Walt's blog

Post-ALA, post-OCLC: putting it here as well

I had planned to repost my Walt at Random post here--the one about my availability for a new position after September 30, 2007.

Blake beat me to it, for which I thank him.

If you're wondering about juicy details about the termination: Don't. There aren't any. I continue to believe OCLC's doing interesting things, and would be happy to be part of those efforts if an appropriate job was available.

Cites & Insights 7:6 available

Cites & Insights: Crawford at Large v.7 issue 6 (June 2007) is now available for downloading.

The 26-page issue (PDF as usual, but HTML separates for each essay are available from the home page)
includes:

  • Bibs & Blather - On Being Wrong (and more)
  • Making it Work - library resources, innovation, futures and more
  • Trends & Quick Takes - three essays and six quicker takes
  • Net Media Perspective: Civility and Codes: A Blogging Morality Play

Given how much I've heard OpenOffice 2 touted as a much better way to produce good HTML than nasty ol' Microsoft Word, I've included an experiment on the home page:

The hyperlinks are, as usual, to Word 2000 "filtered HTML" files. But there's another set of hyperlinks below, to OpenOffice 2 HTML files generated from the same Word file.

It's not really a fair comparison--after all, Word 2000 is two generations and five years out of date, where OpenOffice 2 is the absolutely newest version as of mid-April--but I'd be interested in the comments of HTML gurus (send 'em to waltcrawford@gmail.com) There will probably be a Walt at Random post later...

Cites & Insights 7:5 available

Cites & Insights: Crawford at Large 7:5 (May 2007) is now available for downloading.

The 26-page issue is PDF as usual, but you can get HTML separates of most essays from the home page.

NOTE: If you have any websites with links to the old C&I site, please change them. That site will disappear fairly soon.

This issue includes:

  • Bibs & Blather - On being cited, introducing a new section, and a belated followup from Richard Entlich (with apology)
  • Old Media/New Media - Updates on the health of four old media
  • Offtopic Perspective: 50-Movie Classic Musicals, Part 1 - no West Side Story, but Reet, Petite and Gone is hot stuff.
  • Interesting & Peculiar Products - four segments plus 15 roundups in seven categories in the new "Editors Choices and Best Buys" segment (replacing "PC Progress")
  • Making it Work - A new section, continuing the conversations about libraries, social software in libraries, balance... (and incorporating The Library Stuff)
  • Net Media: The High-Def Disc Saga Continues - still not time for most libraries to start buying Blu-ray or HD DVD, but lots of news.
  • My Back Pages - six grumpy little essays.

And don't forget to visit Cites & Insights Books to buy Balanced Libraries: Thoughts on Continuity and Change.

Shutdown why?

A little Friday grump here rather than on my main blog...

I've been seeing various posts (and a really pointless video) about Shutdown Day, which is tomorrow.

I use my PC at home for about an hour a day most days. Sometimes less. More on some weekend days. Some days not at all. When I travel--on business or pleasure--I do so without PC, notebook, PDA, smart phone...

Can I do without the PC for a full Saturday? Sure. Since I've just published a book and an issue of C&I, it would be easy.

Will I? Probably not. I don't see any plausible motive to leave the PC off all day. There's nothing on the "movement's" webpage that suggests any social good to doing without computers for a day. Other things take precedence over PC tasks on weekends anyway. Always have unless I'm actually on deadline (which I try to avoid at home).

Here's an idea: Do without electric lights for 24 hours. I've done that, the day of the '89 earthquake if no other. Or let's make it easy: Do without power tools for 24 hours. Do without, oh, I don't know, adjectives for 24 hours. (That might be tough.)

I do see the point behind the annual TV "boycott" move--but, even though we don't watch much TV, I've never participated. PCs? They can be time-wasters, but that's not inherent. Heck, reading mediocre books could be considered time-wasting, and I haven't heard about any "Don't read mediocrity for 24 hours" movements.

PCs are tools (or toolkits). I don't see a "put away your screwdrivers for 24 hours" movement. So I don't see much point in this one either. You can count me out.

Cites & Insights 7:4 available

Cites & Insights: Crawford at Large volume 7, issue 4 (April 2007) is now available for downloading.

This 24-page issue (PDF as usual, but the essays are available as HTML separates) features the first Cites & Insights book: Balanced Libraries: Thoughts on Continuity and Change.

Essays include:

  • Announcing Balanced Libraries: Thoughts on Continuity and Change - description, price, availability, and the first paragraph of each chapter.
  • Library Access to Scholarship - A thematic essay on Open Access and rhetorical excess.
  • Finding a Balance: Improving and Extending Service - The third and last book excerpt, Chapter 9 of Balanced Libraries
  • Perspective: Informal Notes on the Lulu Experience - Comments so far on PoD self-publishing.
  • Friday Funny

    While I did read this in a blog entry that purported to be a report of a keynote, I'm stating up front that this must be a mistake or a strawman.

    Or maybe just a joke that was taken seriously.

    Supposedly, someone said that every library should employ a developer.

    Every library. Consider the size and staffing of, oh, every small and rural library in America, a few thousand of them.

    Bwahahah...

    I won't name the person who supposedly said this because it's so unbelievable.

    Cites & Insights 7:3 available

    Cites & Insights: Crawford at Large, volume 7, issue 3, March 2007, is now available for downloading.

    The 24-page issue, PDF as always, but HTML separates of some, not all, essays are available from the home page includes:

    • Bibs & Blather - Who's out there, another language grump, and a reason for the peculiar issue.
    • Old Media/New Media - Music and video
    • Trends & Quick Takes - Five trends and seven quicker takes
    • Net Media Perspective: Wikipedia Revisited
    • My Back Pages - ten snarky little pieces.

    Bloglines may not be broken but it's bent.

    Update: As of now, the problem seems to be solved, thanks to a combination of Blake's work, Bloglines "resetting the feed," and maybe my attempts to feed everything through Feedburner.

    If you have problems, I'd suggest unsubscribing and resubscribing from the top option in the browser address-bar icon (in Firefox2 or IE7), which should definitely pick up the Feedburner feed.

    And I now seem to have >400 subscribers. Hmm...

    Original post

    In case you're a Walt at Random reader and wonder whether I've given up blogging, the answer is no.

    I wrote a post on Saturday, another on Tuesday, one on Wednesday, and a special test post today. I also updated an old post twice during that time.

    If you use Bloglines, you may or may not have seen any of these. I certainly haven't seen the Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or updated posts.

    The Bloglines forum shows I'm not the only one. Bloglines definitely knows there's a problem--at least with WordPress blogs, maybe with others. They say they're fixing it. I'm not sure.

    For W.a.R., the problem's been going on for months, but it's getting worse. Bloglines hasn't visited my primary feeds since Sunday. I'm not ready to give it up, but I'm not thrilled either.

    Update 3/27: I was running Google Reader and Bloglines in parallel while this problem was being worked on. I'll admit to being peculiar, but I found that I still liked Bloglines better. Now that the problem appears solved, I've unsubbed all my Google Reader feeds...for now, at least.

    Cites & Insights 7:2 (February 2007) available

    Cites & Insights: Crawford at Large volume 7, issue 2 (February 2007) is now available for downloading.

    The 22-page issue (PDF as always, but each section is also available as an HTML separate from the C&I home page) includes:

    • Bibs & Blather - Cites on a Plane and other oddities
    • Perspective: Predictions and Scorecards - Back to a roundup of some other people's forecasts and outcomes, after missing a year
    • Perspective: Conference Speaking: I Have A Little List - Conference speaking arrangements have become a bit more transparent, and it's time for a Lobachevskian job on the Gordon/Salo/West works.
    • Finding a Balance: The Balanced Librarian - Discussing a prerequisite for balanced libraries.
    • Following Up and Feedback - three items.

    Giving it away: Lesson learned

    I'm putting this here because it feels a little too grumpy for Walt at Random...

    Early last year, I was coaxed into doing an article for Google's fledgling Librarians Newsletter. No pay but presumably lots of publicity and all the resulting wonderful things that would come from being associated with Google.

    The article was a little tricky. I had some issues with how Google was handling Google Book Search at the time, and included those issues in what was otherwise a favorable piece. The folks at Google didn't use the article right away. They suggested using it in some other arena; I suggested taking it back and using it as I saw fit. Eventually--several months later--they did use it, and added a comment noting that they were fixing some of the issues I'd raised (which they did).

    OK, fine. I got some nice comments about the article. I have no particular indication that there were any other direct or indirect positive results. The piece came out right around the same time as the OCLC-RLG merger, a time of some considerable personal uncertainty (which continues), so maybe I missed them.

    More recently, Google gave up on the Newsletter (as far as I can tell) and started a blog (instead?).

    The blog has a sidebar with blogs that Google recommends.

    It's an interesting list, both for its inclusions and its omissions.

    In the future, I will be more mindful about contributing free writing to a commercial organization.

    Cites on a Plane!

    If you've been reading Cites & Insights all along (or at least for the last 18 months), and if you have no curiosity about the miracle of Word XP's AutoSummarize, you can delete this message.

    If not--well, as promised, there is not a Midwinter 2007 issue of Cites & Insights. (The next issue should come out shortly after ALA Midwinter, around January 24-26. I'd like to keep to 12 issues this year...)

    But there is a phantom edition, designed for those who've told me they read C&I on the plane to Midwinter or Annual.

    Cites on a Plane 2007 is available for downloading

    HTML separates are not available, because there's nothing new here.

    The 38-page thing--it's not an issue--will disappear on or about January 23. So far, I haven't figured out how to make printed copies do a Mission:Impossible, but...

    Other than three introductory paragraphs under the heading "This Issue Does Not Exist," and a single line above each section saying where it originally appeared, there is no new material in this thing.

    There's also no table of contents--after all, it's not an issue.

    If you've read all the stuff, but you are interested in how Word AutoSummary handles a long, complicated pair of texts, you could just print out pages 32-38, "Library 2.0 for Short Attention Spans"--an unmodified 10% AutoSummary of "Library 2.0 and 'Library 2.0'" and "Finding a Balance: Libraries and Librarians."

    The rest of the issue is essays from the last 18 months that appear to have had relatively low readership, but no more than one essay from any given issue.

    • From C&I 5:9 - Perspective: Predicting the Future of Academic Libraries
    • From C&I 5:12 - Net Media Perspective: Analogies, Gatekeepers and Blogging
    • From C&I 6:7 - Perspective: You Just Can't Understand
    • From C&I 6:11 - Trends & Quick Takes
    • From C&I 6:5 - The 40 original "facets" from the full-issue smorgasbord. (OK, 39 original and one from Walt at Random.)
    • And "Library 2.0 for Short Attention Spans."

    A caution about that final section: Word clearly favors the first paragraph under headings, which means that lots of paragraphs aren't indented. It also appears to favor standalone paragraphs--most of the one-sentence quotes appear. Otherwise--well, I swear I didn't change the results at all. Maybe you can come to conclusions about how AutoSummary works.

    Cites & Insights 7:1 (January 2007) available

    Cites & Insights vol. 7, number 1 (January 2007) is now available for downloading.

    The 26-page issue (PDF as usual, but most essays are also available as HTML separates from the home page) includes:

    • Bibs & Blather: Navel Gazing Part 6 - the usual start-of-volume essay.
    • Perspective: Book Searching: OCA/GBS Update
    • Trends & Quick Takes - Five trends and three quicker takes
    • Finding a Balance: Patrons and the Library
    • Interesting & Peculiar Products - three products, plus short notes on Editors' Choices and Best Buys (replacing PC Progress)
    • Perspective: The Death of the Disc?
    • My Back Pages - eight mini-rants.

    Happy holidays!

    Cites & Insights:Feedback requested

    I've posted questions on four aspects of Cites & Insights on my weblog, Walt at Random, asking for feedback from readers.

    You'll find posts on the four areas here: PC Progress, Censorware, Library Access to Scholarship, and Interesting & Peculiar Products.

    So far, I've received very little feedback. If you care about any of those sections--or if you particularly dislike them--go to the posts and either leave comments or send email to waltcrawford@gmail.com.

    I'll probably start making decisions about these areas (and other things) for C&I volume 7 in about a week, when I start working on the January 2007 issue.

    I'm not Walter -- and a pointer

    In case anyone might get confused: Walt [Crawford] and Walter [Skold, I assume] are not the same person, are not related, do not share political views...

    When I comment on blogs, I now normally sign either "Waltc" or "Walt Crawford" to avoid confusion--and I never use my full birth name (that is, with the "er") in any professional activities.

    I would note that, to the best of my knowledge, Walter [Skold?] has no intention of confusing anyone as to who's who.

    The pointer, for core readers of Cites & Insights: I'm inviting feedback on four specific aspects of Cites & Insights at my blog, Walt at Random. The first question went up yesterday; others will follow tomorrow, Thursday, and Saturday.

    Cites & Insights 2006 index available

    The title sheet and indexes for Cites & Insights volume 6, 2006 are now available.

    This PDF-only document (title sheet and 20 pages of indexes) completes volume 6.

    Cites & Insights 6:14 available

    Cites & Insights: Crawford at Large 6:14 (December 2006) is now available for downloading.

    This 28-page issue, PDF as usual (but each essay is available as an HTML separate from the home page includes:

    • Perspective: The Lazy Man's Guide to Productivity - A slightly extended answer to "How do I do all that writing on my own time?"
    • Net Media Perspective: "C&I is Not a Blog" - A section on blogs, mostly metablogging.
    • The Library Stuff - Eight items cited and discussed
    • Library Access to Scholarship - FRPAA and more
    • Offtopic Perspective: 50-Movie All Stars Collection, Part 2 - 26 more TV movies (but one of them isn't really...)

    Please note that, while this is the final text issue for 2006, it does not complete the volume. The index (including title sheet, for anyone printing a bound volume) will be out in a week or two. Or three.

    Great post titles, and I do say so myself

    I proudly point you to today's coffee-break post, with what's probably the best blog post title I'll ever create.

    Too bad I didn't create it. Google language tools are to thank for this masterpiece.

    Cites & Insights 6:13 available

    Cites & Insights: Crawford at Large 6:13 (November 2006) is now available for downloading.

    The 26-page issue (PDF as always, but major essays are also available as HTML separates from the home page)
    includes:

    • Bibs & Blather: Should I Care About What You Write? - printability revisited
    • Net Media Perspective: What About Wikipedia? - The saga of Wikipedia, Britannica, and Nature; various commentaries on Wikipedia; and early stuff on Citizendium (plus two good notes on library-related wikis)
    • Trends & Quick Takes - three mini-essays, four quicker takes.
    • Old Media/New Media Perspective: Tracking Hi-Def Discs - what's happening with HD DVD and Blu-ray and why you should(n't) care
    • PC Progress: February-October 2006 - 27 group reviews in 14 categories
    • Copyright Currents - catching up on fair use and infringement, DMCA, orphan works and the analog hole.
    • My Back Pages - three snarky little essays (one of them not really snarky at all)

    Cites & Insights 6:12 available

    Cites & Insights 6:12, October 2006, is now available for downloading.

    The 26-page issue (PDF as usual, but you can download HTML separates), which seems to have mostly long essays with long titles, includes:

    • Open Access Perspective, Part I: Pioneer OA Journals: The Arc of Enthusiasm, Five Years Later - If you're aware of my 2001 study, Getting Past the Arc of Enthusiasm, you'll know what this is about: Seeing how many early free scholarly ejournals made it through more than a decade of publishing.
    • Old Media/New Media: Books, Bookstores and Ebooks - Inaugurating a new section with various items on print books, bookstores (OK, mostly Cody's), and ebooks.
    • Interesting & Peculiar Products - seven items, including good inexpensive keyboards (think name brand), cheap steganography, and the 25 worst tech products.
    • Open Access Perspective, Part II: Pioneer OA Journals: Preliminary Additions from DOAJ - How many other free scholarly ejournals have been around since 1995? This piece provides a preliminary answer to that question (maybe somewhere between 84 and 147, maybe not).
    • Offtopic Perspective: SciFi Classics 50 Movie Pack, Part 2 - 24 more flicks, from Pongo to Eegah, John Agar (& Zontar!) to Gamera, no-budget redneck nonsense to the sons of Hercules.

    Cites & Insights 6:11 available

    Cites & Insights: Crawford at Large 6:11 (September 2006) is now available for downloading.

    The 22-page issue (PDF as usual, but most essays are also available as HTML separates from the home page) includes:

    • Perspective: The New Site & COWLZ: A Lost Opportunity? - The largest essay: Why C&I moved, and the history of COWLZ (such as it is), from start to (apparent) finish, with notes on the gray literature of librarianship.
    • Bibs & Blather - A few things I'd rather not write about and some quick followups from previous issues.
    • Trends & Quick Takes - 4 "trends" (including a back-and-forth on gen-gen) and four quicker takes.
    • The Censorware Chronicles - 10 things you might not know about censorware and a new (and better) "Internet filters: A public policy report"
    • The Library Stuff - Nine or sixteen items, depending on how you look at it.
    • My Back Pages - Nine little rants

    And for those of you who stayed away for the summer: Don't forget Cites & Insights 6:10, August 2006: "Looking at Liblogs," a 30-page essay looking at 213 blogs from library people.

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