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The Future of Cataloging

The following papers about cataloging, which all came out just this year, have been causing librarians, especially catalogers, to ponder the future of our profession:

"Rethinking How We Provide Bibliographic Services for the University of California" (pdf)

If you don't have time to read the 80-page report, you may wish to look at the 5-page Executive Summary (pdf). Alternatively, you can read the reactions of Lorcan Dempsey, Karen Schneider and William Denton.
"A White Paper on the Future of Cataloging at Indiana University" (pdf)
According to Current Cites, the report is "an interesting read, and taken with the explosion of related reports, adds yet another perspective to the kinds of changes we must foster to create better library services in a vastly changed environment."
"The Changing Nature of the Catalog and Its Integration with Other Discovery Tools" (pdf)
This 52-page report from the Library of Congress has caused enough controversy to merit a 24-page rebuttal from Thomas Mann (pdf).
And then there's the Library of Congress's Decision to Cease Creating Series Authority Records, which has caused the issuance of a petition to "Prevent the Library of Congress From Abandoning the Creation of Series Authority Records." Click on the link if you'd like to sign the petition. Signatures will be collected only until Friday, 5 May 2006. The new policy, however, will be implemented on Monday, May 1.

Category: Technical Services


Mike Quilala — Filipino Librarian

Mike Quilala — Filipino Librarian
A librarian was recognized as the Most Outstanding Kapampangan in the Field of Youth Service in Pampanga last 11 December 2005. Please note that the award is for youth service, and not for telling library users to keep quiet. Let's tell the world about the other things Filipino librarians do! Read more about Michael N. Quilala in "Most Outstanding Kapampangan."

Category: Librarians


For the Record:
SSP Travel Grant Recipients

Wheat Ridge, CO – The Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) announces the first ten recipients of funding available through the new travel grant program, which supports travel to and attendance at the SSP Annual Meeting for students of publishing and information science, and early career publishing professionals in the first three years of employment.

Read the entire article here. See also "Open Access in the Third World."

Category: About Vonjobi


Librarian Sex

According to blogtricks, one of the most popular referrers for this blog is "Google: librarian sex." But why are Google users putting those two words together?

MyBlogLog.com confirms that more than just a few are visiting this blog and clicking on the links in "Sex in the Library." Almost every week, you see, one or two links in that post make it into the top 5 links that visitors click. And it's a relatively old post.

Could it be that many are wondering what librarians think of sex? Well, there's "Is library a place for porn?" by Erica Meltzer (Arizona Daily Star, 24 April 2006), which discusses libraries and porn as if librarians didn't exist. And then there's "School bans low-hanging pants" (The Local, 6 April 2006), which mentions that librarians are "not known for keeping up with trends, and... are banning pupils from borrowing books if their underwear is showing above their belts," but does not mention the word "sex" even once.

Well, I really don't know what the answer is. But it's interesting that this blog is the number 2 result in "librarian sex" searches on Google. Right after Librarians in Pornography =)

Category: About Filipino Librarian


Threats Can Be Opportunities

The following news may be seen as good or bad, depending on how the reader views them. Are they, in fact, threats or opportunities?

"Mike Luz quits DepEd" by Yvonne Chua (Inside PCIJ, 22 April 2006)

Former DepEd undersecretary Miguel Luz was the man behind Library Hub. His neither-here-nor-there status since he got into trouble with the current administration for sticking to his principles put the future of Library Hub in doubt. Well, there's no doubt anymore: Library Hub is in serious trouble. I just hope the opportunists don't turn what might have been a wonderful opportunity into another scam.
"Raising reading-friendly kids" by Amor Maclang (Philippine Daily Inquirer, 23 April 2006)
Read this article for practical tips on how to "teach" kids to love books: Choose to be around books. Look for books wherever you are. When choosing a caregiver, pick one who likes to teach and read simple books to your kid. Check out a school’s reading selection. Make reading fun. Include books in your toy budget allocation. Network with well-read friends and mothers on their book finds and selections.
"Can a Thriller Be Both Fair and Fun?" by Richard Corliss (Time, 24 April 2006)
"Turn the glare of publicity into a proselytizing opportunity." That's Opus Dei's strategy regarding The Da Vinci Code's upcoming release as a movie. Opus Dei is one of the most conservative groups in the Catholic Church, but I have to agree that the best way to deal with a perceived problem is to turn it into an opportunity. That's what some Bible scholars are doing, instead of fighting the book or the movie—or, as some have done in other religions, calling for the death of the author.
"Volunteer storytellers reviving kids' interest in reading" by Julie M. Aurelio (Philippine Daily Inquirer, 24 April 2006)
Manolo Silayan, a pioneer of Alitaptap Storytellers Philippines, has told librarians, "You're librarians! You should be fun and wear party hats! Librarians should not be stereotyped as dusty, cranky people." True?

Category: In the News


Asian Conference on Free Expression Ends

Free Expression in Asian Cyberspace

The photo above shows two participants from Nepal. "I blog for peace and democracy" caught my attention. Why do you blog?
"Free Expression in Asian Cyberspace: A Conference of Asian Bloggers, Podcasters and Online Media," the three-day meeting sponsored by the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA), in cooperation with the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), has ended. The following posts contain links to the presentation slides, audio and/or video:This post was written for Inside PCIJ.

Category: Events


iblog2 at FEAC

I'm currently at “Free Expression in Asian Cyberspace (FEAC): A Conference of Asian Bloggers, Podcasters and Online Media." It's interesting that there are quite a few who were at iblog2 who are also at FEAC. That's Rebecca MacKinnon in the photo above wearing an iblog2 shirt and whose laptop is also sporting an iblog2 sticker.

Category: Blogging


Google Newsletter for Librarians, Teachers, et al.

In case you didn't know it, Google has a Librarian Center. And as the title of this post implies, it also has a Librarian Newsletter. But if you're not a librarian, don't tune out just yet because the third issue, like previous ones, will be of interest not just to librarians, but also to those who wish to understand how Google works and how it can be used in an educational setting.

The current issue focuses on Google Earth and includes articles on how it works (this is for the technogeeks) and how to take a virtual field trip using the software. And then there are links to lesson plans and downloadable posters (click on the image above) that can be used by librarians and just about anyone who wishes to tell others how to maximize Google.

Categories: Education, Internet


SLA International Travel Award

Note: This is the award I received last year that allowed me to attend the 2005 SLA Annual Conference in Toronto, and gave me the chance to inquire about applying for a PhD at the Faculty of Information Studies, University of Toronto. "Librarians as Leaders," was a revised version of the application I submitted for the award AND is one of the reasons this blog is what it is today. The text below is a revised version of an email I received.
The SLA Business and Finance Division, with the sponsorship of ISI Emerging Markets, is offering ONE (1) award in the amount of US$ 2,000, plus a complimentary CE course registration, to an information professional from a developing country to help cover expenses at the 2006 SLA Annual Conference, to be held in Baltimore, Maryland from 11-14 June 2006.

  • Applicants must be citizens or permanent residents of a non-G8 country.
  • The 2006 Baltimore conference must be the first SLA annual conference attended.
  • Applicants must indicate the amount and source of any additional funding which, combined with the Travel Award, will permit them to cover their expenses to attend the Annual Conference.
  • The recipient may not accept a travel award for the 2006 conference from any other SLA Division or Chapter.

  • Prepare a written statement, in English, of approximately 750 words, answering the following questions:
    1. What is the biggest challenge facing the information profession in developing countries?
    2. What skills must the new business information professional possess?
    3. What do you hope to gain from the conference?
  • Include a current Curriculum Vitae.
  • Submit the above documents, along with your address, telephone number, and email address, in Rich Text Format (RTF) or Microsoft Word by EMAIL no later than Friday, 28 April 2006, 5:00 p.m. Eastern time, to: robert.clarke@mcgill.ca
  • The winner will be notified no later than Friday, May 5th.

  • Winners MUST attend the B&F Division's Annual Business meeting in Baltimore.
  • Recipients will write a brief article (approximately 500 words) for publication in the Fall 2006 issue of the Bulletin on their conference experience.
  • Recipients will agree to serve on one of the B&F Committees or Sections, such as the B&F International Relations Committee or the College & University Business Libraries Section, during 2006-07.

About the Award Sponsor:

Internet Securities, Inc. (trading as ISI Emerging Markets), was founded in 1994 and acquired by Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC in 1999. It delivers hard-to-get information on more than 70 emerging markets through its award-winning online Emerging Markets Information Service.

It aggregates and produces unique content including full-text news articles, financial statements, company information, industry analyses, equity quotes, macroeconomic statistics, and market-specific information, which are derived directly from more than 10,500 local and global publications.

ISI Emerging Markets subscribers include top investment banks, corporations, law firms, consultants, investment and insurance companies, universities and libraries, multilateral organizations, and others.

In addition to worldwide headquarters in New York and European headquarters in London, clients are served through 25 offices in Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America.

Category: SLA 2006


Good-bye, iblog2

It's done. And I don't know if I'll have the energy to do liveblogging all over again. WordPress is certainly better suited for liveblogging because of its "Save and Continue Editing" button. But it was fun trying to post text and photos even before the speakers finished their talks.

The photo above includes only those participants who stayed until the very end, while the photo below shows Pocholo Gonzales announcing the names of raffle winners using the voices of Erap, FPJ, Mike Enriquez and Mark Logan, as Janette Toral picked out the raffle stubs.

By the way, some bloggers couldn't resist taking a photo of me while I was doing my liveblogging. One of them was Jove. Another was Punzi. Could it be that I'm so cute? Bwahaha! (Note to regular readers: This is not the kind of post you're used to from me. It must be all those bloggers!)

For all the posts by bloggers after iblog2, check out Technorati and Google Blog Search.

Category: Blogging


Liveblogging iblog2, Part 2

It turns out I didn't miss lunch after all. There's now a 15-minute break for lunch.

Quotable quote: While waiting for the next sessions, I was talking to Manolo and Jove, and then Jester-in-Exile joined us and exclaimed, "You're By Jove!"

According to "Speak No Evil?: Libel for Bloggers" by Marvin Aceron (below, standing), for something to be considered libelous, it must be defamatory, malicious, publicly disseminated and the victim is identifiable. After giving a real-life example of a libel case that was filed and went all the way to the Supreme Court before it was thrown out for having no basis, Aceron said that there are enough corrupt members of the judiciary that a libel case filed against a blogger may just prosper. So what are we supposed to do? Just keep on blogging =)

Jester-in-Exile asked a question about whether any nation has jurisdiction over the Internet, which Aceron answered by saying that the Philippine government got around this by saying that it had jurisdiction over the person, and so, had jurisdiction over the case. The context of the question was the recent libel case filed against PCIJ. Noel Oliver Punzalan, the moderator, added that anonymous bloggers can't be sued for libel.

While Aceron's talk was interesting, it wasn't quite as real as "Look Before You Link: Avoiding Plagiarism, Copyright Infringement and Other Pitfalls" by Bong Dizon (above, seated) because I hardly ever say anything derogatory about anyone, but I always link. If there's time later, I will be asking about the point Dizon made about one case that said deep-linking is not copyright infringement, whereas another case seems to suggest that using the headline of a news article as a link is an instance of infringement. And now it looks like my practice of using a logo or photo and turning it into a link to another site might be trademark infringement! Oh no... Was able to ask my question. It was a European case that was settled out of court, so the first case is more applicable. I'm safe =)

Dizon's recommendations: always link to the original source, cite name of author and publication, use links for reference-purposes, no inlining, don't cut-and-paste entire works, use quotes, add your own comments, respect another's traffic, golden rule, courtesy, act fairly. He ends by saying that if it's online, then we can link to it.

I was able to catch the Q&A of the Art & Literary Blogging Panel. That's Zarah Gagatiga (below, left) answering a question by delivering a short lecture on information literacy, Dean Alfar (center) and Jonas Diego.

You know you're at the Professional Blogging Panel when all the speakers have their laptops in front of them (below). They are, from left, Marc Hil Macalua, J Angelo Racoma, Charo Nuguid and Abe Olandres.

In "Problogging: Professional Blogging and Blog Monetization," Olandres shared the earnings of one of his blogs (see photo of chart below), which went from zero earnings in April 2005 to Php 25,000 in March 2006. UPDATE: See his notes and download his Powerpoint presentation here.

In "Blogging as a Profession: From Full-Time Employee to Full Time Blogger," Racoma talks about the lessons he learned: blogging can help you get a job, build your blog slowly and earn later, your blog is your online portfolio, connections can mean everything, problogging is just like any career (get pirated, too), but it's not an overnight thing. (Note: There are 7 lessons, but I discovered that I was sitting next to Jayvee Fernandez, one of the probloggers interviewed by Olandres, and so missed lesson 2.) UPDATE: See the full text here.

I was only half-listening to "Putting Search Engines to Work for Your Blog" by Macalua (and I suppose that explains why he's earning a lot from his blog, and I'm not). And so, of course, I missed his comment on Yahoo! Search Marketing.

In "Tracking Blog Performance," Nuguid mentioned that some people actually give out calling cards with their blog URLs on them. Well, I was one them at last year's iblog. I would have given out my calling cards again this year if I hadn't run out. Check out my calling card =)

Category: Blogging


Liveblogging iblog2

Thanks to Globelines Broadband, I'm blogging now even as iblog2 is beginning with the Welcome Remarks by Dean Carlota of the UP College of Law.

I'm having problems now, however, with the connection, so I wasn't able to post the initial photo I wanted to post. Then, of course, I'm also having problems because I'm using an OS I'm not too familiar with.

Well, we're online again, and Rebecca MacKinnon is telling her blogging story and how she decided to leave a good job at CNN and start Global Voices.

By the way, that's J. Angelo Racoma, the J Spotter, in the foreground, wearing a blue shirt.

In response to a question, MacKinnon referred to the Great "Firewall" of China and pointed to the OpenNet Initiative, which has built a tool that allows Google users to compare results on google.cn and google.com.

Ronald Meinardus just began his talk on "Blogging and Podcasting as Tools for Political Education." He doesn't have slides, but his paper is now available online at My Liberal Times. If you visit his older site on Blogger, you can see an example of how bloggers "grow" as they gain blogging experience. And now he just said that "the best way of learning is by doing it yourself." Incidentally, some of the iblog2 talks will be posted as podcasts on the Friedrich Naumann Foundation's website.

The photo below gives an idea of how big the crowd is at iblog2.

That's Emil Avancena below, who tagteamed with Mikey, for the latest "Trends and Technology for Filipino Bloggers" as seen by i.ph.

I had to leave for lunch and so I missed "Blogs and the battle for ideas: personalities and issues" by Manuel L. Quezon III and "Blogging and Participatory Governance" by Peter Laviña.

But I did come back in time for the Q&A where Dean Jorge Bocobo (below) gave a passionate reaction to the speakers' ideas. And, of course, I missed the parallel personal blogging session altogether.

A question has just been asked regarding the predominance of blogs written in English. Manolo commented that some, if not most, would like to have a wider audience than just native speakers. But he did mention that there are already efforts among the Visayans to use their languages on their blogs.

This post is getting too long. See Part 2.

Category: Blogging


Librarians at iblog2

Attend iBlog 2, the Philippines' 2nd Blogging Summit!

How do you change the way people look at our profession? Meet them where they are and show that there's more to librarians than the Ms. Tapia stereotype.

Iblog2 is one such opportunity. Check out the program and you'll see that there are two blograrians who will be more than just active participants. Juned will be moderating the "Media Blogging & Podcasting Panel," while Zarah will be speaking on "Blogs as Teaching Tools."

Go Juned! Go Zarah!

Category: Librarians, Stereotypes


A-LIEP: NUS Central Library

facade stacks lounge with vendo machines self-service facilities chat rooms

Click on any of the photos above to see the photos I took of the Central Library of the National University of Singapore. Check out the lounge with vendo machines; the separate rooms for Internet and multimedia use; the automated machines for paying fines and borrowing books; the staff-built machine for returning books; the laptop charging area; the do-it-yourself, honesty-system photocopying machines; and the rooms for those who need to talk on their cell phones. Maybe someday...

Categories: A-LIEP, Libraries


A-LIEP: National Library of Singapore

celebrating libraries reference library a library with a view children's library return books any time

Click on any of the photos above to see the photos I took of the National Library of Singapore. Check out the "Celebrating Libraries" campaign; the automated machines for paying fines, and borrowing and returning books; the children's library and its specialized magazines; the reference library and its walls that change colors every few seconds; and the view from the top floor at night. Maybe someday...

Categories: A-LIEP, Libraries


The Da Vinci Code, The Gospel of Judas and (Mis)Interpreting the Bible

Today is Good Friday. It's the day when Christians commemorate the death of Jesus Christ. But have you ever wondered why, unlike Christmas, the day on which Jesus supposedly died keeps changing? Well, the same is true of Easter Sunday.

To truly understand why this is so, we need to remember that the calendar we now have did not exist during the time of Jesus. That no one really knows when Jesus was born, when he died and when he rose from the dead. That the early Church only set the dates—many decades after Jesus died—on the basis of the little evidence they had and existing Jewish and pagan traditions. For more information on how this came to be, see "Christian Calendar." To calculate the days on which "movable" feasts fell or will fall in previous or future years, check out "Calculation of the Ecclesiastical Calendar."

Does the fact that the Church set the dates for celebrating the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus without using official, verifiable documents bother you? If this is so, then you should probably just throw out your Bible and rely on what the media have been saying about The Da Vinci Code and The Gospel of Judas in the past weeks.

What we must always remember is that when it comes to books, literary form is very important. For instance, the Bible is not just one book, it is composed of many books (e.g., Genesis, Matthew). And while some of them may be considered history books, most of them are not. What's written in the Bible is not supposed to be taken literally.

The Da Vinci Code's literary form is "novel," while that of The Gospel of Judas is, well, "gospel." If reading the former or watching the documentary about the latter cause you to "lose your faith," then perhaps you deserve to lose it. Both should be read as they were written, and not as "proof" of anything. Please don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that either book is wrong or should not be read.

I've read The Da Vinci Code, and it's very entertaining, but please remember that it's in the fiction section. I haven't seen the documentary about The Gospel of Judas, but it's important to note that not everything that is "discovered" proves that a conspiracy exists. See "The Emergence of the Canon," which is part of the website of "From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians," a more credible and less hysterical documentary than the one produced by National Geographic.

Check out what I've written before about reading the Bible: "Introducing Gen X to the Bible" and "'Average' Catholics and the Bible." If you don't trust me and/or you have time to read long, scholarly documents, see the Pontifical Biblical Commission's "The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church" and "The Jewish People and Their Sacred Scriptures in the Christian Bible."

Good Friday is not about historical dates. Just as the Bible is, as I've said before,
not so much about numbers or facts or history as it is about God's love for his people and the different responses to his love. But if we don't know how to read the Bible, we may just think that the early Israelites lived and thought the way we do today. Or that everything written in the Bible is factually correct. Or that Jesus really was a lamb. And miss the point.

Categories: Religion, Books and Movies


Blogging 101 for Librarians—Full Text

The following is the full text of the presentation delivered by Vernon R. Totanes at the 13th General Conference of the Congress of Southeast Asian Librarians (Manila, Philippines; 29 March 2006)


What exactly is a blog? And how can it help libraries and librarians serve their customers better? This paper will present a brief introduction to blogging. The following will be discussed: definitions of terms, specific examples of library and librarian blogs, reading blogs via RSS, writing for blogs, and issues that need to be considered.


As early as 2002, Andrew Sullivan wrote, “Blogging is changing the media world and could, I think, foment a revolution in how journalism functions in our culture.” Since then, blogging has, in fact, influenced the way news is reported in the West. But it is only now that its presence and influence is being felt in Southeast Asia. Some librarians in our region have also gained recognition in the local blogging community and among foreign librarians through their blogs. Slowly, a few libraries have also begun using blogs to reach out to their users. But what exactly is a blog?


The word “blog” is the more commonly used term for “weblog,” which is actually a kind of website, so it would be redundant to refer to a blog as a “blogsite.” Weblogs were originally “logs of links to websites that people thought were interesting and wanted to share with others” (Cohen 2005). The term “log” implies that a weblog is a repository of entries—maybe a list of items received, a record of visitors, or even a diary. But unlike entries in most logs, the posts in a blog are arranged in reverse chronological order. And that’s why the most recent post is the first one that is read on a blog (Blood 2003).

Other basic features of most blogs are: name, content or posts, links, archives, RSS feed. Each post usually has the following: title, date/time, permalink, categories, comments. If you would like to see how the word “blog” is defined by others, look for “define:blog” on Google. Incidentally, you can also use the same syntax to look for the definition of just about any word.

The word “blog” is now used as a noun—the blog itself—and a verb: if someone says s/he’s going “to blog” about a subject, this means s/he’s going to write about it on a blog. People who own blogs are called “bloggers.” The community of bloggers is called the “blogosphere.” The smaller community of librarians who blog is becoming known as the “biblioblogosphere.” And I refer to members of the biblioblogosphere as “blograrians.”

Not everyone thinks blogs are worth reading. According to Michael Gorman (2005), who is better known as the editor of AACR2 and is currently president of the American Library Association, “A blog is a species of interactive electronic diary by means of which the unpublishable, untrammeled by editors or the rules of grammar, can communicate their thoughts via the web.” While it is true that some—or maybe even most—blogs are “unpublishable,” Gorman is obviously comparing blogs unfavorably with published materials like newspapers, journals, books.

Danah Boyd (2005), on the other hand, believes that blogs are more properly compared to paper: “Some people use paper to write insightful articles; the same is true on blogs. Some people use paper to write grocery lists; the same is true on blogs. Paper has been used for journalism, diaries, scribbling, gossip, passing notes, writing letters, bookkeeping, collages, photographs, and all sorts of other practices. The same is true on blogs.”


There are many blogs right now that focus on matters that concern librarians. Many of the blogs listed below are maintained by blograrians who have also published in more conventional formats. And so, if we think of blogs as paper, the following are among the best-known blogs on the publishable end of the spectrum:So many blogs have been created in the biblioblogosphere that studies and surveys—and even a doctoral dissertation (see Stephens 2005)—have begun to be conducted about them. Walt Crawford (2005), editor of the online journal Cites & Insights, identified sixty English-language blogs that have many readers and incoming links. He did not, however, provide links that you can click on. For that, you’ll have to visit Michael Lorenzen’s The Information Literacy Land of Confusion (2005). Yes, there is a blog devoted to information literacy, just as there are blogs devoted to cataloging, acquisition, library marketing, copyright, online journals, etc. For other blogs owned by librarians, please see Libdex, the Open Directory, BlogBib.

There are also institutional blogs. Examples of these are the following:For a more comprehensive list of libraries with blogs, see Blogwithoutalibrary.net.

There are many other blograrians from all over the world. A few of them are in Southeast Asia.



The biggest question that needs to be answered is “Why?” Some of you might ask, Isn’t it enough that we read the newspaper everyday and look at the latest journals when we have time? What will we get out of adding more to our reading lists? For one thing, reading the more authoritative blogs will alert you to the latest news and/or articles that you should read about. Here, “latest” can mean even before the event is reported on mainstream media or while your copy of the journal is still in the mail. Other blograrians also write more substantial entries about current issues and problems that may be used for professional development (Lavallée-Welch 2005; ppt). It may also be helpful to monitor blogs in your parent institutions’ field or even blogs maintained by members of your community.

But isn’t bloghopping everyday going to be time consuming? Not if you can filter what you read. Really Simple Syndication (RSS) makes it possible to subscribe to blogs and organize them according to how you want to read them. You can, for instance, group blogs on the same subject, but it would probably be best if you put together the ones you think you should read everyday, those you’ll look at if you have time, and those you wish you had time for. Won’t this be difficult to set up? Not as hard as you think. Bloglines is probably the easiest to set up. I won’t have time to walk you through it, but there are online tutorials with step-by-step instructions and screen shots (see Rai 2005). One other thing that’s good about RSS is that they don’t just allow you to subscribe to blogs, you can also subscribe to newspapers, magazines, and even suppliers’ websites.

Blogs have become so common that there are now search engines devoted to blogs. Technorati and the newer Google Blog Search are the better-known ones. You can use them to find blogs that mention your institution, your name or anything that you think you need to know about (Pikas 2005; pdf). You can even subscribe to the search using RSS.

Once you’re comfortable with blogs, you may wish to start participating by leaving comments on posts or joining the projects that are started every now and then (see Flickr's Librarian Trading Cards).


Again, the biggest question is “Why?” If you’re considering setting up a blog, it will have to be very clear why you wish to do so. Otherwise, you’re going to have problems later on. Possible reasons include: experimenting with the technology, preserving your thoughts (public or private), raising your personal or institutional profile and promoting your library’s services (Fichter 2003).

Once it’s clear why you want to blog, you’ll have to address the following:
  • If you’re working on a personal blog, will you use your real name or remain anonymous?
    (e.g., Feel-good Librarian)
  • If you’re going to write about work-related matters, will you identify your institution and/or co-employees, especially if you’re going to write negatively about them?
  • If you’d like to set up an institutional blog, can you do it on your own or is there a need to ask for permission?
  • What software will you use? (e.g., Blogger, WordPress)
  • Who is your intended audience? What will you blog about? How frequently do you intend to blog?


Time: Make sure blogging—whether reading or writing—doesn’t affect your work. If your blog is purely personal, work on it outside the office.

Control: Does your institution have a website? Does your library have a website? If you answered yes to both, are you satisfied with your library’s website? You may wish to consider setting up a blog for your library if you’d like to gain control over content, instead of having to go through a webmaster for every little announcement that you wish to make.

Ethics: If you’re going to set up a blog, you will need to have clear guidelines on what you can blog about, whether personal or professional. Halley Suitt (2003; citation only) has actually written a case about this for Harvard Business Review. You may also wish to consider the points raised by Karen Schneider (2005), who says that “Every blog produced by librarians, no matter how casual, represents librarianship to the world.”

Digital divide: There is a need to consider the state of information technology in Southeast Asia. There are those who have computers and those who don’t. Of those who have computers, there are those who use them and those who don’t. The digital divide isn’t just about hardware or software. It's also about the fear factor. If you don’t use computers much, blogging might help you familiarize yourself with the many things you can do. If you’re already a blogger, think about your readers and whether you’re reaching them, especially in a region where majority of the population do not use or have access to computers.


I have not mentioned one blog in particular—Filipino Librarian—because I wanted to use it to talk about the benefits of blogging. I started blogging last February 2005 and since then I have improved my writing skills, gained enough knowledge of HTML to customize my blog, added to the list of online resources I consult or recommend to others, expanded my network of local and foreign contacts, learned more about what it is that librarians can and must do, and answered a few reference questions along the way. I suppose I could have done all these without blogging, but I don't think I could have done all of it in one year if I did not set up the blog.

Why read blogs? Why write blogs? Why blog at all? Because responsible blogging will be good for you and good for the profession.


Blood, Rebecca. 2003. Weblogs and Journalism in an Age of Participatory Media. Rebecca's Pocket (posted 7 January 2005).

Boyd, Danah. 2005. Blogging Outloud: Shifts in Public Voice. Paper read at LITA Conference, October 1, in San Jose, California.

Cohen, Dan. 2005. Creating a Blog from Scratch, Part 1: What is a Blog, Anyway? (posted December 16).

Crawford, Walt. 2005. Investigating the Biblioblogosphere. Cites & Insights 5:10 (September).

Fichter, Darlene. 2003. Why and How to Use Blogs to Promote Your Library’s Services. Marketing Library Services 17:6 (November/December).

Gorman, Michael. 2005. Revenge of the Blog People! Library Journal (February 15).

Herzog, Susan. 2005. Select Librarian/Library Blogs. BlogBib.

Lavallée-Welch, Catherine. 2005. Blogs and Professional Development (ppt). Paper read at SLA Annual Conference, June 6, in Toronto, Canada.

Levine, Jenny. 2005. The Perfect Library Blog Example. The Shifted Librarian (posted July 14).

Lorenzen, Michael. 2005. Library Blogs and Google PageRank. The Information Literacy Land of Confusion (posted August 23).

Pikas, Christina. 2005. Blog Searching for Competitive Intelligence, Brand Image, and Reputation Management (pdf). Online (July/August).

Rai, Preetam. 2005. Using Bloglines (or How to keep up with dozens of blogs everyday). Betterdays (posted April 25).

Schneider, Karen. 2005. The Ethical Blogger. netConnect (April 15).

Stephens, Michael. 2005. Who are "the Blog People?" A Survey of Librarians and their Motivations for Blogging. Tame the Web (posted November 1).

Suitt, Halley. 2003. A Blogger in Their Midst (citation only). Harvard Business Review (September): 30-40.

Sullivan, Andrew. 2002. The Blogging Revolution. Wired 10:5 (May).

West, Jessamyn. 2005. Staying Current Using Blogs and RSS: A Program for Everyone. Paper read at NHLA, May 13, in Manchester, NH.

Categories: Consal XIII, Blogging, About Vonjobi


Manila to Singapore on Tiger Airways

Manila to Singapore on Tiger Airways
That's the plane I took from Singapore to Manila yesterday. I booked the flight on Tiger Airways last December for only US$13. With taxes, that went up to $65 (3,600 pesos). Not bad compared to other airlines, which charge a minimum of $250 (approx. 12,500 pesos at P50:$1)—and that's already the "sale price."

Then again, I had to book 3 months in advance. And take the bus from SM Megamall to the airport in Clark—and back (300 pesos each way). I also had to contend with free seating (i.e., no assigned seats), buying food on the plane and landing in Singapore's no-frills budget terminal. But for a ticket that was almost 10,000 pesos less than a discounted seat in a regular airline, it was worth the minor hassle.

No, I didn't have to stand up inside the plane. The stewardesses were just as pretty as those in other airlines. The flight was much more on time than the flag carrier. The seats were comfortable. Looking back, even if I had bought food on the airplane and added it to the cost of my plane ticket, I would have still spent much less than the usual fare.

Right now, it seems that most of the lowest fares are at $32.50 (one-way), but if you look hard or wait long enough (read: book waaaay in advance, and adjust departure and arrival dates to take advantage of the lowest fares), you might find the $13 two-way fare I was able to get.

You may also want to explore other destinations. A friend has, in fact, booked a trip for two from Manila to Singapore to Bangkok to at-least-one-other-city for 15,000 pesos. You'll need a credit card, of course. And a willingness to take risks =)

Category: About Vonjobi


Licensure Examination for Teachers

The next Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) is on Sunday, 27 August 2006. The deadline for submission of applications at the central and regional offices is on Wednesday, 31 May 2006.

Last year, I wrote about the Librarians' Licensure Examination for the benefit of those taking the exam in 2005. While there will probably be a few differences between the teachers' and librarians' exams, most of the advice I gave—from applying early to not "fighting" exam questions—was not specific to my profession.

Read entire post...

This post was written for Pinoy Teachers Network.

Category: Licensed Librarians


Epifanio de los Santos Day 2006

Today is Epifanio de los Santos Day. In these very political times, it is perhaps appropriate to feature a librarian who took on corruption in her library—and lived to tell the tale. Her name is Abigail Capitin-Principe. And this is what I wrote after I met her last December 2005:

When she took over the small library, she found out that the library had so many employees whom she had never met. It turns out they were actually "15-30" employees—those who showed up only to collect their salaries on the 15th and 30th of every month. Well, she put them all to work. And when the 15-30 employees realized that they had to work for their salaries, they all eventually asked to be transferred to other departments.
For more information about Abie, see "Abigail Capitin-Principe — Filipino Librarian." For more about Epifanio de los Santos, see the following:
Categories: Librarians, Events


A-LIEP: Service Quality in Libraries

"Stability of Library Service Quality Benchmarking Norms across Time and Cohorts: a LibQUAL+ Study" by Bruce Thompson, Colleen Cook, and Martha Kyrillidou was really about LibQUAL+, "a suite of services that libraries use to solicit, track, understand, and act upon users’ opinions of service quality." In short, it's a market research firm for libraries. For more information about their services, see "LibQUAL+: Defining and Promoting Library Service Quality."

At this time, very few Asian libraries are represented in the LibQUAL+ database. If you would like to have your library included in the database, there are two ways that you may do so:

  1. If your library can afford to pay US$2,500 (note: Thompson says that if there are more users, then they can probably lower the cost), then the data will be valuable in identifying the strengths and weaknesses of your library as perceived by your users and you will find out how your library compares with other libraries around the world.
  2. If you cannot afford to pay the fee, grants were awarded to six libraries (one from China) to participate in the 2006 survey. Check out the criteria (doc) last year, and wait for the announcement for the 2007 grants.
Finally, if you're a student doing research, you may wish to look at their sample screens to find out what reliable questionnaires look like. Please note that LibQUAL+ is trademarked and that its questionnaires are copyrighted, so these may not be used without permission.

Category: A-LIEP


A-LIEP: Knowledge Management and Blogging

In "Knowledge Mobilization: The Challenge for Information Professionals," Peter Keen distinguishes between knowledge management and knowledge mobilization. He cites the "9-11 Commission Report" to illustrate the difference between management and mobilization (i.e., information about a possible attack was available but no one did anything about it), and the need for knowledge fusion, so that knowledge will not just be managed, but mobilized.

Keen also mentioned that it is time to take blogs seriously. According to him (and I agree), that while 95 percent of the information in blogs will most likely be rubbish, the remaining 5 percent will still be very good. But how can this knowledge be managed? Blog search engines like Technorati and Google Blog Search now make it possible to search by authority (Technorati), relevance (Google) or date (both). In time, it is very likely that what now seems to be quite effective will get even better.

Category: A-LIEP


A-LIEP: Proceedings

The Asia-Pacific Conference on Library & Information Education & Practice (A-LIEP) began today at the Nanyang Technological Center, Singapore, and runs until 6 April 2006. The conference program is available online, and the individual papers may be downloaded as Word documents. The papers have also been printed in a handsome volume entitled Preparing Information Professionals for Leadership in the New Age, edited by Christopher Khoo, Diljit Singh and Abdus Sattar Chaudhry. I will post a photo later so you can see what I mean.

The papers being presented by Filipinos are the following:

Category: A-LIEP


Open Access in the Third World

This post is based on the application I submitted for one of five Early Career Travel awards that the Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) made available this year. And yes, I was given the award, so I will be in Arlington, Virginia, USA, June 7-9, for SSP's annual meeting, "Beyond Borders and Bindings."
The scholarly publishing industry will most likely be more online than off in the next ten years. With the increasing costs associated with the publication of print journals, the Internet is probably going to be the preferred medium for writers and publishers committed to making scholarly research widely available at the soonest possible time to those who can benefit from it.

Business models for open access publishing will continue to vary depending on international law, funding policies, author preferences, etc., but I believe that the traditional journal will eventually have to be abandoned. This assertion of mine may or may not be conventional wisdom in more developed countries, but in a Third World country like the Philippines, it is, in my opinion, the only way to go.

The Philippines is not known for its scholarly publications. In fact, the only time the publishing industry made it to the front pages of newspapers in the last five years was when textbooks used by millions of students were withdrawn upon the discovery of numerous errors. Very few scholarly journals are currently being published in our country, much less peer-reviewed. Even less are available as online journals, though not all are refereed.

This situation, I believe, is due to the prohibitive cost of publishing scholarly journals that very few libraries can afford. And because the few authors who bother to write scholarly articles cannot be assured of getting their work published within a certain period—i.e., in time for tenure deadlines—they submit their articles to foreign publications. Local publications are then forced to accept any and all articles submitted, instead of going through a peer-review process—assuming, of course, that they even have money to publish.

There are now three Filipino journals—there are twelve I’m aware of whose full text is available online—that exist as purely electronic journals. If more Filipinos become aware of the benefits of open access—in addition to how easy it is to publish online—then maybe more Filipino scholarly publications will become available.

I have worked on print and online publications, and while the time required to edit articles is the same for both, those published online do not have to contend with printing press schedules or deal with printing and mailing costs. And the publication is immediately available and will eventually be searchable through search engines.

Categories: Internet, About Vonjobi


The Cure for Information Overload

This is probably the best article I've read on this topic since I started this blog: "The Cure for Information Overload." Just follow the yellow brick road...

[Updated April 3: I was thinking of categorizing this post under "Humor," but that would have been too obvious. Happy April Fools' Day!]

Category: Events


PhD - Information Studies

Yes, there are librarians who have doctorates. And I hope to be one of them in a few years. The letter below—from the Faculty of Information Studies of the University of Toronto—reads, in part, "The Faculty of Information Studies is pleased to offer you admission to our doctoral program beginning September 2006." Click on the image to read the letter.

Acceptance letter from Faculty of Information Studies of the University of Toronto

Category: About Vonjobi


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