The Future of IAML Position Papers

During the Moscow Congress, Massimo Gentili-Tedeschi chaired a plenary session at which members had the opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas about IAML and its role in the future. Jim Cassaro had prepared an excellent preface to the discussions, and position papers to stimulate debate had been submitted by Siren Steen and Michael Fingerhut.

Pia Shekhter and I took notes at the session and these are reproduced here, along with Jim’s presentation and the two position papers.

There has been some interesting discussion via IAML-L and on this page about these issues as well as others that had not been raised at the plenary session. There will be an opportunity at the 2011 Conference in Dublin to continue this process and I hope that as many of you as possible will contribute to the debate either in person or online.

In my opinion, this is not so much a discussion about the future of IAML as a discussion about how we can ensure that IAML remains relevant in the future.

These are challenging times, and a healthy organisation is one that does not rest on its laurels!

Roger Flury


The two issues of Fontes that come out after the conference (issues 1 and 2) are mostly filled by articles from the annual conference. It is not possible to publish all papers for a number of reasons, including the fact that some papers are not actually written in a form that makes them publishable (i.e., they were delivered off-the-cuff or never formally completed before presentatoin), other papers have already been promised to other outlets (in many cases, the paper was presented at another, earlier topical conference), and, last, but not least, because it would be very difficult to put together an issue that has an annual focus, rather than one that contains the dozens of different topics that come up in an annual conference.

I, too, have been feeling that the annual meetings have lost their focus. I see toomany reports from committees, commissions, working groups, etc., that say something to the effect of "we didn't have time to meet, therefore we have no report." Yet, the committee, commission, WGs, etc. were set up for a reason - there was a necessity in their formation.

There seems to be an increasing emphasis on making the annual meeting much more like an academic meeting like AMS, where the conference is used to present formal papers, rather than using the conference as a time when music librarians from around the world get together to decide policy, to discuss what's happening in the library/political world that music librarians should have a say in or make a contribution to, to discuss what's happening  in one country that could have effects elswhere, or to discuss how the solution in one country could contribute to a solution in another country. It's also an opportunity to learn about music librarianship on an international scale.

I would like to see fewer monolithic papers and more work being done.

Instead of sitting on the sidelines, we should be thinking of more areas where IAML could be an active force - and Michael has mentioned many of these areas in his paper.

 Annual conferences

I strongly agree with both Michael and Maureen about a possible ‘lost focus’ of the annual meetings. If the conference is intended to present academic, formal papers, one wonders if now there are no better available means to circulate them, than travelling maybe to the other side of the world, often to be also confronted with parallel sessions that make impossible to follow two interesting papers.

I also wonder the effectiveness of what Maureen calls the ‘too many reports from committees, commissions, working groups’ that very often testify that there is no time to meet and effectively work together. I have been personally part of a WG for at least 2 years now, and nothing has been produced for lack of time/money/resources. Why did we form a group if not because we felt it was necessary, and that we were in a good position to deliver something useful?

And why – for instance – don’t make a better, extensive use of the newsletter to present some new activity or project of a country to other members (a long list of very short interventions, sometimes of little use for lack of time for deepening) instead of using the little, precious time that we share face to face at the conference for networking on more general issues of the association scope?

IAML general scopes

I must point out that I have even a remoter librarian profile/expertise than Michael.

My professional experience comes almost entirely from the music publishing and the record publishing industry. That means in other words that I see the world from ‘the other side’ of the fence, i.e. from the producers’ side of what music librarians organize, make available, preserve, digitize and the like. I always admired how librarians were able to do that collectively, while we – the producers – were not. 

And this is why in 2004 I joined the Association.

In the first instance, I think that the scope of IAML – and to this extent the annual conference should be the most important moment –  should be networking and ‘strengthen cooperation among institution and individuals working in this field’ on the relevant themes of the Association that Michael so brilliantly resumed in his mind map. 

As a corollary, its second scope – but not at all the least! – should be lobbying in the music interest. If not IAML, who should?

When a group of IAML members submitted a classical music project to the EU, some years ago, the reaction of EU officers – despite an excellent evaluation of the project idea and proposed implementation – was that in a moment of scarcity of resources it was not the best idea to fund such an irrelevant, niche field. Oh my! Niche field classical music? What best than music and visual arts can account for truly shared European cultural roots?

Isn’t it also for this shared opinion that – as again Michael points out – Europeana ‘has only four types of documents, and music scores and recordings are not identified as such’. Serious music is irrelevant and nichy, for one of the most hyped projects of EU.

And this happens right when it seems that music be the most pervaise soundtrack of our lives and also of the web. Funny!

I took part last week to a public hearing of the European Commission about ‘The governance of public rights management in the EU’, and one of the biggest problem was the great difficulty to get transparent, consistent data to administer rights when it comes to music works. One of the questions that came from the chair was: why isn’t the music world more active to propose a way of ‘pooling’ their data together on the model of what the visual arts bodies did? Good question. Isn’t it IAML the ideal body to propose such a task? Isn’t it the main task of librarians to know how to pool data together and transform data into structured information?

But are there international instances where IAML is present? And shouldn’t it ought to?

And this comes again to one of Michael’s suggestions: I agree that another very important  scopes of IAML should be to ‘take affirmative actions regarding large, general purpose projects such as Europeana, so as to ensure that music material, if made available that way, be properly described and documented’.

And also, I agree that one of the most central scope of any professional association should be to help their members being aware of ‘interesting developments, draw their attention to calls for projects’ etc., offering also to their members a group of experts that can help/assist members in writing/improving/submitting their projects, and most of all finding partners to share ideas and resources.

And this is, in my opinion, in line with not ‘sitting on the sidelines’, like Maureen suggests, but become an active force for music.

I must say I am dismayed to see that the most visible net reaction to Jim Cassaro’s announcements of the availability of the two position papers was a discussion on the list (rather than here, as Jim had asked) about the source and origins of the “aims of IAML”: (to the extent of reposting them – they are fully listed in my position paper). Shouldn’t the gist of this “important dialogue”, as Jim put it, about the future of IAML rather than about its past?


I wonder if the lack of reactions (for, against, or sideways, but reactions) isn’t yet another symptom of the feeling by IAML members of the perceived irrelevance of the association to their daily work, operationally speaking, directly and indirectly (I offered some suggestions about both in my paper). In other words, its only visible glue is the conference (and Fontes too, but differently); papers are accepted because it allows members to obtain funding to attend, and so long until next year.


IAML is made of its members. I hope more will speak up and contribute pragmatic suggestions and visionary ideas to revitalize IAML and make it more relevant to us all. The future is today.

 A couple of weeks ago I attended to a public hearing at the EU commission about the matter of collective management of rights.

Music was non-represented, let alone music libraries.

The Chair asked: why people from the music field don't pool their data together and allow effective search of music works? In other terms: why they are never represented together?

I didn't dare to react, because I felt that I would have been alone, then. And I prefer to avoid the 'only announce' effect. I wish I will be able in the future to congregate IAML members around a project, because IAML hosts an immense quantity of competence, knowledge and expertise. This is why, after all, I entered the Association: it was for me a means to have the collegues I don’t have. Isn’t it realistic that many people like me, who work somewhat alone, or in very small structures/libraries, really need the support of this competence, knowledge and expertise? and most of all I guess that other people would love the opportunity to share their thoughts, questions, lack of experience, with other collegues, but I don't feel that the actual structure of annual meetings really allow this use of the Association. Isn't it a lost opportunity?

I think Siren is exactly on the money when she talks about the value of metadata. For too long, the cataloguing produced by librarians has been unavailable to the general public, mostly because they didn't need it. Now, if you stick a disc in your PC/Mac, it goes to a central metadata site to pick up the "cataloguing" for the disc to present it in your player (iTunes, Windows Media, etc.). Often, however, that metadata is incomplete, incorrect, or even missing and each user, if they want a complete record, has to input it themselves. This is exactly the kind of data that IAML specializes in: complete, correct, and available. Is there anyway that we can intersect IAML's specialty with the needs of the music community at large? Here might be one.

 Totally agree. Most of all, I don't see why we don't use the great network of different languages librarians to help with multilingual thesauri or metadata at large, as suggested by Siren and reprised by Maureen.

Last December IAML contributed to a EU public consultation. Our contribution is here

and as requested by Martie I posted it on the IAML list, but nobody reacted or commented. Does maybe anybody like to comment now?

This is a concrete area where we could cooperate together and provide a big help to music lovers. Imagine you are one of the 40 millions (or zillions, now) of music students in China. How can you even fancy to access to the immense repository of music material hidden in European libraries if you don't know the language of their (different) metadata? But also, how you can access it if you are a small Italian (Lithuanian, Welsh, Portoguese) public library and you'd like to access to Polish (Catalan, Hungarian, Slovakian) material?

And this would be, I think, a big help for Europeana, and maybe push them towards the acknowledgement of specificity of music objects. If this is not a space of intervention for music librarians, for whom it is then?


I yesterday erroneusly posted here a document that should have been Federica Riva’s response to MF’s position paper but that in fact was only a draft. My apologies for the error! Federica Riva's response will follow in a short time.

David A. Day's picture

I agree with Michael's suggestion that IAML should coordinate better with related organizations. I wonder if these organizations are also experiencing decling memberships. I do not know how practical the implications are, but I wonder if it would be possible to develop a collaborative pricing structure for membership. If, for example, one wanted to be a member of both IAML and IASA, could there be a reduced membership fee for those who are members of both organizations? I assume any consideration of this proposal would involve an analysis what one actually pays for with their membership dues. If our journals are one of the most expensive costs, then reduced membership dues might include access to a PDF version of the journal only.

David A. Day's picture

As part of the discussion of the future of IAML, and as suggested by Siren, I would like to revisit the idea of an electronic Fontes. As Siren points out the original idea in the Danish/Norwegian proposal met a lot of opposition. I was not too vocal at the time, but I think I would have sided with those who preferred to keep the print.

I have revised my thinking and now favor an “electronic only” Fontes. Here are some thoughts on why I think this is best for IAML, especially as we look to the future.

First, I envision a web-based system of distributing Fontes. Just as many academic publishers have moved in this direction, I think Fontes should be accessible through a proprietary or corporate website. It would require a system where IAML members would be emailed their annual password to access their personal copy. For those members who love to carry their Fontes on the bus or wherever, buy an iPad, Kindle, or similar product, then you can carry all kinds of books, journals and audio in a device about the same size.

Such a system of access would permit a more cost effective “journal only” membership fee structure. I believe that many librarians and scholars who do not want to pay the full membership fee, might be willing to pay for the journal only at a significantly reduced price (say 20 Euros, for electronic access). This option might be very attractive as part of a joint IAML membership, if you are already a member of IASA or some other associated organization.

The price of full membership would include benefits of lower registration fees for conferences and possibly discounts on other publications and services. Non-member fees to attend the conference should basically pay for membership. This is the norm in most all organizations I have experience with. These “full membership” benefits might be carefully considered for both institutional and personal members. The idea is to keep as many full members as possible, yet through lower prices for the “journal only” option, attract new and younger interest in the organization.

I suspect that most libraries subscribing to Fontes would welcome an electronic option. Some libraries might want a license option sold through IIMP or Ebsco, etc. I believe IAML should be very aggressive promoting the electronic Fontes to many vendors and pursue a price structure that is guaranteed to recover what the print subscriptions bring in now. Also work with Interlibrary Loan operations to generate revenues from this type of usage.

The next few suggestions may prove unpopular, but I hope they will be considered:

The whole advertising structure for Fontes should be recreated in an innovative manner. The advertising model for Fontes currently is not attracting enough revenues. I know; I am the current advertising manager. I am trying to attract logical advertisers, but without adequate success. With an electronic Fontes I can envision a number of attractive options that are not possible in print.

First, sell ads for the website where you access the journal. I know we all probably do not like Internet advertising as we know it, but try to envision a model where the content is of 100% interest to music librarians and where it is truly informative. Envision ads for new publications with more than just a picture of the cover. Such ads could include abstracts, illustrations, and even streaming video interviews with authors and endorsements. If I were a publisher, I believe I would be willing to pay more for an ad that was more likely to actively engage my target market. Even consider having ads play automatically when you go to download an article. Some might see this as an intrusion, but IAML should plead with its membership to accept the ads as a way of funding their organization. As a group we go out of our way to visit exhibitors at conferences. We want them to know that we respect and appreciate their services and contributions. Why not accept a similar attitude in relation to online advertising? It is our business; we should want to be aware of new publications and services. Again, if I were a publisher, I would be willing to pay more knowing my interactive, engaging ad would be viewed, rather than just a static ad in the back of a print volume that may have little impact.

Color ads could also be incorporated into actual articles or the full PDF version of the journal. The cost for such ads is less to produce and it could offer advertisers much greater possibilities for creative engagement.

Libraries and private collectors might be charged modest fees to post announcements about new collections and projects. One thought is to engage and encourage donors of major collections or acquisitions to help spread the word about their contribution through an attractive color or animated ad in Fontes and/or published on the Fontes website. I see this as a sort of Notes for Notes on steroids. Give it some thought. Donors want to get the word out about their contributions. I believe most would gladly pay a few hundred Euros for such an opportunity. The price structure for such library ads should take into account whether or not the library is an institutional member of IAML.

Move away from the current model of “printing” Fontes being IAML’s most costly expense to a model of “server maintenance.” Careful design and management of a server to support Fontes might have other applications in promoting online bibliographic projects and online collections. Such a server could, of course, be out sourced, just as we currently outsource the printing of the journal.

As I see it, these innovations should not compromise the editorial integrity of Fontes in any way. In fact, an electronic Fontes should open up exiting possibilities for color illustrations, lengthy music examples (that stream audio), and extensive bibliographies and illustrated reviews that are not impractical in the print format.

I am very eager to know more about what the general membership thinks of this idea. Please make your voice known. Please participate in the discussion. I am also eager to know what publishers think of the possibilities for advertising.

David A. Day's picture

As I have reflected on the future of IAML in general, one possibility has persisted in my thinking. I believe this possibility has broad application in relation to many of the issues presented by Michael and Siren. The basic idea is that IAML should become more involved in sponsoring collaborative digital collections.

Digital collections are increasingly commonplace. National libraries with the necessary technical resources and special collections develop some of these collections. Other projects ranging from Google Book to the Internet Archive to the Petrucci Music Library are rapidly expanding the universe of free online access to scores and music research. The picture of digital audio is more complicated due to copyright, but audio and visual resources are also increasing rapidly on the Internet.

What I am proposing for IAML is different in several important aspects. The distinctions I foresee are (1) the organized collaborate nature of the projects, (2) the specialized selection of unique materials, and (3) value added features that incorporate scholarship into the development and promotion of the collections. I believe that IAML is ideally positioned to facilitate these goals and features. I believe the pursuit of such efforts is one way to ensure a viable and relevant future for IAML.

Here are a few loosely organized thoughts on how IAML could approach such projects:

IAML is an organization of librarians and libraries. It is very rare that even the largest of national libraries houses ALL of the resources necessary for research on a given topic. I am proposing that IAML use all of its opportunities for dialog (conferences, blogs, listserv, organizational structure) to facilitate collaboration in the development of specialized digital collections aimed at and engaged with appropriate scholarly communities. Engage scholars in the selection and presentation of these collections in ways that bring “value added” features to the collection. These digital collections would be accessed through websites that bring together related research and a variety of communication and collaboration opportunities.

Perhaps there should be a sub-committee organized in IAML evaluate and facilitate such efforts.

Evaluate a variety of possible models of sustainability: host institutional support, IAML supported, fee access, licensing through vendors, advertising revenues, etc. Each project may require or present a variety of different options.

Focus on manuscript and other unique resources not accessible in commercial products or free Internet sites. Such collections might be organized around a variety of themes: composer specific, instruments, genres, etc. They might be envisioned as products similar to the Garland sets of the 1980s, but on a larger scale.

The development of such collections should be linked to conference sessions as a way of organizing support, reporting progress, and promoting finished products. In similar manner, reports and associated scholarship should be featured in Fontes articles.

Try to tap into the efforts already underway at many institutions including Google Book and the Internet Archive. Also study and adopt their models of production. Seek grants to purchase similar mass production scanning cameras and other necessary technical equipment. Use the collaborative nature of the projects to strengthen grant proposals. Use the collaborative nature of the program and IAML’s prestige as a means of winning local administrative support.

Tap into potential support of donors associated with special collections. They might be willing to support the creation of an online presence that recognizes their contributions. Think like PBS; seek sponsorship for quality content. Also think of ways IAML can advertise its own accomplishments.

Possible changes to Fontes and the development of these collaborative digital collections might necessitate a restructuring of the publications committee and other aspects of the IAML organization. Most importantly we need to ask and consider how we can change from an organization that takes too long to accomplish too little to one that gets things done in a timely manner. I believe that successful development of significant collaborative digital collections that serve the scholarly community will go a long way in revitalizing IAML as an organization.

In your search for a perfect online solution, there are still a couple of things that need to be taken into consideration:

1) Access. As Outreach becomes more important to IAML, we're going into areas where computers and, perhaps, electricity are not available or consistent. We have had first-hand testimony of this at IAML meetings and it's appeared in Fontes - see, for example, Christian Onyeji's article in Fontes 2008:2, where he says: "Computer and information technology in the Nigerian context are regarded as a specialty meant for a few that can afford them. It is not seen as other working tools such as books, pen, pencil, board, etc. that are indispensable in teaching and learning situations." (p. 266). Fontes is a core journal and a working tool for music librarians.

2) Advertising. We don't have enough advertising. Period. Everywhere that a IAML library spends money should have an ad in Fontes. We have a few constants such as Theodore Front to whom we are very grateful, but where are the auction houses, where are the CD box suppliers, where are the furniture makers, where are the audio component makers, where are the publishers of music books and books on music? We as a profession spend enormous sums of money on supplies and with suppliers and this needs to come back to us. If you look at other professional journals and their budgets, often you'll find that the entire cost of the journal is supported by advertising. Currently, for IAML it's a closed circle where your membership fees support the journal - if the journal costs were covered by advertising, then your membership fees could support other IAML activities.

3) Costs and Effects. If we decrease the number of copies produced, then we'll have to decrease what we charge advertisers. If we decrease the number of copies produced, our per-unit cost will increase. If you don't want multiple copies of Fontes at your library and home, think about acting locally and using them for outreach at the National Branch level.

4) Online as a Concept. Just because we put the journal online doesn't mean that it's going to be read - either online or in your higher-cost, privately-made paper copy. We can look at "Recent Publications" - it's been online since May and what do we see when we look at the usage - May: 456; June 242; July 165; Aug, 178 - hmmm, that totals to less than half of the circulation of the journal and the number goes down every month. Our online Newsletter has had 1 issue in 12 months - and all 3 editors complained of the same thing - lack of contributions by members. So, in two examples of IAML online, we see IAML Inactive and not IAML Interactive.

I'm all in favor of innovation and being cutting edge, but I just don't see that taking the journal solely to an electronic format serves IAML's mission and there's too much evidence that IAML's use of already-supplied electronic tools is extremely limited.

A one-line (for Tweeter users?) summary of Maureen's comments, with which I am in agreement, is that the problem (if problem there is) is not with the IAML communication tools, but with IAML communication per se. Now, how do we address this?

Ich kann nur wiederholen, was ich bereits am vergangenen Samstag geschrieben habe: Die Kommunikation werden nur diejenigen führen, die Zeit haben, die wirklich guten Beiträge in Ruhe zu lesen und dann auch noch die Zeit haben, eigene Beiträge in Englisch zu verfassen. Ich muß gestehen, daß ich tagsüber nicht dazu komme, alles zu lesen (auch nicht, wenn es in meiner Muttersprache wäre); hinzukommt, daß viele auch nur ihre dienstlichen email-Adressen angegeben haben, d.h. sie lesen IAML-Korrespondenz nur tagsüber im Dienst; nach Feierabend hört das Engagement auf.

"We can look at "Recent Publications" - it's been online since May and what do we see when we look at the usage - May: 456; June 242; July 165; Aug, 178 - hmmm, that totals to less than half of the circulation of the journal and the number goes down every month."

Als Advocata diaboli erlaube ich mir die provokante Behauptung:

Daß Fontes eine Auflage von fast 2.000 Stück hat, heißt doch noch lange nicht, daß 2.000 Menschen Fontes auch lesen bzw. daß 2.000 Menschen früher Recent Publications in Druckform gelesen haben.

It is true, communication takes time, whether it is during working hours or off. Let's put this consideration aside for a minute - as it is intractable, as they say about some math problems - but ask then differently: how come some professional mailing lists "work" and others not?

I don't think it is a question of the professional profile of the community (say, science vs. humanities, assuming the first one is composed of geeks who are connected at least 24 hours a day...). As proof, I recall the French-speaking librarian list which had many posters (so much so actually that it caved under its own weight and shut down).

I think that the example of Michael (why did the French-speking list cave under its own weight while this is NOT IAML's case) is maybe linked to what Jutta meant last week: to write in another language IS a problem, most of all if one wants to articulate a thought, not just to say that - say - a meeting is postponed to another day or so.

Why don't we simply encourage people to write in their own language? Apart for what David suggested last week (automated translations, to grasp at least the most important points), maybe other IAMLers are available to provide a short translation.

At least, we can always try.

It would be nice to have, next to each individual post (article, comment) a link to Google Translate which would automatically copy the contents to be translated into that tool. One would then have to click once to get there, and select the target language. Or, better, have 3 links, one to English, one to Deutsch, one to Français. One click et voilà.


David A. Day's picture

I greatly appreciate the comments from Maureen, Michael, Jutta, and Patrizia. I have the highest regard for their professional perspectives. Their ideas have helped to broaden my own thinking. I recall an experience as a graduate student at New York University. Once Professor Jan LaRue tried to convey a concept in class by drawing an analogy with the game of tennis. He stressed that an enjoyable game of tennis is all about the volley back and forth between players. I can see how useful this blog format can be for the process of sharing ideas and learning from that exchange. I offer some responses to their remarks in the hope we will all grow in our understanding. I do not want this exchange to become political or confrontational. So I again, I offer some ideas in appreciation for the comments others have shared.

1) Access: I do not pretend to have first hand experience with the music library situation in developing countries, but I am not persuaded that sending one complementary print copy of Fontes to a country like Nigeria is preferable to making it available throughout the entire country via the internet. If the concern is access, the Internet is certain to offer broader access, perhaps especially in countries with limited resources. I do not know how many music libraries there are in countries like Nigeria and what their limits are to Internet access. One sees all the time in TV news segments references to ubiquitous internet cafes in countries like Nigeria, filled with Internet con artists sending thousands of phishing messages all around the world. Even if we are dealing with a hundred music libraries around the world that desperately need Internet access, wouldn’t IAML go further in supporting that avenue of development? There is also the possibility of producing a very limited number of print copies for special circumstances. This print-on-demand option is increasingly common and affordable.

So to be more concise, if access is a concern, I believe that Fontes would have a greater impact if accessible online. There are options for very limited print runs, but in order achieve necessary financial sustainability I think it will require a total transfer to electronic only.

2) Advertising: I would offer just one word of caution. Advertisers place ads in journals like Fontes because they hope for an increase in sales and business. I feel uncomfortable with an assertion of privilege or the idea that if music libraries do business with a company in general they should be expected to advertise in our journal as a sort of thank you (apologies if I read too much into Maureen’s comment). I think in their mind they should advertise only with a hope or expectation that the cost of advertising will increase sales. Some of our previous advertisers have withdrawn their ads noting that they could not perceive any benefit. This is why I feel that an electronic Fontes with creative and engaging advertising options would help. I agree that more advertising is needed. In my role as the advertising manager I am frustrated that publishers who regularly run multi-page ads in comparable journals have declined my requests for Fontes. Perhaps I am a poor salesman and should resign!

3) Costs and Effects: It may all be a question of perspective, but I think this concern works in favor of an electronic Fontes and new creative ads. Again, I think that an electronic option for Fontes would enable and invite possibilities for a joint membership plan. That could dramatically increase the circulation of Fontes.

4) Online as Concept: I agree with Jutta’s comment. Is there strong evidence that every print issue of Fontes is read? With an electronic version we may be able to say more about how it is used, especially if licensed to vendors like Ebsco and ProQuest.

Michael’s point is also well taken. Perhaps the format of Fontes is not the issue; rather we might ask what needs to be done to engage more of the IAML community in all of our existing communication options? In any case, I ask if there is currently any committee in IAML examining the possible future options for Fontes? Has the Publications Committee studied this issue? Have they announced any findings or conclusions? Perhaps it was published in a report in Fontes or the Newsletter and I missed it! Now that would be embarrassing!

I agree with Patrizia and Michael that more should be done to facilitate translation of blog posts. Maybe Gabriele can comment on the possibilities. I am happy if everyone wants to write in his or her native language.

I continue to ponder Michael’s essential challenge. What can be done to increase participation in all aspects of IAML? This is key to IAML’s future success. What more can be done to tap into our mutual love for our profession? I believe that most of us love what we do. I believe that all of us would love to see better progress in the types of projects IAML does and could sponsor. Why is participation lower than it should be? What can be done to encourage more participation and productivity? Answers to these questions could help guide our organizational changes as we look to the future.

Sería bueno tener, al lado de cada entrada individual (artículo, comentario) un enlace a Google Translate, que automáticamente se copie el contenido a traducir en ese instrumento. Entonces se tendría que hacer clic una vez para llegar hasta allí, y seleccione el idioma de destino. O, mejor, tienen 3 enlaces, uno de Inglés, uno de alemán, una al francés. Un clic et voilà.

There are a lot of possibilities!

(Français) (Deutsch)

Let me first start with the end: maybe I am not technically savvy enough, but I find the way articles and comments are presented on this blog a total mess. There is no way to see right away what is the most recent comment, for instance, other than going through the whole list. Also, the increased indentation makes it increasingly narrow, until it will be 1-character wide. This may well be one additional reason why people don't read nor publish here (after all, the shape of a tool is primordial to having it used or not). "Normal" blogs have several ways to make reading them easier: comments don't show unless a single artlcle is clicked on and displayed in a new window, and optionally menus give the link to the five (say) most recent comments and/or posts.

Now to the second point: David writes that an electronic Fontes would draw more advertizing. Why then has the electronic newsletter attracted just one single ad? Just wondering.

David A. Day's picture

What I am suggesting is a different kind of advertising. I suppose I am to blame if I have not promoted that kind of new media advertising. Part of the situation is that we offer ads in the Newsletter at a significant discount if it is the same ad that runs in Fontes. The ads in Fontes are limited to greyscale print. As the idea for this newer model for advertising is recent in my own mind and it has not been explored before . . . I wonder if I need permission from the Publications Committee to pursue it? Or, am I free to just go for it?

David A. Day's picture

Michael, can you tell us how you created your translation links? I tried to do it by typing in (Français) (Deutsch) and then linking the URLs of the Google translations to the corresponding text, but it returned only a fragment of the text.

2,000 copies are circulated and accessible to many thousands of people. Once we go online, we can see immediately that our circulation for that section has fallen drastically. But, in the end, we really don't know if that was because readers aren't looking for it, readers don't know where to find it, or readers don't care. We also don't know if the 1,000 readers are people who would have received the journal anyway or found it via Google.

Don't forget that we do have an online presence - we are on EBSCO et al. - at a year delay. Yes, there's a price for that. Yes, we get income for that. But, yes, we are online.

Here's where we disagree. We're not a public signboard nor are we a guarantor of sales. Advertisers place ads in Fontes because we can give them access to readers who are interested in their products. This is the goal of advertising in general - how do I get my product in front of the people who are looking for it? I don't see the idea of advertising as a "thank you" to librarians - I see it as a reciprocal relationship. We spend money with company X because we need their products. We'd like company X to support our work and in return, we give them access to our focused audience.

I don't know what you intented to write, but the subject means is "excellent public protest"...

As to the body, I see five narrow rectangles - is that your way of counting the number of people who contribute to this blog: Patrizia, Maureen, Jutta, you, I (there was one from Gabriele, but it had to do with his (non)-posting of one of Patrizia's comment, not a comment in and of itself)?

Tom Leher, eh...?

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This morning, I found in my mailbox nine messages announcing a new comment had been posted here. Some of them were about comments published many hours earlier which I had already read and which hadn't been announced, while other more recent ones were announced.  Three of them were announcing the same comment (one of David's), the first one sent at 1:17AM (Paris time), the last one at 6:17AM. Isn't there a problem here? These alerts are not really helpful as they are.

Hi Michael,

as I already said, if you or someone else suggests me the name of a better blog software, I'll install it.

In my view it is normal that when you click on "Reply" there is an indentation. If you don't want it, just click on "Add new comment" and the new comment will go to the top of the list without indentation, without connection with the message you are replying to, in what in my view *is a real mess*, but it is just obviously the opinion of a not-loving-blogs person.

Notification mails are sent when a new comment is posted and also when there is an update. So, if I post a new comment and then update it, you will get two emails in your inbox, not just one. This behaviour can be changed from your account page.  Another possibility of course is that the software is not working as it should: if this is the case, I suggest you to click on "Stop watching" the page and just rely on the RSS feed. A fix will come, sooner or later.



There are - as I see it (it is my personal opinion, not a general statement) - several distinct problems:

  1. The way this "blog" (it isn't one, it is a single page) is built is multi-threaded: the list of posts and replies is not linear in time: the main postings appear in reverse chronological order (the most recent one being on top), while newer comments follow the previous ones they adress, i.e., in chronological order. The net result is that the most recent comments are interspersed throughout this page as well as the main entry points, but in mixed order (as one order is time, the second context). This structure is not visible, and Jorge's suggestion is interesting (or have a menu hanging somewhere pointing to the most recent entries).
  2. Once you click to comment, a new page opens without the context (the text you are commenting on).
  3. Having titles on comments adds to the confusion, as they are linked either to other comments or to a main entry (which has its own title).

I don't know how this one is customizable, nor whether other blogs integrate or not in Drupal, so I can't suggest a specific alternative. I happen to use Wordpress (without much customization) and it suits my personal needs.

1) of course it is a single page! A single page dedicated to discuss the posted position papers....

If people want the more recent post at the top, they just have to click "Add new comment" (as you did now) and not "Reply". I don't think I can disable the Reply button without hacking the PHP code.

Yes, I can add a module with the more recent comments (it would be just another "view" of the RSS feed "page").

2) and 3) sorry, this is the way this software works. I can search for something better or I can install Wordpress (it is probably just "apt-get install wordpress and forget about that"), but, as you wrote,

the problem (if problem there is) is not with the IAML communication tools, but with IAML communication per se. Now, how do we address this?

Your position paper have been accessed 294 times since it went on the site: how many comments have you seen, here or on the ML? How many comments did you get in Moscow? How many people are going to use Wordpress if/when I install it? Who is going to post any few days a new subject of discussion, like in a real blog?  What's the point in having a generalist blog on the site? Commissions and branches should have their spaces to discuss their arguments - if they have something to discuss...

hello to all,

i would like to beguin saying thanks to you all for this amazing amount of suggestions in so different fields. i believe, like you, that the moment is important for our organization and we should make an effort to improve activities and strategies.

special thanks also to gabriele, who makes a big effort to keep this page alive and well. i see that the blog it's been at last a success. we need to keep it interesting and appealing.

i apologize because my first contribution is actually a suggestion concerning this blog's design. as far as there are already a lot of threads and answers, i believe it would be very helpful to show just the heads in the main page. it's difficult to find new contributions if you are not subscribed.

thank you again!

jorge (spain)


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