Update on the AcqWeb redesign! (reposted from ACQNET-L and several other listserves)

by | Aug 27, 2009 | 0 comments


Dear colleagues across the spectrum of Library land and beyond:

It’s finally time to announce that a new AcqWeb has finally been planted and the seed is rapidly growing.

Until now, I have been shy about discussing the progress of this possible revival because I was not sure it would survive to see the light of day. Several years ago the ACQNET editorial board and others worked diligently to analyze the results of a survey we sent out to find out if people really wanted AcqWeb to live. Those who responded seemed to really want it – so we went forward to see if we could revamp it. We have been slogging onward quietly. After consultant Janis Keim (funded by Appalachian State and University of Utah universities, respectively) recommended the use of Drupal (an open source content management system) as a possible new platform for AcqWeb, it appeared that we might have something to work with. Drupal has become a recognized CMS and is being used by Against the Grain News Channel as well as the American Library Association just to name two examples. In other words, we’re in good company and it’s likely that we’ll find library acquisitions staff with a comfort level using this platform.

The other development that leads me to think the time is right for a new AcqWeb is the explosion in the use of social networking. Librarians are embracing Facebook, blogs, Twitter and all the rest of the applications that depend on interconnections. In other words, Listserves are SO 1990’s, and it’s past time to think about moving on. That is NOT to say that this is an announcement that ACQNET-L is ending – on the contrary, ACQNET-L is still active and working. But it IS time to think about transitioning certain conversations to a different venue. ACQNET-L has served the library acquisitions community faithfully for almost 20 years. That is really hard to believe, but it’s true.
The new AcqWeb is certainly still a work in progress and is not finished, not perfect and has much more work involved to make it what we want it to be. I came to the conclusion over the last year or so that there was simply no way to roll out a finished product using volunteer help. Believe me, there are many people interested in seeing this project happen. But where does the time go? It goes to our families, our jobs and other aspects of our lives. But look at Wikipedia – it has become HUGE and it is on done primarily with volunteers.

I doubt the new AcqWeb will be anything so large, but look at ALA Connect. It’s a happening place.

I think that the new AcqWeb could be a great place for technical services types and their business partners to come together and talk about all the new developments in our field. Anyone who is involved in library acquisitions will be seeking a place to find a shoulder to cry on because library acquisitions and book production and purchasing in general are getting ready to change dramatically and we need a place to talk about THAT, if nothing else.
One of the centerpieces of the old AcqWeb was the publisher & vendor directory. That aspect of the old AcqWeb is woefully out of date and probably is going to have to come to a close or become a different animal. Google has superseded the need for such a directory; it was of great value before Google and other search engines, when the World Wide Web was new. If a new directory needs to be built, perhaps we can be the ones to do it – but right now, the main thrust of the new AcqWeb will be building a useful site for basic communication. We can make it whatever we need it to be – so nothing is off limits and everything is on the table.

Right now what I would like to see is some experimentation and willingness to actually help make this new AcqWeb happen. We have set up a Forum which we’d like people to use as an alternative to ACQNET-L. (We’d like to keep ACQNET-L running in tandem, mostly for Acqflash announcements). There is a blog feature where I and other guest bloggers can post more lengthy thoughts (Christian Boissonnas should have had blogger software back in the old days of ACQNET – He was a natural blogger!)

My colleague Ginny Boyer who is a cataloger by day and a library science student by all other hours, is working on the bones of AcqWeb as part of an independent study for her degree program. She has made great strides at getting the shell up. It will be changing on a daily basis as we tweak it and add content and features. We want anyone interested in to be part of the process.

Are you ready for the new AcqWeb? If so, please join us at www.acqweb.org

Eleanor Cook
Chief Editor, ACQNET-L

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