Guest post: Cinfolit

Just a reminder to everyone that I’m on vacation this week. Hope you enjoy the guest posts! Jen

Our last — but certainly not least — guest post comes to you from Bob Schroeder @ Cinfolit. A fitting end to the past couple of weeks — or perhaps, a rebirth? Read on, dear readers, read on! 🙂


The Blog Cinfolit at the Crossroads

(a blog posting wherein the author bakes organic bread in Ann Arbor in the ’70s, makes Lord of the Rings allusions, invents a new muse, and poses a most timely and scintillating question to us all.)

The question before us ladies and gentlemen is:  “How to make a collaborative blog thrive?

A bit of back story. In July of 2010, Joseph Hardenbrook posted a questions to the ili-list. He was looking for videos that illustrate information literacy topics for library instruction sessions. A great idea! Videos on info lit topics would definitely add some pizzazz to the old shtick in the classroom. Then my inner librarian kicked in and I wondered how would we will be able to find and access all those great videos? An online index of information literacy related instruction videos – of course!

Such was the genesis of the blog Cinfolit (Cinema + Information Literacy).

But how to find all of those great videos I knew were out there, and how to be eternally and incessantly vigilant ? (Even the Eye of Sauron occasionally blinked, right?) That’s when my inner cooperator kicked in. Cooperation has been one of my life’s leitmotivs over the past four decades. I’ve was a member of Ann Arbor’s Peoples’ Coop in the early 70’s , I learned to bake great hippie whole wheat bread at the Wild Flour Bakery, and was a owner/worker of the Soy Plant – cranking out a thousand pounds of tofu a day. My cooperative self even followed me into libraryland, inspiring me to write an article entitled A Cooperative Publishing Model for Sustainable Scholarship. So duh! Making it a cooperative blog seemed to be the obvious answer.

I must confess that while blogging always seemed like a cööl thing to do I was waiting for a muse to enthuse me to rapturous and meaningful words (BTW – perhaps it is time to birth a tenth muse of good blogs, Eupostia?) Finally with Cinfolit a raison de blôgtre! But not only would the content be meaningful and helpful for instruction librarians , it would also be a social experiment for me – seeing if cooperation and collaboration would work on the web.

From the beginning everyone was invited to submit relevant videos and anyone could become a co-author of the blog just by asking. I posted a note it the ili list and about 14 librarians started adding their favorites. And we managed to find some great videos, like The Tourist Lane by ImprovEverywhere, Eli Pariser on Filter Bubbles, to the classic Medieval Help Desk. There are even a few summaries of articles about info lit and videos – like “New Shit has Come to Light”: Information Seeking Behavior in the Big Lebowski from the Journal of Popular Culture.

Fast forward to fall of 2011 – it was then, a year after Cinfolit started, that the last post was made. I’ve been ruminating since on the fate of this blog. It still seems like a good repository for these videos – they’re still great spice to add to instruction sessions, and having the index and links online makes them accessible to anyone with a computer. Just writing this blog post has started some blog regeneration seeds sprouting in my brain. But the question remains about collective action in cyberspace….

“How to make a collaborative blog thrive?”

Do you feel that Cinfolit is a potentially useful source for instruction librarians? If you have any epiphanies on how to reinvigorate a cooperative blog please let me know. You can email be at schroedr@pdx.edu with your ideas.

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