This is probably a bad idea.

I mean that two ways.  One, I may very well be the only person interested in doing something like this and people looking at this project will think, “That’s dumb, Glassmeyer. Why’d you waste time setting that up?”  Two, there is a great probability that this will cause me much more trouble and drama than it will ever be worth.  And I’m really trying to stay out of the trouble and drama business in 2011.   CUE THE MARY J. BLIGE!

Before I bury the lead amongst all my usual blog silliness, I’m going to just spit it out: I set up a wiki where librarians and other interested parties can share information about all aspects of the library/vendor relationship.  It can be found at . Which, handily, what I call it as well.  It’s really a product of my own greed and laziness – I find that the more I get into looking at Library-Vendor relations, the more I realize that I don’t know.  And I want a one stop shop to collect that information and learn from what others know.

Now for a  slightly longer explanation…

About a year ago, I was having dinner with someone at the Computers in Libraries Conference in Washington, DC.  The conversation turned, as it does, to the legal information duopoly.  (Seriously, Gentle Reader…I am a HELL of a dinner date.)  Specifically we were talking – or maybe I was ranting, the memory is fuzzy (A HELL OF A DINNER DATE) – about the secrecy clauses that Wexis enforce in library contracts and Carl Malamud’s efforts to FOIA and release this information from government agencies.   I said jokingly, “Someone oughta set up a wikileaks for library contracts.”

My companion and I looked at each other and laughed at the silliness of the idea.  And then became serious as we realized, “hey, that’s actually sort of a good idea.”  And then laughed again.   Then my companion became deadly serious and told me to not do it, but if I was going to do it, keep my name the heck off of it so that I didn’t get personally or professionally harmed. Because “THEY” would come after me.

Undeterred, I came home from CiL, detoxed and then registered the domain.  And then realized that I’m  not a computer programmer.  Between trying to figure out a way to set up the web site, getting settled into my new job and new region of the country (only 2 weeks into it at that point!), then summer conference season, then trying to figure this new professor gig and survive fall semester, then fall conference season and organization responsibilities…  well, the next thing I knew it was last week and I hadn’t really made too much progress on the site besides having the URL point to a drupal install and many many broken iterations of the site.

As you may have noticed, Gentle Reader, I think about library-vendor relations a lot.  A LOT.  And one thing that I keep discovering is that the things I’m interested in or information I want isn’t really easy to find.  So I end up having to spend a lot of time searching around and creating things the Legal Information Providers Merger Graphic.  Or those HCOD Math numbers.  I also keep realizing that there are big chunks of history and information that I just don’t know because I’m a newer librarian and I’m in a pretty small subject corner of libraryland.  So, for example, when Steve Lawson mentioned “The Big Deal” in a recent post,  I had hunt around and figure out what the heck he was talking about.

So that’s a major part of what I’d like the site to become.  I want a place where librarians can teach and learn from each other on this very important topic.

When I was thinking of the wikileaks idea last year around this time, I also had percolating in my head a post from The Librarian in Black about Unethical Library Vendors that encouraged librarians to share their opinions on vendors with each other.  Since not everyone has the time or energy to maintain a blog – and the blogoshere is scattered and hard to keep track of –  I thought it’d be nice for there to be a centralized place for librarians to share this info – a libraryland version of the “Shopping for a Better Planet” book that I mentioned in my last post , if you will. It’s forward movement and a way we can all do something that could have some use to others – not waiting for organizations or even our employers to do something.

So, again, I don’t  know if anything will come of this.  It’s going to take a lot of work from a lot of people to become successful.  If you want to take the idea and run with it and put it somewhere else I don’t mind.  And if nothing comes of it, that’s fine too.

I set up a rough shell to get things started.  I invite you to dig in there and get involved.


  9 comments for “

  1. libenthused
    March 10, 2011 at 11:13 am

    Great idea. Can’t say enough about how badly this is needed.

  2. March 10, 2011 at 11:29 am

    Brilliant idea!

  3. M
    March 10, 2011 at 11:35 am

    I like this idea. I can see some ramifications, but I hope you can find a way to stick with it. Whatever librarians may say outwardly, this plan fills a real and valid niche in our professional training. Thank you.

  4. March 10, 2011 at 11:52 am

    A quick, first, and possibly superficial thought:

    Creating a site that looks just like Wikipedia –same layout, same format, etc.–may not be the wisest design in the long run. I realize that this is a “beta” version, but that was my first reaction.

  5. Margie Maes
    March 10, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    This is a pretty interesting idea. A lot of what you’ve outlined on the wiki is available in some form or another but in scattered places. It would be good to have one point of access. I’ll try to contribute some things that I know about as time permits. Thanks for thinking about vendor relations!

  6. March 10, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    excellent idea. I’m not as much in the vendor-library relations business as I once was, but it’s a great idea.

  7. Mary Jenkins
    March 11, 2011 at 10:59 am

    So, I just said this on 3 Geeks and a Law Blog but the comment really belongs here, too: I’ve used wikis extensively for staff information sharing and internal library documentation, for consortium or other association collaboration (and in place of traditional websites), and for long-distance committee work. I’m all for this sort of information sharing. While we do have the CRIV page as a collection point for various tools, policies, etc. and as one point of information dissemination, I agree that there’s a need for a more robust site for posts and sharing. Listservs aren’t the right tool for archived or organized info and the structure of CRIV’s website doesn’t facilitate organic, collaborative work. I’m glad to have this sort of mechanism and I plan to post content and comments.

  8. April 1, 2011 at 11:05 am

    As they say, “nothing ventured..” Aside from listservs, we certainly could use a good forum to discuss our experiences with vendors. It is way too soon to say, but perhaps this blog will morph into a mechanism for sending vendors some sort of collective response on how librarians feel about their licensing and business practices..both pro and con. Sharing with colleagues outside your own library helps to dispel the aggravation some vendors provoke so well. As well, a way to send kudos to those who “get it”. This takes a lot of time and effort–thanks!

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