May 23, 2004

Cites & Insights, June 2004 and May 2004

Walt Crawford's library 'zine (not blog) "Cites & Insights" already released the June 2004 issue, and I'm not even caught up on what I wanted to write about the May 2004 issue. The June issue starts out with a piece I find extremely relevant:

Monetizing the Zine?

If you find Cites & Insights worthwhile and would like to see it continue past January 2005, please read this perspective. What you do with it is entirely up to you. ... "How do you manage to do so much?" ... Almost none of the weblogs I check (mostly via Bloglines these days, but not exclusively) are as frequent or intensive as they used to be. ... I'm not the only one raising a very similar set of questions at this point. ... But the issue of long-term continuation is common. ... Feedback? I'm not planning to make major changes in any great hurry. I won't make any decisions until after ALA Annual in late June. Other than a possible PayPal account (if there's enough response and if it seems workable), I probably won't do much about this until the fall. The chances of shutting down Cites & Insights before January 2005 are extremely low. From now through August I'll be thinking about the situation. ... Your feedback is invited. I'm not asking anyone to pledge a donation or say they'd buy a book. I am asking for your comments as to what might work.

My comment: If you ever find something that works, please tell me!

Monetizing writing is the holy grail. I've come to believe that one reason for the free-writing abandonment cycle is a systematic misestimation of how much work it is, how small are the chances of any renumeration, and how draining it can be. Call it the intellectual version of trying to be a rock star. Or multi-level-marketing schemes (i.e., the people who get in at the very start make out like bandits, everyone else nets a pittance if not an outright loss).

Anyway, the bulk of that edition is about open access scientific publishing, excellent coverage of some arguments in that debate.

I really should have noted the May issue earlier, since I was mentioned three times. Once for catching an amusing typo of 2005 for 2004 ("Seth Finkelstein noted an Into the Future item on Page 1 of the March 2004 issue, where I said, "The May 2005 "Crawford Files" in American Libraries offers my own brief description of the future I'd like to see." His comment: "Good trick!"). And two more seriously:

[On Ralph Nader] Seth Finkelstein offers a nice comment on the claim that Gore ran a lousy campaign, the major reason he lost: Each individual straw heaped on a camel's back can say, "Who me? Wasn't me. I'm just one straw! What sort of a big strong camel is this, if he can't deal with one more straw on his back? The solution is to get a better camel!" ...

[On Google and stupid journalism tricks] Seth Finkelstein noted the article and some errors within it. He notes the lack of any indication as to whether searches mentioned were surrounded by quotes. Without them, "many of the number reported are utterly and completely meaningless. They don't even do the silly measure of the phrase the journalist thinks they measure." His example: the words `hot' and `dog' keyed as a two-word Google search would yield pages about hot days on which dogs are unhappy, where "hot dog" is at least more likely to yield frankfurter-related stories (or stories about surfing, or...). He verifies that the Mediabistro article gets it wrong in at least one case, when it passes on a report that the phrase "permanent resident cards CA" yields 92,200 sites on the subject: NO. The phrases return zero or a few hits. The words return that many hits, but having a lot of pages with the four words "permanent" "resident" "cards" "CA" somewhere on them is not "staggering." Sigh, Flash--journalists write nonsense. Not news at 11.

Lot of stuff on censorship, Google, even reviews of cheap-movie DVDs ...

And I do wonder "How do you manage to do so much?"

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in cyberblather | on May 23, 2004 11:59 PM (Infothought permalink) | Followups
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

Subscribe with Bloglines      Subscribe in NewsGator Online  Google Reader or Homepage