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David Lee King

I Don’t Trust the Library Journal



What’s more ironic than Michael Gorman complaining about blogs and wikis on the Encyclopaedia Britannica’s blog? How about Library Journal’s recent decision to host the Annoyed Librarian’s anonymous blog?

Yep – that’s right. The same organization that publishes the Transparent Library column is now giving voice to … an anonymous blogger.

Library Journal claims to be “the oldest and most respected publication covering the library field.” I’ll ask – do you respect a publication that allows one of their writers to be anonymous, when that anonymity has been used in the past to attack other librarians and the work they do? Who also allows and encourages other librarians to anonymously say mean, hateful things in the comments of his/her anonymous blog? To me, that’s simply juvenile and irresponsible.

And now that same juvenile, irresponsible behavior has been paid, and has been given a voice … by “the oldest and most respected publication covering the library field.” Hmm… another irony noted.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for tearing down bad ideas, pointing out inconsistencies, sharing what I think … and have no problem when people do the same with me. That’s expected. But I also think it’s important to own one’s words … and you simply can’t do that when you’re anonymous. Maybe just me – but I think if you can’t say it when your name’s attached … maybe you shouldn’t say it at all.

So when a “respected” library publication starts writing with an anonymous voice, I get concerned.

Library Journal – As a 2008 Mover and Shaker, and as one who has been published in Library Journal publications in the past, I stand behind the words I write, and I expect you to do the same.

Readers – what do you think? I’d like to know.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Bill Drew

    I think this is much to do about nothing. I see the AL as more of a place where satire and sarcasm take place. I don’t subscribe to the AL feed any more.

  • Bill Drew

    I think this is much to do about nothing. I see the AL as more of a place where satire and sarcasm take place. I don’t subscribe to the AL feed any more.

  • http://librariesbuildcommunities.org/ Chrystie

    Thank you David for hosting the discourse. Seems to me that LJ *does* facilitate voice for multiple other bloggers and authors that are non-anonymous, and so, they have dipped their toes into the waters we have for years asked them to do more of.

  • http://librariesbuildcommunities.org/ Chrystie

    Thank you David for hosting the discourse. Seems to me that LJ *does* facilitate voice for multiple other bloggers and authors that are non-anonymous, and so, they have dipped their toes into the waters we have for years asked them to do more of.

  • http://walt.lishost.org/ walt crawford

    What an interesting array of responses.

    One person believes that a blog that began in February 2006 disappeared “years ago,” which would be quite a trick.

    A few people seem to question the practices of 18% of library-related bloggers (among the 607 in the study I’m working on), that is, not disclosing their full names on their blogs.

    A bunch of people don’t distinguish between pseudonymity and anonymity. They’re not the same thing. Pseudonymity for controversial statements has a long history, and was certainly part of the American revolution. Of course, pseudonymous and anonymous statements do not gain any gravitas from the person making them (except to the extent that a pseudonymous writer establishes it through the words themselves).

    Seems to me that if you don’t find AL’s stuff worth reading, there’s an easy solution, whether it’s on LJ’s platform or elsewhere. Don’t read it. (LJ’s platform mostly makes it more difficult to follow the blog and comments; that’s a different problem.) I certainly don’t believe that being on LJ’s platform gives posts added weight–that would be akin to believing that LJ Movers & Shakers were actually more important than anyone else and deserving of deference. (I don’t believe that either–lots of great people there, but also lots of great people not there.)

    I disagree with AL on lots of things (for example, the OIF and Washington Office are two big reasons I’m still an ALA member). I couldn’t write in the style they/he/she it uses. For that matter, I don’t think I could or would write anonymously/pseudonymously…my so-called style is a little too distinctive.
    But I’m not ready to put down AL or others because they choose to do so.

    If the content stinks, that’s different–and then I simply ignore it. Isn’t that the best advice in general?

  • http://walt.lishost.org walt crawford

    What an interesting array of responses.

    One person believes that a blog that began in February 2006 disappeared “years ago,” which would be quite a trick.

    A few people seem to question the practices of 18% of library-related bloggers (among the 607 in the study I’m working on), that is, not disclosing their full names on their blogs.

    A bunch of people don’t distinguish between pseudonymity and anonymity. They’re not the same thing. Pseudonymity for controversial statements has a long history, and was certainly part of the American revolution. Of course, pseudonymous and anonymous statements do not gain any gravitas from the person making them (except to the extent that a pseudonymous writer establishes it through the words themselves).

    Seems to me that if you don’t find AL’s stuff worth reading, there’s an easy solution, whether it’s on LJ’s platform or elsewhere. Don’t read it. (LJ’s platform mostly makes it more difficult to follow the blog and comments; that’s a different problem.) I certainly don’t believe that being on LJ’s platform gives posts added weight–that would be akin to believing that LJ Movers & Shakers were actually more important than anyone else and deserving of deference. (I don’t believe that either–lots of great people there, but also lots of great people not there.)

    I disagree with AL on lots of things (for example, the OIF and Washington Office are two big reasons I’m still an ALA member). I couldn’t write in the style they/he/she it uses. For that matter, I don’t think I could or would write anonymously/pseudonymously…my so-called style is a little too distinctive.
    But I’m not ready to put down AL or others because they choose to do so.

    If the content stinks, that’s different–and then I simply ignore it. Isn’t that the best advice in general?

  • http://bpl.org/ Scot Colford

    Walt’s got some good advice there: Don’t read AL if you think it stinks. I’ve followed that advice for quite a while now and it works very well for me.

    My concern, however, is that a professional publication is hosting unprofessional content by a librarian who attacks from behind a pseudonym. If his or her statements were merely controversial, that might be one thing. Out and out spite and hostility is not productive or professional.

  • http://bpl.org Scot Colford

    Walt’s got some good advice there: Don’t read AL if you think it stinks. I’ve followed that advice for quite a while now and it works very well for me.

    My concern, however, is that a professional publication is hosting unprofessional content by a librarian who attacks from behind a pseudonym. If his or her statements were merely controversial, that might be one thing. Out and out spite and hostility is not productive or professional.

  • http://www.libraryjournal.com/ Francine Fialkoff

    David: LJ hasn’t put disclaimers on any of the articles we’ve published over the years by librarians we’ve disagreed with, though we may have cringed at some of their positions. John Berry even had a columnist with whom he regularly disagreed (Herb White), but we published Herb White until Herb decided to retire. AL doesn’t represent LJ; only the editors of LJ do that, and even we don’t always agree.
    Walt makes some good comments on this whole controversy. And by the way, Walt, I’ve been following the LITA string regarding naming “classic” librarians as Movers & Shakers. We’ve been talking about how to recognize long-standing contributors to the profession and will definitely be doing that in 2009; I doubt we’ll ever be able encompass the many librarians who’ve been “Moving & Shaking” lo these many years.

  • http://www.libraryjournal.com Francine Fialkoff

    David: LJ hasn’t put disclaimers on any of the articles we’ve published over the years by librarians we’ve disagreed with, though we may have cringed at some of their positions. John Berry even had a columnist with whom he regularly disagreed (Herb White), but we published Herb White until Herb decided to retire. AL doesn’t represent LJ; only the editors of LJ do that, and even we don’t always agree.
    Walt makes some good comments on this whole controversy. And by the way, Walt, I’ve been following the LITA string regarding naming “classic” librarians as Movers & Shakers. We’ve been talking about how to recognize long-standing contributors to the profession and will definitely be doing that in 2009; I doubt we’ll ever be able encompass the many librarians who’ve been “Moving & Shaking” lo these many years.

  • davidleeking

    Hi, Francine – thanks for chiming in. Right – I get the disclaimer thing with articles and editors… because your articles are edited before they’re published. Are you saying the LJ bloggers are also edited?

  • davidleeking

    Hi, Francine – thanks for chiming in. Right – I get the disclaimer thing with articles and editors… because your articles are edited before they’re published. Are you saying the LJ bloggers are also edited?

  • DonnaB

    Love the Annoyed Librarian! It’s well written. I find it interesting and will read it until I no longer find it entertaining. And I almost always read the comments on the AL blog because they are often witty and intelligent, too. That’s more than I can say for most blogs which spend an inordinate amount of time in self-promotion and self-aggrandizement (and ditto for the little clique of bloggers that all seem to spend a lot of time patting each other on the back, quoting each other, and acting smug about their careers). I don’t care about whether or not it’s anonymous. I care about whether I find it interesting reading. And, to the Annoyed Librarian: Good for you! Cheers!

  • DonnaB

    Love the Annoyed Librarian! It’s well written. I find it interesting and will read it until I no longer find it entertaining. And I almost always read the comments on the AL blog because they are often witty and intelligent, too. That’s more than I can say for most blogs which spend an inordinate amount of time in self-promotion and self-aggrandizement (and ditto for the little clique of bloggers that all seem to spend a lot of time patting each other on the back, quoting each other, and acting smug about their careers). I don’t care about whether or not it’s anonymous. I care about whether I find it interesting reading. And, to the Annoyed Librarian: Good for you! Cheers!

  • http://www.libraryman.com/ Michael Porter

    There sure are a lot of words here and some of them are BIG words! My faves so far are Jessamyn’s:
    “Wow, what a weird decision on LJs part.”

    I don’t think the AL brings positivity to Libraryland, so I don’t read posts by that/those author/s much. I scan every month or so to stay informed, but I consider that cringe inducing work. Libraryland has so little money, time and so few resources that supporting negativity like AL’s is simply damaging to our profession imo.

    Walt is spot on though, just don’t read it then. I think LJ could make better use of electricity than putting AL on their blog though. Just *please*don’t put AL in print. Many AL positions on technology would damage libraries by reinforcing negative impressions for staffers that *only* read about being a library professional in our professional print. If you have never used a technology, getting turned off on it because you just don’t know yet and read what AL said would be truly, truly damaging. But heck, if they are reading AL on the LJ blog, then, whatever. I’ll just skim/skip those bits.

    But LJ, if you put AL in print with regular column…man, you might have some serious reaction problems. It would just be bad business for you in the long run too. Most importantly it simply would HURT libraries, not help.

    I’m tired of this story now. lol

  • http://www.libraryman.com Michael Porter

    There sure are a lot of words here and some of them are BIG words! My faves so far are Jessamyn’s:
    “Wow, what a weird decision on LJs part.”

    I don’t think the AL brings positivity to Libraryland, so I don’t read posts by that/those author/s much. I scan every month or so to stay informed, but I consider that cringe inducing work. Libraryland has so little money, time and so few resources that supporting negativity like AL’s is simply damaging to our profession imo.

    Walt is spot on though, just don’t read it then. I think LJ could make better use of electricity than putting AL on their blog though. Just *please*don’t put AL in print. Many AL positions on technology would damage libraries by reinforcing negative impressions for staffers that *only* read about being a library professional in our professional print. If you have never used a technology, getting turned off on it because you just don’t know yet and read what AL said would be truly, truly damaging. But heck, if they are reading AL on the LJ blog, then, whatever. I’ll just skim/skip those bits.

    But LJ, if you put AL in print with regular column…man, you might have some serious reaction problems. It would just be bad business for you in the long run too. Most importantly it simply would HURT libraries, not help.

    I’m tired of this story now. lol

  • http://www.joystickcafe.wordpress.com/ Brandon

    Michael Porter,

    You say you don’t read LJ because they don’t bring “positivity” to the profession. Why, may I ask you, must a professional publication bring positivity to the profession? Certainly they must publish articles that will better the profession and those who practice it, but sometimes that involves bearing the horrible, ugly truth about the profession. There are many horrible, ugly truths about librarianship, and all too often those truths are overlooked in favor of an upbeat, can-do attitude. I respect anyone who is willing to whack the collective head of librarianship over the head with the reality stick: AL included, and now LJ.

    David

    Why shouldn’t LJ pay for the AL’s work? Do they not pay authors such as yourself, who discuss technological innovation and the rewards of being a librarian? Why not pay for somebody to write about the frustrations apparent in the job? Why not pay for somebody willing to criticize the leaders of the profession?

  • http://www.joystickcafe.wordpress.com Brandon

    Michael Porter,

    You say you don’t read LJ because they don’t bring “positivity” to the profession. Why, may I ask you, must a professional publication bring positivity to the profession? Certainly they must publish articles that will better the profession and those who practice it, but sometimes that involves bearing the horrible, ugly truth about the profession. There are many horrible, ugly truths about librarianship, and all too often those truths are overlooked in favor of an upbeat, can-do attitude. I respect anyone who is willing to whack the collective head of librarianship over the head with the reality stick: AL included, and now LJ.

    David

    Why shouldn’t LJ pay for the AL’s work? Do they not pay authors such as yourself, who discuss technological innovation and the rewards of being a librarian? Why not pay for somebody to write about the frustrations apparent in the job? Why not pay for somebody willing to criticize the leaders of the profession?

  • http://www.joystickcafe.wordpress.com/ Brandon

    Also, I tend to disagree about the AL when it comes to technology, specifically gaming, but I do respect the fact that she wishes librarians to not embrace technology too tightly, to not forget good-old-fashioned books in favor of blogging, games, and YouTube.

  • http://www.joystickcafe.wordpress.com Brandon

    Also, I tend to disagree about the AL when it comes to technology, specifically gaming, but I do respect the fact that she wishes librarians to not embrace technology too tightly, to not forget good-old-fashioned books in favor of blogging, games, and YouTube.

  • http://www.libraryman.com/ Michael Porter

    Brandon
    I didn’t say I don’t read LJ, I said I don’t read AL. I DO read LJ.

    I also disagree that ugly truths in librarianship are “all too often….overlooked in favor of an upbeat, can-do attitude”. Talk to me about some of the messed up reality of Libraryland some time. I work in Libraryland to try and fix that stuff! And in writing I believe that the most helpful and constructive people try to be positive and encouraging, focusing on the REAL benefit of technology, particularly emerging technology. AL does not do that generally.

    Please don’t mistake excitement and inspiration for naivety. At least in this case.

    When it comes to technology, I agree that too much of most anything is bad, technological over exuberance included. Many of the people that take differing positions from AL are decidedly NOT just all about being all smiles. They are about exposing the practical, real world value of technology and they know first hand how hard it is in the real worl of Libraryland. I agree that there is techno-puffery to be found, but approach to that makes all the difference, especially in the sorts of situations I mentioned in my previous comment.

    My take is that the AL is negative and discouraging more often than not and that is damaging in my opinion.

  • http://www.libraryman.com Michael Porter

    Brandon
    I didn’t say I don’t read LJ, I said I don’t read AL. I DO read LJ.

    I also disagree that ugly truths in librarianship are “all too often….overlooked in favor of an upbeat, can-do attitude”. Talk to me about some of the messed up reality of Libraryland some time. I work in Libraryland to try and fix that stuff! And in writing I believe that the most helpful and constructive people try to be positive and encouraging, focusing on the REAL benefit of technology, particularly emerging technology. AL does not do that generally.

    Please don’t mistake excitement and inspiration for naivety. At least in this case.

    When it comes to technology, I agree that too much of most anything is bad, technological over exuberance included. Many of the people that take differing positions from AL are decidedly NOT just all about being all smiles. They are about exposing the practical, real world value of technology and they know first hand how hard it is in the real worl of Libraryland. I agree that there is techno-puffery to be found, but approach to that makes all the difference, especially in the sorts of situations I mentioned in my previous comment.

    My take is that the AL is negative and discouraging more often than not and that is damaging in my opinion.

  • davidleeking

    Brandon – “Why not pay for somebody willing to criticize the leaders of the profession?” That’d be great … if it were constructive. AL might or might not do this (I don’t read her much anymore), but when it comes to tech, she doesn’t offer constructive criticism – she offers snarkiness, mean-spiritedness, and makes fun of those she doesn’t agree with.

    Many libraries have this type of staffer – the person who, when a new project rolls around, says “I’m not gonna do that! That’s stupid! Who’s the lame-brain that thought that one up?” … and when that person finally moves on to another job, you can hear it – everyone else breathes a great big sigh of relief. The AL gives voice to that… and now the LJ does, too.

    Is that a good thing?

  • davidleeking

    Brandon – “Why not pay for somebody willing to criticize the leaders of the profession?” That’d be great … if it were constructive. AL might or might not do this (I don’t read her much anymore), but when it comes to tech, she doesn’t offer constructive criticism – she offers snarkiness, mean-spiritedness, and makes fun of those she doesn’t agree with.

    Many libraries have this type of staffer – the person who, when a new project rolls around, says “I’m not gonna do that! That’s stupid! Who’s the lame-brain that thought that one up?” … and when that person finally moves on to another job, you can hear it – everyone else breathes a great big sigh of relief. The AL gives voice to that… and now the LJ does, too.

    Is that a good thing?

  • davidleeking

    Brandon – “I do respect the fact that she wishes librarians to not embrace technology too tightly”

    Do you have a computer on your desk? Librarians have already bit the bullet – it’s time for us to figure out how to use them. Come on – we’re having this conversation in the comments section of my blog, for peet’s sake! You can do this very same thing on many other major sites these days… the web isn’t going to “go back.” Instead of that whole embracing too tightly thing, I’d like to see libraries figure out what works and what doesn’t … and that takes experimentation, planning, and willing librarians. AL isn’t helping much on that front :-)

    “to not forget good-old-fashioned books in favor of blogging, games, and YouTube.” Can you name any libraries that have gotten rid of their books in favor of youtube, blogs, or gaming? Didn’t think so. But I do know many libraries that are trying to figure out how to use these new tools in their communities. And LJ has a history of being a help there – providing articles that help guide libraries closer to those goals. By hosting AL, I think they’re taking a step backwards and away from that guiding light … in order to what? Get more hits on their blogs? Experiment with anonymous authors?

    Not sure I’m getting it…

  • davidleeking

    Brandon – “I do respect the fact that she wishes librarians to not embrace technology too tightly”

    Do you have a computer on your desk? Librarians have already bit the bullet – it’s time for us to figure out how to use them. Come on – we’re having this conversation in the comments section of my blog, for peet’s sake! You can do this very same thing on many other major sites these days… the web isn’t going to “go back.” Instead of that whole embracing too tightly thing, I’d like to see libraries figure out what works and what doesn’t … and that takes experimentation, planning, and willing librarians. AL isn’t helping much on that front :-)

    “to not forget good-old-fashioned books in favor of blogging, games, and YouTube.” Can you name any libraries that have gotten rid of their books in favor of youtube, blogs, or gaming? Didn’t think so. But I do know many libraries that are trying to figure out how to use these new tools in their communities. And LJ has a history of being a help there – providing articles that help guide libraries closer to those goals. By hosting AL, I think they’re taking a step backwards and away from that guiding light … in order to what? Get more hits on their blogs? Experiment with anonymous authors?

    Not sure I’m getting it…

  • Sarah

    I’m still laughing over Lisa’s contention that those writing for LJ are “legitimate journalists”. Come ON!! Are all of the other bloggers “legitimate journalists”? At least a few of the “Student Affairs” bloggers scare me speechless (are they the future of our profession? I hope not). I post occasionally to the LJ blogs and seem to be the only one. I don’t always agree with the AL, and it took me awhile to figure out the persona, but we need more like him/her. I’m not surprised she’s anonymous; there is no intellectual freedom in the library world, or free speech either, especially for the worker bees. As for “Movers and Shakers” and library “leaders”, well, the backstories I could tell you about a few. If even 10% of what AL writes was taken seriously by the “leaders”, we would have a much-improved profession.

  • Sarah

    I’m still laughing over Lisa’s contention that those writing for LJ are “legitimate journalists”. Come ON!! Are all of the other bloggers “legitimate journalists”? At least a few of the “Student Affairs” bloggers scare me speechless (are they the future of our profession? I hope not). I post occasionally to the LJ blogs and seem to be the only one. I don’t always agree with the AL, and it took me awhile to figure out the persona, but we need more like him/her. I’m not surprised she’s anonymous; there is no intellectual freedom in the library world, or free speech either, especially for the worker bees. As for “Movers and Shakers” and library “leaders”, well, the backstories I could tell you about a few. If even 10% of what AL writes was taken seriously by the “leaders”, we would have a much-improved profession.

  • HippieMan

    I notice that the new thing these days is to hire people who are confrontational and mean-spirited. This is true for cable TV, talk radio, etc. You also find this trend in book publishing. Doesn’t matter WHAT you are saying, as long as it’s loud and acerbic. Not unlike our politcs, as well. We’re obsessed with tearing each other down. I guess I fall into that trap too, since I leave angry comments all over the Internet.

    It’s disturbing. I wish I knew why we’re all acting so boarish.

  • HippieMan

    I notice that the new thing these days is to hire people who are confrontational and mean-spirited. This is true for cable TV, talk radio, etc. You also find this trend in book publishing. Doesn’t matter WHAT you are saying, as long as it’s loud and acerbic. Not unlike our politcs, as well. We’re obsessed with tearing each other down. I guess I fall into that trap too, since I leave angry comments all over the Internet.

    It’s disturbing. I wish I knew why we’re all acting so boarish.

  • http://www.joystickcafe.wordpress.com/ Brandon

    Michael,

    I apologize. With all the initials flying about, I saw “AL” and processed it as “LJ.”

    You say that the AL is negative and discouraging: should every library blog be positive and encouraging then? Should library blogs and library journalism exist only to promote change? Is there no place for dissenting opinions? Agree with them or not, the AL has some valid arguments–they need to be heard.

    David

    Yes, I do have a computer on my desk. I am not ignorant to the fact that libraries have been integrating technology for years and I am fully aware that no library has forsaken books in favor of those computers.

  • http://www.joystickcafe.wordpress.com Brandon

    Michael,

    I apologize. With all the initials flying about, I saw “AL” and processed it as “LJ.”

    You say that the AL is negative and discouraging: should every library blog be positive and encouraging then? Should library blogs and library journalism exist only to promote change? Is there no place for dissenting opinions? Agree with them or not, the AL has some valid arguments–they need to be heard.

    David

    Yes, I do have a computer on my desk. I am not ignorant to the fact that libraries have been integrating technology for years and I am fully aware that no library has forsaken books in favor of those computers.

  • davidleeking

    Brandon – I think you missed my point… just responding to what you said!

  • davidleeking

    Brandon – I think you missed my point… just responding to what you said!

  • http://www.libraryjournal.com/ Ann Kim

    Hi David – Ann Kim here from LJ (Special Projects & Graphic Novels Editor). I’m not commenting here in any “official” manner (that’s for the big cheeses who’ve already chimed in above), but I would like to ask for a clarification of the question you posed in response to Francine.

    We don’t edit bloggers, but I don’t see why editing should be a tipping point in regards to whether we should slap on a disclaimer or not. Of course we edit articles, but we don’t edit them to toe some sort of LJ line. Francine was trying to say that we often publish pieces that LJ editors may not agree with or may express an unpopular opinion (Michael Gorman’s “Revenge of the Blog People” comes to mind), but it’s understood (or should be) that we are a magazine created from and for a variety of voices and perspectives, and so no one writer can be—and not every writer is—a mouthpiece for LJ. But if we follow the logic in your quote that “when the AL decides to attack and criticize others, technically speaking it will be the LJ doing the attacking” since we don’t have a disclaimer, then we should put a disclaimer on any and all print articles with a controversial or potentially offensive (to anyone!) opinion. This discussion could easily veer towards the broader issues of print vs. online expectations of content: AL is not writing for LJ—this is not a hired column, in print or online, as other bloggers seem to be thinking—LJ is simply paying AL to host her blog.

    Also, congrats on having one of the more respectful and thoughtful thread discussions so far about this topic!

  • http://www.libraryjournal.com Ann Kim

    Hi David – Ann Kim here from LJ (Special Projects & Graphic Novels Editor). I’m not commenting here in any “official” manner (that’s for the big cheeses who’ve already chimed in above), but I would like to ask for a clarification of the question you posed in response to Francine.

    We don’t edit bloggers, but I don’t see why editing should be a tipping point in regards to whether we should slap on a disclaimer or not. Of course we edit articles, but we don’t edit them to toe some sort of LJ line. Francine was trying to say that we often publish pieces that LJ editors may not agree with or may express an unpopular opinion (Michael Gorman’s “Revenge of the Blog People” comes to mind), but it’s understood (or should be) that we are a magazine created from and for a variety of voices and perspectives, and so no one writer can be—and not every writer is—a mouthpiece for LJ. But if we follow the logic in your quote that “when the AL decides to attack and criticize others, technically speaking it will be the LJ doing the attacking” since we don’t have a disclaimer, then we should put a disclaimer on any and all print articles with a controversial or potentially offensive (to anyone!) opinion. This discussion could easily veer towards the broader issues of print vs. online expectations of content: AL is not writing for LJ—this is not a hired column, in print or online, as other bloggers seem to be thinking—LJ is simply paying AL to host her blog.

    Also, congrats on having one of the more respectful and thoughtful thread discussions so far about this topic!

  • davidleeking

    Hi, Ann!

    Francine said “AL doesn’t represent LJ; only the editors of LJ do that…” in response to the disclaimers thing, but she mentioned only articles. From that, I took her to mean that the editors of LJ are the representatives of LJ, since they have final say in what goes into the magazine.

    But I was talking about AL and the LJ-hosted blogs, so was wondering if Francine also meant that AL was edited, since Francine said “AL doesn’t represent LJ; only the editors of LJ do that…”

    I think you just cleared that up a bit.

    You also said this: “AL is not writing for LJ—this is not a hired column, in print or online, as other bloggers seem to be thinking—LJ is simply paying AL to host her blog.”

    That’s the ultimate question I’m getting at. You say “AL is not writing for LJ…” I think hosting the blog IS paying AL for his/her content. In essence, AL IS writing for LJ – otherwise, why put the blog under libraryjournal.com? I’m not sure you can have it both ways.

    Good thoughts either way, and thanks for adding to what has become a very interesting discussion indeed.

  • davidleeking

    Hi, Ann!

    Francine said “AL doesn’t represent LJ; only the editors of LJ do that…” in response to the disclaimers thing, but she mentioned only articles. From that, I took her to mean that the editors of LJ are the representatives of LJ, since they have final say in what goes into the magazine.

    But I was talking about AL and the LJ-hosted blogs, so was wondering if Francine also meant that AL was edited, since Francine said “AL doesn’t represent LJ; only the editors of LJ do that…”

    I think you just cleared that up a bit.

    You also said this: “AL is not writing for LJ—this is not a hired column, in print or online, as other bloggers seem to be thinking—LJ is simply paying AL to host her blog.”

    That’s the ultimate question I’m getting at. You say “AL is not writing for LJ…” I think hosting the blog IS paying AL for his/her content. In essence, AL IS writing for LJ – otherwise, why put the blog under libraryjournal.com? I’m not sure you can have it both ways.

    Good thoughts either way, and thanks for adding to what has become a very interesting discussion indeed.

  • Chris O.

    “AL is not writing for LJ…LJ is simply paying AL to host her blog”

    That’s a distinction without a difference in the online world.

  • Chris O.

    “AL is not writing for LJ…LJ is simply paying AL to host her blog”

    That’s a distinction without a difference in the online world.

  • davidleeking

    Chris O – exactly! With every other corporately-hosted blog I can think of, the blog acts as a voice of the organization. Even if that blog is going off on a tangent, being more “human,” etc – it’s still very definitely considered “under the umbrella,” so to speak.

    The only time it wouldn’t be considered that would be like blogger.com – a blog hosting organization.

  • davidleeking

    Chris O – exactly! With every other corporately-hosted blog I can think of, the blog acts as a voice of the organization. Even if that blog is going off on a tangent, being more “human,” etc – it’s still very definitely considered “under the umbrella,” so to speak.

    The only time it wouldn’t be considered that would be like blogger.com – a blog hosting organization.

  • http://www.anonymous.com/ Anonymous

    “It is important that our field of all fields empower people to exercise their right to free expression anonymously so they don’t have to worry about their jobs, reactions from their bosses, or damage to their other personal relationships”

    This.

    It’s not so easy to point out that the emperor has no clothes when his guards are standing by ready to cut down anyone who does.

  • http://www.anonymous.com Anonymous

    “It is important that our field of all fields empower people to exercise their right to free expression anonymously so they don’t have to worry about their jobs, reactions from their bosses, or damage to their other personal relationships”

    This.

    It’s not so easy to point out that the emperor has no clothes when his guards are standing by ready to cut down anyone who does.

  • http://www.andrewcolgoni.ca/ Andrew Colgoni

    An interesting discussion, and there are certainly lots of issues swirling around:
    - Writing anonymously;
    - Being critical (but not necessarily constructively) of libraries and the library profession;
    - The LJ paying someone that does both of the above.

    Certainly we can agree that there is nothing particularly wrong with writing anonymously. And while constructive criticism is appropriate in most professional situations, it is by no means the only kind of criticism. There is also room for the kind of criticism that provokes *others* to create constructive solutions. (Personal attacks, IMO however, shouldn’t be hidden by masks).

    Should the LJ support anonymous criticism? I don’t see why not.

  • http://www.andrewcolgoni.ca Andrew Colgoni

    An interesting discussion, and there are certainly lots of issues swirling around:
    - Writing anonymously;
    - Being critical (but not necessarily constructively) of libraries and the library profession;
    - The LJ paying someone that does both of the above.

    Certainly we can agree that there is nothing particularly wrong with writing anonymously. And while constructive criticism is appropriate in most professional situations, it is by no means the only kind of criticism. There is also room for the kind of criticism that provokes *others* to create constructive solutions. (Personal attacks, IMO however, shouldn’t be hidden by masks).

    Should the LJ support anonymous criticism? I don’t see why not.

  • http://talkingbookslibrarian.blogspot.com/ Jaime/Talking Books Librarian

    Wow, lots of interesting comments on this one. But I wonder if the AL has already posted a comment, under his/her real name? Or maybe even as “anonymous”? But I guess we will never know….. Personally, I think the AL already has commented here on this post….

  • http://talkingbookslibrarian.blogspot.com Jaime/Talking Books Librarian

    Wow, lots of interesting comments on this one. But I wonder if the AL has already posted a comment, under his/her real name? Or maybe even as “anonymous”? But I guess we will never know….. Personally, I think the AL already has commented here on this post….

  • http://librarian.lishost.org/ Kathleen de la Peña McCook

    I have been named and belittled in that blog. The few times I have posted I responded with my name. The article– “On Anonymity in Libraryland Blogging” by John Buschman, Mark Rosenzweig & me; Progressive Librarian Issue no. 29, Summer 2007–pretty much sums up what I think on this.
    – Kathleen de la Peña McCook
    http://libr.org/pl/contents29.html

  • http://librarian.lishost.org/ Kathleen de la Peña McCook

    I have been named and belittled in that blog. The few times I have posted I responded with my name. The article– “On Anonymity in Libraryland Blogging” by John Buschman, Mark Rosenzweig & me; Progressive Librarian Issue no. 29, Summer 2007–pretty much sums up what I think on this.
    – Kathleen de la Peña McCook
    http://libr.org/pl/contents29.html