Living in a digital world, part 2 — blogs as publications

pen, ethernet cable, and keyboard

Image CC license from Flickr user Damien Pollet: http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4115/4927279882_e15ff5d9f4_b.jpg

After a week and a half away from work, the volume of unread messages in my e-mail inbox had shot up, as one might expect.  However, careful clearing away of the clutter made opening my inbox far less daunting on my first day back. What was less manageable, though, was the “1000+” on my Google Reader and the loss of the Share functionality.  Much as I wished to, I hesitated to delete or mark all new posts as read, analogous to an approach recommended by Danah Boyd for avoiding e-mail overload following a sabbatical.  There were gems in that mountain of blogposts, I was certain. A simple slash-and-burn method of attacking the feed reader overload would have meant missing out on this jewel in particular: Katy Meyers’s post at GradHacker entitled, “Taking a Chance: My Blog is a Publication”.

In her post, Ms. Meyers weighs in on the discussion of blogging as scholarly communication and whether and how such activities could be taken into account for promotion, tenure or evaluation for continued funding.  The discourse was new to me, as I had been preoccupied with the debate on open-access journals versus renowned and recognized traditional journals.  However, while slogging through the backlog, Ms. Meyers’s post caught my attention and struck a chord because, although I am neither using blogging in the same way nor facing the exact same dilemma, the blog-as-scholarly-communication discussion is an important one for me.

While I am not in a position to decide what weight blogs should be given, I agree with assertions proliferated around the web that blog posts are publications; done properly, the writing is of high quality, thoughts and arguments presented with coherence and clarity, and discussion furthers the exchange of ideas.  A quick visit to CopyBlogger shows how much attention is being given to the importance of quality writing in blog posts (last week’s  “8 More Habits of Highly Effective Bloggers” follows up on an earlier post presenting “8 Habits of Highly Effective Bloggers”, both emphasizing the characteristics of good writing).

I rely on my feed reader and the bloggers whose posts populate this aggregator to help keep me informed and connected with new and interesting developments beyond my library, my time zone, and my field of work.  As a solo librarian, supporting all functionality of our information center, from cataloguing and organizing materials to finding and sharing new resources with patrons, I do not have the luxury to spend hours scouring the web for new and interesting tools or tricks.  I relish the wealth of information and discussion available in the blogosphere, particularly  the posts from librarians, researchers, communications trainers and others because these link me to more resources in less time than I could find and evaluate on my own. The bloggers whose feeds stay in my reader are those whose words and discussion have served me well and been useful in helping me make the most of my time.

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