York blogs: Confessions of a Science Librarian makes the Blogs of Note list

Out of the millions of blogs Google-owned Blogger hosts, "Confessions of a Science Librarian" by John Dupuis, head librarian of York’s Steacie Science & Engineering Library, was the pick for Blogs of Note on June 9.

"I never expected it would be chosen but the fact that it was is fun. It’s not the kind of thing I remotely thought would happen," said Dupuis, a blogger for over five years; a long time in the blogging world.

Everyday, Blogger chooses a different blog to feature on its Web site under Blogs of Note, everything from "Junk Food Science" and "Sea Worthy" to "Women in Science".

"Confessions of a Science Librarian" garnered 3,600 hits on June 9 and another 3,200 on June 10. "It certainly made a huge difference in the number of hits I got," Dupuis said, adding it was "almost two months worth of traffic in two days."

Dupuis says he hopes some of the new people who visited his blog will continue to come back. "Hopefully, people who are interested in science and libraries will stick." As it is, "Confessions of a Science Librarian" gets hits from far flung places, including Belize, Somalia, Madagascar and Bosnia. "I certainly get readers from all over the world."

Left: John Dupuis

There are only a handful of science librarian bloggers in the English speaking world but Dupuis’ blog pulls in people from both areas – science and libraries.

"Confessions of a Science Librarian" combines Dupuis’ passions for science and libraries, and even science fiction – think Star Trek – into one endeavour. "I always talk about developments in science and how science is communicated, where the library profession is headed, scholarly publishing and how media is changing. I try to talk about things that are important to scientists and librarians."

On his blog, Dupuis reviews books, features interviews with various people, and talks about the future of academic libraries and what science will look like in the 21st century. He also gives productive reading tips, provides links to other science blogs and gives a peak into York’s role in the Mars Phoenix Mission – and much more.

Blogging, said Dupuis, is underrated in some circles. "It is a good way to create a reputation within a certain community. I have made connections with scientists and with librarians around the world. When you go to a conference, a lot of people already know you from reading your blog."

A self-titled blog evangelist, Dupuis is always trying to encourage York’s various departments and Faculties to start their own blogs. "There’s a lot of interest in blogs on campus without people really knowing how to harness it."

For libraries, blogs are particularly pertinent as a communications vehicle, said Dupuis. It’s important to look ahead to what is going to work for library users in the future. An example of that is the Open Access movement, an area where libraries have led the way.

In another forward-thinking move, one of Dupuis’ colleagues, William Denton, Web librarian in the Peter F. Bronfman Business Library at York’s Schulich School of Business, started Planet York University. While not a blog itself, it gathers all of York’s blog postings into one place as an easy reference to what is happening on any given day in the University’s world of blogs. The site doesn’t keep a record of all blog posts indefinitely but it does provide the most recent.

Blogs, said Dupuis, can be so much more than teen diaries or vehicles for salacious entertainment gossip – and Blogger obviously agrees.