Is this a post?

Today is a special day on Occams Typewriter. One year ago the site burst onto the blogosphere.

I had an idea to write a witty history of Occams Typewriter in the form of a Christmas carol, but I didn’t have enough wit. I couldn’t get past the first line:

O little town of Nature Ne-etwork, how still we see thy blogs.

So I scrapped that idea.

Then I thought of just writing a straight brief history. But I didn’t get much further:

We were a group of people thrown together by chance, a common interest in writing around science and a shared approach to discourse.

So I scrapped that idea.

Then I tried the last resort of the tired blogger – put up a word cloud from all my posts over the past 12 months, pretending that no-one’s ever thought of it before.

But that doesn’t seem to capture what I have been thinking about in the past 12 months. I thought the word cloud would have a stronger showing from ebooks, open access, journal publishing, and a few other things. I think the reason it doesn’t is because I haven’t been writing about everything I have been thinking about in the past 12 months.

So I gave up on that idea too.

There was a danger that this post would join that long list of half-finished posts – partly-realised ideas for posts that I never get round to polishing up enough to publish. But it’s not everyday that you can mark the anniversary of a blog platform so I really have to write something.

THe best I can do is to to express my gratitude to Occams Typewriter – to Richard for having the vision and setting it up, and to all the OT regulars and irregulars for making it what it is now.

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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20 Responses to Is this a post?

  1. As I understand my philosophy of obscure apocryphal academic jokes, the correct Oxbridge-approved answer to the question posed in your title:

    “Is this a post?”


    “Yes, if this is a comment”

  2. Grant says:

    Once, fairly early in my blogging days, I got so frustrated at nothing I started out writing on panning out—to my satisfaction anyway—for my then daily posts, that I struck on the idea of writing about the things I didn’t write about – and told my readers so.

    Oddly that post didn’t get many readers. Hmm.

    Thing is, I know how you feel. This from a guy who, nominally, has 99 posts in ‘draft’ – mostly abandoned.

    I wonder why research is counted twice, once horizontally and once vertically? 🙂

    • I empathize strongly with “99 posts in ‘draft’ – mostly abandoned”….

    • Frank says:

      Grant – I think that is a good idea – writing short pieces on topics rather than closely-reasoned dissertations. I have found that sometimes those pieces seem to work better, in terms of audience response, than my longer pieces. But I get more satisfaction from the longer pieces, and that’s all that counts really!

      I think the wordle program has not recognised the equivalence of upper and lower case, so “research” is different from “Research”. I did do a bit of tidying up, but missed that one.

  3. Stephen says:

    So, who is Fletcher Harington? 😉

    • Frank says:

      I think he probably played cricket for Middlesex in the 1940s. He was famous for his partnership with Charles Walter Morley 😉

  4. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    O little town of Nature Ne-etwork, how still we see thy blogs.

    I’m almost tempted to keep that going… I’ll give it some thought 🙂

    Thanks for all your posts this year, Frank – in stark opposition to my own output, you are the master of quality over quantity!

  5. Above thy deep and dreamless spam…

    (can’t think of a good way to end that line and still rhyme with “blogs”. “Bogs”? Surely we can work some toilet humor into it.)

    • Frank says:

      Haha, love it.

      Is ‘enfogs’ a word? I checked an online rhyming dictionary and found:


      I think ‘clogs’ might have some mileage in relation to spam, but it’s tricky to get it at the end of the line.

  6. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    no more pho-o-tos of dogs?

  7. ricardipus says:

    I used to frequent an online forum where one well-liked and frequent contributor constantly mis-typed the word “post” as “psot”. Maybe this is one of those?


    • Frank says:

      Yes, that is a word I am familiar with too. 😉 These days error correction software has mostly eliminated these simple errors from my typing. But predictive text on phones and ipads have taken mis-typing to a whole new level.

  8. rpg says:

    It’s been an honor to have you, Frank.

  9. cromercrox says:

    Photo of dog
    , recently. Not waiting for the bus to the station.

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