Friday, August 15, 2008

IFLA 2008 (part 15): Interview with "Pliny the Librarian" from Norway

[From Part 14]

14 Aug 2008. Quebec City, Canada.

I met Pliny the Librarian in person today. We even have an impromptu 10-minute video interview!

Totally unplanned. Video is unedited from start to finish (other than the intro/ end titles and a music soundtrack that I inserted, with whatever I had on my Windows laptop). View at YouTube if you want to see the annotations.

  • 0:06 - How Tord started blogging
  • 2:08 - What does he blog
  • 4:10 - When did he noticed Norwegian librarians were reading his blog
  • 5:13 - Does he encourage his students and academic peers to blog?
  • 7:38 - Does he face resistance from his academic peers (wrt blogging)?
  • 8:35 - How blogging helped him professionally

YouTube Link

I first learned of Pliny the Librarian when I was searching for blog posts about IFLA during the Oslo conference. He was maybe one or two of the bloggers I found, who were attending IFLA and blogging about it.

Then he linked to me again, for last year's IFLA conference.

This year I resolved to meet him in person.

But I forgot to write to him prior to my leaving Singapore. It was only last night that I remembered. There was only one day left to the conference (i.e. today).

So I went to his blog. Learned from his About Page that he's serving on the IFLA Statistics and Evaluation Section. Figured we should be able to meet (I knew where their Section was holding their presentations). I left a comment suggesting that we try to meet up at IFLA.

I was pleasantly surprised that he emailed me and agreed to meet.

At that point, I had no idea how he looked like.

This morning, I asked a Norwegian colleague if he knew Tord. Answer was Yes, and that Tord was a popular blogger among Norwegian librarians!

I was told he's often seen carrying a "big-camera" (i.e. a SLR).

Right after my Section's presentation, I popped by the room where his Section was. Presentations had already started. I scanned the room and couldn't find him.

Until I noticed the slides on screen indicated the speak was "Tord Høivik".


For the next two hours (there were four other papers after Tord's), I sat through the presentations on statistics and evaluation in the context of National Libraries. Can't say it excited me, though I still learned a thing or two.

When the entire session was over, I walked to where Tord was. He was busy speaking to another delegate.

More waiting.

I think I sat down for another five minutes (what's another five after waiting for two hours, eh?)

Finally he was available.

I walked to him. Introduced myself.

He went, "Ah!"

Then gestured that we sit down to talk.

Tord was very friendly. Unpretentious. I like him immediately.

On a whim, I asked if I could interview him. On video.

He instantly agreed.

He was a natural.

Ivan Chew & Tord Høivik

Oh, did you know he's 66 years old this year?

Keep blogging, Tord!
(Update: Tord's "IFLA Quebec" blog posts and bloggers round-up here).

[Next: Part 16]


  1. Anonymous2:36 am

    EXCELLENT INTERVIEW, Ivan, thank you. i would have loved to have joined you two.

    i enjoyed listening to Pliny the Librarian talk about his experiences as a librarian using various technologies. i also really liked his line (that you smartly annotated): "Blogging serves as a prelude and preparation for teaching and academic writing." yes!

    also, "the big thing was moving from Blogger to Wordpress" - ivan, do you think it's time for you and me to make the change, too?

    my favorite line is in response to how blogging has helped: "It stimulates creativity and participation."

  2. I think you two would have hit it off. Tord spoke about organising a Web 2.0 summer class. You've had your Davies Forum on Digital Literacy.

    Every response Tord made to my questions were my exact answers if I'd asked them myself (expect he gives a better clarity to it than I would).

    No, I'm stick to Blogger. I've grown used to the more "informal" feel of blogger. :)


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