On L2 Trips, Muses, the NGC, Trust, and Paradigm Shifts: A Festschrift Fin

By Teresa Koltzenburg | This post is the culmination of the ALA TS blog one-year birthday festschrift, a month-long series of posts that could be perceived as a sort of eblogocentric celebration of this forum.

Tom and Max Hopefully, it will not be interpreted as that, and instead will be viewed not only as the capping off of a very "long, strange trip," indeed, but also as the beginning of an exciting new year for the ALA TS blog—a year in which the contributors will continue to deliver their intelligent insights into technologies (and libraries' uses of them) and will continue to offer their analyses of and experiences with OPACs, libraries and 2.0 stuff, technology trends, the ways people are customizing media consumption and access, and how snippets can rattle information-access paradigms.

Contributions to this month-long festschrift include: Karen and resident of Alexandra, South Africa. And now that Jenny Levine is working here at ALA, her contributions to this festschrift are not provided in text. She contributes to the sustenance of ALA TS (and other ALA technology-related endeavors) by being who she is. Jenny is a deep well of ideas and technology-based content implementation strategies. Speaking of...

Stole that Idea
The idea for this ALA TechSource blog came from Marshall Breeding, a contributor to the newsletter the unit publishes. I don't think he knows that, though I communicate with Marshall every month.

I turned Marshall's idea over a fair bit in my mind. Before landing at ALA two years ago, I was a senior editor at a trade magazine, and I also had worked in the MSM as a radio reporter. I even did a brief stint in television via graduate work at Southern Illinois University (which sports a "New Media Center" these days). I had studied and was trained in old media (print, radio, TV), for sure.

Michael and Jenny, England, October 2006 From the vet, vet, and vet again vantage point of an old tymey-journalism practitioner, this "blog thing" wasn't anything I'd experienced, and I wasn't a blogger personally. I had linked around in the blogosphere as an accidental linker only. And I wasn't sure how to approach the content for a professional blog, from either a writer or an editor perspective.

I kept toying with the blog concept and many other new media-related ideas during my first couple of months here. I was very intrigued by Library Stuff and Information Today's content arrangement.

It was through Smart Libraries Newsletter that I discovered Tom Peters's subtle surliness and his scholarly uptake on, sometimes send up of (clearing throat noise, Apple), technology things, libraries, and librarians—a natural voice for a blog, I thought.

I also kept diving in, day after day, (intentionally) reading blogs, library related and technology related, and in January 2005, I was introduced to Free Range Librarian Karen G. Schneider. If I wasn't a fan before, I was then.

Michelle and Pullo. During my first meeting with her, Karen told me she would be interested in contributing to a multi-author blog. From that point on, with Karen on board, I began trying to figure this blog thing out and how to merge the "old media" with the new.

In the meantime, there was an opportunity to see Michael Stephens and Jenny Levine in Providence, RI. They were presenting at a NEASIS&T workshop. There they talked about blogs and Flickr and wikis and libraries. What Michael and Jenny were saying just seemed so logical. Michael struck me as so down to earth and passionate. Jenny was forthright and open. We had dinner, and I learned Michael was a Mac user! (I switched platforms with jobs, and there was a difficult adjustment period. I'm all good now, Tom.)

It still took a while, as you can see by looking at the beginning of the ALA TS blog archive list—nine whole months (there's probably some way I could contrive that into a human gestation metaphor, but I won't). There were some technological impediments, and there was the issue of figuring out how to set this thing up as an open forum but still situate it in the context in which it is published—as a content channel of the ALA TechSource unit, an imprint of the ALA Publishing Department.

Along the way, I read about the L2 exploration ALA facilitated this past spring, and it was through that effort I encountered Michelle Boule. We had a follow up this summer in New Orleans, and I was delighted by her affable personality. There, she agreed to lend her sagacious vigor  to this blog.

Teresa and her nephew, Tucker Steven. Here we are—a year, a month, and a couple of days later (I'm notoriously late). I think I like the way that Michelle, the team's newest librarian contributor, described it in her celebratory post (which I asked them all to do) best: "A little over a year ago, ALA TechSource Blog sashayed out onto the dance floor." Funny—because the launch was riddled with an RSS glitch that conjured less sashay, more Elaine Benes, on the dance floor in my mind. Still, we were out there.

So long story short (not), this blog got underway with the ideas of the unit's librarian contributors and with some fits-and-starts by the ALA TS unit editor. I also had a great Web development team, with Zach Wilson and Fred Simmons, from Gulo Solutions, a small firm based here in Chicago.

Karen begins in her contribution to this celebration, "LibraryLand has seen much excitement since the ALA TechSource blog launched a little over a year ago." Indeed. For example, this past year at ALA and ALA TechSource:
My hope is that this blog will continue to serve readers interested in library technology and will continue to be a forum to discover, debate, and discuss for a long time to come. With contributors like Jenny, Karen, Michael, Michelle, and Tom, I think it will.
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