One of the ideas that came out of last week's conference in Corvallis was for a code4lib journal. Here's a proposal for what such a journal might look like; comments, article submissions, and volunteers are all welcome.
*** WHAT WOULD THE JOURNAL BE ABOUT? The code4lib conference's call for proposals included the following description of the prepared talks: "Prepared talks are 20 minutes, and must center on 'tools' (some cool new software, software library or integration platform), 'specs' (how to get the most out of some protocols, or proposals for new ones), or 'challenges' (One or more big problems we should collectively address). We will evaluate proposals on criteria of usefulness, newness, geekiness, and diversity of topics." A code4lib journal would focus on the same topics -- tools, specs, and challenges in the sphere of library technology -- and articles would be evaluated for acceptance based on the same criteria (except maybe diversity of topics). In addition to a number of full-length, in-depth articles on the above topics, I would also like to see a section of each issue devoted to shorter, "lightning talk"-style articles directly relevant and useful to the people actually working with Dspace, MODS, content management systems, and recalcitrant OPACS. Some possible subjects might be: * successful projects * failed projects * calls to action * common mistakes * useful techniques (For more information on lightning talks, see the description here: http://perl.plover.com/lt/lightning-talks.html ) In essence, the journal would be a formal venue for library technologists to share their ideas with one another. *** WHO WOULD WRITE THE ARTICLES? Well, if you're reading this message, chances are you're working on an interesting project that other people would like to read about. Maybe you've written a good article on your blog that could be polished a bit and turned into an article. (Heck, maybe you gave a presentation at the conference!) And there are lots of other people out there who have never heard of code4lib, but who are working on interesting projects too. The success of the Access and code4lib conferences suggests that there is a serious market for this sort of thing. *** WOULD IT BE OPEN ACCESS? Yes. *** WOULD IT BE PEER REVIEWED? That's a good question, and I'd like to discuss it. Given the relatively small size of the field, peer review might not be feasible. I'm personally interested in the idea of a collaborative review process -- less traditional peer review, more Slashdot/Digg/Wikipedia -- but that has its downsides as well. What do people think? *** IS A CODE4LIB JOURNAL REALLY A GOOD IDEA? There's been some discussion in the #code4lib IRC channel as to whether a journal is the best approach. The planet code4lib blog aggregator (http://planet.code4lib.org/) already brings together a lot of interesting and innovative work; combining it with a "Carnival" type approach (http://infosciences.pbwiki.com/) would be another option. I think an actual journal would have several advantages over other models: * It would be more authoritative. * It would be more compact. * It would attract readers and contributors from a broader population. * It would provide a more formal publication venue for those whose job requirements include publication. * It would have an editorial review process, filtering out noise, dead ends, and broken ideas. *** Thoughts? Suggestions? Jeers? Please share any or all of them. -- Jeff Davis Public Services Librarian University of Alberta Libraries [EMAIL PROTECTED] IM screen name: jd4v15 (MSN, AIM, Yahoo)