November 18, 2008

Science blog meme: Why do we blog?

As usual, late to the meme party...

I'm not a huge fan of taking part in memes, but this one seems to be sweeping the science blogosphere. It's generated a lot of very interesting responses so far, so I thought I'd give it a try. It's also been quite a while since I did a navel-gazing post, so I'm probably due.

The meme was started by Richard Grant Martin Fenner on Nature Network. The only other science librarian one I've seen so far is by Frank Norman.

  1. What is your blog about?

    Lots of things, mostly revolving around the issues I face as a science librarian. The particular focus changes quite often as my momentary facinations and obsessions shift -- science 2.0 seems to be it right now, not surprising as I have a presentation in January. On the other hand, I've always posted a lot about the culture and scholarly communications practices of computer science and engineering. Science books are also a pretty predictable constant.

  2. What will you never write about?

    I've tended to avoid overly personal stuff, politics, religion as well as commenting too directly about what's going on at my institution.

  3. Have you ever considered leaving science?

    This one has a two-part answer.

    First of all, at the undergrad level I studied computer science and ended up working as a software developer for an insurance broker from 1986 to 1998. In that sense, I did practice "science" in an industrial setting for over 12 years and left that to become a librarian. More information on that transition here.

    Of course, I'm still not really a working scientist but as an academic science librarian I guess I'm part of the broader culture of scientific education and practice. I'm actually pretty happy in my current role and haven't considered leaving it.

  4. What would you do instead?

    Own a used book store, definitely one that specialized in any genre with science in the name: popular science, history of science, science fiction, science biography.

  5. What do you think will science blogging be like in 5 years?

    It will probably be bigger and more diverse. As the younger generation of scientists and science people advance in their careers, they'll just expect that blogging is a normal and even valuled part of what some scientists do. I hope that in this time frame, tenure committees will start to recognize that blogging can be a legitimate aspect of a scientist's publishing and outreach portfolio.

    Another thing to watch out for is the professionalization of science blogging. Will more and more of the best and most popular blogs get recruited into the commercially run stables? I think that's a generally positive development as it can only increase the credibility of blogging.

  6. What is the most extraordinary thing that happened to you because of blogging?

    A couple of cool things have happened at least in part because of my blog. I've served on the IEEE Library Advisory Council, I've gotten a couple of speaking invitations, a few free books and mostly connected with a lot of great people in both the science and librarian communities.

  7. Did you write a blog post or comment you later regretted?

    Not really.

  8. When did you first learn about science blogging?

    Probably 2002, around the time I started blogging myself. In those days, I mostly followed library blogs and only a few (computer) science blogs. I didn't get into science blogs in a big way until Seed started up the in early 2006 and since then I would say I follow the science and library blogging worlds with about the same level of attention.

  9. What do your colleagues at work say about your blogging?

    We don't really talk about my blogging that much, so it's hard to know what they would say if we did talk about it. I think most are aware that I blog and some have commented or had encouraging words over the years. Actually, we're quite an active blogging university library, when you get right down to it.


Anonymous said...

It was Martin Fenner who started the meme.

John Dupuis said...

Ooops. I knew that but apparently my fingers didn't.