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  1. 1. 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 HTTP://BLOG.IWR.CO.UK23 WWW.IWR.CO.UK INFORMATION WORLD REVIEW JANUARY 2008 Q Where is your blog or blogs? A There’s the Heriot- Watt Library blog Spineless (at http:// and News from TicTocs (http://tictocsnews. 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 close friends. 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 in posting. News from TicTocs keeps stakeholders updated with the project’s progress. We’re currently busy with technical development, so most of the posts have been about journal table of contents’ RSS feeds. 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 blogs, comments encourage the bloggers, so I regularly contribute to a handful. Q How does your organisation benefit from your presence in the blogosphere? 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 writing things that will interest readers, rather than just myself. Q Work aside, which blogs do you read just for fun? A Blogs that are located on uninhabited islands, and Silversprite ( 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 interest; CleverClogs ( 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 ( because 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 ( to keep up with industry news. 023_IWR_Jan08.QXP 18/12/07 11:44 Page 23