Is there an archivo-blogosphere?

In checking out library blogs, I found a reference to the March 2007 issue of American Libraries, which has as its cover story “Mattering in the Blogosphere,” and came I across the term “biblioblogosphere.” (One article is an interview of ten prominent library bloggers. The first question posed was “What does it take for a blog to have an impact on the biblioblogosphere?”)

Which led me to wonder if there is a–what would we call it?–archivo-blogosphere? (Suggestions for a different term welcome.) I think not. Back in September 2005, Walt Crawford wrote an impressive post on Investigating the Biblioblogosphere. I’ll take his idea, but not his detailed methodology, and in my next post I’ll share my findings.

So, what’s going on here?

OK, friends, I’m jumping into the pool.

This is what I wrote for the “About this blog” page–and it seemed like a good first real post:

This blog will attempt to identify what might be “next” for archival institutions by:

1) Exploring Web 2.0 applications and discussing their applicability to archival institutions.

2) Identifying existing innovative uses of web technology in archives and related fields.

3) Discussing how applicable the existing archival business model is in the current and emerging information environment, and proposing modifications or a whole new model.

4) Hopefully engaging readers in a dialog about these issues. I am by no means an expert in any of these areas. I am learning and hopefully some of the four or five people who read this blog will share with me and the other readers what they know or raise questions. I can’t be the only one interested in this.

5) Probably doing some other stuff as well.

To do this I will be drawing heavily on our colleagues in the library community and from the blogs of more technically savvy people (including some archivists). I make no claims to any particular expertise (see below).

This blog will not (I hope):

1) Address issues related to the processing and preservation of electronic records. I am only interested (in this blog) on how archives make themselves and their holdings available.

2) Dwell too much on what is currently not being done or being done badly in archives. Let’s just say I think our profession has a lot of room for improvement.

3) Be afraid to be basic. I’m no expert, but I’m not a complete novice either. If there is something out there that I didn’t know when I started out, I’m not going to be afraid to write about it. You, gentle reader, may snort at my ignorance, but I hope there are some other readers who will learn something.

4) Be dull. This stuff is really cool. Archives have great stuff. They even have some fun, innovative, energetic people. Let’s figure out how to get all that together.

A brief biographical introduction. Feel free to skip this part:

I recently spent a lot of time thinking about what I wanted to do next. I am, by training, an archivist, but unlike some of my colleagues I’ve also done quite a few other things. I spent the last few years working very intensely on a specific project at a very large archives. When I decided I wanted to make a change I took an inventory of sorts–what had attracted me to the archival profession, what kinds of work give me satisfaction, what do I think is wrong with the archival world, and where do I think I can make a contribution (and maybe even a living!)?

I determined that what I really wanted to do was to explore how archives (and related cultural institutions) can take advantage of emerging (well, in some cases already very well-emerged) technologies to broaden their audiences and increase their relevance in the coming century. In order to do this, I realized that I needed to crawl out from the under the rock I’d been under for the past few years. I admit I hadn’t really been paying a lot of attention to a lot of what was going on on the web. My job didn’t involve it, and I didn’t have a lot of free time to spend playing around with the toys. So, now that I have more time, my first task was to get out there and check stuff out. This blog itself is part of that task–and the series of podcasts I’m trying to develop on a different site. I want to actually use as many of these tools as possible so I have a better idea how institutions can use them.

That’s probably all you need to know about me. Maybe more. Let’s get on with it.