Archive for the 'Metablogging' category

Serious apologies, and a proposition

Jun 04 2010 Published by under Metablogging

Another reason it's been quiet around here is that comments haven't been appearing.

This was my fault (though I am innocent of any ill intent), and I apologize with all my heart. What happened was this: I was getting quite a bit of the particularly obnoxious kind of spam that copies other comments to appear legitimate. I cranked up the behind-the-scenes spam filter, which cheerfully snaffled every single comment and then bitbucketed them after a few days.

I didn't notice this (except to wonder why nobody was commenting! I figured it was me…) until one gentleman asked me in gmail today whether I'd seen a comment he'd left here. I hadn't, so I investigated. I rescued the comments still in the queue and shut off the auto-delete, but I'm sure some comments have been lost—and again, I'm so very sorry.

I'm reading everything, comments and email. I may not manage to respond to it all; I'm finding it a little overwhelming. I am deeply grateful for the wisdom so freely offered. I am sometimes very stupid. I rely on people who aren't.

I do have a proposition. One way to shake the sense I have of feeling alone and exposed here would be not to be alone. I'm therefore opening up the possibility of making Book of Trogool a group blog. If you think you might be interested in penning some words here (in several senses of the verb), comment here or drop me an email and let's talk about it.

Librarians, researchers, IT folk, or others with a stake in the scholarly-communication or data-curation spaces would be welcome. I do ask that you have a basic knowledge of the problem-space (seekers are fine; clueless newbies are not, sorry) and generally like-minded. In particular, anti-open-access FUD is unwelcome in the extreme, though (as anyone who's read my writing a while knows well) grounded criticism of the movement's ideology and practices is fine. I also ask that you assent to BoT's continuance under a CC-BY-US license.

You may remain pseudonymous onblog if you like, but I need to know who you are, and you'll probably have to sign an agreement with ScienceBlogs. I will of course guard that information carefully; I'm a librarian, after all! We believe (I'm told) in freedom of information exchange. As for ScienceBlogs, they've successfully guarded the identities of other pseudonymous bloggers, such as the Reveres of the erstwhile Effect Measure blog; I believe (but of course cannot guarantee) they are trustworthy.

One last stricture: I can't accept a co-blogger from MPOW, not even pseudonymously. This is because of my own weaknesses, not anything else. It's too easy for me to imagine behind-the-scenes discussions with a close colleague tempting me to say things here that I really ought not.

I would hope that even if you're as much an enfant terrible as I (and honestly, almost no one is that!), you'd try to blog here with integrity. Blog for good, not ill. Own your mistakes; I have. Own the harm you cause, should you cause harm, and try not to cause harm in the first place. You'll make mistakes; I have, many of them. That's okay. What I don't need, though, is a soapbox zealot deaf to all argument but her own, or a namecaller, or a coward, or a bully.

Book of Trogool, like all ScienceBlogs, has a revenue-sharing agreement with the mothership. I don't even understand the details, as I don't want money from BoT and even if I did I've never been anywhere near the traffic it takes to be paid. If your involvement ends up wildly remunerative (or indeed remunerative at all), the proceeds are yours. Should you (or ScienceBlogs) insist on a split, my share will go to Creative Commons. I've never been in this game for money, and I don't intend to start now.

So. How 'bout it?

4 responses so far

Excuses, excuses

Jun 03 2010 Published by under Metablogging

*blows off the dust*

It's been quiet around here. Sorry about that. Morphing jobs is chaotic, as is moving offices. I've missed a writing deadline, made another, and have a third coming up. I don't have a proper desk in my new office yet (I will soon), and my current makeshift is making my good old RSI flare up, which disinclines me to type more in the evenings.

I'm also still thinking about things. I'm grateful for the out-of-band comments I've received. Mostly (and my apologies if I traduce anyone) the themes are these:

  • My writings are still useful to people, and
  • I don't seem to be making the same tone and protocol mistakes I made on my previous blog, but
  • what I'm doing here still endangers my job and perhaps career, in the estimation of every single person who emailed me.

It makes me sad. It's demoralizing, the idea that a blog is both a valuable service to the profession and a serious professional liability. No matter how buttoned-down. No matter how careful. Because I am who I am, this doesn't just make me wonder about blogging—it makes me wonder about my profession, and what its practitioners are and aren't willing to hear, or defend the saying of.

Part of the reason I shut down CavLec, honestly, was that I was becoming a whipping-post; people who shared my opinions but weren't as career-suicidal as I apparently am were hiding behind me. This is not fair to me. My correspondents on the topic of shutting down Book of Trogool all hinted pretty strongly that the same thing is happening again.

It's still not fair… and I'm once bitten twice shy. Why should my blogging continue to serve professionals who demonstrably will not defend my blogging practices in any way, shape, or form?

So, you know, I'm still thinking. I'm sad. I'm demoralized. But I'm still thinking. There may be purposes blogging can still serve for me. I'm just not quite sure what they are, or whether they justify the effort.

I welcome additional efforts to help me think, in the comments here or via my gmail.

10 responses so far


May 17 2010 Published by under Metablogging

I need to lift the iron curtain between this blog and my workplace. I beg your indulgence for one post.

As those who read Bora's interview with me know, I discontinued my previous blog Caveat Lector because I was informed that it was causing significant distress to individuals in my workplace. In my best judgment, I could not continue to blog there in any capacity without it appearing that I had simply brushed off the problems I caused. I took those problems very seriously indeed, as the closure of CavLec bears witness.

When I came to ScienceBlogs, I intentionally structured Book of Trogool such that potential conflict would arise as seldom as possible—preferably never. That was simple enough as long as my data-curation responsibilities were limited to membership on exploratory committees, and my scholarly-communication responsibilities were limited to keeping an IR running.

The latter is no longer the case; my position is being revised to include broader responsibility for scholarly-communication issues. While I'm pleased about the change and hopeful that I will serve well in this new capacity, it does bring back the spectre of additional blog-related trouble.

I'm still deciding what to do (and to be clear, this decision is mine alone, just as the decision to shutter CavLec was). My experience last year led me to agree with Jenica Rogers's assertion that libraries, broadly speaking, are not comfortable with online professional identities, and I accept her conclusion that there's little choice but to adapt one's online identity management accordingly.

I invite your thoughts in the comments here, but be aware that comments critical of my workplace are liable to be ruthlessly edited or deleted. (Criticism of me personally, or my approach to blogging, is fair game as long as it doesn't veer into the usual delete-bait.) My gmail (dorothea.salo) is also at your service. As always, I am very grateful for the thoughtful and intelligent nature of my readership.

2 responses so far

Hiatus continues, and an onion

Apr 23 2010 Published by under Metablogging, Open Access

My husband and I have been stranded by the ash cloud from Iceland. We are well-housed thanks to good friends and the strength of weak ties, so there is no need to worry about us. With luck, we'll be able to get home Tuesday the 27th.

Blogging will continue to be sporadic until we're home.

I couldn't let Yale's shortsighted decision to free-ride on open access pass without comment, however. This has always been a danger for gold open access: that libraries would protect their toll-access collection budgets by choosing to free-ride on others' support of open-access journals.

It is wrong for any library considering itself a major research library to free-ride. Choose your publishers, yes, certainly; it's hard to impossible to participate in every worthy open-access membership program. But Yale isn't doing this; it's just dropping every membership it can, offering stunningly weak rationalizations, and not replacing those memberships with anything by way of other open-access support that I can see.

It would be nice if accreditors and library organizations took up the burden of naming and shaming free riders: ARL and ACRL could include open-access support in their library rankings, and I strongly believe they should. Until that day, however, the only weapon open-access advocates have against free-riders is public opprobrium, as best I can tell.

Therefore I say to the Yale University Library: this was a foolish, shortsighted, and unworthy decision. I think considerably less of you because of it. Please see fit to support the best hope we have of escaping the serials crisis.

I suggest that my Yale-affiliated readers contact the Yale University Library directly to express their opinions about this decision.

No responses yet


Apr 08 2010 Published by under Metablogging

I am off to bonnie Scotland tomorrow for the UK Serials Group conference. I'll also be jogging down to Bath to meet some of the fine people at UKOLN and talk data.

There's a tremendous amount happening rather fast around serials at present; I wish I had time to blog it all, but I don't—I have a class to give tonight and a little more packing to do.
See you soon! And if you're coming to UKSG, please do say hello.

No responses yet

Productized what wired into what now?

Mar 18 2010 Published by under Metablogging

First, a small warning: I am having an extremely crowded and busy week, so blogging here (even the catchup I need to do to the many excellent comments on the Battle of the Opens post) will suffer.

Something for folks to chew on in the meantime: can anybody explain to me what this tool (if it is a tool) actually does? I clicked over thinking it might be a good thing to add to a tidbits post, but I confess myself wholly flummoxed by the jargon therein.

Any ideas, anyone? Especially anyone with a health-care background?

4 responses so far


Feb 23 2010 Published by under Metablogging

I've been interviewed by Bora Zivkovic, apropos of many things. Click over if you've a mind.

2 responses so far

Comment policy

Jan 30 2010 Published by under Metablogging

I'm getting quite a few more comments here than when I started, which is lovely! To keep the conversation lively and civil, I've put together a comment policy, which you can find on the blog's About page. (I'll link to it from the sidebar momentarily.)

It's mostly common sense. Moreover, I haven't had to edit or delete a non-spam comment here yet. Still, I'd rather have a policy and not need it than need it and not have it. So now it's there.

No responses yet

Adding a category

Jan 17 2010 Published by under Metablogging, Open Access

I'm still at Science Online 2010 and will have observations on it later, but first I'd like to acknowledge and celebrate a resource that has been absolutely crucial to my professional career—and indeed, to my profession.

Open Access News, under the able direction of Peter Suber and Gavin Baker, has for years been the single best source of smart information and informed opinion for open-access advocates. Both Peter and Gavin are taking their shows on the road, and while OAN will continue, it won't be what it was.

OAN has been my first info-stop as long as I've been a librarian. I will miss it sorely. It has been absolutely crucial in stemming the tide of FUD and outright lies coming from certain parts of the publishing industry, not to mention the ocean of ignorance and misinformation among faculty and even some corners of librarianship.

Thank you, Peter. Thank you, Gavin. I hope you are enormously proud of what OAN accomplished. I for one am in awe of you both.

I can't fill those shoes. OATP, for all its virtues, can't either. I do feel, however, that I ought to throw my hat back into this particular ring. So while I started Book of Trogool intending to firewall it off from open-access debates, I have reconsidered that decision. I'm not much, but I'm something, and we still need something—lots of somethings—to fill some small part of the gaping void that OAN's departure is leaving.

I don't know exactly what form this will take; I may start another tidbits series, or I may try my hand at the kind of calm, no-nonsense commentary that Peter and Gavin were so amazingly good at.

For now, though, I'm just announcing that for whatever I'm worth, I'm back in the OA blogging game.

One response so far

Welcome Planet Code4Lib readers!

Nov 28 2009 Published by under Metablogging

Book of Trogool has just been added to Planet Code4Lib, a library-technology blog reader. I am of course honored to be in some very fine company.

I have a mixed readership here: librarians, technology pros, researchers from several disciplines. I encourage all my readers to pop over to take a look at Planet Code4Lib.

If you're not a librarian, chances are that your image of the library and the librarians who staff it is… well, a bit fusty and out-of-date. Planet Code4Lib will open your eyes in a hurry. Do we do the things you think we do? Well, yes, probably. But that's not all we do.

If you're a technology pro working with librarians, figuring out how we think can be a burden. Planet Code4Lib is a marvelous bridge. Along with the hardcore techies, it includes cataloguing and metadata practitioners, vendor representatives, and a few public-service librarians. Follow Planet Code4Lib for a while; you'll learn library jargon and the latest discussions in the field by osmosis.

If you are a librarian, it can be hard to keep up with the technotalk, even enough for basic professional awareness. Chances are you'll find a few blogs on Planet Code4Lib that explain matters clearly, credibly, comprehensively, and comprehensibly. Perhaps you don't need to follow the entire Planet, but it's fantastic for finding the right library-tech blogs.

Welcome, also, to readers coming to Book of Trogool for the first time through Planet Code4Lib. Glad to have you here; stick around and leave some comments!

No responses yet

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