He’s an award winner and an information
professional at the leading edge of where the
industry is going. Roddy MacLeod tells IWR about
his involvement in trailblazing blogging
BLOGOSPHEREInformation professionals guiding you to the best bits of the blogosphere
WWW.IWR.CO.UK INFORMATION WORLD REVIEW JANUARY 2008
Q Where is your blog or
A There’s the Heriot-
Watt Library blog
Spineless (at http://
and News from
TicTocs is a JISC-funded project to
develop a service to transform journal
current awareness. There’s also a
private library staff blog I created to
post details of anything of interest, a
private TicTocs project blog for the
project consortium, and a blog in
Emerge, another JISC project
weblog). I also write a fun pseudo-
travel blog, which I’m too
embarrassed to reveal to any but
Q Describe your blog?
A Spineless provides news, views,
information and advice on Heriot-
Watt Library’s resources and services.
We try to create eye-catching subject
lines and write posts from the
reader’s perspective, explaining what
they may gain from whatever is under
discussion. There have been posts
about e-book services, open access,
useful web tools, and even what we
did over the summer. In the future I
hope to get some students involved
so most of the
been about journal table of contents’
Q How long have you been blogging?
A Since 2005.
Q What started you off?
A I discovered by chance that there
were several hundred bloggers
claiming to be located in the Heard
and McDonald Islands, which are
actually uninhabited. It seemed such
a ludicrous yet free-thinking idea that
people could locate themselves
virtually, anywhere, and then write
blogs (some of which supposedly
describe life in those islands) that I
got hooked. Later, I realised there
was also a serious side to blogging.
Q Do you comment on other blogs
and what is the value of doing so?
A I have some RSS feeds
for search terms such as
TicTocs, which allow me
to monitor any blog that
mentions the project, and
I comment on those
posts, often just to thank
them for their interest.
I also make occasional
comments on one or two
other library and
information blogs, if I
think I can add anything
to the discussion.
With respect to fun
encourage the bloggers,
so I regularly contribute
to a handful.
Q How does your
from your presence in
A The Spineless blog is one way to
market the library, give it a higher
profile, and make sure that expensive
resources are exploited. News from
TicTocs is, I hope, building interest in
the future service.
Q How does it help your career?
A I think bloggers are scratching the
surface of what may be achieved in
the future, and it’s exciting to be
involved in all this. Also, the best way
to develop and learn is at the coalface.
Q What good things have happened
to you solely because of blogging?
A Blogging has helped me keep up to
date with new trends, and my circle
of virtual friends has increased. It has
also, I hope, made me aware of
rather than just
Q Work aside,
which blogs do
you read just
A Blogs that
are located on
islands, and Silversprite
(www.silversprite.com) because its
author is an eccentric with a good
photographic eye. ■
Which bloggers do you
watch, link to and why?
I hate to admit that I monitor
250 feeds via Bloglines, but some
of these are RSS feeds rather
than blogs. I regularly check
Phil Bradley’s blog (at
because he’s completely on top of
things; Really Simple Sidi
because Rafael Sidi often has new
and informed angles on things of
(www.cleverclogs.org) in the hope
that I can understand Marjolein
Hoekstra’s posts (which recently
included the following: “Twitter to
Skype Mood Message using
Twype”); UK Web Focus
because Brian Kelly is informative
and amusing; and Lorcan Dempsey
he’s a big thinker.
Peter Scott’s Library Blog
contains lots of news items of
interest. Maeve’s Blog
is interesting, and, of course, the
IWR blog (http://blog.iwr.co.uk) to
keep up with industry news.
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