I swear I am not any sort of counterculture stoner type, but I did start this website on 4/20/99, so happy seventh birthday librarian.net! This site has gone through three content management systems [roll your own, Movable Type and WordPress] and two ISP hosts [eskimo.com and ibiblio] and two registrars [Network Solutions and Gandi]. Three of the six links from my first day’s posts are broken, and one doesn’t go where it used to go. In fact, the word “librarian” combined with any of the TLDs in this country (com, biz, gov, mil, org, info, edu, net, coop, museum, name) doesn’t go anywhere, except at this site. So, if I can indulge in a little shameless self-promotion, because I’m sort of pleased with myself, here are a few milestones.
- First post! Table layouts, no permalinks, monthly archives, no feed, no comments.
- The old links page, maintained until 2004
- January 2000, the sidebar begins; it’s fairly empty at first.
- February. Mentioned in Wired “one of the Web’s earliest and most interesting publishing activities — weblogging — appears to be undergoing a huge surge in popularity.“
- March, 100,000 hits on the counter.
- April ’01, two years old and finally some links on the sidebar including the ill-fated shared NYT login info.
- June 16, ’01 first mention of terrible ALA website
- September 4th, 2001, American Libraries runs an article about weblogs, can they use a picture of me and my cat? Lots of resource links later in the month.
- December 2001, still no permalinks, but a call for sumissions for Revolting Librarians Redux
- February 2002, awkward foray into stylesheets.
- March 2002, Mover and Shaker! April 2002, finally permalinks, like this one (Wired again)
- November 2nd, 2002, my first public talk, at Yale. No notes survive. I clearly lied when I said I was writing them up. Also, RSS feed debuts.
- December 17, 2002 Five Technically Legal Signs debuts. Also that month, I join ALA and run for Council.
- January 2003, the first of many redesigns.
- April/May 2003, got elected to Council, did my first fake-Powerpoint slide show and met Steven Cohen and Jenny Levine for the first time.
- June 2003, brief attempt to help on the ALA web advisory committee. My list of suggestions. How many are still problems?
- July 2003, I get a real library job.
- September 2003. I turn 35, my website moves CMSes and hosts, and gets mentioned in the New York Times magazine the one time that I know of that the site has been down more than an hour or two.
And then a weird thing happens… all my entries from September 2003 on are all in WordPress. I imported the Movable Type entries when I moved, and so there is an odd sameness to the rest of my posts, even though things have clearly happeend and I have remained your trusty correspondent through thick and thin. It’s not the same thing, browsing a month’s worth of entries from three years ago when they don’t look any different from today’s entries.
One of the reasons I was so resistant to getting a CMS for this site, and my personal site is because I’m not a coder, so the features of the software would be the features of me, of my website, until I changed CMSes again. Open source apps like WordPress mean that people can design freebie plugins and modifications that change it up somewhat, but for most people, the things a blog can do exist because someone else thought that would be a good idea. I’ve always been the person that walks into the department store looking for a specific item and will be just as likely to walk right out if they don’t have it, not get the best example of Item X that is in stock. In the same way, we can talk all we want about the features and failings of our OPACs, but how many of the things that we want them to do do they actually DO? My short list was always 1) I want to turn the book cover option off 2) I want fifty results per page 3) I want to limit my search to DVDs that are on the shelf in less than five minutes and 4) I want the OPAC to know about ILL, to know my email address and to know how to change my preferred communications system with the library.
But librarianship, more than many other professions, is about big dreams and unfulfilled desires, and navigating the aisles between the shiny and the dull. Here’s to another seven years, and more.