By Meredith Farkas | August 31, 2006
Today is Blog Day, ostensibly because the date sort of looks like the word blog (3108) if you squint or perhaps are a really creative-minded person. It’s a day where lots of bloggers will will highlight five blogs that they think we should know about. I was thinking of highlighting some of the new blogs I’ve been reading, but instead, I decided to cover the five library-related blogs that have me marking their posts “Keep New” the most often. It may mean that their posts are so thought-provoking that I really need to give them my undivided attention or that they point to interesting things I didn’t know about before and definitely want to remember. Here they are, in no particular order:
1. I read a ridiculous number of blogs, but Sarah Houghton-Jan (a brand-new hyphenate!) at the Librarian in Black always manages to find interesting news, resources and cool things libraries are doing that I’ve never seen before. Sarah doesn’t often rant about issues or write personal things, but she is a great source of interesting news in the library world that you may not find otherwise (as if you’re not already subscribed to her, right! ). She’s a prolific poster and covers conference sessions better than anyone I know.
2. Paul Pival at the Distant Librarian is also often providing me with information I can’t find anywhere else. Like me, Paul is a Distance Education Librarian, so he covers a lot of stuff related to distance learning and library technologies. He is an expert on screencasting and has experience using a lot of the different screencasting tools (most of which he has reviewed on his blog). He tries out lots of cool new technologies before anyone else and gives us the skinny on them. I can often look to Paul’s blog to figure out if a technology is worth my time to try out or not. In addition, he’s just a really cool and helpful guy and was a lifesaver to me when I was applying for jobs last year. It’s really a great blog for anyone interested in technologies for libraries (and not just academic or distance librarians).
3. Life as I Know It by Jennifer Macaulay was my pleasant surprise of the summer. Jennifer is a library school student at Southern CT State University but is also the Head of Library Systems at a college in MA., so she has some interesting insights from being a student, a techie in the library world, a person working in a library without an MLS, etc. Her posts catalog both her personal feelings on issues and chronicle many of the discussions that have gone on in the blogosphere on such issues as “does a librarian need an MLS?”, “gender in techie librarianship”, and “library signage”. What I love is that she often also links to the best blog posts on the issue she is writing about. Jennifer’s voice is unique and passionate, and I was happy to discover her and add her to my blogroll.
4. I remember when I first started reading Dorothea Salo’s blog, Caveat Lector, I was a little scared of her. I though “wow, I don’t want to get on her bad side!” It’s funny to look back on that initial assessment now that we’re friends and I know what a kind and genuine person she is. Dorothea is a tremendous writer. She has the quick wit and acid tongue of a Dorothy Parker along with a really impressive vocabulary. I don’t get a whole lot out of her posts about wrangling with DSpace, since we don’t have a repository here, but it’s fascinating to hear about her experiences trying to market the repository to faculty. Marketing is something we all have to do. But what’s really great are Dorothea’s essays on gender, on technology, on graduate school education, on open access and more. She has such a fire in her belly about these issues and it comes out in everything she writes. Caveat Lector will be one of my favorite blogs so long as she keeps challenging my assumptions about things. Whether you agree with her or not, you have to admit, she makes some good arguments for what she believes in.
5. When I first saw John Blyberg’s blog blyberg.net, I didn’t think it would be something I’d add to my blogroll because what I saw was a lot of code. I was like, “ok, he’s cool, but we don’t have III at Norwich and I have no idea what I’m reading anyways.” But I saw an inkling of what was to come on his blog with the ILS Customer Bill of Rights and decided to stick with it. John came on most people’s radar screens as one of the major architects of the Ann Arbor District Library’s incredible Web site. He is a passionate advocate of Library 2.0 and of libraries empowering themselves to take control of their technological future. His posts show off his creative writing background as he muses on the philosophy of Library 2.0, how to bridge the tech gap, and how libraries can capitalize on mashups. His posts are often the kind you reall need to print out and mull over. John to me is truly a philosopher of Library 2.0, but with the mad coding skills to back it up. I can’t wait to finally meet him in the flesh at Internet Librarian this October!
Honorable mentions: davidrothman.net (for his infectious enthusiasm and promotion of RSS), What I Learned Today (for all of the resources I would never find otherwise) and InfoTangle (for her incredibly thoughtful essays on social software topics).