ASIST K-Blog Panel

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Advertising What Our Panel Is About

I asked the four librarians I know at Harvard Business School's library if they had any questions offhand that I could try to address in my presentation to them on Friday about blogging. Since, as you know, there's a lot we could cover when we talk about blogs, I thought asking them might give me some direction or identify some territory I definintely need to cover. I got some good questions today that made me realize what I thought I was going to talk about and what some of them think I'm going to talk about is quite different. In forty minutes, I was asked to talk about blogging at Harvard and blogging in general. I was thinking of five major topics: what is a blog, why blog, what libraries and business schools are doing with blogs, how to find blogs to read, and feeds/blogs/aggregators. The talk was basically just advertised as "someone's coming here on Friday to talk about blogs." The questions I received today indicate that the person thinks it's forty minutes about which blogs she should be reading and why. The feedback I've received from others indicate they expect something along the lines of those five topics I outlined.

That got me thinking that perhaps we need to be clearer somehow about what we're presenting and what we aren't presenting. I haven't been to an ASIST conference before, so maybe this isn't as much of a problem. If we were doing this at SLA (Hey--we're all members. We could do a repeat, make this into a traveling roadshow. Okay, bad idea ...), it's very likely some people in the audience might be expecting a "60 blogs in 60 minutes" kinda thing.

I plan to talk about blog discovery and I have a list of things and sites I might cover during the presentation, but it's definitely not the focus of my talk. She had good questions--questions I imagine other academic librarians have (like what scholarly sources can I read that evaluate blogs so I can decide which ones to read).

(I can post my "thinking out loud" for that presentation on my blog 'cause none of them read it. I was hoping some of my readers would comment with suggestions, but oh well.)


  • My thing with the "what blogs to read" topic is that it's been done competently by Steven M Cohen who makes money traveling and lecturing on how to read feeds and what feeds to read. I think you've done other talks on this, too, for people in the Boston area or in news libraries, right? When I wrote my searching article, I tried to stay away from that topic for that reason (and that I only had 1,500 words). I think you're right, though, that perhaps we need to emphasize that we're looking internally, not externally. Maybe the track we're in, KM, says that for us?

    By Blogger Christina, at 10:01 AM  

  • I was thinking that emphaszing the KM part might explain that, too, but someone still might think it's a demo of blogs practicing KM or blogs about KM.

    I don't think we have to worry about how we advertise the session too much. It's just a thought.

    I saw Steven Cohen when he spoke at Simmons College in the fall and I wasn't all that impressed with his presentation. Perhaps he was just having an off night. At that talk, he gave a very basic introduction to blogging and didn't spend a lot of time showcasing blogs. What made it unimpressive is that he didn't do a good job of answering people's questions. Some of the things he explained, like RSS feeds, weren't quite accurate. He didn't seem to have a good knowledge of different blogging tools or that different blogging tools have different features. He would say blogs don't do something when different platforms would allow that something. A lot of people left the room feeling confused and frustrated. I was glad I already knew a lot about blogging and had been blogging for a few months, otherwise I probably would have been turned off to blogging entirely.

    Later I learned that he wasn't doing well healthwise and that might have definitely effected the quality of his presentation.

    By Blogger j, at 10:52 AM  

  • Perhaps it was the medical thing. Why don't we (the 4 of us or J and C or...) do a 60 feeds in 60 seconds session at next SLA? I'll volunteer to cover physical sciences, engineering, and math. J could cover news.... Hmmm. Instead of a handout, an OPML blogroll or blogdigger group?

    By Blogger Christina, at 10:58 AM  

  • I think I would be horrible at giving a "60 blogs in 60 minutes" kinda talk since I don't read that many blogs. I can tell people how to find them and how to evaluate them for good content, but it'd be kinda hypocritical for me to stand up there recommending blogs I don't read. = )

    Also, next year's conference conflicts with Harvard's Commencement again, so if I can go to the conference, it might only be for Monday again.

    Sabrina Pacifici contacted me about potentially doing a program together at SLA. I am going to contact her about that--at least to say "Hello." Christina, I know you said you wanted to touch base with her, too. Perhaps I can float the idea of us all doing something by her. Would it be insane to think about doing a 1/2-day CE course? I learned on Friday that I can easily bore people with blogging for an hour.

    By Blogger j, at 10:53 AM  

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