Ten years after Peak Biblioblogging


I would put the peak of Libraryland blogging (liblogging, biblioblogging) at around June 2007 to June 2008.

(Well, extremely white, educated, academic, US-centric, liberal blogging about libraries anyhow…and that is a very different thing. It was not representative of most.)

This is based on:

  • being in the thick of it (this blog was part of the international network of reading and commenting)
  • being part of the team running an Australian-wide library blogging platform (librariesinteract.info )
  • Michael Stephens’ Phd dissertation on Modeling the role of blogging in librarianship was submitted in August 2007.

Wanna see librariesinteract.info now? Obviously the rather high hit rate on the site was noted when we let the domain registration drop and it is a very odd kind of link-bait site now…

A few years ago now I outlined a bit about my history and gifts received from library blogging (What has blogging done for me ? ) and why blogging to me is not just posting, but is hard work and involves a lot of time and being part of a conversation ( blogging and being a node in the conversation )

Meredith (We are atomized. We are monetized. We are ephemera. Do we deserve more online ) and Fiona (What’s so amazing about really deep thoughts ?)  posted in the last week, remembering the impact of this on them personally and (more importantly) on their effectiveness and growth as library professionals. Morgan reflected similar themes when he restarted his (now 16 year old blog) in April this year after a five year hiatus (Restart ).

These are smart, clear thinkers whose ideas heavily influenced my ideas of myself as a professional.  All three modelled how to be a little less hotheaded, a little more measured, a bit more logical and how to edit, edit, edit to blow away writerly chaff. I would love again to read their posts weekly and engage in the comments on their blogs like before.

There were others from around the same time. Several. I am not naming names because I would miss someone out.

My recollection is a group of very passionate, tech-savvy professionals who found each other online and expressed very strong opinions in ways that tried to show respect for each other. A lot of our energy went into smoothing off our rough edges, and I am so grateful for those early experiences that forced me to find a philosophy of charitable reading, that I now find incredibly rewarding and that I try to apply to “reading” people’s actions as well as words.  I am sure it would have taken several years to develop this otherwise.

I am not sure we privately showed a lot of respect for those who had gone before in the profession and seemed to us to have limited tech skills, or were not engaging in the same way or seemed to not realise the implications of All These Things.

And the toys!!!! This was a time where several newer technologies, and ideas about how to use them, had converged to stimulate those who could code, think and hope to create all sorts of free online tools. Last semester I went looking for a Soundcloud replacement for assessment in my units, and there really was no free, likely to stick around platform where students could record and save audio straight from their webbrowser. I felt like some kind of pioneering gold miner who was looking at the now empty and industrialised gold fields in Kalgoorlie saying “I remember when gold lined the streets”.

Hands up all those who remember Google’s attempt at a Virtual World, Lively??? Where I could meet up with colleagues in Canada and stream in movies from YouTube?

Lively with YouTube Streaming
We learned about making movies and using our webcams because there were countless free platforms where we could all connect without too much regard to our personal data being harvested, the storage space it would take up on the hosts’ servers, or it costing us more than our time. A new tool would be announced and whomp! a mob of us would jump on to it all together and give it a test drive. When some of the tools stuck like Meebo chat rooms, blogging gave way more to synchronous, but unarchived, chat and even to many of us travelling to other countries to meet in person those with whom we had previously had just blog-relationships. You can see the start of this in my account of the Library Society of the World in September 2008. I think this move away from our self-hosted blogging platforms, as much as us all moving on to other responsibilities and interests, eroded that daily “I will post in my blog or comment on three others this morning because if I do then this great conversation and growth of knowledge and ideas will keep going”.

I do think now I will dust off my Feedly Reader and try to rely more on RSS for my daily reading. I haven’t really used Facebook for about 9 years, and it can get lonely out here with my extra time for thinking, lack of FOMO, and less-tagged facial image, so it would be grand if others migrated a bit outside the walls to blog a bit more.

I am not sure, to riff on Fiona’s post, that we can go back to using the Internet like it’s still 2007 … but I think I liked LINT better when it was an Australian Library blog to which ANYONE could contribute, and had posts about Library and Information Week and Library Bloggers’ meetups, than about linkbait, even with lions…


3 thoughts on “Ten years after Peak Biblioblogging

  1. Thank you for this post!
    I admit, it’s possible that there could be trace elements of nostalgia in this blogging revival. After all, who hasn’t wondered what it would be like go back, and act as if the last ten years haven’t happened?

    But for me, it’s more. It’s a realisation that what we had with our blogging community was actually quite good. There is something special about an open community where the creators are also the publishers and where we own our words. Having been away from it for a number of years, I also have a greater appreciation for RSS. I like how I can choose how it works for me – I choose the aggregator, I control the settings, I choose what to read and when. It’s so different from relying on the digital platforms’ algorithms to push things at us.

    Speaking of which, I do have certain unresolved feelings about the dominant digital platforms. Did they betray our trust? Were we naive to think that things would be ok? I don’t have answers. Maybe I’ll write a post on this later.
    I have no plans to unplug from Twitter, Facebook and other social media. I just want to re-evaluate the mix of technology in my life. As much as I like the new & shiny, what about the slightly older things, trusted and true, which may have been declared obsolete too soon?

  2. I have worked in libraries for several decades but it is only in recent years have I gained a professional standing within this proactive community. The written word is the fulcrum of a librarians function, sure technology enhances and facilitates the disbursement of language but the written word is at the centre of communication.

    Librarians manage information. Technology has enabled our connection to others to be more streamlined but engaging in discussion through mediums such as blogging can’t be superseded.

    I fully support reviving the historic 2008 vision of libraries future through a ‘brain storming’ blog format. In 2018 we are ten years smarter and more prepared to – retain archives, provide spaces to stimulate, and open access to more and more eager receivers of information.

  3. I could take a Kuhnian view here of paradigmatic shifts and the onward progress, or something more akin to Feyerabend and anything goes with things bubbling to the surface…sometimes more than once, as things move in and out of focus, as other things change. I tend to use bursts as that describes me best…bursts of activity interspersed with inactivity…at times those bursts align with the bursts of others.

    I have been through a few such shared bursts, where my own bursts align with others that seem like a part of a really big thing. That is not to say that they weren’t a big thing only that they ebb and flow. I was there in the 80s for electronic bulletin boards, then usenet, then weblogs which morphed into blogging proper. The rise of facebook, chatting on twitter (which was irc incarnated)…I mostly missed friendfeed – friendfeed reminded me a little of usenet but a poorer cousin…yet for others friendfeed was to them what usenet was to me.

    After all those peaks, we seem to be back in a trough…the inactivity between the bursts. I don’t know what the next burst will be but based on past form it will perhaps be a variation of things before arranged differently.

    Hmmm this was supposed to be a blog post but is currently a comment and may yet be something….

What do you think? Let us know.