Oct. 30th SLABC Blog Program Notes

Special Libraries Association Boston Chapter
Saturday, October 30, 2004

Jessica Baumgart: j’s scratchpad
Garrett Eastman: Rowland Institute Library Blog
Josh Ain: Josh’s Inspiration and Humor
Shimon Rura: shimonolog: Shimon Rura’s Blog

Garrett Eastman of the Rowland Institute at Harvard who blogs at the Rowland Institute Library Blog began his PowerPoint presentation by talking about the Rowland Institute, including their unique electronics lab. Next, he talked about how he began blogging. Blogger was his first tool, but he switched to Harvard’s blog server running Manila when he learned about it.

“For me, entry was relatively easy,” He explains. “There’s definitely a community with other bloggers, especially when they link to you and you link to them.”

Garrett showed a screen shot of his aggregator. He uses NetNewsWire, a desktop aggregator.

He talked about how and why he blogs. He likes to be able to quickly share information and resources. Information professionals know their way around resources and how to find them. It’s great for us to be able to share them with our clients.

Garrett suggested two collections of feeds as ways to find feeds: syndic8 and News is Free. He mentioned reading discussion lists less and less and feeds more and more.

Garrett shared a number of blogs and resources for LIS and science. He doesn’t know of many science blogs and wonders about some reasons why scientists don’t blog: maybe time is an issue, maybe they don’t know much about the technology and its usefulness.

Q: How did you find those resources?
A: From blogs, search engines, etc. They’re resources Garrett gathered over the years.

Q: What about feedback from your library’s users?
A: Garrett’s director supports him very much. The director is into technology and new tools and such. Feedback is sporadic, but it’s been positive.

Q: What about statistics, like what you’d have for a Web site?
A: Some blogs gather stats, some don’t. I showed some of the statistics gathering mechanisms Manila has.

Garrett’s slides should be on his blog later. He was totally fantastic.

Josh Ain, a programmer who works on Frassle, will share some interesting uses of blogs through his PowerPoint slides. What has motivated what we’re doing for blogs today? Low cost of publishing is one thing.

Josh talked a bit about LiveJournal, the social networking aspect of it, and how blogging can facilitate relationships and keeping up with other people. LiveJournal offers free and paid services. Because people can make their blogs private, a number of users, perhaps 1/5, have blogs only they can access.

Slashdot has a lot of comments on its content. Josh asks, “Who reads all of these comments?” Community moderating might work to manage massive amounts of comments. Slashdot regulars become moderators about once a month. Some moderators get evaluated, too, so that Slashdot can figure out who is good at moderating.

Techdirt: Corporate Intelligence offers services related to business blogging.

Personal/professional blogs mix someone’s profession with social blogging. It might be a way to build community, let prospective employers or clients know about you, and network with other professionals. Portals and KM, j’s scratchpad, and Jonathan Schwartz are examples of these Josh named.

Personal Voice/Publishing includes people like Jeff Jarvis’ BuzzMachine and Philip Greenspun.

Josh mentioned A Copyfighter’s Musings, too.

Shimon Rura showcased Frassle and many of its nifty, unique features, like hierarchical categories, related blogs, and the aggregator. He takes a different approach to blogging and doesn’t think choosing software should be as difficult as I outlined in my presentation.

Shimon created a new blog in Frassle for the purpose of the presentation. He demoed how to do a blog post and a number of Frassle’s other really cool features, like nested categories and the publisher.

Q: How many categories deep can you go in Frassle?
A: As many as you want.

Q: Are blogs susceptible to corruption?
A: Comment spam.

Notes and Photos:

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