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Christina's LIS Rant
Sunday, April 18, 2004
  BloggerConII: Librarianesque Session with Jessica Baumgart
This session was one of the main reasons I attended this event, but I'm not sure it offered much more information than it raised questions. I was glad, however, that it included many professional librarians who knew a lot about blogging. (at Computers in Libraries, it was all introduction to... no this is what I've done). The few non-librarians present (Shannon, Alicia, Bob Wyman) also made some great contributions.
Garrett Eastman of the Rowland Institute has an official library blog that talks about library info, new articles of interest to institute researchers, new resources, etc. There were others there who were considering blogs, like I am but haven't started an official one yet.
Susan Herzog of Eastern CT State U, runs a plagiarism blog as a way to present new information for her site. She can update her blog on the fly but has to go through IT for her website.
We talked also, about tone. Most blogs, we agreed were less formal than static web pages, but they don't have to be. The informality may be beneficial in forming connections with users and marketing the unique skills and services the bloggers provide. Blog posts on a community blog can be signed by the individual librarians so that connections can be made. Formal blogs as part of the overall marketing strategy (see CIL post) are valuable in offering ephemeral, timely information.
One small problem now, that will become a large problem in the future, is searching in blogs. Blog archives stack up pretty quickly. Thousands of posts before you know it, but how do you find something you know was there on that blog.... We talked, then about categorizing posts, but then if you don't use controlled categories with scope notes, etc., and you don't apply them evenly, and if you then have too many things in too broad categories... it doesn't help. Another attendee (sorry I didn't catch your name) said that she had done a project indexing a blog and found it very difficult. She suggesting that it is most similar to indexing newspapers. Others suggested that searching is getting easier, but I'm not convinced. Searching, by the way, should be broken up into types: searching for feeds (and prospective sources of information, new blogs of interest) and searching for information across blogs. My article is finally online on searching across blogs. If you're searching within a blog, the search on the site would be your first try, then perhaps using a site:yaddayaddayadda tag in a general search engine. The site searches need to be improved.
The futurist blogger, (?), had the approach of a community blog with guest editors who are experts in their fields. I really like this approach and would like to discuss with him the difference between that and having multiple blogs. Pros and Cons.
A professor from Middlebury (Barbara?)is integrating a librarian into her class blog. This opens up the library resources to her students, bravo!
In this session, like others, we contrasted the blogosphere with the e-mail listserv and forum communities. The idea is that on listservs, and in forums, there are set topics which must be observed, and there are "experts" who will provide answers. Newbies and quiet people are often flamed and then remain quiet or leave. In blogs, everyone has a voice, and comments can be deleted or ignored. Jessamyn mentioned using the link structure (and therefore reputation) to gauge the quality of blogs. Bob (from PubSub) tried to convey the faulty logic in relying on links/reputations in social networks. He's absolutely right, and when I get back to my procite files, I'll show some articles that back him up. Unfortunately, at least one listener took this as an attack on Jessamyn:
Shannon, Bitter-girl said:
Jessamyn made an interesting point about reputation-based systems' influence on citation and information selection, and this guy across the room completely shot it down...he called reputation-based systems scary, undemocratic, and entirely subject to power laws over which we have no control. In essence, he refused to believe that reputation-based systems could be beneficial in any way.

Using citations alone is not a valid way to find accurate information. Only the A-listers will be on the top of the list. I get it, and tried to tell Shannon, but I haven't seen her update her blog. Mathematically, once you've been cited, you're much more likely to be cited in the future. (keep this in mind if you cite something as an example of bad ...)
 
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This is my blog on library and information science. I'm into Sci/Tech libraries, special libraries, personal information management, sci/tech scholarly comms.... My name is Christina Pikas and I'm a librarian in a physics, astronomy, math, computer science, and engineering library. I'm also a doctoral student at Maryland. Any opinions expressed here are strictly my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer or CLIS. You may reach me via e-mail at cpikas {at} gmail {dot} com.

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