Despite the fact that I’ve been writing for years in lots of different venues—even some group blogs, I’ve never had one that was “mine” or even “partially mine.” I think part of my reticence was because I wasn’t really sure I wanted to feel that pressure, that “omigod, I haven’t posted for a week (month, year)” burden and what that might do to the pleasure I feel when I’m writing well. I also didn’t want to follow the model where everything I think, say and do, everywhere I go, etc., goes on my blog. Maybe it’s age, but I still have a sense of having some kind of private life, even in the professional sphere.
But for the last few years I’ve been writing columns for “Technicalities,” which has, to a certain extent pushed me in a blogging direction. Most of my columns were primarily opinion, in the “thought piece” mode, and I’m pretty comfortable with that. But with all apologies to the estimable Peggy Johnson (who’s been editing it for some time and who talked me into the column), it’s just not much of a soap box. I’ve been depositing all the columns in Cornell’s eCommons IR —yeah, I know, I’m not working there anymore but as a retiree I can still use my IR account, and it’s convenient. But rarely did I get any indication that the columns got read, either in print or online. I’m an extrovert, and I need an audience—a theoretical audience doesn’t do it for me.
I’ve often talked about my retirement from Cornell this past March being a “practice” retirement. Lord knows that my retirement accounts have tanked like everyone else’s, but even if they hadn’t I wouldn’t be able to actually retire. I have too much still to do, too much that interests me greatly about what’s going on in the world of libraries I’ve been immersed in for something like 40 years, and hell, I’m enjoying this independence. So, the challenge is to continue to be independent, AND keep food on the table, etc., without raiding my bleeding retirement accounts. I suppose I should be more worried about that than I am, but aside from the bad luck of being so close to “real” retirement age when the economy slides into the dumpster, my house and car are paid off, and I’ve no debts, so I’m doing fine, thank you very much. Now, if the consulting and workshops keep coming along, I should be able to keep traveling and pay bills … fingers crossed.
But there’s a plan, and this blog is part of it. It’s not just “my blog” though, which is a good thing, since that takes off me a bit of that pressure to keep the conversation going. You’ll note that this blog is part of a website for an outfit called Metadata Management Associates—that’s a partnership between me and Jon Phipps, my partner in crime since my NSDL days, and whoever we decide to pull in for various projects and conspiracies. As we get this show moving, make the website a bit more functional, etc., we’ll be adding names to the list of associates we like to work with. Jon and I also post on the Registry Blog and as you might have noticed if you read that, we tend to make some of our arguments in public (those who see us at conferences also might have noticed a certain resemblance to the “Bickersons”). It’s creative argumentation, actually—it keeps us moving forward as new stuff keeps popping up to challenge our favorite assumptions.
So what can you expect to read about on this blog? We have some projects we can talk about, and some we can’t, so we’ll talk about some of our current “talkable” projects like the NSDL Registry (we’re working on some ideas to expand that development effort—watch this space), the RDA formal representations (see the DCMI/RDA Task Group page for more info on this), digital libraries in general, changes and new developments in the library environment, etc. Jon will talk more about the technology side than I will, but that’s the good news about this blog—it’ll be a little of everything.
So, I’ve finally made it to the party—where’s the champagne?