Ex Libris: an E-Zine for Librarians

#135, March 22-29, 2002

Or why you might want to hire me for speaking engagements or workshops. To see outlines for previous presentations I've done, click on Handouts

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Order My Book

Click HEREto place a direct order for my book, The Quintessential Searcher: the Wit and Wisdom of Barbara Quint

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What IS Ex Libris?

The purpose and intended scope of this e-zine

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Highlights from Previous Issues:

My Rules of Information

  1. Go where it is
  2. The answer depends on the question
  3. Research is a multi-stage process
  4. Ask a Librarian
  5. Information is meaningless until queried by human intelligence
  6. Information can be true and still wrong

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Guru Interviews

  1. Tara Calishain
  2. Jenny Levine, part I
  3. Jenny Levine, Part II
  4. Reva Basch
  5. Sue Feldman
  6. Jessamyn West
  7. Debbie Abilock
  8. Kathy Schrock
  9. Greg Notess
  10. William Hann
  11. Chris Sherman
  12. Gary Price
  13. Barbara Quint
  14. Rory Litwin
  15. John Guscott
  16. Brian Smith
  17. Darlene Fichter
  18. Brenda Bailey-Hainer

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Cool Quotes

The collected quotes from all previous issues are at

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When and How To Search the Net

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Wanna See Your Name in Lights?

Or at least on this page, anyway? I'd like to print here your contributions as well as mine. As you've noticed, articles are brief, somewhere between 200 and 500 words -- something to jog people's minds and get their own good ideas flowing. I'd also be happy to run other people's contributions to the regular features like Favorite Sites on _____. I'll pay you the same rate I pay me: nothing.

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E-Mail Subscription

To subscribe to a combined subscription to Neat New Stuff and ExLibris, please click HERE, complete the form, and click on "subscribe." To unsubscribe, use the same form but click on "unsubscribe." To change addresses for an existing subscription, unsubscribe from that form and then return to the page to enter the new address.
PRIVACY POLICY: I don't collect or reveal information about subscribers.

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Drop me a Line

Want to comment, ask questions, submit articles, or invite me to speak or do some training? Contact me at: marylaine at

Visit My Other Sites

My page on all things book-related. NEW STUFF ADDED in August

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Best Information on the Net
bestinfo/The directory I built for O'Keefe Library, St. Ambrose University, still my favorite pit stop on the information highway.

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My Word's Worth
a weekly column on books, words, libraries, American culture, and whatever happens to interest me.

Subject Index to My Word's Worth at

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Book Proposal

Land of Why Not: an Appreciation of America. Proposal for an anthology of some of my best writing. An outline and sample columns are available here.

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My personal page

SUBJECT INDEX to Past Issues

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Neat New Stuff I Found This Week
March 22: Jewish studies, Hispanic health, poems about libraries, and more.

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My resume

NOTE: March is a fully booked month for me, what with article deadlines, speaking engagements, and a visit from my son, so there won't be another issue until April.



by Marylaine Block

Whenever I send out ExLibris to subscribers, I always include the "permanent" URL for that particular issue. But what, exactly, do we who create e-zines mean when we say "permanent"? Just how much of a promise is that?

For me, all it really signifies is that as long as I want to pay the monthly fee to maintain as a showcase for my writing, I'll maintain the complete archive here. But when I no longer have much to say about libraries and the internet, or if I maybe get the opportunity again to get paid for writing a weekly column about American life, I'll probably let the web site lapse, in which case, all the articles I've posted here will vanish.

Perhaps that's no great loss; after all, libraries and the internet are changing at warp speed, and even things that might have sounded really good at the time I wrote them may lose their relevance over time. Maybe all that will be lost is the historical value: what were people saying about the internet and libraries at a particular moment in time.

But my zine is just one of many. Think of all the others -- Library Juice [], New Breed Librarian [], LLRX [], FreePint [], Cites & Insights [], D-Lib Magazine [], or First Monday [], just to name a few. It could easily be argued that in this age of instant electronic access, these journals are at least as influential as the older established print publications, and yet the survival of their archives is entirely dependent on their creators' continuing interest and ability to support the server costs and contribute their own time. That's a lot of valuable content which is fundamentally at risk, content specifically aimed at the very professionals who invented the concept of archiving and indexing.

My question is this: shouldn't the full-text database providers serving libraries, like Wilson, or OCLC, or Ebsco, negotiate with me and Rory Litwin and Cindy Chick and Tara Calishain and Walt Crawford and others like us, to archive the content of our zines and index it right along with the other librarians' publications they offer full-text? Wouldn't this make their databases more complete, reflecting the full range of librarians' discussions of current issues? Wouldn't this serve their mission of preserving valuable content and keeping it from disappearing forever?

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Some futurists assert that making text accessible at the paragraph level, with user-defined links to other paragraphs, inherently makes the text more worthwhile. Serious prose writers and serious readers will disagree. . . Order and cumulative exposition are significant to well-written linear text that seeks to impart knowledge. Paragraphs in substantial books have meaning only in context of what precedes and follows them.

Walt Crawford, Michael Gorman. Future Libraries: Dreams, Madness & Reality. ALA, 1995.

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You are welcome to copy and distribute or e-mail any of my own articles for noncommercial purposes (but not those by my guest writers) as long as you retain this copyright statement:

Ex Libris: an E-Zine for Librarians and Other Information Junkies.
Copyright, Marylaine Block, 1999-2002.

[Publishers may license the content for a reasonable fee.]