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Blogs about reference services

Last week, I posted a list of key blogs that focus on catalogs and cataloging. This week, I'll highlight sites about reference services.

Digital Reference
This is my own blog that I launched in the summer of 2003. I tend to cover mostly virtual reference services (chat, IM, and email reference).

Feel-good Librarian
The anonymous blogger behind this site writes, often movingly so, of her experiences working at the reference desk of a public library in the midwest. The author is great at detailing the human connections we make at the desk.
This public librarian in Massachusetts offers a "reference question of the week."

This is the official blog for Oregon's statewide collaborative digital reference service (details on that here). While there are occasional posts noting that the new schedule for chat reference is up, there are far more posts in which contemporary trends in digital reference are analyzed and future developments theorized. Most of the writing on this blog comes from Caleb Tucker-Raymond, the coordinator for the service.

An assistant professor at the School for Information and Library Science at UNC Chapel Hill, Jeff Pomerantz frequently writes about reference. Bonus material: on his personal site, he offers preprints to many of his scholarly articles on reference.

QuestionPoint: 24/7 reference services
This is the official blog of OCLC's QuestionPoint service. Although the posts tend to be about the software and service itself, there are plenty more that feature discussion of what it is like (and should be like) to staff a cooperative reference service.

Ref Grunt
Written anonymously, this blog has been featuring since May 2003 the amusing bits and pieces of one librarian's experiences and interactions working at the reference desk in a public library.

Launched in 2001 by Gary Price, this blog now features a team of contributors. As noted on the blog, the aim of the site is to highlight:
high-quality web-based resources, including databases, lists and rankings, real-time sources, and multimedia. They also post comments and observations about news in the information and web industry.
Talking Reference and . . .
This is the official RUSA blog. Recent posts have covered the growth of subject encyclopedias, ideas about updated signage for reference desks, and much more. Most posts have comments penned by readers that are worth checking out, too.

Reference and User Services Quarterly has for many years been the premier journal on the subject of reference services. Last October, this companion blog was launched as a current awareness tool and to provide a forum for readers to provide feedback on the content of the journal.

Virtual Dave...Real Dave
David Lankes, an associate professor at the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University, is well known for his work with the AskERIC and the Virtual Reference Desk projects. Here, he offers insights into his latest work and links to his presentations (slides, audio files, etc.) Many of his presentations lately have been about his work on the "Participatory Networks" report that was commissioned by the ALA's Office of Information Technology Policy.

That's it for reference blogs. Next week, I'll offer up a sampling a blogs that discuss design issues for library web sites.

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posted by Stephen Francoeur on Monday, April 30, 2007


How to scan blog posts quickly

In my post yesterday about blogs on catalogs and cataloging, I offered a long list of sites to check out. If you're wondering how I can possible read all of those blogs posts, let me confess that I don't. Instead, I scan them quickly and only read some of them in full. "But Stephen," you may say, "I can't be expected to go to a dozen different blog sites every day to check to see if there are new posts there!" I'd say, "No, you can't be expected to do that, but if you set up a (free) account in a feed reader like Bloglines or Google Reader you can then have one web page that you go to that receives all the new blog posts from the blogs you are interested in."

Want that explained visually? OK, then check this video by Lee LeFever out, which I found via the perpetually useful blog by medical librarian David Rothman.

There are two types of Internet users, those that use RSS and those that don't. This video is for the people who could save time using RSS, but don't know where to start.

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posted by Stephen Francoeur on Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Blogs about catalogs and cataloging

I'd like start a series of posts here to spotlight some of the best blogs written by (mostly) and for librarians. In this inaugural post, I'll focus on some of the blogs that are mostly or entirely about cataloging issues or about library catalogs.

David Bigwood from the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas, covers "library cataloging, classification, metadata, subject access, and related topics."

Cataloging Futures
Christine Schwartz, a cataloger from the Princeton Theology Seminary, has only just launched her blog this April but has gotten off to a great start by linking to key documents and blog posts relating to the debates over RDA and the future of bibliographic control.

Coyle's InFormation
A digital libraries consultant, Karen Coyle launched her blog in 2006. She frequently weighs in on the RDA debate and on digital books.

Digiblog: The ALCTS Blog
The official blog of the ALCTS division of the ALA.

The FRBR Blog
This is William Denton's laudatory effort to gather in one spot news and links to all notable developments in the world of FRBR.

Hectic Pace
Best known for his monthly column in American Libraries, Technically Speaking, and for his role in the creation of the brilliant catalog at North Carolina State University, Andrew Pace covers the more newsy stories that used to be in his monthly column.

Lorcan Dempsey's weblog
A member of the LC Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control and a researcher at OCLC, Dempsey frequently writes about metadata.

The chief scientist at OCLC, Thom Hickey has lately been writing a lot about WorldCat Identities.

Richard Wallis, who works for the ILS vendor, Talis, has been blogging here since August 2004.

Billed as "Thingology is LibraryThing's ideas blog, on the philosophy and methods of tags, libraries and suchnot," the posts frequently touch on the debates over what the next generation catalog should look like.

"Self-plagiarism is style"
Davey Pattern is the Library Systems Manager at the University of Huddersfield (UK). He made a splash in the blogosphere recently with his survey of what librarians think of their catalogs and what they'd like to see those catalogs begin doing.

Weibel Lines
Stuart Weibel is a senior research scientist at OCLC who not only writes well on the issues of Internet standards (including metadata) but also adds nice photos to each blog post.

In future posts in this series, I'll turn to blogs that focus on reference services, web design, library marketing, and more. Please add your comments about any blogs I've neglected here.

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posted by Stephen Francoeur on Monday, April 23, 2007