One of the ideas that came out of last week's conference in Corvallis
was for a code4lib journal. Here's a proposal for what such a journal
might look like; comments, article submissions, and volunteers are all
WHAT WOULD THE JOURNAL BE ABOUT?
The code4lib conference's call for proposals included the following
description of the prepared talks:
"Prepared talks are 20 minutes, and must center on 'tools' (some cool
new software, software library or integration platform), 'specs' (how to
get the most out of some protocols, or proposals for new ones), or
'challenges' (One or more big problems we should collectively address).
We will evaluate proposals on criteria of usefulness, newness,
geekiness, and diversity of topics."
A code4lib journal would focus on the same topics -- tools, specs, and
challenges in the sphere of library technology -- and articles would be
evaluated for acceptance based on the same criteria (except maybe
diversity of topics).
In addition to a number of full-length, in-depth articles on the above
topics, I would also like to see a section of each issue devoted to
shorter, "lightning talk"-style articles directly relevant and useful to
the people actually working with Dspace, MODS, content management
systems, and recalcitrant OPACS. Some possible subjects might be:
* successful projects
* failed projects
* calls to action
* common mistakes
* useful techniques
(For more information on lightning talks, see the description here:
In essence, the journal would be a formal venue for library
technologists to share their ideas with one another.
WHO WOULD WRITE THE ARTICLES?
Well, if you're reading this message, chances are you're working on an
interesting project that other people would like to read about. Maybe
you've written a good article on your blog that could be polished a bit
and turned into an article. (Heck, maybe you gave a presentation at the
conference!) And there are lots of other people out there who have
never heard of code4lib, but who are working on interesting projects
too. The success of the Access and code4lib conferences suggests that
there is a serious market for this sort of thing.
WOULD IT BE OPEN ACCESS?
WOULD IT BE PEER REVIEWED?
That's a good question, and I'd like to discuss it. Given the
relatively small size of the field, peer review might not be feasible.
I'm personally interested in the idea of a collaborative review process
-- less traditional peer review, more Slashdot/Digg/Wikipedia -- but
that has its downsides as well. What do people think?
IS A CODE4LIB JOURNAL REALLY A GOOD IDEA?
There's been some discussion in the #code4lib IRC channel as to whether
a journal is the best approach. The planet code4lib blog aggregator
(http://planet.code4lib.org/) already brings together a lot of
interesting and innovative work; combining it with a "Carnival" type
approach (http://infosciences.pbwiki.com/) would be another option.
I think an actual journal would have several advantages over other
* It would be more authoritative.
* It would be more compact.
* It would attract readers and contributors from a broader
* It would provide a more formal publication venue for those whose
job requirements include publication.
* It would have an editorial review process, filtering out noise,
dead ends, and broken ideas.
Thoughts? Suggestions? Jeers? Please share any or all of them.
Public Services Librarian
University of Alberta Libraries
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