Saturday, November 19, 2005

High Browse Online: NLB's very first "book blog"

After weeks of planning, explaining, cajoling, testing, experimenting, I'm happy that NLB's very first online "book blog" has been launched -- High Browse Online.

This is old news of course, for it's been Tomorrowed a week ago, thanks to CowboyCaleb.

Incidentally, Caleb has the distinction of being the first SG Blogger to blog about it. You can say that the privilege was given to him. See, he emailed me sometime in Sept to suggest that the library consider starting a book blog of sorts, to which I replied that we are already in the midst of planning for one. I also bounced some ideas off him. I owe him a coffee which I'll gladly offer if he ever decide to reveal himself to me in person (the cool thing is that I've yet to meet him).

Our chief objective remains the same -- to stimulate response and discussion from readers who read High Browse. With High Browse Online, we'd like to invite your comments to the recommendations posted. We also welcome volunteer contributions like reviews and editorials. ~ High Browse Online

The print version of High Browse was first published in Nov/ Dec 2002. It was a Quarterly issue (published every three months) and ran for nine issues up till Oct/ Dec 2004 (archives of issue 1 - 9 can be found here). Then it went into hiatus pending an review of the publication, and also partly because the editorial team disbanded due to staff transfers.

This year, I was tasked to revive the print version by forming a new editorial team (comprising of my librarian colleagues from the Adult & Young People Services). Naturally, I proposed that we offered an online version of High Browse as well. The blog publishing platform was a natural choice, for various reasons.

Call it 's a website; a book-blog... whatever. It's online and it's interactive (comments & readers' submissions are most welcome) and that's the important point.

For upcoming posts, I'll blog what I can share publicly on how High Browse Online was conceived and launched.

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  1. i think HBO is having a relatively good start, but a small minority of the reviews are impersonal, following the style of 'traditional' reviews. to me, those reviews tend to harm the blog.

  2. Tinkertailor: Thanks for feedback. Yup, we realise that. The truth is that those reviews were written for the print version rather than a more personal style for the online version. And it takes a while for some of the reviewers to change to a different style. Writing for the blog does require breaking some "rules" that most people are used to.

  3. I agree about blogs being personal in nature... I think the same would do well on High Browse Online, but might appear out of context in print.

    Anyway, on the subject of HBO, I'm doing my bid to promote reading over at Singapura.isthereason now.

    My main concern about book is that I do find myself reading less, and instead taking small chunks of informational titbits off the web instead. I know this is bad, since we lose the holistic experiential aspect of books. I've really got to better manage my time!


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