A Blog With An Identity Crisis

Dear Internet:

I need your help.

Seriously.

The focus of this blog has had two major shifts of focus in the last few years. Forever and 10 days, it was all about me. Then I had the massive, emotional breakdown of a breakup with TheEx and felt it safer to blog about library school rather then vomiting up my emotional issues. Things smoothed out, I graduated and I’ve started back with the purging of thought again.

This in and of itself is not a bad thing, but that is how life works. You get engrossed in X, that fills up your time and then you move on to Z. Any kind of issue I’ve had with the blog in the last 15 (!) years has been mostly aesthetic, not technical. But in the last six months, I’ve noticed a few problems cropping up that need resolutions. This is where you, my dear Internet, come in.

  • Problem One: The name.
    The blog was started in 1996, the first domain was bought in 1998. While domain name has changed numerous times over the years, the title of the blog has more or less been The Lisa Chronicles. I say more or less because two shifts from that has been when I bought this domain (shesgotplans.net) in 2006 and renamed the blog thusly (And Lisa! She’s got plans!), second name shift in 2008 when I started library school (lib schooled.) and then back to the beginning with The Lisa Chronicles last summer.
    This is a problem because I discovered last year, after changing back the blog name, that a woman registered the domain thelisachronicles.com and blogs very occasionally about her family, adoption, and faith. The complete polar opposite of me. There is also the erotic works of the same name, also not me.  While I come up in Google search as the primary person, I find myself thinking of myself as “brand” and I’m finding myself slightly despising myself for that. I’m not a brand, I’m a person with a sparkling personality! So do I say eff the others and continue on as I am, grab a name that is a bit more encompassing of my content, change the domain name or what?
  • Problem Two: Content.
    This is not a problem in the I don’t know what to write or really a focus anymore category. This kind of ties into problem #1 above. During the two year period I wrote mainly about library school, I received more love from the internets then some critique on pop culture, book reviews or sobbing my heart out. To wit: Bobbi Newman of Librarian by Day showcased numerous of my “So, You Want to be a Librarian/Archivist” posts on her blog, coupled with writings from other people around the web on the same topic wrapped up as a one stop guide for all things MLIS related. The link love is awesome, don’t get me wrong, I got a lot of commentary and emails from people about my work. I’m more than happy to have done this, so much so I included a tab at the top of the front page as a direct link to all the posts in that category. So the problem?Not only has Bobbi sent me nearly thousands upon thousands (She’s the library equivlent of getting /.’d) of people to my site, the number one pages on my site are the library school related ones. It’s not just Bobbi’s site either, its via search engines, other library related peeps conversating on the subject. The primary, and seemingly only reason, people come to my site (regardless of domain, name, etc) is for the library related stuff.This is a problem because when I stopped writing about library related stuff last summer, blog readership has dropped, comments dropped, everything dropped. If I write a blog post on something library related, it goes back up and then drops again when I stop on the librarianating. When TheHusband and I talked about this, he says it’s evident the people have spoken! Write more about library related stuff! But I bristle at that because for me personally, having a blog on one defined topic is just not my cup of tea. I’ve tried doing it in the past but it just doesn’t work out for me. The current idea I am having is transferring all the library related content over to Dewey District Library blog, the joint blog that Kristin and I are writing and just shoving everything over there because what has become clear is that there is a huge difference between the readership for my regular content and readership for library related content.
  • Problem Three: Archives.
    A couple of years ago (er, yeah, that’s it), I decided to put all entries pre-2006 up on modgirl.net, and then whatever domain I was on, keep that as organic as possible. The thought process is that keeping things up at modgirl.net as it was originally posted (static HTML files) meant that once the back log was up, I’d never have to touch it again. Well. Not necessairly true. The problem with this is the domain, modgirl.net, was my primary email address and domain name for a very long time (until I got onto gMail sometime in ’05?). Checking the stats for the domain, the files were seemingly no longer being deep searched by search engines (truth be told, I could have done something to the robot.txt for that to happen) and the only email I get at modgirl.net these days is spam. Lots and lots of spam. While I’ve had the domain for over 10 years, I can no longer realistically justify keeping it anymore. My first domain ever purchased, simunye.org, was hijacked by Belgian registrar (a small company owned by a friend of a friend) when it stopped communicating me with regards to my payment (I wanted to pay, they wouldn’t respond to facilitate payment, they hijacked the domain and then RENEWED it under their name). My attachment to domains is now broken. Within the last year, I removed all the static files on modgirl.net and now modgirl.net redirects to shesgotplans.net. And of course, I never uploaded the archives into the WP database system. I don’t think this is necessiarly a problem, I think this is more of a whine of not wanting to do the work of the damn archives. 🙂
  • Problem Four: Consolidation. People collect coins, stamps, shoes, fan items: I collect domains. The number of domains I’ve purchased, hosted, worked on and dropped is in the dozens. When I worked for ISPs or knew people who had their own servers in the ’90s/’00s, it was far far worse. I’m now down to 8. Two of them (modgirl.net and geekgirlinc.org) I’m letting expire for sure this year. Two of them, rabey.net/org I’ve kept for a zillion years, never did anything with but will probably keep. excessivelydiverting.net and deweydistrictlibrary.org are projects I’ll be keeping on, so they can stay. That leaves biblyotheke.net and shesgotplans.net. I think confusion lies because I use an email address on biblyotheke.net as a primary email, but I direct blog links to shesgotplans.net. Also, I styled biblyotheke.net as a portal of sorts, but with a name (digital.biblyotheke) and biblyotheke is the most used username that I use. I also wanted to use biblyotheke.net as a professional site, but right now I’m thinking that instead of sending people all over the internet, take advantage of sub-domains and just splice everything under one roof. I’ve got a couple of months until shesgotplans.net expires, but knowing me I’ll renew it for one more year to keep pointers working.

So internets, since this is looming (if not already) in the tl;dr category: Your thoughts? Comments? Am I overthinking this? Any tips or tricks? Ideas? Etc? Merci!

New Moo Cards

New Moo Cards.

I took advantage of a recent sale at Moo to procure new business cards that I’ve been desperate to get for some time now. The batch I got from Moo last year had my old cell phone number, which I was unable to port when TheHusband put me on his cellular account this past January, which made them the cards pretty much useless as soon as I got the new phone. I attempted to fix said cards by hand writing my new phone number below the old, but looked like crap since my handwriting is pretty sloppy.

When I reminded myself to order cards again, it was too late to get them for ALA this past June. Instead, using the mock-up of the original Moo cards as the template, I created new cards at home, this time incorporating a QR code and obviously the correct number. While I got loads of compliments on the handmade cards, but I have not been satisfied with the quality as our printer is kind of crap.

It seemed a bit ridiculous to print 3 sets of business cards: one for personal, one for Excessively Diverting AND one for Dewey District Library. I knew for sure DDL needed cards as Kristin and I agreed to get a single set to split since we wanted something in hand to hand to libraries when we go visit them. For the personal + ED cards, I ended up combining the info on the one side of the card for both endeavors and when previewing it before printing, I was okay with how it looked. But having the print cards in hand, I realise not so much. The problem with the personal+ED cards is that I’m too attached to the image on of me at age 2 or 3 to give it up to gain space to say, do one thing on one side and the other thing on the other side. Plus, I could not get the QR code to sit properly while designing the cards, so that got tossed out.

The image side of the DDL cards is pixelated, which is fine because that onus is on us for not using a high enough res of the image. We decided that next time around, we’ll pay better attention to designing the image so it doesn’t look so choppy for printing. For now, however, the cards will have to do.

This is the incredibly long winded way of saying, “Hey! New Moo cards!”

x0x0x,
Lisa

Cherry Bomb

lisa11102010
Me, 11/11/2010

[A couple of gentle reminders: I’m still collecting addresses for the Ho. Ho. Ho. holiday card exchange. End date probably first week of December or roughly thereabouts. Second gentle reminder: The pick the literacy charity contest over at Excessively Diverting is running until 12/6! Lastly! I redid biblyotheke.net to be more portal-ish, so while I’ll still be doing my “Collections” every week or so of where I’m writing, you have a one-stop shop for everything Lisa.]

Last week I was ensconced at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa with my partner in crime, Kristin, for the yearly Michigan Library Association conference. Kristin and I presented our poster on Wednesday, “Critical Error: The Need for Michigan Public Libraries to Represent Themselves Online.” To be honest, Kristin and I were totally expecting people to come after us with pitchforks, ready to throw us onto burning pyres because while we weren’t specifically naming names at out poster session, we were in a very broad sense saying, “Hey! Michigan Public Libraries! Your library’s website sucks gonads, here are the reasons why and why this is killing you!” Instead, it seems that many (okay MOST) were like, “You guys, this is awesome. You’ve given us ammunition to take to our boards validate using these resources.” We were greatly relieved, to say the least, to not be run out of town.

What, then, is our research project? Dewey District Library the the nom de plum of our research endeavors. From our about page:

Librarianation is a blog highlighting research being conducted on the current state of Michigan Public Libraries and their relationship with online services. We are investigating not only which libraries have online services, but which resources they are using, how they are being implemented and how well they are incorporated with “Traditional Library Services” at each location. Our findings so far have concluded that there is a wide gap in the adoption of online services and well developed online presences between many Public Libraries in Michigan. The second step of our research will involve identifying the probable root causes of this gap and practical strategies to shrink it.

For our poster session, we randomly sampled 80 public libraries in Michigan, which accounts for 20% of the state total (383). These public libraries are classified by the main branch library for an area (example such as Grand Rapids Public or Traverse Area District), but does not include the branches of a particular library system. So GRPL and TADL are counted as ONE individual public library, instead of 8 (GRPL + branches) and 4 (TADL + branches) libraries respectively. These random samples were across the various classes (class 1 serves a population under 3999 persons to class 6, which serves a population of 50K or more) and we found a lot of interesting data. We put together a SlideShare of the graphics and info we used on our poster to make it accessible. We’ve also got an every growing bibliography. So what else are we going to do with the data? Glad you asked

  • Finish compiling data for the remaining 80%.
  • Blog, publish and present on the topic.
  • Create and distribute “How-To” via web/video/screenshots/whatevs.
  • Visit, photograph and check-in1 at each public library in Michigan. We’ve started this already.
  • Update/Add to LibraryThing Local, Yelp and Google Maps for each library location.
  • Blog and review each of the libraries as we visit them.

Not only are we interested in (essentially) cataloging all of the public libraries in Michigan but we’re also interested in their use of social media and how it is (or is not) affecting their community. Visiting the libraries in person definitely challenges what we find out about them online. Here’s a perfect example: Elk Rapids District Library. You look at their website and you’re thinking, “Esh. This library is nothing special, it has no personality and it is solidly stuck in the 20th century.” Wrong. Images of Elk Rapids District Library. JUST LOOK AT IT. As Kristin is fond of saying, “It is cozy as BALLS.” Granted it was staffed by OAP’s2 with one foot in the grave, but the library was obviously very well loved, cared for and taken care of. I could sit in this room and work all day long. They have a fantastic core collection, new titles, Free Wifi, public computers and loads of other services. This place is just fantastic, so much so that I called TheHusband from the library and told him to start looking for houses in the area RIGHT NOW.

If you’re interested in following us on the research project, which will always be in progress, you can find us at the following locations:

  • Website
  • Blog
  • Twitter [For announcements only.]
  • Facebook
  • Flickr
  • Slideshare

x0x0x,
Lisa


1. Check-in using geo-social services such as FourSquare / BrightKite / Gowalla. If the library is not listed in the service, create it.
2. Old Age Persons.