Cream of the Blog

Posted On Apr 11 2007 by

At a recent conference, I was having a conversation with one of the luminaries of library and information science education. We were debating a discussion from the library blogosphere. When I asked what his students thought, he replied somewhat glibly, “Students don’t read library blogs.” Ouch. You mean, they’re not hanging on our every word? What about our poignant insights? I felt like a tree that falls in the forest only to be heard by the other trees.

But maybe some vendors can save the biblioblogosphere (are we still calling it that, cuz boy, it’s hard to type, let alone say). Perhaps in an effort to counter complaints about the authority of blogs, or maybe just because blogs are cool, database aggregators are starting to include blog content in their databases. Of course, I don’t even know how many library blogs are in the list, so it might not apply to us at all. The “Information Science” category at Newstex looks sadly sparse.

EBSCO recently announced Full-Text Blog Content with Historical Archive from Newstex. PR superlatives had LexisNexis firing back in one of those fun but relatively inconsequential vendor skirmishes (I like to call these “battle of the press release”). LexisNexis announced a partnership with Newstex almost a year earlier. Whatever. O.K. It’s cool that blogs are being added.

You may recall the discussion on the list starting in February about the Newstex blogs that have been on LexisNexis Academic since late last year. I’m writing now because a somewhat exaggerated press release has been put out on the PR wires regarding EBSCO and Newstex. Specifically, the press release states that the EBSCO arrangement is unique and that EBSCO is the first to bring this content to academic researchers. I would like to reassure you that there has been no change to LexisNexis coverage of Newstex or to the space-time continuum.
from Alistair Morrison, Product Manager, LexisNexis Academic, in an e-mail on the LNAcademic discussion list

Unlike existing Web-based blog aggregation services, Newstex actually licenses influential blog content directly from independent bloggers and then takes in each carefully selected blog feed in text format and uses its proprietary NewsRouter technology to scan it in real-time. The resulting blog feeds, news feeds, and historical archives are delivered to EBSCO for distribution to customers in applicable databases.
from the EBSCOhost Press Release

But my issue has a different scope. I can tell the difference between a blog and a magazine or journal article (in format, at least, if not in content). But has anyone noticed that it’s getting a little harder to distinguish between a blog and a website? It’s like back in the old days when we used to call a “portal” a “homepage.”

When I’m looking for information, I suddenly feel like a library patron who is forced to search one silo for books and another for articles. Why do I search “the Web” with one search box and blogs with another? What does that say about blogs? Before people start yelling “user error!”—yes, I know that the “more” link in the Google search results includes Google Blog Search, and I know that I can add Technorati to the dropdown of my Firefox search box. The whole thing just got me thinking about the parallel with the clichéd “library silo” problem.

I don’t mean to throw fuel on the vendor spat. I think vendors and PR departments make more of these sorts of things than customers ever do. And I like the PR folk at EBSCO and LexisNexis. At some point, maybe there will be a study published by the Surgeon General stating that blogs are a proven cause of high blood pressure. Until ego inflation and deflation are recognized as diseases, it is our only hope.


[This post originally appeared as part of American Libraries’ Hectic Pace Blog and is archived here.]

Last Updated on: January 19th, 2024 at 12:22 am, by Andrew K. Pace

Written by Andrew K. Pace

12 responses to “Cream of the Blog

  1. Students don’t read library blogs… interesting. I thought that for most of us library school students, not having a blog was considered rare these days. (I don’t have one.)

    I read library blogs the same way the great scholars of our profession read peer-reviewed journals from cover to cover. I read library blogs more than I read the newspaper. If Ebsco and LexisNexis start storing blog content in their databases, does this mean that we will soon see the peer-reviewed blog?

  2. Library students most certainly do read library blogs. I have so many on my RSS reader I can’t remember what they all are. That luminary of library education needs to do some more research.

  3. Well, I don’t know which luminary of an LIS educator you spoke with but they are wrong!

    While (many/most?) LIS students who read blogs are not reading LIS-related blogs, many of us are. In fact, maybe they ought to look around at how many LIS students have their own blogs.

    How do I know that some LIS students read LIS-related blogs? See the statement about students with blogs, for one. Also, I just recently gave an hour long talk to the UIUC ASIS&T Student Chapter on LIS blogs, i.e., on which blogs they should be reading. The presentation took place in one of our classrooms and was also synchronously broadcast to our distance ed members via our LEEP technology. Here is the link:

    You may or may not be happy to know, Mr. Pace, that I had your blog on the list. I did write a blog post with a bit more context the next day, which is easily enough found at my blog.

  4. I don’t think that’s true. I think we students do read blogs. I read this, Jessamyn West, Shifted Librarian,… The usual suspects.

    I’m at LSU-SLIS in Baton Rouge, by the way.

  5. For the last year I’ve been wondering why there isn’t a business (that I know of anyway) that will print out blogs and bind them for a charge. I’m sure many bloggers would be happy to have that service provided. I’ve been blogging about the renovation of our house for 2 years, and I’d love to have a printed archive of my blog (and one for to my no-tech gramma).

  6. First of all, I am a library and information science student, and not only do I (obviously) read blogs, I have a blog. So, there’s one strike against that particular luminary’s glib generalization. 🙂

    Someday there will be one clean, beautiful search box that will search everything, blogs included. It’s one of my goals as a neophyte info professional to make sure that we have a piece of that search box.

    Also, it’s entirely possible that it’ll take awhile for the non-bloggers of the world to decide that blogs are, as you put it, much like the rest of “the Web,” sites, albeit in a slightly different type of web medium, of widely varying informational accuracy and value. Now that you’ve brought it up, why they can’t be searched as such is more than a little odd.

  7. Ooh, ooh, Andrew gets a smack-down from the biblioblogosphere! 😉 (Actually, that IS very hard to type… too many vowels or something. Who thought up that silly word, anyway?)

    Come on, admit it, you were just fishing for attention!

  8. It’s always a little funny to me what people pick up on in a blog post. Though I am glad for the confirmation that students are reading blogs (and my blog), I did not intend it to be the opening salvo that would get people’s attention. Maybe this was for two reasons–people skipped over the adverb “glibly” that I used to describe the professor’s remark (as in, showing little forethought or preparation), and skipped over the sarcasm of “ouch.” as for the fishing, Karen, you might have missed the subtlety of my joke about ego. I was not fishing intentionally, but writing a blog in general is fishing for attention, is it not?

  9. Of course it is (fishing, that is)! There we are, sharing our thoughts with 3 billion of our closest friends… I’m probably not being subtle either. I’m just tickled you had so many responses from students. (I was also poking fun at myself… as the perp of that word people luv to hate.)

  10. We read blogs at Simmons! Or in my case, perhaps it is more accurate to say that I subscribe to many of them and sometimes read an entire post if I have time. 😉

    I teach the RSS workshop on Simmons GSLIS and so more students are being brought into the fold . . .