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Code4Lib 2008: Code4Lib Journal

Feb - 27 - 2008
Nicole C. Engard

Jonathan Brinley, Edward M. Corrado, and Jodi Schneider talked to us about the Code4Lib Journal, a project that had been talked about for years but never implemented until recently. The moral of this story is stop talking and just do it.

They decided to use an agile development philosophy, which basically means don’t over-engineer complicated rules and procedures your might never need – just work on what you need now and the rest will come.

Blog v. Journal

So, why did they choose to do a Journal instead of a blog? In short they chose a journal because it comes with a bit of a stamp of approval that some people need in order to move up the ladder at their workplace – in particular among those in academia.

Where to start?

Get an ISSN – Code4Lib Journal – 1940-5758. They thought this was going to be a crazy process, but it’s just a one page form with a few questions. I’ve actually applied for a few ISSNs – two for work and one for my blog – which Ed Corrado suggested we all go out and do since it’s so easy – but I can tell you that they will turn you down! and if they don’t – let me know and I’ll try again.

Other details

They decided to have rotating coordinating editors so that not one person was in charge all of the time. They also decided to have a public listserv – c4lj-discuss@googlegroups.com – so that everyone can follow along with discussions about the journal.

Articles can be sent in several different formats – right now the editors have worked with almost all of them. They then use WordPress as a publishing tool because it has a flexible templating engine that allows you to make a site not look like a blog and allows for private posts, public posts and public pages. It also comes with stats and other neat plugins that make it the right tool for them to use now – because their agile it may not always be the tool they use.

They’ve gotten their journal listed is DOAJ & Ebsco and it is also being blogged about which is bringing traffic to the site (however – just a note to bloggers for some reason trackbacks aren’t working yet – so post comments on the articles as well). Along those lines, they’d like to see more comments on the journal site – Code4Lib is a community and they want the journal to reflect that.

Overall an interesting talk with some great ideas for publishing a journal online with free tools available on the web.

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2 Responses so far.

  1. thanks for the write-up. To me, the reason to have a journal (rather than just a blog or what have you) is less about the “appearances” (some people don’t respect blogs), and more about saving the time of the reader and information overload—you don’t have time to read every library blog, we provide a single source of articles that editors have decided are useful and timely, and that editors and authors have spent time on polishing to make them as useful as possible.

  2. thanks for the write-up. To me, the reason to have a journal (rather than just a blog or what have you) is less about the “appearances” (some people don’t respect blogs), and more about saving the time of the reader and information overload—you don’t have time to read every library blog, we provide a single source of articles that editors have decided are useful and timely, and that editors and authors have spent time on polishing to make them as useful as possible.


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