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Blogs Worth Reading

(Second entry in a new series, published mid-week on Free Range Librarian.)

I track over 100 blogs, but I really like several dozen, and they are all over the map–news, librariana, literature, technology, opinion, humor, and other kibbles and bits. This week I’ll talk about two very different blogs, one from academia/librarianship and the other from the world of books: Open Access News and Beatrix.

Open Access News is a blog about the “open access movement,” presented in a sober, no-nonsense style, often reportorial in tone. Updated at least several times a week, Open Access News is produced under the aegis of scholar and former philosophy professor Peter Suber, with contributions from a team of, well, aegies?

It’s fascinating to watch the open access movement develop, and this blog is its paper of record. Additional features include definitions of open access, a detailed timeline of the open access movement, and related links.

The title, Open Access News, is a bit misleading, as this blog is clearly an advocacy tool for the open access movement, and the “news” is uniformly presented from that perspective. However, within our profession it would be safe to say that support for open access is received wisdom, so we’ll let that slide.

Reviewing a blog that reviews book reviews feels just a twee like the Infinite Cat Project–I’m keening for someone to now review this review. I’d bet on it being positive, because even in its infancy Beatrix is a winner, a stand-out blog on the literary scene. Produced with daily postings for by Ron Hogan, whose personal blog, Beatrice, is a chatty, well-written, ever-amusing scan of the literary scene, Beatrix is an equally mile-high and yet delightfully accessible scan of the world of book reviews, answering questions such as “How did this season’s hot books generate their heat? And why do other novels surrounded by buzz turn into duds?”

I like Hogan’s writing and analysis; he has his opinions, he’s erudite, and he’s direct, but he is free of the gratuitous snideness of too many literary blogs. My only issue with Beatrix is its primitive title-only RSS feed (o.k., and today, the archives link that doesn’t work)., please, upgrade your software so your blogs can generate up-to-date feeds with the tantalizing ledes that always make me click on the full entries for Beatrice. (And what about moderated comments, a list of recent entries, and other features standard in Movable Type, Typepad, and WordPress?) What are they running on, anyway–Wangs?

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