Cites & Insights: Crawford at Large
ISSN 1534-0937
Libraries · Policy · Technology · Media

Selection from Cites & Insights 10, Number 7: June 2010

Making it Work: Philosophy and Future

John Dupuis wrote (on FriendFeed) to clarify his comment (Cites & Insights 10:3, March 2010, p. 11) that, in ten years, “we might only be spending one percent or less of our budgets on print”:

When I was referring to academic libraries spending as little as 1% of their budgets on print materials, I was thinking of the 10+ years timeframe. Looking that far ahead, it's extremely hard to predict but I do think that we'll be looking at virtually all academic monograph content being online-only. To the extent we buy non-academic materials, yeah, I guess we'll buy some of that in print. But even then, it's not hard to imagine that our users will want to read that content on some sort of reading device, be it a smart phone, a tablet, a netbook, or whatever else those devices evolve into. Not to mention the business model challenges that trade and academic publishing will face in the next 10 years. If I may be provocative for a moment, it's not hard to imagine that we'll be buying all our book (or book-like) content online from Google or Amazon.

I might stick with “possibly, but it seems unlikely”—but Dupuis is a lot closer to academic libraries than I am!

Making it Work: Thinking about Blogging 5: Closing the Loop

On page 17 of Cites & Insights 10:4 (April 2010), I took issue with a number of things Steven Bell said in what was admittedly an old post (from October 2008). One of the things that bothered me was this sentence:

Personally I think it’s getting hard to stand out in the crowd and attract the attention of the bread and butter of librarian blog readers—the younger generation of librarians who are accustomed to blog reading.

Part of my response: “You know I’m going to push back on ‘the younger generation of librarians’; I don’t think blog readership breaks down that way.”

Bell emailed me, pointing to a Chronicle of Higher Education summary of a Primary Research Group survey of 555 full-time academic librarians, which included this:

Librarians who were at least 60 years old spent the most time reading print publications, at 31 minutes a day. Academic librarians 30 or under spent the most time reading library-related blogs, at 19 minutes a day.

Bell comments: “My conclusion: younger librarians are more likely to read blogs than older librarians and thus make for a better target market for librarian bloggers.”

My response? If the Primary Research Group survey is in fact indicative of the field as a whole—and I have no counterevidence—then Bell was right and I was wrong.

I may think it’s a shame—not that I was wrong (I’m used to that) but that older librarians apparently don’t read liblogs—but thinking it’s a shame doesn’t make it false.

Writing about Reading 5: Going Down Slow

On pages 22-25 of Cites & Insights 10:3 (March 2010) I discussed John Miedema and his commentaries on slow reading—and also Miedema’s approach to blogs, which includes deleting and editing posts. He has stated his reasons for doing that, and—as I said—“I understand and appreciate his reasoning for deleting posts—and urging others to do likewise.” Although, by and large, I don’t and don’t plan to.

Miedema posted a useful followup on February 9, 2010 at John Miedema, “Walt Crawford on Slow Reading.” Here’s his post, in full (but without some links):

Walt Crawford has written a thoughtful piece on slow reading in the March 2010 issue of Cites & Insights. I am honoured that Walt highlighted some of the important themes that I have discussed at this blog and in my book. He also refers to a number of other related writings by T. Scott Plutchak, Will Richardson, and Steve Lawson. Well worth reading.

Walt is not new to the subject of slow reading. In my research, I ran across an article called “Contemplation and Content: Getting Under Their Skins” in the March 2005 issue of EContent. While most web pages are written for fast reading, this author recommended writing web content that is memorable, thought-provoking, and resonant. He observed that the various slow movements are a testimony to people’s desire to get away from content overload and investigate beneath the surface. Writing this kind of content may be just what is needed to retain readers. The author, of course, was none other than Walt Crawford.

Walt gently (and fairly) pokes at my tendency to move content and delete posts. For what it’s worth, yes, I was the author of Early on, my content moved around a few blogs, but most of it has been transferred here,, my permanent home on the web. The URL will remain the same even if my blog name changes from time to time. It’s true that I delete blog posts, though that practice seems to be diminishing with time (no promises). Overall, I am happier with the content of my blog over the past several months. Perhaps I have found my voice.

My most recent book project, I, Reader, is still cooking fiercely. I have double the thought energy for it now that I have completed my MLIS. I intend to work this book out slowly and carefully. Count on plenty of book reviews and related series here at this blog in preparation for that book.

The book referred to is Slow Reading, published by Litwin Books. You’ll find information at

Cites & Insights: Crawford at Large, Volume 10, Number 7, Whole Issue 130, ISSN 1534-0937, a journal of libraries, policy, technology and media, is written by Walt Crawford.

This issue sponsored by the Library Society of the World (LSW).

Comments should be sent to Cites & Insights: Crawford at Large is copyright © 2010 by Walt Crawford: Some rights reserved.

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