Ask TangognaT: Good Library Journals

mlis wrote:
Hello. I would appreciate your help in selecting some librarian journals to subscribe to. I left my librarian job to go to grad school and no longer have easy access to librarian journals. If you had to choose 3 journals (Searcher or similar) to subscribe to, what would you choose? The CyberSkepticâ„¢s Guide to Internet Research is $165 a year – worth it?

Hmm, this is a question that I feel a bit unqualified to answer, so hopefully some people will chime in with their own opinions in the comments for this post. The reason why I feel slightly at a loss about answering this question is (please don’t think I’m a bad librarian) I don’t like reading librarian journals. If I’m starting on a new project where I think I want to do a literature search, I’ll do some poking around and read a bunch of articles, but I don’t read librarian journals all the time. Often I can barely bring myself to skim American Libraries or the publications I get through being a member of ACRL like College and Research Libraries. I haven’t read the CyberSkepticâ„¢s Guide to Internet Research so I can’t really say if $165 is a good price for a subscription, but when you have sites like researchbuzz, searchenginewatch, resourceshelf, and the new this week page, I think those resources would keep you current on happenings in the world of Internet Searching for free.

I’m sort of cheap when it comes to spending money on stuff like this. If your concern is staying current with things that are going on in library land while attending grad school, I think you can do that easily by checking in with a few blogs here and there and perhaps subscribing to a few listservs. This might involve a different type of time committment than sitting down and reading a few journals, but I tend to keep up on library happenings this way, and I don’t feel like I’m lacking in professional knowledge. I subscribe to Web4Lib, Usability4Lib, ILI-L, DigLib, and GNLIB-L (that’s the fun graphic novel one). So, I’m not sure what type of librarian you are, but if there is a huge bombshell of an article out there that everyone’s talking about, a mention of it will probably turn up on whatever listserv you’ve subscribed to and you can decide if you want to ILL it through your grad school library.

There are some free sources of articles that might be interesting to librarians, like firstmonday and D-Lib magazine.

A few core blogs like Open Access News,, Catalogablog, info-commons, and LISNews can keep you up to date. Walt does a round-up and summary of recent articles in Cites & Insights that I think would come in handy. Without knowing what type of librarianship you are interested in, or if you just want to keep current, I’m not totally sure which print publication to recommend, because I’d likely mention different titles if you were a reference librarian as opposed to a library systems specialist. I always liked JASIST and Reference & User Services Quarterly. If anyone else has some ideas for “must subscribe” library journals, please add your own comments!