Another year, another blogday

Yes, I feel all proud, because it’s coming up to birthday-time for the UK Library Bloggers Wiki...it’s toddling along nicely all by itself (with just the occasional spammer attack – it’s really quite satisfying to get to ban and block people!), with people generally seeming quite happy with the process of adding their blogs themselves.

Since I last looked in July 2010, there have continued to be additions in various categories.

                                          July 2010                                        March 2011
Institutional bloggers              135                                                     152
Individual bloggers                 90                                                       107
Chartership blogs                    5                                                         6
Information professionals         8                                                         8
Suppliers                                 8                                                         8

Total:                                      281 blogs

So, a growth in institutional/workplace bloggers, and individual/personal bloggers too, and a solitary, brave Chartership blog.

I wonder if the 2 years without any change, then last years small growth in Chartership blogs is because people are already blogging, and then decide to Charter, and incorporate that aspect of professional development into their existing blog? Or are fewer people Chartering? Or are those who are Chartering using other methods to log their progress?

I’ve also decided to remove the Yahoo Pipes combines RSS feed link for Institutional and Individual blogs from the front page of the wiki – it was initially done as an experiment, and now that people are able to add their own blogs, unless I then go in each time after I get the wiki has been edited alert”, get their RSS feed, and go edit the Yahoo Pipe, it’s never going to be current/accurate. And I’m afraid I just don’t have the time to be fiddling like that constantly!

Of course, I haven’t clicked on each of those 281 blog links, so I’m quite sure that at least some of them are now defunct – my plan to go through them, and remove the dead blogs to another section has definitely slipped to the bottom of my to-do list. Maybe I’ll be more inspired to do it if I get a prize. Can I get a prize?

It’s aliiiiiiiiive!

So, we unleashed the UK Library Bloggers wiki into the wild back in March, and crossed our fingers that it would be ok, out there in the Scary World, all on its own.

And so far, it seems to be doing just fine, yay! There are of course the regular spammer attempts to “subtly” insert adverts for dissertation work, and all sorts of less…erm…wholesome products within the entries, but the email alerts about text amendments that go to the administrators of the wiki (Phil, Jo and I) means that the first person online and able to, goes in and removes that material and blocks the creator. This has worked really well so far, and unwanted content doesn’t stay on the wiki for any real length of time.
And the best bit is the librarians and info professionals who’ve been adding themselves to the wiki! I created a backup in March before we “unlocked” the wiki, and at that point there were 115 institutional / professional group blogs, 83 librarian blogs, 5 Chartership blogs, 8 information professionals blogs and 8 industry supplier blogs.
There are now (as of 5th July 2010) 135 institutional library blogs, 90 librarian blogs, and still 5 Chartership blogs, 8 information professionals, and 8 industry supplier blogs.
So, the biggest increase has been in institutional blogs, with a small increase in personal library bloggers.
I will (at some point in the near future) be going through the wiki and checking all the links of the ones added prior to the unlocking off the wiki, and removing the “dead” ones. I’m planning on moving those entries into a “dead blogs” section – I think it’s worth keeping the links available, for interest.
So: if you haven’t added yourself, go do it now – you’ll be in good company!

Lawyers are smart…aren’t they?

I mean, they’ve all gone through many years of expensive education, designed to weed out those who’re not able to perform to the high levels demanded in the competitive world of the law. In the case of Advocates, Solicitor-Advocates and Barristers, after their initial degree qualification there’s even more training involved, again, accepting only the best minds to this higher level of education.

And then, once they’re out practising in the Big Bad World, they have to be able to assess information presented to them, the accuracy of that information, identify opportunities and threats, and figure out what’s really a sensible conclusion to many issues.

So…with all that education, knowledge, experience and business skill, just how the hell did this proposal get any further than a 4am late-night-cheese-snack-induced nightmare?!?

The Executive Committees of Inner Temple and Middle Temple have agreed to commission a feasibility study to investigate the potential benefits of merging their Libraries and creating a Joint Education and Advocacy Centre.

The study will be overseen by a working group chaired jointly by Master Jonathan Hirst for Inner Temple and Master Stanley Burnton, Deputy Treasurer, for Middle Temple.

The results of the study are likely to be available in the late summer and no decisions are anticipated until much later in the year, after full consultation with staff and consideration by the relevant Inn Committees, Bench Table and Parliament.

In particular, no assumption has been made as to which Inn would house the Library and which the Education Centre, should the project proceed.

Vivian Robinson QC
Treasurer

Now, having worked at a large institutional legal library myself, my brain just shuts down in shock when confronted with a lunatic proposal like this. Really – this is actually a serious proposition, from these “smart” people? Charon QC has commented extensively on this here, and here: please feel free to take part in his poll. Many others have also commented on the absurdity of this proposal.

Even in Scotland the Inn Libraries have an outstanding reputation. Their extensive holdings and experienced staff are essential to the smooth running of the legal system in England and Wales, just as the Advocates Library is here in Scotland. Without the knowledge and skill of the library staff, and the immediate access to a wide range of legal materials they have in stock, the barrister profession of England and Wales would be hamstrung.

So, to propose that that wealth of experience and materials would be effectively halved by merging the Inner Temple and Middle Temple Libraries is verging on the insane! And where is the actual detail on this proposal? What exactly are they studying the “feasibility” of? Cutting staff? Cutting stock or putting it into storage? Losing study space? Saving money? Ahhh…saving money. I think we may have found the reason here. Because you can be sure that this initiative is not for the benefit of the members of these libraries…it’ll be about cutting costs, while pretending to (as is a favourite excuse) “modernise” the service.

Because, of course, a modern service is one that has fewer staff, and fewer resources, but looks shiny and pretty. As, after all, nobody reads those musty old things called books any more. And librarians just sit at desks and stamp books. And users can navigate the intricacies of all the massive databases with ease, because they’re designed to be nice and user friendly. And all the books that users actually do want (strange, old fashioned users that they must be!) are always right where you want them….

Right?….

UK Library blogger wiki update

So, a month or so ago* I did a trawl through all the institutional / professional group blogs on the UK Library Blogs wiki, checked that the ones I’d found before were still there, added any new ones I’d found, and added a new area on entries, for account information on those groups or professionals with Twitter accounts listed on their blog.

I’m trying to do the personal blogs soon too, but with more work, less time to do it in, and my own life getting a bit busy, don’t hold your breath for that to happen in the next few days! 🙂

As always, if you’re not on there (and that’s quite likely, the Magical Interweb is a big place, with many nooks and crannies hiding things), contact me either via the ‘contact owner’ option on the wiki front page, or via the email cunningly disguised in the right hand sidebar here, and I’ll add you as soon as I can 🙂

*Oh, looks like it was a bit more than a month, more like two! Time flies!

UK Library Blogs update

I’m continuing to add to this list, as and when I can, and trawl through those already on the list to check for changes since the last visit / my mistakes in the collection of the initial list (my apologies to Neil Infield for accidentally renaming him to Ian!)

Also, I received an email telling me to look at FADE Library‘s great work on collecting UK health library blogs, which I will(with their kind permission) also add in to the overall list (and blog about in a later post) to try and make it as comprehensive as possible. Unfortunately, my email provider went squiffy and deleted the original email before I could reply, so I don’t know who to credit for alerting me to this massive piece of work by the FADE staff, and also means their own blog details were zapped! If this was you, please can you get back in touch so I can add your blog, and say thank you personally!

Edinburgh Festival of Libraries

Starting on Saturday 8th November, the Edinburgh Festival of Libraries will be running a week long programme of talks, walks, tours, presentations roadshows and behind-the-scenes peeks into some of the many different types of library services working in Edinburgh.

Lots of interesting things going on, but I’m kinda ruled out of any of the daytime events by working (I’ve maxed out my holiday allowance for the year, boo, hiss), which is a shame, because there’s plenty I’d have loved to be able to go to!

So, to make sure I still get to do *something*, I’ve emailed to book a place for the finale event on Friday 14th November:

Finale event – Future of the Book

Panel discussion “The Future of the Book”

Print books or e-books? Uplift or download? Writers and readers or interactive interchange? We are pleased to present a panel of informed people who will present and discuss a range of views on this topic.

The discussion will be chaired by Stuart Kelly, Literary Editor of Scotland on Sunday

Panel members include:

Donald Smith, Scottish Storytelling Centre

Francis Bickmore, Canongate Publishers

Hugh Andrews, Birlinn Publishers

Michelle Harper, OCLC

Join their discussion and get thinking about what part you will play in the future of the book. After the panel discussion, you are invited to continue the discussions on an informal basis and to enjoy a glass of wine, some light refreshments and some good company. This event is supported by OCLC and the National Library of Scotland

Scottish Book Trust, Sandeman House, Trunk’s Close, 55 High Street, EH1 1SR

7.00 pm onwards

Free – to book a place please contact 0131 623 4675 or email events@nls.uk

Just my sort of thing, yay!

More Facebook ad fun!

For entertainment, I sat and graded the ads I was getting for 15 mins again, refreshing them to see what would come up to replace what I’d marked as ‘irrelevant’.

The results, from their headlines:
Rachel Ray diet (twice), 1,000,000 people can’t be wrong (Pink Patch ad, this one is particularly repetitive, 8 times out of 12 this replaced an ad I’d removed by rating it irrelevant!), the Pink Patch diet (same as the other one, but different format…this company must have an impressive advertising budget), Floristry courses at Bournville College, the GI patch (yet another diet offer!), free Samsung Tocco, Poor history credit card (multiple), Call worldwide for a month (some sort of phone plan), free PS3 with T-Mobile, Home in Cyprus and Greece, Instant payday loan, free Samsung Soul, Jobs in Oxfordshire (twice), Want a PS3 for £10.92? (auction site ad), The best of Dagenham, A few drinks tonight? (don’t know what this advertised, had website link but I didn’t go), birthday flowers, Bad credit history is ok, Non fault accident? (Ohhh, I could ‘claim today with Jim and Jane’!), Teeth whitening gel sale, Portugal, Sapin, Tenerife (travel company), Are you owed £2,000? (mis-sold loan payment insurance), Ibiza people meet (Ibiza social network).

So, what I’ve worked out from this is that Facebooks ignores any feedback on the ads it displays for you, and they’re mainly in a few distinct categories:

  • Weightloss / diet / cosmetic
  • Mobile phone offers
  • Loan / credit offers
  • Poorly targeted location-specific ads (Dagenham, Bournville, Oxfordshire, Ibiza)

It’s like being constantly subjected to mini-spam emails, lurking in the edge of your vision! I suppose it’s the price you pay to have a free service, but I wonder if they’ll ever offer a ad-free version, for a small fee?

And I still think Facebook’s trying to tell me something,in a not-so-subtle way….