Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Wandering Through Blog Land, Virnor Vinge Ebook

I've been wandering through blogland looking at lots of different blogs. I find most library blogs to be pretty boring. They usually have a big picture of the library building on the outside. It would be much more interesting if they took a picture of the inside with the staff next to the bookshelves.

Most of the blogs I've looked at have been pretty incoherent. One of my pet peeves so far is the icon which people use to show their blog. If they put a little symbol of what they are writing about, it would help a lot better than a picture of themselves, or in the case of many book sites, their cat. There are so many blogs out there, that if you don't immediately give an idea of what your site is about, you lose people. This is especially true when you are looking at blog directories. Often there is no caption, just a picture in places like blogcatalog and bumpzee.

Looking at book blog sites has been very interesting. Mostly the book sites provide reviews of books and thoughts on writing. There is very little else. It is interesting when people put in videos of authors talking, news about books, and bits on new technology. Even a little bit on their experience in a bookstore or library might break up the endless reviews.

Some of the sites also include movie reviews and television show reviews in addition to book reviews. This is actually a good thing. Most libraries are media centers. Where I work more people check out dvds of movies and television shows than books. We even have a section for the greatest films, and a section on African films.

Of course there is often the ubiquitous picture of the cat curled up on the book in book blogs. Cats must read a lot.

I usually see a short biography as well. Quite often this is very cozy and sweet in nature. I haven't seen anything truly wicked yet. It would be nice to see something wicked. The Bookslut Blog is the one exception which is mildly risque. It is also kind of sexy. The site gets a lot of visitors and is very well done.

These are just some thoughts on visiting different blogs. I will write more as I think of more to write about. I am also seeing endless attempts to support a million different products everything from bookmarks to computers to advertising. If you are going to sell something, stay focused on selling what you are talking about.

People get turned off by advertising. Some people suggest that you should not have Adsense ads because people will leave your site if they see them. Almost every site has pictures of them. I am thinking of replacing one of my adsense ads with a cafepress button for a store. I know this sounds kind of silly. I just did, it contains a really basic logo and a few gift items. I found out about Cafe Press when I was looking at bookslut.

Every site I visit has social bookmarking tags. I am not even sure that these are particularly helpful. I think it is more important to go visit other peoples sites and make comments about what they are writing about. I've visited quite a few different peoples sites and done this. Everything from David Brin, Jeff Vandermeer, SpamPoetry, and others. I make it a point to visit your site if you post a comment on my site. I'll show you mine if you show me yours. This seems to be the best thing that works. Also posting in newsgroups discusing blogs seems to help as well.

Keywords, search engines, and little buttons which are spread across most of the sites which I visit don't seem to do a whole lot. Joining sites which discuss blogs like blog catalog, and fuelmyblog seems to help as well. Communities of people discussing different subjects tend to be interested in what you are writing about. My favorite site for discussing blogs and the site which seems to do the best job for blog promotion, blog searching, discussions, and exchanges is . My experience with them has been very good. I just put in a widget for blog catalog.

I've also spent a bit of time looking at various library blogs. It is not pretty, there is a lot of secret disgruntlement, or not so secret disgruntlement. People talk about things like unacceptable behavior in the library. Monitoring bathrooms and internet access in public buildings is an interesting experience...

An interesting topic which I see coming up repeatedly is the concept of Library 2.0 . Nobody really defines it, but every article I've seen seems to be talking about social networking tools and web gadgets in the library setting. Meebo is one of the gadgets I saw talked about. Also some librarians are talking about using for certain very popular parts of their collections to improve circulation which is a very ineteresting idea. From my experience most librarians have no idea what to do with social data in the library setting.

The other topic that is coming up a lot is digitalization. The Google books project where they are scanning thousands of books every day into the internet is quite controversial among librarians. Also, there is a new project being spearheaded at MIT, the million books project for scanning huge amounts of free material into a giant library. It is called the Universal Digital Library. Supposedly when they are done with the initial batch there will be 1.5 million books in the library. This is a joint project of China, India, and the United States. Here is the link, .

I think both social search and digitalization change the purpose of what a library is. Librarians are not keeping up with the changes. It shows in the slow decline of the number of librarians and the general unfocusedness throughout the profession.


I found another free science fiction ebook, Vernor Vinge's Rainbows End. . I haven't started reading it yet. I think I'll review it for a change of pace.
The "blog" image at the top of the post is something which I did with paint because I couldn't find a public domain image on wikipedia for blog.

No comments: