In this article from Inside Higher Ed, Steven Bell, apparently the authority on academic blogging (perhaps because of the title of his blog?), says:
“I can’t say any individual has developed a blog that has emerged as the ‘voice of academic librarianship,’ ” noted Bell in response to my query. “Why? If I had to advance a theory I’d say that as academic librarians we are still geared towards traditional, journal publishing as the way to express ourselves. I know that if I have something on my mind that I’d like to write about to share my thoughts and opinions, I’m more likely to write something for formal publication… Perhaps that is why we don’t have a ‘juicy’ academic librarian out there who is taking on the issues of the day with vocal opinions.”
Well, Mr. Bell, while I may agree with you that many academic librarians are probably more interested in publishing than blogging, this is what I see as the “voice of academic librarianship” (in no particular order):
Random Access Mazar (AKA Diary of a Subversive Librarian)
The Teaching Librarian (AKA Digital Reference)
The Distant Librarian
Library Marketing – Thinking Outside the Book
The Do-It-Yourself Librarian
Library Web Chic
Technogeekery for Librarians
(and these are just some the ones I read regularly, so I’d guess there are at least a dozen more)
Thank goodness we have more than one! Who would want just one person to speak to the issues of academic librarianship?
Bell writes about the article in his own blog:
Will anyone there step up and blog consistently about such topics. I doubt it because it is really hard to produce consistently good blog postings – and by good I mean insightful, well written, and even fun (or sarcastic) – not to mention it takes time – and that’s a commodity we don’t always have when we’re trying to run academic libraries.
While these people may not write about issues of academic librarianship in every single post (and where exactly is that line drawn? What is not relevant to academic librarianship?) I think they are nearly always insightful, well written, and yes, even fun sometimes. I guess Mr. Bell must define the issues of academic librarianship in a much narrower sense than I do, or else he really needs to update his blogroll.
But I do agree that fewer academic librarians seem to have taken up the mantle of blogging than librarians in other areas. Is this because of the whole “publish or perish” issue? I think that’s a big part of it. But in my interviews at various academic libraries, I have seen an increasing respect for blogs in academia (not at all institutions though). I think people are realizing that blogs have an immediacy that the scholarly publishing process lacks and that it is a fantastic way to share information with one’s peers. Perhaps one day blogging activities will be counted towards a librarian’s tenure (obviously only if they write a quality blog that contributes to the profession). We can hope!