Trading Knowledge

Names are important things; they stay with you throughout your life. The same goes for blog titles – they may not be lifelong but they certainly have persistence and so require some careful thought. I can have a sense of fun but only in moderation: I believe in meaningful titles. I think it’s the cataloguer in me that insists a good title should convey something about the subject matter in hand. Potential readers want some idea of what they’re about to pass over without reading.
Conventional wisdom has it that ambiguity dilutes a message but I like to think that, when the ambiguity is intentional, an ambiguous title can convey two meanings rather than just one. There’s verbal efficiency for you.
So, in my quest to think up a title for this blog I think it should be meaningful and preferably it should have two connected meanings. I therefore quickly discarded Library Corner as being both too mundane and perhaps conveying altogether the wrong meaning (stereotype):
Old bookshelves in a library, from Wikipedia
Arcimboldo's Librarian, from Wikipedia
Research Knowledge would be a little more accurate but I don’t feel quite in control of the ambiguity – does it mean “researches about knowledge” or does it perhaps suggest that the author of the blog has an intimate knowledge of various fields of research? It’s ambiguous but in a bad way. Next I came up with The LIS ting. I like this as it introduces the concept of LIS (Library & Information Services), and it also has a pleasingly punning street slang ring to it. Further reflection however suggests two disadvantages: I am dubious whether “LIS” is sufficiently meaningful to a Nature Network audience to make the pun obvious and I am not at all sure that as a bald, portly 51-year-old white Anglo-Saxon person I can really carry off the street slang thang (sic). However the clincher is that the blog will not in fact be a listing, so the pun really falls flat and the title is a nonsense.
Clearly I need to focus my mind (and yours) on what this blog is to be about. I will flesh out the bones in a subsequent posting but for now I can say that the overall domain will be scientific information – consuming, producing, recycling, knowing. I will aim to bring to your attention some issues from the world of LIS (see, you’ve already forgotten haven’t you? It’s Library & Information Services), LIS being the world that I inhabit professionally. I hope also to learn, from your comments, more about the world of science and research that you inhabit and with which I engage through my information endeavours. I hope that you (my readers) will find something of benefit in what I write and that you will in exchange offer me your own reflections as comments.
Hence I have chosen the title Trading Knowledge – a trade between blogger and reader from their different perspectives, and focusing on that world where scientists themselves trade their knowledge though all the tools of scholarly communication.

About Frank Norman

I am a librarian in a biomedical research institute. I've been around a few years, long enough to know that exciting new things fall into the same familiar patterns. I'm interested in navigating a path for libraries as we move further from print to electronic resources to open research, and become more embedded in research workflows.
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6 Responses to Trading Knowledge

  1. Scott Keir says:

    Welcome! Looking forward to hearing from you.
    I started off with the wonderfully pretentious Heterogeneous Miscellanies, and am currently on Mixed Miscellanies – as I just write about stuff. I may rebrand again. But don’t know what to yet.
    Looking forward to finding out what’s coming out of your library corner!

  2. Frank Norman says:

    Thanks Scott – and thanks for setting me free from that “Zero comments” statistic!
    Miscellanies, hmm? I always feel that classifying something as “Miscellaneous” is a bit of a cop-out. It really says “the subject of this is no subject”, which is not a very strong statement! Hence if drawing up a list of categories I try very hard to avoid including the M-word.
    Perhaps you can try copying all your postings into one of those tag cloud generators and see what comes up on top?

  3. Anna Kushnir says:

    Judging by how much enjoyed your first blog post, I am very much looking forward to all your future contributions to NN!

  4. Frank Norman says:

    Thanks Anna!

  5. Maxine Clarke says:

    I was away on holiday when you started this blog, so this accounts for my woeful silence. Congratulations on this momentous act. I look forward to reading your future posts.
    There are a lot of blogs out there with “Library” in the title, so I think it was a good decision to go for something else. It is quite an intriging title, and will probably draw the curious crowds!

  6. Frank Norman says:

    Thanks Maxine!
    I think August is generally a quiet time, so it’s good to have a soft launch in a bit of shade.
    I just hope I can keep the posts flowing!