I will readily admit that Iâ€™m lifting this title from one of the great all-time sports columnists, Bill Lyon, who not long ago retired after writing for the Philadelphia Inquirer for many years. Published every couple of Saturdays, â€œSudden Thoughts and Second Thoughtsâ€ was something to look forward to, as it provided a delectable mix of miscellaneous observations and reactions. I hope he wonâ€™t mind me using it. Here are a few I had recently:
A couple of bloggers mentioned the April 2006 briefing from TrendWatching.com about â€œInfolustâ€œ. Itâ€™s a good read, so take a look if you havenâ€™t yet. Your comments on this piece will be appreciated as Iâ€™d like to know what other academic librarians are thinking. See if â€œInfolustâ€ doesnâ€™t describe some of the research behavior you see at your library. The question – or challenge – for academic librarians is how do we respond to users driven by Infolust. While Infolust is certainly about instant information gratification, one observation I make is that Infolust is also about power and empowerment – making users feel empowered. Can academic libraries somehow tap into the userâ€™s Infolust so that we can develop within them an appreciation of satisfying oneâ€™s Infolust in the libraryâ€™s information environment? I know what youâ€™re thinking. The instant gratification factor is not there. But wouldnâ€™t having the ability to master more sophisticated information tools – especially when they can enable you to kick butt on academic research assignments – offer a form of information gratification. Thatâ€™s something worth thinking about.
There was a fair amount of blogging and discussion list chatter last week about Microsoftâ€™s big news – a new Academic Search engine. Microsoft will be going head-to-head with Google Scholar. I think Iâ€™ve seen no less than five or six librarian bloggers giving their personal reviews, but if you want the basic facts go to Resourceshelf. Since more than a few academic libraries have invested resources in creating connections from within Google Scholar, will they seek to do the same with Academic Search – or choose one over the other? On their well-placed link for librarians Microsoft wastes no time pushing for open URL link resolver connections from within Academic Search. Although the content is rather limited right now, thereâ€™s a lot to like. If you havenâ€™t done so yet, take a closer look this week.
Just because you blog, does that make you a self-promoter? What about publishing an article in a library journal? Are you just communicating ideas or research with colleagues, or are you out to be an â€œA-listâ€ academic librarian? These are some of the questions raised by a blog post by Walt Crawford last week. Apparently he had some concerns about a reference to â€œmovers and shakersâ€ (LJâ€™s annual collection) made by The Shifted Librarian. I wonâ€™t rehash what created a fair amount of commentary; you can read Waltâ€™s post for that – which will give you a better sense of why Iâ€™m writing about self-promotion. From my perspective the vast majority of academic librarians who simply publish, present, or blog are not self-promoters. If youâ€™re good, others will know it and that may result in some unintended recognition. I think thatâ€™s how most folks end up as LJ Movers & Shakers. And like every award handed out in libraryland, there are many deserving folks who are not recognized. So I just linked to a post I wrote a while ago. Am I self-promoting my own writing? What if I link to an article I wrote in a journal? I think Iâ€™m just trying to get you read something related to the conversation. You may think Iâ€™m trying to broaden my personal sphere of influence. Certainly we all occasionally see evidence of shameless self-promotion in an attempt to obtain speaking engagements, requests to contribute articles, or to broaden oneâ€™s reputation in the profession. We have to accept it will happen, and live and let live. If you have a good idea or something worth communicating, share it with ACRLog (like Brian Mathews did – which garnered a few mentions in the LISblogoverse). Donâ€™t let concerns about being accused of shameless self-promotion keep you from communicating ideas or news that could benefit your colleagues. I think most academic librarians have the good sense to know where the line is between enthusiasm for sharing ideas and shameless self-promotion – and to avoid crossing it.