This post is in an FAQ format, but I hesitate to call them FAQs because they're not Frequently Asked Questions. I don't even know if they're frequently thought questions. But here goes:
Who are you?
That's a kind of androgynous name ...
Not that it's hugely relevant to my blog, but if you don't know whether to call me a her or a him - I'm a guy.
How can I contact you?
The best way, initially, would be by email. My email address is morganwilson @ gmail (without any spaces and the .com at the end). I do like instant messaging, but don't usually turn on the software unless I'm planning on communicating with somebody in particular
Whereabouts do you live?
I'm living in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, Australia right now. I was born in Queensland, grew up in Tasmania, and also have lived in St. Paul, MN, USA between 1997 and 2004.
Are you really a librarian?
Yes. Originally I thought that I wanted to be a lawyer and did a B.A., LL B (my arts major was German). The most important thing that I learned at Law School was that although I enjoyed the intellectual exercise of studying law and legal research, the job of being a lawyer wasn't the thing for me. I decided to go to library school and become a law librarian. I've worked as an academic law librarian, a special librarian doing corporate research and competitive intelligence in financial services, as well as a special librarian in the electricity industry. Most of my positions have involved managing electronic information - be it in Lotus Notes databases, library websites and intranets and library automation software. I'm currently working as a Law Librarian in a large Sydney law firm. With this information, I will add the increasingly standard "the opinions and points of view expressed in my blog are my own and not my employer" disclaimer.
Why should I read your blog?
No particular reason. Sometimes I indulge in shameless self-promotion but I'm not in the mood for it tonight. Read it if you find it at all interesting and have room in your life for a not so frequently updated blog.
What sort of things do you write about?
When I first started blogging, I was more interested in tech issues, but it's gradually changed over the years. My posts these days tend to be more philosophical and theoretical, punctuated by the occasional practical post that is relevant to my current job.
Why is your blog called the exploded library?
I have answered this question here.
How long have you been blogging?I started my LiveJournal in June 2002 and the very first version of the explodedlibrary in August 2002.
Why do you blog?
Blogging combines three things which I really enjoy: 1. Reading and finding information; 2. Writing; 3. Mucking around with computers. I would continue blogging in some form even if I knew that nobody else ever read it, because I like doing this stuff. Blogging about things has become a way that I make sense of the world.
What is so special about blogging anyway?
The blogosphere is place of words and ideas. There are still moments when it doesn't matter what you look like, how much or little money you earn, how many degrees you have or how accomplished you might be - the only thing differentiating one blogger from another are their actual words. As such, it has given some people a voice who have never had one before. This situation may change, but while it remains, I am grateful for it.
How often do you update this blog?
I am extremely erratic in my blogging habits. When things are slow, I try to post once a month, but sometimes even that doesn't happen. When I'm feeling more energetic, I can post several times in a week. I know this is a transgression of one of the cardinal rules of successful blogging, but I don't care for that, I'd rather do my own thing. Besides, if you subscribe to the blog in your feed reader, my erratic post frequency shouldn't be a problem.
What is your policy on comments on this blog?
I really like receiving comments, all comments except the ones which are spam, nasty or illegal. I can handle comments strongly disagreeing with me on the issues, but if you cross the line into being mean and insulting, I am not so noble that I'll let those ones through. Unlike many bloggers, I don't have an absolute ban on commercial comments - provided they are relevant to the post and add something to the conversation. In addition, once a post has been around for about six months, I close the commenting.
Why do you moderate commenting on the blog?
Look at it this way. It is better that you wait a few hours for your comment to appear on my blog, than it goes there right away but is lost forever in the sewage of comment spam. Alternatively, better this delay than there be no commenting or no blog at all because the comment spammers were driving me crazy. Seriously, the drudgery of dealing with comment spam nearly caused me to quit blogging. Comment moderation has been an absolute godsend for me.
Hey - I noticed a typo, a missed word or some other error on your blog
If it's a factual error on a recent post, I definitely want to know about it and I'll make a correction once I've verified what's going on. If it's about a broken link on a post on a post that I wrote 3 years ago, I'm probably not interested. Even if it's a really important post, I'd rather revisit the area now and than correct what I wrote 3 years ago. I tend to avoid post-publication editing -and when I do it, I have set particular rules for myself. After over a year, these still generally apply, with one significant exception. I reserve the right to break the letter of any of these rules if: it makes life easier for me and my readers and commentors and I'm not violating the spirit of the rules (which is basically not being sneaky about post-publication edits)
What tools do you use for blogging?
TypePad for the actual hosted blogging service. Right now I'm reading blogs on the Google Reader.
I'm having a hard time printing this blog.
This blog is intended to be viewed online, not printed. If you must print it out, I understand that there are better results with Internet Explorer. Read this post for more on my views about blog printability.
How do you view your work-related blogging boundaries?
There are two absolutely no go areas.
- Specific things I've been asked to find in my research work [but describing resources or techniques I used to find whichever thing is ok]
- Any other information that is a trade secret or protected by confidentiality agreements or attorney-client privilege.
Then there’s the usual stuff which most bloggers who are employed need to be very cautious of: Not making my employer look bad, not trash talking management and co-workers, etc.
When I've worked in academic libraries, I've sometimes blogged about annoyances I've experienced with some of the vendors which the library uses. I don't recant those posts, but I won't be doing so much of that for the time being. Law firms are quite different environments from universities and my position is slightly different as well. If I need to work closely with somebody from a vendor to make an improvement or fix a problem, I wouldn't want them to be wondering if anything they say might end up on my blog. Of course, it’s different if I’m looking at things which aren’t closely related to my work.
That said, I don’t believe that it’s necessary to maintain an absolute separation between what I’m doing at work and what goes into the blog. If I discover a useful resource or technique in the course of my research, I don’t see any harm in sharing it here. The same goes with issues relevant to law libraries, if they can be discussed in a manner which doesn’t go against what I’ve said above.
Of course, I could go into more detail about all of these things, but I don't think that's going to be helpful. Underlying it all is keeping to a certain ethic.