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

Selection from Cites & Insights 5, Number 11: October 2005

Followups & Feedback

Investigating the Biblioblogosphere

Surprise, surprise: People reacted to the Net Media Perspective that took up half of Cites & Insights 5:10!

Actually, I was surprised—by the breadth of the response and its almost entirely positive nature.

I won’t repeat all the feedback: that would take more room than the original essay. If some excerpts seem to be non-sequiturs, that’s because I’ve broken things down into categories.

Corrections and Clarifications

First, an important clarification that was in the original essay and disappeared during editing (my own editing—I have no one else to blame). I only considered blogs written in English for this survey, because I couldn’t see how to do the metrics in blogs that I couldn’t read.

I should also clarify “library people.” They may not be librarians, and their weblogs might not be about libraries, but they’re associated with libraries and the blogs are in one of the directories I used.

Corrections and clarifications from bloggers mentioned in the survey:

Ø    Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog didn’t have an RSS feed until March 2005, although the blog began (as I noted) in June 2001. The Laughing Librarian began in March 2003. Library Stuff began on August 4, 2000, but the visible archives only go back to February 2003. The Ten Thousand Year Blog began in July 2002, again with some archives lost.

Ø    Norma Bruce of Collecting My Thoughts was unhappy with the label “right-wing political.” She prefers “political and personal with a strong voice.” I urge you to read the whole discussion, including Bruce’s concept of equivalent left-wing and right-wing personalities, at NBruce’s journal on LISNews.

Ø    eclectic librarian does have a good “About” page, which I missed.

Ø    Professional-Lurker is written by Lois Ann Schmidt.

Walt at Random

First were comments attached to my pre-announcement of the essay and announcement of the issue, for example:

Ø    Dorothea Salo (Caveat Lector): “I probably should link out more…”

Ø    George Needham (part of It’s all good) found it fascinating. “Greg” was impressed by the work involved.

Ø    Laura Crossett reacted to my dislike for “biblioblogosphere”: “Goodness, what have you got against neologisms?” [and noted that Shakespeare and Milton coined words] She’s right, of course.

My apology for not clarifying “English-only” and restatement of selection criteria drew a number of comments including an assertion (on another blog) that I should rely on bloggers’ own logs as a readership measure. Two commenters hoped that I would repeat the study. Some other comments, in part:

Ø    Molly at h20boro, Waterboro library’s blog: “I think we meet all the criteria, and the h20boro lib blog has been around since 2000” (…later, that h20boro may be a hybrid library/personal blog)

Ø    tangognat at TangognaT: “Even though log files might be more accurate, in my case they are filled so full of spam, it would take way too much work to wring any meaningful stats from them...”

Ø    Mark: “Not all of us have access to our log files either…”

Then came “the hornet’s nest round” of comments on other blogs; in this case, I’ll repeat part of the post itself as well as portions of the comments.

I was expecting this round of reactions to the “biblioblogosphere” piece to happen first (before the positive reactions) and with more force–that’s why I came close to abandoning the essay. But it’s really hard to throw away 50 hours of work and 7,000 words, particularly when you find the results fascinating.

Now it’s happening, on two levels:

Critiques of methodology and limits, including my lack of non-English blogs (an editing error, explained in a previous post), claims that I should be requesting and analyzing server logs from every library weblog, and others.

Posts, two of them long, thoughtful, and even eloquent, that assert that the article is harmful because rankings are pernicious.

What’s also happening, to my delight, is bloggers pointing out specific library weblogs worth looking at and providing their reasons for suggesting a look. Blogrolls don’t do that; blogrolls are just sets of links. (There’s an overlap between the hornet’s-nest posts and those recommending lesser-known blogs.).

I’m printing and collecting all of this stuff (sorry, but that just works better for me than trying to put it all together looking at words on dozens of different web pages). I really do plan to blog about other topics here (one other one today, if time permits). I’ll keep collecting feedback, direct and indirect, and almost certainly put some of it into a C&I essay.

Do I take two long essays that consider the profiles to be harmful more seriously than, say, 20 short reactions that want to see me continue? Is it really true that in every online “community” those who aren’t included in a list will automatically feel bad about themselves and denigrate their own blog? (I find that hard to believe, particularly based on the reactions I’ve gotten from people not profiled…) Are library bloggers really that thin-skinned or…dependent on the roar of the crowd?

Damned if I know.

Responses in part:

Ø    Fiona: “I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with rankings, after all the subscriber numbers in Bloglines shattered the myth that no one knew who was most read some time ago… It’s great to see people suggesting who else to read…”

Ø    Filipino Librarian: “I certainly hope you will continue. The next time someone refers to “blog people” as if we’re all illiterate, we can show them some good examples backed up by numbers.”

Ø    Charles Bailey: “Hit a nerve with that article? Given that blogging is a very personal medium, that’s what I would have suspected. But, it was a great article, and the frenzy of comment highlights its importance. Keep at it. I think you are on to something here.”

Ø    Angel: “I think the Filipino Librarian puts well in suggesting it will be work like yours that will validate what we do as well as show the rest of the world that bloggers are not an illiterate bunch…”

Ø    Mark: “I think it was an interesting exercise in many ways, and while I clearly noticed and paid attention to your disclaimer about it being ‘a’ list, I am ambivalent about it—agreeing with statements made on both sides…”

Other Weblogs

I’m not sure just how often the study was mentioned in other weblogs. I have 26 printouts here, not from 26 different weblogs. Searching “Investigating the biblioblogosphere” on the major search engines yields 237 (really 70-odd) at Google, 145 (really 56) at Yahoo!, 80 at MSN, and—ta da!—16 at Ask Jeeves. “biblioblogosphere crawford” (without quotes) yields 322 (really 79) at Google, 172 (really 74) at Yahoo!, 664 (not tested for reality) at MSN, and a whopping 29 at Ask Jeeves. My guess is there have been 30 to 50 distinct discussions.

Favorable to Neutral Comments

LJ’s blog entry (posted by Lori Bell) called it “fascinating and detailed.” diglet called it a “very good environmental scan” and explicitly cited my note that it’s “not a ranking.” scitech library question called it a “lengthy and somewhat mathematical analysis.” Christina’s LIS rant said I was “using many of the proposed Paris metrics” and called it “worth a read even if you’re tired of meta-blogging navel gazing.” tinfoil + raccoon honors me by calling the study “a terrific service.” called it “very fascinating” and called the numbers “somewhat subjectively chosen,” and also noted that you can download my data and draw your own conclusions. digitizationblog called it “worth reading…if you want a broad survey of the variety of library blogs out there.”

Caveat Lector said I was “far kinder to CavLec and me than either deserves” and hoped that I would “repeat the experiment eventually, because the library world has a lot of stellar up-and-comers…” eclectic librarian was “thrilled to pieces” to be included, and planned to look at a bunch of the other blogs she hasn’t been reading. Librarian in Black called the piece “amazing” and suggested it’s “the single most comprehensive look at the library blogosphere to date,” suggesting it “could serve as a wonderful introduction for library staff who are eager to read library-themed blogs, but don’t know where to start.” Lethal Librarian was one of those who used the piece as a springboard to describe two less popular library blogs worth reading. Professional-Lurker found the study “interesting,” noted the areas in which her blog stands out, and was a bit surprised to be listed as an essayist.

It’s all good’s Alane asked where I find the time (a dangerous question), had some fun with it, and ended with the kind of response I was hoping for:

…I read many of the blogs with smaller readership because I like the topics, and/or the voice, and/or I know the author… My personal view is that blogging has brought to life a whole range of voices to our profession and that we are all richer for that. I’ve been working in libraries since 1975 and many of the names attached to articles or books were just that, names only. In the past few years, blogging and podcasting [have] given us all the platforms to broadcast widely, informally, and in the true voices of ourselves, the authors.

TangognaT is “not sure how I feel about lists of blogs. I think it is tough to rank blogs, just because there isn’t a very reliable way of really calculating readership for a blog.” She found the study interesting, especially because I detailed my methodology and provided raw data—and loved being ranked high for conversational intensity. “Yay for comments!” Blisspix discussed it at some length over three different posts. She (Fiona Bradley) calls for better tools to measure the blogosphere, not unreasonably calling my methods “convoluted.” She notes that analysis of log files might be better—but “even they are wildly inaccurate at times” and they’re simply not available to those using hosted services.

Biblioblatherblog called it “fairly interesting,” worried about adding too many new blogs to her “ever-burgeoning Bloglines subscriptions,” and wished I could have done an age breakdown, “though I know it would be fairly impossible.” She sometimes feels “like Methuselah in biblioblogland” and wonders whether she’s “a voice of the over-forty blogger.” (I believe at least six of the bloggers featured in the piece are over 50 and at least three or four are over 40.)

Wanderings of a student librarian offered a thoughtful perspective, quoting Information Wants to be Free as to whether library bloggers are just talking to each other and noting that the only way to find out is a survey. “Anyone looking for a research project?” She also wonders how many of the links to library blogs are from blogs outside the field. As one who wasn’t in the group of 60 for which I did full metrics, she wasn’t discouraged:

I am gratified that my Bloglines subscriber number raises fairly consistently. I am thrilled whenever my Technorati or other ego feeds pull up a link to my blog… Email responses are great, too… Those things are motivating. A measure of broad reach, even if it were done once a year, really wouldn’t inspire my writing from day to day.

The Information Literacy Land of Confusion notes that I didn’t look at Google PageRank. He quotes Google’s description of PageRank and offers my “short list” (the 60 fully analyzed blogs) in descending PageRank order (you’ll find the full spot at, dated August 23, 2005). It’s almost a pure bell curve, with one blog each at PR8 and PR4, eight at PR7, 16 at PR5—and 34 at PR6. Library Stuff quoted portions of this study, notes that he hasn’t looked at his PR in two years or so, and admits (boasts?) that “My eyes glaze over when I read countless stats (probably one of the reasons why I have yet to read Walt’s study in full).” He notes the PR list as “another indication of our obsession with statistics.”

Negative Comments

Three of the longest and most thoughtful comments on Investigating the Biblioblogosphere were also the only negative comments (at least among those I saw). I referred to these as “the hornet’s-nest round,” and I’d expected heated criticism earlier on. I’ll provide the base URL in each case because these are long comments and I’m only offering brief (possibly biased) excerpts.

Information Wants to be Free (meredith.wolfwater. com/wordpress/index.php/) posted “Loving the long tail” on August 15. “I hate to play devil’s advocate but I can’t pretend that I think ranking blogs is a good thing.” She found the study interesting “in an academic sense,” then finds most of my metrics wanting: Bloglines is “notoriously inaccurate,” Wordpress blogs “seem to be ranked more highly in web searches than other blogs,” and rankings change daily, “so it’s hard to depend on them as reliable measures of ‘reach.’” About the only metric she finds worthwhile is “conversational intensity.”

Walt developed his own interesting system of ranking the biblioblogosphere. I don’t know if I’d do it the same way. Actually, I wouldn’t do it at all.

She goes on to explain why. It’s an interesting discussion. “I don’t like a popularity contest and I don’t really see the need/point of ranking library blogs… Why perpetuate the insular/clique-ish stereotype of the biblioblogosphere by actually ranking them and leaving certain people out in the cold?” She imagines that some bloggers not in the fully analyzed set “found this to be discouraging—though I hope they didn’t care… A lot of my favorite library blogs were not in Walt’s Top 50…. How many people reading Cites & Insights weren’t already aware of most of those Top 50 blogs?” She goes on to describe eight worthwhile blogs that weren’t in the fully described set.

I could take issue with elements of Meredith’s essay. I do take issue with the constant repetition of “ranking” and “Walt’s Top 50.” The article does not provide a numbered ranking. It explicitly says “a top 50,” one of many possibilities (there are 60 blogs in the list, an odd way to prepare “Walt’s Top 50”). I did not claim these were the most popular blogs, the most important, or anything of the sort. I claimed and do claim that they are 60 non-group, non-official-library blogs that have demonstrated reach. Nor, frankly, am I terribly worried that some poor soul will be so disturbed by being “left out in the cold,” and will take this study so seriously, that they will be “discouraged.” If they are, then they’re writing a blog for the wrong reasons. After another response (noted above) wondered about age breakdown, this blogger chose to do her own survey of library blogs. I participated, and look forward to the results.

Random Access Mazar ( posted “The A-List and the Z-List,” also on August 15, finding my essay “depressing” and asserting that any sort of ranking “invariably causes hurt feelings, conflict, and disappointment, and even results in some undue criticism being levelled at the chosen ones… Ranking people cheapens the whole process.” She says “without reservation that someone somewhere felt hurt by being left off his ranking.”

For me, the point of blogging, and the joy of blogging, is in having a place to write things down. For me writing is thinking, and I love to be able to share my thoughts with anyone who’s interested. Rankings therefore don’t bother me much, because my goal has never been to please other people.

So Mazar isn’t at all unhappy that she wasn’t on the list of blogs with full metrics, but she’s 100% certain that other people are unhappy that they weren’t included. This discussion continued in email, in which she said explicitly “some of us will always feel uncomfortable with anything that smacks of ranking.” And, elsewhere, “As soon as there’s some sort of prize to be won, the race looks a little different, you know?” posted an August 17 comment ( that isn’t an attack, but she does have “very mixed feelings.” She blogs for herself, “and will continue to do so irrespective of rankings or recognition.” But she knows there are different reasons for blogging, and “who are we to say that there are right and wrong reasons for blogging?” She does think “it’s possible to say that blogging for fame/ego is not advisable because it’s such a fickle game.” She would have been more interested in “Walt’s purely subjective 60 favourite blogs” and asserts, “every objective appearing calculation also contains subjective judgements/assumptions, sometimes they’re just more hidden.”

I don’t have a list of 60 favorite blogs, and I can only say that I offer the actual numbers used and the reasons for using them—and that I would have seen to it that at least one blog did not appear on that list if I was doing it subjectively. (Two, actually: Walt at random wouldn’t have been there.)

She adds a quick response to Rochelle Mazar’s dislike of any ranking: “otoh why are some people so uncomfortable with rankings, because ranking is ubiquitous on the web, as in Google pagerank and Technorati etc, etc.”

That’s a version of my response to claims that no rankings should ever be done. Life doesn’t work that way. If you don’t want people to feel “lessened” because they come out shorter on some measurement, then just within the blogosphere you’d have to:

Ø    Eliminate Bloglines subscriber counts, since as soon as you sign up for your own Bloglines feed, you realize that you will probably never have as many subscribers as Jenny Levine.

Ø    Eliminate blogrolls. When you list a bunch of other blogs without comment, you are implicitly saying that blogs not on the list are not as worthy as those on the list. (Random Access Mazar has a blogroll with 20-odd names.)

Ø    Eliminate Technorati, Blogpulse, Feedster…

Ø    Eliminate search engines. Who hasn’t done an ego search? And if you ever search another blog name, well…

Ø    Eliminate articles that discuss blogs and name any of them, since any such naming points out certain blogs as specifically worth noting.

In the rest of the world, you’d have to eliminate grades, degrees, Who’s Who, competitive sports (competitive anything, actually), awards, honors…the list goes on and on.

If you regard blogging as a race and being on a list as “the prize,” then you’ve already lost. If failing to be included in one study of one aspect of blogs by one commentator who’s not on anyone’s A-list causes hurt and disappointment, that’s a shame.

Ten bloggers who weren’t in the set of blogs receiving full metrics chose to comment on the study. Eight of the ten liked the study; several of them want to see it done again. Even calling negative, which may overstate her criticisms, two of the ten were unhappy. I can live with that.

Email Feedback

Most of this has already been discussed.

Marlène Delhaye of Biblioacid, a high-profile French library blog, had raised the question of my study’s lack of non-English blogs; after I explained it, she sent a kind note—and noted that most of the metrics (except the wholly subjective “voice”) can be applied to any blog, regardless of language. She’s right.

Von Totanes, Filipino Librarian, had some kind words and asked whether anyone had suggested using Google PageRank. Since the posts using PageRank on the fully-analyzed list hadn’t appeared yet, my response was “well, now you have…,” and I also responded that a followup probably wouldn’t use Google link: A further interchange clarified why I’m likely to drop that measure: Google admits that link: returns only a sample of the actual results, making it useless as a metric.

“If There is a Next Time”

In several of my responses to email and comments-on-comments, I prefaced possible changes in methodology with “ITIANT”—If There Is A Next Time. I gathered as many of the responses as possible.

I don’t need to make a decision until next June or July, since, ITIANT, I’d use either March-May or April-June for analysis of posts. It’s possible that more feedback will change my mind, or that other circumstances (“life happens”) will make the decision for me.

At this writing, I believe a similar study is likely to be repeated with changes. Likely changes so far, with more possible after some analysis in mid-2006:

Ø    Non-English blogs listed in one of the key directories will be included in the broad analysis and, as feasible, in full metrics. I can’t say much about “voice” or personal/professional/ political balance when I can’t read the posts, but that description is a tiny part of the study.

Ø    Google “link:” probably won’t be used as one of the raw measures unless Google changes its practice. Some other raw measures may be added. Google PageRank might be part of the raw measure (or of extended measures), but only part. No single measure will play a dominant role in the analysis.

Ø    Depending on the energy and time I have available for a repeat study, I might issue an open invitation for “blogs not in one of the directories” to send me names and URLs, capping the total at some level that’s plausible (250? 300? 400? Nah, probably not 400…).

Ø    “Not official library/organizational blogs” will almost certainly remain as a filter. “Not group blogs” will probably be modified to allow blogs with a large handful of contributors that retain some overall coherence—if I can find an objective line that excludes (for example) the LITA and PLA blogs but includes (for example) Resource Shelf and Open Access News. I think that’s possible.

Ø    I will not make any effort to note demographics of bloggers other than their names.

Ø    The spreadsheets will be made available, which means there’s no way to prevent someone who wants to come up with a “ranking number” from doing so. I can’t be transparent about methodology and obscure about results: The world doesn’t work that way.

Ø    There won’t be a published numbered ranking (just as there wasn’t this time), but there will be ordered lists of blogs standing out on individual metrics.

Ø    I might try doing the metrics on a bigger chunk of the overall list, if time allows, possibly by simplifying one or two metrics.

Ø    I’ll continue to pay attention to suggestions but with no promise they’ll be followed.

Ø    Those who oppose comparisons of any sort will be unhappy. I can live with that.

Studying the Blogosphere: Other Voices

I don’t believe there is a true “A list” in the biblioblogosphere. Many people sure do believe there’s an “A list” for the blogosphere in general and that being on the A list is meaningful. So, for example:

Ø    j’s scratchpad notes that Feedster now has a “top 500” list—and provides a graphic you can put on your blog to brag about being a Feedster Top 500 member.

Ø    Library clips has an August 12, 2005 essay (5 print pages), “Blog ranking: incoming links??” The blogger notes some “hot lists” and their methodologies and discusses problems. It’s all about finding lots of metrics so you can find the “hottest blogs” for your own definition of “hot.” I’m more interested in finding the bloggers whose posts inform me and make me think: That’s not a quantifiable metric.

Ø    TechBlog also has an August 12, 2005 essay (3 print pages), “Blogging for its own sake,” which raises the question of why this person blogs and why other people blog. TechBlog’s author doesn’t feel they get “enough readership” and offers strategies for increasing readership. It’s an odd post with fancy numbers and includes questions I can’t imagine asking of my own blog—but then, I’m not out to score a huge readership, just an interested one. (“Fancy numbers”—one section includes four equations and requires quantifying nine separate factors.)

Ø    Science Library Pad (August 21, 2005) discuses blog ranking and metrics, including projects from IceRocket and Feedster.

Ø    Napsterization has a six-page August 6, 2005 post, “Link love lost…” (it’s a long post title) that includes a table with nineteen different metrics for evaluating a blog, looking toward a “community-based algorithm.” Here, as with so many other discussions, “authority” seems to be the target. I’d argue that no set of metrics will measure authority in blogs any more than it would in, say, magazines or books. I find the essay bewildering. “Part of what we want is a rich user generated ontology resulting in topic groups that is constantly adjusting to find what’s delightful, useful, interesting, across blogs.”

Ø    thejasoncalacanisweblog (part of Weblogs, Inc.) has an August 2, 2005 “Blog 500 Challenge” in which Calacanis offers $10,000 in cash if a programmer builds a “500 list that kicks butt” for Weblogs, Inc., or $50,000 in advertising to the first person to come up with such a list. Such a list would use links rather than number of inlinking sites, look at the most recent 12 months rather than the full history of links, have a separate sublist for “up and comers,” and be updated constantly. Lots of comments…relatively few of them along the lines of “who needs these lists?” Weblogs, Inc. is in the advertising-on-blogs business, as the blog’s page clearly shows, and if that’s your game, “hot lists” are probably part of it.

If there is a next time, it will once again be a snapshot looking for specific areas of interest: Which reasonably widely read library-related blogs are composed of lengthy essays? Which post frequently? Which have loads of comments relative to the number of posts? The thought that a metric, no matter how complex, could predict “what’s delightful, useful, interesting across blogs” doesn’t work for either my “numerate” side or my humanities core. I don’t believe you can quantify meaning or delight or interest any more than you can love or friendship.

Non-Biblioblogosphere Feedback

Finally, a couple of items that have no relationship to Investigating the Biblioblogosphere.

Seth Finkelstein noted that my comment about liability for a handgun company that advertises its products as “Perfect for taking out your old lady” (July/August) wasn’t all that hypothetical. One gunmaker apparently did design its products and marketing strategy in ways that may seem questionable (advertising an assault weapon as having excellent resistance to fingerprints, for example, or specifically designing a gun to accommodate silencers or to be shot from the hip). See Infothought for August 9 (

Scott Pope had a detailed reaction to my “current credo” (in the July/August issue). Here it is, in full:

When reading Walt's latest Cites & Insights, I found myself thinking too many of his points sound good but don't fit the reality of librarianship, as I normally feel when I read his newsletter. Don't get me wrong—I love reading his newsletters because he writes in a serious way about serious things, but his conclusions usually sound too academic by far for my taste.

What follows is my response to each point of what he calls “my current credo” in the latest newsletter:

1. “Good public and academic libraries are both physical institutions and sets of services. They serve a variety of purposes within real communities and colleges, and some of those purposes can only be served effectively through physical libraries.”

My response: Bad libraries are these things too. What sets good libraries apart is that the “physical” buildings are appealing and the “services” become desired.

2. “We will continue to see revolutionary predictions based on oversimplification, bad economics, infatuation with technology, and failure to appreciate people. Librarians who fall prey to such predictions will suffer, as will their users. Librarians and library supporters must be ready to challenge unlikely projections, analyze faulty economics, and assert the need for choice and the importance of both history and the present.”

My response: “Revolutionary predictions” may not be a bad thing. They may cause an individual library to publicize a service in a new way or adjust services so they match with already publicized projections. In other words, even if the projections are “unlikely,” they might be a selling point. For example, you can use Google (like the University of Texas uses Google Scholar) and benefit from all the buzz even if it is overblown by far.

3. “Technology and media will continue to interact in unexpected ways, but ways that will lead to more rather than fewer media. Different media serve different kinds of stories well, and new media should enable new kinds of stories—but the kinds of stories that books serve continue to be critically important for libraries.”

My response: “More” media isn't always better. For example, I'd love to get rid of a lot of our microfilm. Some media will waste the time of the reader/learner/experiencer.

4. “Print books will survive, and will continue to be at the core of all good public libraries and the humanities and social science portions of good academic libraries.”

My response: Print books will also continue to be at the “core” of hard science libraries.

5. “All libraries and librarians need to deal with increasing complexity, not as `transitional' issues but as the reality of today and tomorrow.”

My response: Some great librarians will let others handle the “complexity,” and concentrate on service, advocacy, salesmanship, and education. In other words, professionals concentrate on the abstract concepts such as helping students and fan off the web programming to a systems librarian.

6. “Libraries must serve users—but all users, not just today's primary users. There's a difference between being user-oriented and pandering, and it's a difference librarians should understand.”

My response: Library school jargon. True, good libraries attempt to profile and reach out to non-users, but, in reality, libraries that truly serve “all users” have an extremely small user pool.

7. “Libraries matter, and librarians should build from strength. There are many fine public and academic libraries and many more that do remarkable work with inadequate resources. The goal should be to improve and diversify from what libraries do well, not to abandon existing services and collections in search of some monolithic futures, whether all-digital or otherwise.”

My response: Some libraries, such as bad libraries, might be better off if they “abandon existing services and collections.” While building on your strengths may sound good, it may prove fatal. Let's face it, weeding is not done enough in a lot of libraries that are seriously decaying.

8. “Libraries will change, just as they have been changing for decades. Good libraries will maintain live mission statements—and the missions won't change rapidly.”

My response: A lot of the changes have been too minor. A lot of libraries look like the only changes they have done in decades is adding a computer area. Good libraries will change more than technology. Few mission statements reflect the reasons the customers actually go to the library, so maybe it would be good to change those mission statements.

9. “Effective libraries build communities, and the need and desire for real communities will continue to grow. Libraries that work with their communities should prosper; those that ignore their communities will shrivel.”

My response: Hopefully libraries will do more than “work with their communities,” like stun the heck out of them, or inspire them, or even make the community grow because of their existence.

I’m inclined not to respond, at least not here, not yet—not because I think my “credo” is wrong or weakened by his responses but because I think his responses are useful additions. I will make one point about #6 (where on earth would I pick up “library school jargon”?): I thought that “within your potential user base” was implicit in “all users.” A good academic library should be designed to serve the next generation of students and faculty, not just those currently in residence. I think there are definitional issues elsewhere as well, but will leave those to the reader.

Cites & Insights: Crawford at Large, Volume 5, Number 11, Whole Issue 67, ISSN 1534-0937, a journal of libraries, policy, technology and media, is written and produced by Walt Crawford, a senior analyst at RLG.

Cites & Insights is sponsored by YBP Library Services,

Hosting provided by Boise State University Libraries.

Opinions herein may not represent those of RLG, YBP Library Services, or Boise State University Libraries.

Send comments to Cites & Insights: Crawford at Large is copyright © 2005 by Walt Crawford: Some rights reserved.

All original material in this work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License. To view a copy of this license, visit or send a letter to Creative Commons, 559 Nathan Abbott Way, Stanford, California 94305, USA.