Deepening the Conversation

thinking about questions of authority, technology, learning, and 2.0 in academic libraries


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Can twitter do it all?

My good friend from library school called me out this morning for not including his blog in my blog roll. And I was stunned that not only had I had never added OpenStacks to the sidebar, I hadn’t noticed the absence! I’ve been reading it since Greg started the blog (and he was an early innovator! I don’t know if his stand-up early attempt at a photoblog is still available on the site. I hope not…)

And then I realized: I rarely read blogs anymore (other than posts announced from twitter). Since I started twittering (and then blogging myself) I spend very little time in my other social and professional online networks. I even commented to Tim S. about this at Computers in Libraries, that my twitter time has eaten into my LibraryThing time…

Which raises the question of quality: am I getting more quality out of a sense of community and a hive mind I tap regularly to resolve tough and easy questions, recommend readings, and otherwise support my work and fun than out of the biblioblogosphere in general? Is twitter robust enough to replace all the rest of the digital library ‘verse? Am I depending too much on 140 character missives??

How about you? Have your social networking habits been changed lately, and if so by what force? Am I part of a trend? Or am I just so thrilled to be following zappos shoes (not to mention the House and Senate floor!) that none of the rest of it really matters?


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Writing the next phase of thinking

Sorry to have been so neglectful of late, but for a change I’ve had some chunks of solid thinking/writing time at work and have been focusing there. Of course, these chunks of time are being spent writing up my reappointment file, which is a significant piece of writing in and of itself.

Two of the issues I am struggling with for the dossier have been aired in this space, but expect to see more of them! Both pieces will find their homes here when they reach a happier form.

The first is the issue of ‘focus’, and specifically the friction between pressure from my higher ups to get more of it and the realities of my daily interests and actual job. I’m trying to articulate that my attention to multiple aspects of library user experience constitutes a form of focus, but I’m not sure I’ve convinced myself of that yet — especially because I think the external desire for my developing focus relates to some future potential desirability for me to define myself as a particular sort of professional. And I won’t be happy with any rationalization of who I am until I finish thinking that one through. And if the convolutions pretending to be the above sentence made any sense to you, you have my deepest respect!

The second bit I’m working on has to do with scholarship, and specifically this blog as a form of soft scholarship. I launched this blog from twitter, where I hung out with a number of librarians I had no other relationship with, and have been very pleasantly surprised at developing a readership. Developing the readership came to define this space for me, and once the blog was no longer strictly a “practice writing” space, I also linked it from my name-affiliated places (facebook, and from my university profile), claiming it in a more official way as part of my professional identity.

Part of what makes this blog as a sort of scholarship into a viable statement has to do with my reappointment expectations; we are not a Research 1, and poster sessions and local conference sessions count heavily towards our scholarship criteria. And I think it’s a very small jump from that to this blog. But that also begs a more substantive question about the nature of scholarship, and if it’s really as flexible as that would imply.

Since it looks like I will be pondering the matter for a while, and possibly into more accepted scholarly formats, I’ve started to collect materials related to the question in de.licio.us. (If you see anything I’ve missed or think would be of interest for the project for:rudyleon me the links if that works for you)

Expect more posts for the near now about:

  • librarianship as constantly partial attention
  • blogs as scholarship
  • the sense of having a wide-lens library view
  • Is a focus on undergraduates enough of a focus?
  • given where I am in my career and th potential for branching paths very soon ahead, do I really want a focus?
  • What all of this has to do with the future of Rudy, of librarianship, and of scholarship
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