Admin: This one probably doesn't need much explaining. Someone needs to maintain the code that runs on the server, and the server that runs the code. That's been all me up till now.

So Anywho... Just something to chew on this week if you don't have anything else to occupy your time. Let me know if you have any thoughts. I have no plans to start "hiring" any time soon, this is just more of me thinking aloud.


I'd be interested in pitching in for any number of those roles. I find it easier to contribute when what's expected of me is clearly defined. Though I'd need to keep the expectations realistic as my non-lisnews (gasp!) life shifts and changes.

I've been thinking of doing something that might be called This Week in LibraryBlogLand (and now that I've "said it out loud," I guess I have to go through with it). Sort of like that column you see in the newspaper where they tell you about some of the articles that appeared in magazines that week, but for library blogs instead of magazines. I'm still figuring out the details (e.g., how, what, (why???), what counts as a library blog, etc.). If I do this, it wouldn't be till after Mediawest, so we're looking at early June at the earliest.

How's that sound?


What if there was in addition or separate to the Internet Monitor section say a product monitor section. One area similiar to the Wi-Fi section already is on LISNews that just monitors new electronic resources, updates, reviews found elsewhere on blogs, and expectations. Actually, come to think of it, there could be sub-divisions on that as well concerning library systems related ( software that locks down OPACSs, patron authentication software, OS, Networking, Programming, the techie side of things that are library related) and then a product side (Lexis-Nexis, Gale, Ebsco, OCLC, FirstSearch etc.. specifically on 'library content') and a third ILS although probably not the most profilic of news coming out about this except for say (PINES, Kohala SP?, SIRSI, TLC, and others ILS vendors). I could probably do one being the product side as this is what I am most knowledgeable about and as time allows.

This is just quick thought or two. I have others, but I may contact Blake off list.

I tend to get busy, but I am more than willing to help out.

The server isn't even paying for itself, so there's no way I can afford to pay anyone for anything at this point.

BUT, that's a great idea, if I can ever figure out how to make more than the darn thing costs me, that's a good way to go.

Great Idea!

Great! Thanks for the offer, once I get something figured out you're drafted!

Why not just start small, with commissioning freelance articles at standard writer's rates? That means you can get some high-quality lengthy writing, without going to all the hassle of creating an employee position.

And contributors can build their portfolios that way, with paid pieces.

Could you even support more? I don't mean to be rude, but my understanding is that the finances of most small specialized sites can't really support staff positions.

LISNews the Audio Edition, the first LIS collaborative podcast. A simple vision: a group of LISNewsers chatting about the week's top stories. I'd certainly be willing to host/moderate or just participate. Maybe we could engineer something via Skype or somesuch. It'd be more fun than doing my show in solitude.

Brilliant! You're now required by law to carry through your idea here @LISNews!