June 14, 2005

Recent items from InsideHigherEd

  • Joy of Stacks by Scott Jaschik. Concentrating on the humanities & social science, an article about how books are still the core of our research collections -- browsing in the stacks is still a useful research strategy. I don't think the idea applies in the same way in the STM fields, but there's still a lot of value in our stacks that we shouldn't forget about in our e-rush.
  • Report from the Academic Committee on Plagiarism by David Galef. Funny.
  • Silence in the Stacks by Scott McLemee. A fairly controversial post in the academic librarian world (lotsa comments with the article itself, plus here on LISNews). Basically, McLemee's thesis is that academic librarians haven't embraced blogging as much as librarians in other sectors, especially in regard to having a "what is academic librarianship all about" kind of philosophical, thinking outside the box kinda blog. First of all, I don't agree that such a community doesn't already exist amoung scitech librarians. We're a pretty tight bunch, to the degree that I think we've achieved what McLemee thinks we should, or that at least we're trying. Did he not research enough to know that we existed, as we would certainly be an interesting case study in exactly what he's talking about? I also don't agree that what he thinks is a problem is really a problem. If the academic librarian blogging community is a bit more distributed & diffuse that some other communities, who cares. Steven Bell, both in his comments in the article and snarkily dismissive after, adds fuel to the fire:
  • His answer came as a surprise: “When you ask specifically about blogs maintained by academic librarians,” Bell wrote earlier this week, “the list would be short or non-existent.”

    He qualified the comment by noting the numerous gray areas. “There may be some academic librarians out there with an interesting blog, but in some cases I think the blogger is doing it anonymously and you don’t really even know if the person is an academic librarian. For example, take a look at Blog Without a Library. I can’t tell who this blogger is though I think he or she might be an academic librarian. On the other hand Jill Stover’s Library Marketing blog is fairly new and pretty good, and she is an academic librarian — but the blog really isn’t specific to academic libraries.... Bill Drew of one of the SUNY libraries has something he calls BabyBoomer Librarian but it isn’t necessarily about academic librarianship — sometimes yes, but more often not.”

    But, like I said, I'm not sure they're paying as much attention to what's going on out here as they think they are. And even so, who says every community needs to blog the same way or with the same intensity. Ever heard the expression "herding cats?" End of rant.

    Update: Technorati will point you to even more commentary. One of the best conversations here.

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