or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk


Tips for Blogging

   July 15th, 2010 Brian Herzog

[Insert Exciting Blog Entry Here]This has been a busy week at the reference desk (lots of people looking for school summer reading books). I didn't have any great ideas for today's post, so I thought I'd go meta - a blog post about blogging.

Here are a whole bunch of links I've been collecting that offer tips on blogging, or blogging better, or running a blog in general. Some of them are for personal blogs, but they apply pretty well to writing for a library website.

I suppose I should read them instead of just sharing them, but it's a start:

From iLibrarian:

From Librarian in Black:

From David Lee King:



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Conference Twittering v. Blogging

   June 16th, 2009 Brian Herzog

twitter logoA quick recap of my experiment to both twitter and blog the CMS Day workshop last week: I didn't like it.

And interestingly, while catching up with rss that night, I read Librarian by Day very nicely summing up everything I didn't like about it.

Blogging a conference is how I take notes for myself during the sessions - I don't know if it's helpful to anyone else, but it is to me, and I put it out there just in case someone else is curious. But twittering a conference ultimately felt like a series of inside jokes that only people at the conference would get.

Don't get me wrong - the conference was great, which is why I was trying to share it. So perhaps it is my lack of tweet skills, but it didn't seem that 140 characters, without the context of the conference, is very helpful (other than a laugh or two).

I'm still new to this, so forgive me if this observation has already been made: it occurred to me that twittering is the metadata of life. I can describe the conference or what I'm doing at any random moment, but it's still just a description of something else. Metadata absolutely serves a purpose, but when it comes to conferences, maybe the most useful tweets are those that point to resources available elsewhere (or that are humorous one-liners).

Or, perhaps more likely, I'm just doing it wrong.



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Conference Blogging

   October 21st, 2008 Brian Herzog

NELA2008 registration tableRight now I'm in Manchester, NH, for the 2008 NELA conference. In addition to being an attendee and a speaker, I'm also blogging the sessions I attend for the NELA conference blog (read my posts).

This year there are ten volunteer bloggers, and I think it's great -

  • great that NELA is supporting a blog
  • great that people volunteer to contribute
  • great that the notes we take during sessions are available for all attendees, people who couldn't come, trustees who need to see these things, and anyone else who is interested

There are lots of worthwhile conferences and workshops every year, and I go to very few of them. I think it's important for these conferences to extend beyond the conference dates and facility to reach the people who can't come. Considerations for "virtual attendance" seems to be getting more common, in fits and starts, but I think it'll happen.

Along these lines, RUSA has recently asked a small group of librarians to look at this very issue. The goal of this task force is to recommend

a suite of technology-based approaches to virtual membership, virtual attendance at conference, podcasting or videocasting conference programs, the creation of webinars to be hosted by RUSA, and a range of other approaches that would provide resources to our members – both those that attend conference and those for whom conference attendance is a barrier to participation.

Now this is an organization moving in the direction of its members. Thank you, RUSA. I'm not sure what the end result of the task force will be, but just the fact that a large, member-based organization like this is paying attention to the needs of its members is a step in the right direction.

And hopefully, once RUSA develops and implements a good model, it will spread to the rest of the ALA.

But for the time being, don't be afraid to let your consortia, library associations, or other conference groups know what works and doesn't work for you, and where your needs are and aren't being met. That's the best way to get the resources tailored to our needs.

Update: I forgot to mention that the Internet Librarian conference is also going on right now - check out blog posts tagged with il2008 on google blog search.



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Bloggers Wanted for NELA 2008 Annual Conference

   October 14th, 2008 Brian Herzog

NELA 2008 conference logoThe New England Library Association's 2008 Annual Conference starts this weekend, Oct. 19-21st. This year's conference is in Manchester, NH, and there is still time to register if you'd like to attend.

To supplement the conference sessions for people who can't attend, there will be a conference blog again this year. Last year, volunteers posted notes from the sessions they attended, and there were so many positive comments that NELA is doing it again. The blog is sponsored by Plymouth Rocket and is available at http://nelib.wordpress.com.

If you are interested in being a conference blogger, please contact Kathy Lussier at klussier@semls.org with questions or to sign up. Here's a bit of an overview:

What do you need to be a conference blogger?

  • Bloggers need some degree of writing ability and must feel comfortable posting with an online form (posting to a blog is as easy as sending an e-mail)
  • You do not need your own blog, since NELA will be hosting the conference blog
  • Bloggers can post about conference sessions, meetings or events. You can post notes from a session or write about what you took away from the session. We do ask that you commit to a minimum of two posts for each day you are blogging
  • If you aren't a blogger, but prefer taking photos, we have also created a NELA group on Flickr where you can post your conference snapshots. The group is available at http://flickr.com/groups/nela

Even if you aren't going to blog, please do check it out and let us know what you think. The goal is to make this blog as useful as possible, and all comments and suggestions are appreciated.

And if you're going, I hope you enjoy the conference. It's always a great place to network with librarians, learning about what's happening in the library world (such as Work Like A Patron Day), or attend a panel discussion (such as Library 2.0 For You).

I'll be there, and if you see me, please say hi.



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