> Sorry if I've misinterpreted your argument, but aiming code4lib at the
> hard core is an
> opportunity that we shouldn't miss.

I am more analog than most of you (or at least partially powered by
tape-drives, or possibly those great clanking machines from Desk Set) but I
fully agree with this. There are enough publications that labor to explain
technology to the people like me who somewhat "get it," and for the rest,
there's Newsweek. The closest we get to what you're talking about, I think,
is DLib, ITAL, and First Monday. I see these all being rigorous but focused
in other places than "the code." Yours would be a boutique publication, but,
given the Long Tail and all that, properly done, it would work.

> I think the success of the conference
> (which I admit I
> didn't attend but have heard nothing but good things about) validates
> that. BUT, if the
> journal is to be taken seriously, particularly by promotion and tenure
> committees, then it
> does have to be peer reviewed and have some  _semblance_ of
> conventionality.

You could use blogging software to deliver it, but make sure it has peer
review, an ISSN, and a professional appearance.

This is where as a half-analog (or analogue--I like that even better) I'll
step in to say that if you produce it olde-tyme-style, as some kludgey
website or as some honking big long PDF, you will not gain audience, and you
will lose some street cred. As it stands--and please don't take this
personally--Planet Code4Lib, though interesting reading, as a design
experience is, um, a tad rustic, with the kind of gaffes typical of people
who are code-smart but maybe less far along in the social-software dept. But
at least it's online.

You also need a production schedule, a team of peer reviewers, publication
guidelines, and editorial policies. This does not have to take forever.
Frankly, in most typical LibraryLand settings it would take two years, maybe
longer, but an afternoon of skyping and IM'ing among you folks should wrap
things up pretty well.

I was glad to hear about the IRC backchannel. I go to conferences outside
LibraryLand quite a bit and this (or IM backchannels) has become routine,
and not just among the digirati, and yet is treated as outlandishly alien
within ALA, and I don't mean just PLA et al. You definitely get it on how
people do conferences elsewhere.

Frankly, my concern (I hear the tape drives whirring faster as I think about
this) is that you have rushed out of the gate of a conference with great
enthusiasm and then something will happen and the journal will not happen.
You might consider, instead of attempting a regular publication, the online
version of a conference monograph, with everyone tackling specific topics
and the target date to be... let's see, a few weeks prior to Access. Two
publications a year might be reasonable. Or, new-tyme-style, perhaps one
great article a month, leading up to the Northern version of the conference.

Just a thought, so that the sheer daunting nature of the challenge of
putting out a periodic publication doesn't sag under its own weight, once
the post-conference adrenaline burns off.

K.G. Schneider
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