Dave Lull has, as ever, been sending me a cornucopia of links and articles — nice to spend a bit of time on a Sunday reading some of them.
I printed out "Scan this Book" , by Kevin Kelly, (it is long) and read it earlier in the week — it is a great article about the future of books, and has been
chewed over analysed on blogs already. If you haven’t read it, I do recommend it as it is a really sensible, well written and coherent piece. What one of my colleagues calls "a good train read" (us people who work in London and have families to support having, by and large, to live some way away from our places of employment). I believe the article is free access but if the link goes to a subscription wall, please leave a comment and I will email it to you.
On the navel-gazing front are two (blog, natch) articles by David Sifry, the guy who runs the dreaded Technorati, on the "State of the blogosphere". The first of these, "On blogosphere growth" has a graph of the number of blogs against time, demonstrating that the blogosphere has grown 60 times in the past 3 years. Yesterday I commented that "most" blogs have a very short life: the figures in this article are that 55 per cent of blogs are still going after 3 months (that’s 19.4 million of them), but only 3.9 million blogs are updated at least weekly. Scarily, about 9 per cent of new blogs are spam. The second article, "On language and tagging", breaks down blogs by language (80 per cent are in English, Japanese or Chinese, with Japanese the largest "language of the blogosphere"). Half of all blog posts have tags (categories), hooray! There are tons of comments to both these postings, so plenty of opinions and insights if you have the time to read them all.
While on the subject of tagging, Dave has also sent me a link to a new blog about Library Thing, a useful site on which you can catalogue your books online. I began using this service a few months ago but as I have so many, many, many books waiting to be read, as well as books that I have read and are "hanging about" the house, I gave up — the effort was just too great, and I did not think the indexing of the site was good enough to justify the time it would all take. However, Dave’s link reveals that Library Thing has now introduced tagging. "Now you can look at a book and see both the user-created tags as well as the librarian-assigned subject headings. This puts us in the middle of the age old debate: tags or subject headings? Folksonomies or taxonomies? Ok, maybe the question isn’t quite that old, but it’s certainly debated. Subject analysis is a fuzzy discipline – decisions on "aboutness" are hard. But is it necessarily a question of one over the other? Can they work together at all?" If this strikes any kind of chord with you, the Library Thing-ology (geddit?) blog will explain it all, and more.
Who is using their blog to build a brand? This article in the New York Times gives a case-study of The Huffington Post, one of the most viewed blogs in the world (of the order of 2 million visitors a month), as an example of how to achieve brand-recognition via blogging. (Again, let me know via the comments if you want an emailed version of the article or any other article linked to in this post, if the link no longer works — they are all OK as of this moment but these articles can pop behind subscription walls in a blink of the eye.)
Moving on to the "real" stuff of content, Dave has sent me an article about "books that triggered writers’ wanderlust." Nobody is going to trigger my wanderlust as I don’t have any; one of the pleasures of reading books whose authors have the gift of vividly conveying a locale is that one then does not have to go there 😉 However, the article is an entertaining list of various books and the places described in them that made one reader want to visit.
Finally, of Dave’s links, is an article from Guardian Unlimited "Rowling and Rushdie speak out for libraries", which describes how 150 authors, including the aforementioned headliner pair, have "pledged to help galvanise support for public libraries and combat their growing image problem" (what a mouthful!). To cut to the chase, these authors are all going to speak at libraries to say how these institutions contribute to public life. "The Love Libraries campaign kicked off in March this year with a project to transform libraries in Newquay, Gravesend and Richmond into models of a possible 21st-century reading service."
Once again, thank you to Dave Lull for sending me the links to all these articles. Dave truly makes the Internet a more human place.