The Crawford Files: Starting a Bicycle Club: Weblogs Revisited

Article excerpt

Many of you have gotten involved with weblogs since I discussed them two years ago in "'You Must Read This': Library Weblogs" (AL, Oct. 2001, p. 74-76). Quite a few of you read weblogs; some of you write them. More than a few, I'll guess, have started a weblog and let it go dormant.

There are millions of weblogs (four million at last count) and some people seem to think that they're revolutionary and that everyone should have one. I disagree--but first, a few updates from October 2001.

In that article, I mentioned nine weblogs. Seven of them--Craig Jensen's Book Notes, LISNews, Library Stuff, NewPages, Librarian .net, 'brary 'blog, and Redwood City's LibLog--are still going (although Library Stuff is now mostly about blogging and related technologies, Craig Jensen seems to spend more time on politics than on books, and 'brary 'blog doesn't get updated very often). AcqWeblog went dormant in February 2002. Library News Daily is now Peter Scott's Library Blog at blog.xrefer.com.

Now there are so many more! Try Gary Price's Resource Shelf, Jenny Levine's The Shifted Librarian, Charles W. Bailey Jr.'s Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog, and Peter Suber's Open Access weblog. Peter Scott's invaluable www.libdex.com includes a list with roughly 160 library weblogs from around the world, and the Open Directory for library and information science weblogs has 327 listings at this writing. I don't know whether there are 1,000 library-related weblogs, but I wouldn't be surprised.

A person attending a weblogging conference compared the "blog bubble"--the tendency to treat weblogs as more important than they are--to the "web bubble." Seth Finkelstein (sethf.com), an experienced freelance filtering/censorware investigator, commented on this issue in his Infothought weblog:

"The problem [with blogs-as-revolution] is that if the optimist says, 'This post will reach a million people,' and the pessimist says, 'This post will reach 10 people,' and it ends up reaching 100 people, the truth isn't in the middle. The pessimist was basically right, the optimist very wrong.

"It's not bad to reach 100 people. But it's not anywhere near a million people.

"The optimist says the equivalent of 'Give everyone a bicycle and cars are dead, no more oil, all Middle-East geopolitics will change. …