Happy Birthday Little Weblog

Librarian.net is eight years old today!

You can take a peek at what it looked like when I first started it up, April 20, 1999. Back then we didn’t have CMSes and I had to upload the webpages uphill both ways in the snow to bring you all these excellent links. I didn’t have comments (though to be fair, I was slow on that bandwagon even once I moved to Movable Type). I based my design on Jesse James Garrett’s Infosift which predated lib.net by almost a year. I met Jesse mainly because I asked for design help [and to ask if he minded if I copied him] and my friendship with him and a big group of early bloggers paved the way to my work with MetaFilter and a lot of my interest in 2.0 technologies. Today I’m in Dodge City, Kansas preparing to give a talk about the big 2.0 thing and I’ll see if I can wrap all that in together and make it make sense to folks who don’t have a bunch of stuff on Twitter and who may wonder “Why MySpace?”

My CiL Talk/Slides/Handout

I’m on my way to give my talk in one of the giant ballrooms. For anyone who wants to follow along at home or in the back of the room, here are the links you’ll want.

Update: Talk went great. I spoke to about 200 or so people and almost all my demos worked! I went to go sit down and catch up on email and I ran into Jesse Andrews who is the guy behind userscripts.org (greasemonkey script repository mentioned in my talk) and BookBurro (very cool, check it out). He’s speaking tomorrow late afternoon, if you get a chance to see him, you should.

Me talking about Wikipedia again

One of the things that the 2.0 crowd needs to remember, myself included, is that by writing about all this neat stuff on our blogs we’re still just talking to an elite sliver of already-savvy people. I like to get my 2.0 talking appearing in print as much as possible, that seems to really have an effect on a whole new group of people.

When my 80+ year old neighbor called me today to say that she saw me in the newspaper talking about Wikipedia, I’m pretty sure it was the first time she’d ever said the word out loud. The article is pretty lousy to read online (I’m not sure what happend to the paragraph breaks) but I’m going to go walk down to the corner store and get a copy. Here are some of the pull quotes I’m happy with, in case you don’t want to slog through it.

Another prolific Vermont Wikipedian is Jessamyn West, 38, who works in the library at the Randolph Technical Career Center. She transformed from a Wikipedia user to a contributor two years ago, after visiting the Old Stone House Museum in Brownington. “I went to Wikipedia, and saw that their entry for Brownington didn’t include this massive stone building. I thought, I should find the information and put it on there so other people can find it and learn about it,” she explains. Since then, she says, as she scrolls through a long list of her contributions, she’s made “a couple thousand edits.” [note, it's less than I estimated]

Her mission last winter was to figure out which Vermont towns had official town Web pages, and making all those links available. Today, thanks to her efforts, visitors to Wikipedia entries on Clarendon, Bethel and dozens of other Vermont towns can link directly to the town’s Web site. West points out that because of the way search engines work, many Vermont towns may be difficult to find online. “Wikipedia understands how to structure information so it makes sense to computers as well as humans,” she explains. “By linking the town’s Web site in Wikipedia, that will make them more findable on Google.” With a degree in library science and membership in the American Library Association Council [sic], she has also contributed to entries about libraries. She’s a fan of a parody TV show called Reno 911, and watches that page, too, as well as the entry for a band she likes. Every page West edits she adds to her watch list; 10 to 15 Vermont towns get revised each day, she says. She removes any vandalism she sees. “I see a lot of kids edit Wikipedia, add their names and friends’ names to it,” she said. “It’s why I have a watch list.” The next project she’s considering: going back to the Vermont town entries and adding links to public libraries….

Jessamyn West’s view: “In library circles, sometimes, there are people who complain: ‘I found something wrong on Wikipedia.’ I wonder, ‘Did you change it?’ We are all responsible (on Wikipedia). That’s an unusual way to feel about a Web site. You are responsible if you see a mistake. Everyone should be responsible for making Wikipedia better.”

Some Australian Libraries

I’m done uploading my photos and while an errant picture of me or my sister may have crept into my Australian Libraries photostream, I think you’ll still enjoy it. Note: a few of these are from 2004, but most of the libraries don’t look too terribly different.

on the road

I’m on the road for a few weeks, starting pretty much now. I usually don’t even bother saying “won’t be posting here” anymore, since with RSS you don’t even have to care. However I am giving a few talks, two at the LocLib Conference in Perth Australia on March 2nd and one in Adelaide at the State Library on March 6th. I will also be going out to lunch with some librarians in Melbourne on the 10th and attending a MetaFilter meetup in Sydney on the 11th. If you are in any of these places, please try to come by and say hello. I’m also vacationing with my sister, so other than these professional and semi-professional activities, I’ll be away from the keyboard. I return on the 14th, though if the trip is anything like last time, my mind will stay in Australia for several more weeks.

librarians as books, or of books

Hey look, it’s me and some other librarians you might know, made out of book covers.

Jessamyn, librarian *and* faerie priestess

Hey look, it’s a Jessamyn/librarian who is not me!

Jessamyn Fawn is torn between her two lives – that of a librarian living in the mundane confines of suburbia and her secret life as Faerie Priestess. Her work within the Faerie Ring takes a new turn after a Beltane ritual, which leads her further and further into the Faerie realms – and to a spiritual and sensual awakening that threatens to unravel Jessamyn’s everyday life. Jessamyn realises that in order to truly be herself she must find a way to bring these seemingly opposing worlds together.

oops, I’m not at midwinter

Forgot to mention, I’m not going to Midwinter which by my estimations (and Flickr photostream) is already in progress. This is the first ALA in a long time where I haven’t had a professional responsibility to be there and so even though Seattle is the city of my dreams, I’m staying home and working with my group of librarians instead. None of them are going to ALA either. After a crazying but fun year of travel last year I decided that staying home for a few months was a little higher on my priority list than getting to Midwinter. I’ll be at Annual where I’ll be on a panel with Eric Alterman, talking about blogs. Hope to see you there, if not before!

hi – 03jan07

Hi — I’m pretty sure I’m finished with the redesign/retheming of librarian.net. The RSS feed will look a little different, but not much. The site looks cleaner and easier to use in my opinion. If you notice something missing or not working please let me know. If you do read the site only through RSS, you might want to stop by the place and take a look.

I just did a small retrospective at my personal blog about my last ten years of blogging. Yeah you read that right. I started jessamyn.com/journal (rss) January first 1997, in what feels now like a totally different life. I was out of library school but hadn’t been working as a librarian anyplace outside of the University of Washington. For a long time, my main web presence was at jessamyn.com and that didn’t change until the last three or four years. Now I’ve got four or maybe five little subsites spread all over the com/info/net universe and my work time is split between fixing little computers in little libraries and managing a large online community with a popular question answering site.

I’ll do a little “my library year in review” post this week, but I just wanted to note this little milestone here as well.

2006 reading list, a year end summary

I liked doing this last year. I think I’ll do it again this year. Slow year for reading for me. I was busy, busier maybe than I’ve been lately.

number of books read in 2006: 60
number of books read in 2005: 86
number of books read in 2004: 103
number of books read in 2003: 75
number of books read in 2002: 91
number of books read in 2001: 78
average read per month: 5
average read per week: 1.25
number read in worst month: 0 (December)
number read in best month: 8 (November, August)
percentage by male authors: 59
percentage by female authors: 41
fiction as percentage of total: 60
non-fiction as percentage of total: 40
percentage of total liked: 77
percentage of total ambivalent: 23
percentage of total disliked: 0

I made a little spreadsheet of all the books. There was only one that I couldn’t remember off the top of my head. There were two that followed me through the entire year: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men and And Their Children After Them, both terribly haunting depictions of the short and long term effects of rural poverty. I think of them every day when I’m at work, trying to help.

Looking for something to read? Check out this compilation of “best of 2006” reading lists that the Seldovia Public Library has assembled on their delightfully bloggy library website.