April 04, 2005

"Do You Blog?" by Sarah Kellogg

This is the first (of many) "raw notes" about blog articles:

Do You Blog? By Sarah Kellogg, Apr 2005 (via Library Stuff)
Many useful points that Liblogarians-to-be could take note. It makes the case for librarians to blog even stronger. Selected highlights (words in [ ] are my own):

“You could tell early on that web logs would be very appealing to lawyers because we’re uniquely suited to doing this,” says Howell, a lawyer with Reed Smith’s appellate and intellectual property practices in Los Angeles and the publisher of the popular Bag and Baggage. “Lawyers are trained to write . . . and research. The writing they generate tends to have some credibility behind it. That is the crux of web logging right there.”
[Substitute the word "Lawyer" with "Librarians" and it'll make as much sense.]

Experts say that attorneys will find more than companionship in the blogosphere, noting that blogs can boost legal practices, assist in legal research, and turn every attorney into an instant cyberexpert in his or her practice area.
[Librarians want to be recognised as professionals. What better way than to be read and "hear" in the WWW?]

Yet cyberspace and blogging hold their own pitfalls for legal professionals. That’s because, though posting one’s opinions to the World Wide Web can be heady stuff, mistakes made as the world watches can be far-reaching and difficult to erase.
[That's true for librarians too, though I'd say it can only do good to the profession when you know that you have to check and recheck what you blog. And the Blogosphere is not as unforgiving as one might think. If you are wrong, just admit it. I think the problem is when people let their egos get in the way and refuse to admit they are wrong.]

And thanks to a technology called web feeds, blogging has become even more attractive, as home computers are transformed into information hubs with dispatches alerting computer users that favorite blogs have been updated.
[It's RSS that makes Blogging, as a technology platform, complete.]

“Being inside [the blogosphere], you think it’s the greatest thing that ever happened, and it’s going to change the face of law. People don’t feel quite the same way on the outside, but once you’re in, you do.”
[Which is why my current efforts in promoting blogging among librarians is sometimes met with some sScepticism. But a friend told me to press on, and I take heart in that.]

Kennedy says that lawyers have changed the blogging world as they’ve embraced this new medium, adding a certain seriousness of purpose as they explore topics as diverse and dense as intellectual property, white-collar crime, and tax law.
[And so would librarians. Popular perception is that blogging is something that only the very young would engage in, baring their thoughts in the form of a personal online diary. But blogging is just a tool. It's really how you use it. Librarians should not shun it because it's perceived as kids-play. It's just that the "kids" have adopted the platform much faster than most adults.]

Since blogs are what their authors make them, Kennedy believes that there is no limit to the number or topic. The only limit is one’s imagination.

The greatest contribution blogs may make to the legal profession is their ability to reveal talent and expertise often hidden in courtrooms and boardrooms.
[Even more so for librarians. I mean, ask anyone what a librarian does and chances are they don't know.]

The blogosphere is teeming with topic-specific blogs that have won kudos from legal experts for their ability to supply timely information that is unique and hard to find.
[My vision is to see a critical mass of librarians -- in Singapore and Southeast Asia -- blog. And then a directory of SEA Liblogarians.]

“Sometimes in your practice you’re doing a lot of stuff that’s not your first choice of things to do,” says Kennedy. “If you have a plan for the future, and you’d like to do more work of a certain type, start a blog on that subject and grow it over time. You can become known as somebody who has some authority in it, and gradually you can transition over time to that new area.”
[I couldn't have stated it better. My colleagues now and then would say that they can't do this or that, and that the organisation doesn't support them. That's reality. So rather than mope and complain, do something constructive about it via blogs.]

Blogs and the Client - Forget about the telephone, the postal service, and couriers—the best way to communicate with clients today and in the future may be the blog, observers say. It is a cheap, effective, and efficient way to disseminate information.

“In any kind of communication, especially when it’s related to the law, you have to be careful whether that’s a chat room or a web site or even an e-mail to a stranger,” says Trautz. “If you’re out there with an asbestos law blog, you’ve got to be concerned about making sure you’re not violating anybody else’s rules. That’s why it’s important to have disclaimers in place.”
[Though not as stringent as legal practice, it would be worthwhile for libraries to set some simple guidelines or ethics in place.]

There's a list of lawyers who blog at the end of the article.


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