Why I heart Carolina BLU

For some reason, I have this bad habit of mostly writing blog posts, never finishing them, and then ignoring them for months. This one, I started writing the better part of a year ago, and I’ve only just stumbled across it again. I am hereby finishing it: Chip GrawOzburn and I were having a conversation in my office a few days ago [read: months ago], when some student library worker.. Read More

Librarianship First Principles

The more I prep for my Library 2.0 course, the more I find myself thinking about what Library 2.0 really is all about. And the more I think about what Library 2.0 means, the more I return to what I think of as the First Principles of librarianship. I don’t mean Ranganathan’s Five Laws, though certainly those are true enough, and useful as a way of framing the philosophical underpinning.. Read More


I want to start this by saying that this was completely Kathleen Kern‘s idea. We were talking over dinner at LIDA last week, and she asked me, essentially, “Why isn’t there an equivalent of WorldCat for digital libraries?” I gave some lame answer: no standardization across DLs, complexity of dealing with item- and collection-level description simultaneously, cost, I don’t even remember what all I said. (In my defense, we were.. Read More

Libraries of the Future

No, not the Licklider vision, but a new version from JISC. Through ‘Libraries of the Future’, JISC is hoping to explore these and many other questions, to open up – with partner organisations and librarians themselves – a debate about the future of the academic and research library. The theme will encompass a variety of activities – events, printed resources, interactive Web 2.0 services, podcast interviews, and so on –.. Read More

Interview with Duke Magazine

I just did an interview with Duke Magazine on the future of libraries, particularly how technology is changing librarianship. I have to give the writer credit, he said that he’d been reading the library literature for background. I was amused, but unsurprised, when he said that he was surprised at how much has been written in the past 10 years or so on how technology is changing librarianship. Anyway, I.. Read More

Virtual Reference = Necessary Evil?

This one is from October 2005. Someone please explain to me why I’ve been sitting on these posts for this long? I was looking recently at the slides from the presentation Realities of Virtual Reference, by Kathy Dabbour, Doris Helfer, & Lynn Lampert, from the 2004 Internet Librarian conference. Before I start this little rant, let me just say that this is a good presentation. Nothing earth-shatteringly novel perhaps, but.. Read More


Here’s my first Spring Cleaning post. The last time I edited this one was 29 November 2006, if you can believe it. I’ve decided to just post these more or less as is, with my only edits being spell checking, link checking, completing incomplete sentences, stuff like that. So I feel compelled to say: these reflect my thinking at the time they were written, not necessarily my thinking now. Thanks.. Read More

Cost of collaborative development?

Today in our faculty reading group we read the Report of The Library of Congress Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control. In that report there are many comments along the lines that we need more data on the costs of various library functions, and there’s a whole section on the Web as Infrastructure. And that made me think: how much does it cost to develop resources collaboratively? If.. Read More

Thoughts on LibraryThing

I recently found myself in the rather odd position of trying to explain LibraryThing to several of my colleagues. Without getting too much into that conversation, let me just relate what for me was the best moment: Evelyn‘s question, “Why do people feel the compulsion to catalog their own books?” And this is why I love Evelyn: she has the rare ability to be snarky and simultaneously make it clear.. Read More

I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!

Librarians Protest Science‘s Departure From JSTOR, Fearing a Trend, from the Chronicle …the American Association for the Advancement of Science announced in late July that it would pull its flagship journal, Science, from JSTOR… According to the announcement, the AAAS, as the association is known, was merely joining ‘an increasing number’ of large scientific-society journals that were ‘digitizing and controlling their own content.’ … Over the last few months, several.. Read More