The Aardvark Speaks : essence, effervescence, obscurity. Established 2002. A weblog by Horst Prillinger. ISSN 1726-5320

February 16, 2008


After a long and rather protracted struggle, my MSc thesis on the potentials and practical applications of weblogs in the context of academic libraries is finally finished and will be submitted on Monday. One more exam to go in late March, and then you can download it from a thesis server near you.


Since the late 1990s, a new kind of publication on the Internet has raised an increasing amount of attention: the weblog, basically a website that is frequently updated, contains short postings that are arranged in reverse-chronological order, which can contain anything from everyday experiences of their author to project notes, political commentary, technological newsbites, or even cat pictures. A weblog also typically contains an archive of all previous postings, a unique URL for each entry, an XML feed that allows subscription to the entries, links to related websites and comments from its readers.

Through linking to each other, weblogs form clusters of information; through the chronological order of the entries, they put strong emphasis on processes rather than on results; through the open structure, they invite conversation and communication.

Libraries and librarians are working from the understanding that their goal is to propagate information and access to information. As a consequence, librarians have embraced the weblog concept right from its inception as a medium to connect and inform.

This thesis takes a brief look at the mechanisms of weblogs in general, and some of the principles governing their application in a library context in particular. It also analyses the use of weblog-like web pages maintained by Austrian academic libraries (for both external and internal communication) and to what extent these pages make use of the advantages of weblog technology. These findings are contrasted with examples of how weblogs are used by libraries in other countries. Finally, the thesis will show how personal weblogs written by librarians can rectify negative images of the profession, and will introduce a number of personal weblogs to illustrate the point.

Posted by Horst on February 16, 2008 10:25 PM to metablogging | Tell-a-friend
Lothar Bodingbauer said on February 24, 2008 05:58 PM:

Congratulations! Looking forward to read.

Jann said on February 24, 2008 09:11 PM:

Congratulations on this accomplishment, Horst. I'm interested in the "negative images of the profession." At least in the US and in my experience, female librarians have been steroetyped as being prim and proper, wearing glasses and their hair in a bun. Not so negative, but rather silly. I'm sure you mean something quite different. And the librarians that I have known personally have been persons to emulate.

dieter said on February 25, 2008 08:43 AM:

Still, your abstract makes me wonder, why you write on books so rarely. I remember the bit about butchers eating sweets and stuff, but still, if you follow the idea of connecting information and given the fact that your professional life should be dealing with books, one might expect you to force yourself to sharing some of your insights and likings of books, every now and then.

Just as I would really appreciate some more of your wonderful prose. Still no follow up to the Messages in the making?

Horst said on February 25, 2008 10:30 AM:

If I had a publisher, I would definitely write more.

However, I see no point in just writing for myself, and the whole Books on Demand thing is (a) expensive and (b) doesn't reach an audience beyond the people who know me personally, so I don't see much point in this either.

And yes, I am working on something, not a follow-up to the Messages, but I'm not sure if it's ever going to be published, or even finished for that matter.

As I said, not having a publisher and knowing that only a handful of people will ever read what I'm writing is not much of an incentive to keep writing.

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