Libworld – Austria

This week we want to see what’s up in our neighbourhood and take a look at the biblioblogosphere in Austria. Austria is a country of early adopters, as it seems. In his blog “Bibliothek 2.0” Mark Buzinkay writes that for example the Library of the Medical University of Vienna pioneers work in realising a library 2.0 concept. WLAN, a library blog, data query via PDA, a PDA mailinglist, and the scheduled composition of a wiki as an in-house information tool are innovative services the library provides.

Our guest author Monika Bargmann will point out if the biblioblogosphere in Austria is surfing the same tide. She is working in the library of the University of Applied Sciences as a librarian and cybrarian. Through her private main blog she is also known as Library Mistress.

Libworld Austria
– Monika Bargmann

Preliminary remarks

When I was invited to portrait the Austrian liblogarian scene – meaning weblogs by librarians, by libraries and/or dealing with librarianship – merely four weblogs came to my mind. One of them was my own… So I consulted the directories Libdex, LISwiki and LISZEN, but in vain. I only found what I knew anyway. So I asked about library-related weblogs on the Austrian mailing list voeb-l and got several answers. Conclusion: This post gives a broad picture but maybe is not entirely complete. You were ignored? Feel free to post your weblog’s address in the comment section or contact me directly.

First steps

The weblogging pioneer among Austrian librarians is probably Horst Prillinger, a librarian of the University of Vienna library, who designed his personal website in 1996 and started his weblog “The Aardvark speaks” in August 2002 – promising subtitle: “Essence, effervescence, obscurity”. One of his very first posts – prophetic, isn’t it? – dealt with blog information overload: “Having joined the blog community and sifted through some of the links to other blog sites that comes with my new software, I have one overwhelming question: Just how much time do these people have on their hands? Can Jenny, the Shifted Librarian, really read all the blog sites she is scanning in her news aggregator? And just what will I turn into once I have caught the blog bug? Or am I immune? And, of course, the most important question of all: with all those blog sites everywhere, is anybody actually reading this?“.

The Aardvark speaks rarely about librarianship, but about various topics ranging from indian food and music to poetry and strange incidents. The weblog even has an ISBN!

Over the years, Prillinger became more sceptical about blogging – on March 28, 2007, he wrote: “The diminishing posting frequency on weblogs all around me (and, let’s admit it, here too) has led me to believe that the golden days of weblogging might be over. Sadly, I’m not saying this as somebody who jumped the hype, but as somebody who started a website only to discover that he was actually writing a weblog”.

Members of the newly-founded commission for information ethics, part of the association of Austrian librarians (Vereinigung österreichischer Bibliothekarinnen und Bibliothekare, VÖB), maintain a weblog named “Info ethic”.

Mark Buzinkay was responsible for the continued education programme Brainpool within the Austrian national library before he founded his own company, MBI Mark Buzinkay Informationsdesign. – In his “MBI Blog”, he keeps track of trends and developments in information and process management, library marketing and search tools. Buzinkay recently founded a new weblog and community named “Bibliothek 2.0” that serves for sharing of know-how about library 2.0 among librarians. In the weblog “Wissensmanagement 2.0”, Buzinkay, Annette Hexelschneider, and Attila Kosahe write about the relations between knowledge management and Web 2.0.

Petra Öllinger, Hans Walter Grössinger, Marion Klötze, and Georg Schober maintain the weblog „Duftender Doppelpunkt“ which can only insufficiently be translated as „fragrant colon“, lacking the charm of the German original. Duftender Doppelpunkt is not a core library weblog, dealing with a broad range of topics in the humanities, but it includes the categories “library-related” (“Bibliothekarisches”) and „libraries and archives“ (“Bibliotheken und Archive”).

Public librarian Wolfgang Kauders maintains a weblog called “Haftgrund” including a category “bi-ba-büchereien” in which he throws a critical light on cultural policy, style of leadership and management of the Viennese public library system.

Monika Himsl has initiated and still runs the „Cin Ali Lernklub“, a physical and virtual library and learning place for children with Turkish or Kurdish mother tongue. She blogs about “Sprachen lernen mit Kinderbüchern! Sozial-integrative Bibliotheksarbeit für Migranten aus der Türkei“ (Learning languages with children’s books. Social-integrative library work for migrants from Turkey) at Besides, she writes about bilingual reading animation at

The “Orbis librorum“, a weblog about rare books and manuscripts, incunabula and digitisation, is maintained by the Graz university library’s department for special collections and started on June 25, 2007. Its further development cannot be foreseen after one week of existence.

Constantin Cazans weblog is still in beta modus at, to be continued at

Finally, I’m in the quite peculiar situation to introduce my own weblog „Library Mistress“. My first post on July 18, 2003 stated that “I will post stuff about libraries, librarians, books, writing & reading that I come across during my work hours or leisure time”. Basically, that is what I am still doing. My weblog fulfils several functions: I started it with the agenda to chronicle Austrian librarianship, now I use it as an electronic notepad and link collection for myself, as kind of “micro-publications” and a method to make contact with other librarians from Austria and beyond. Main topics include librarianship as a profession, fictional librarians, library news from around the world, humanities, social software, and science fiction. I started my second weblog “eGovernment, eDemocracy, ePolitics” to accompany a research project in the field of electronic democracy which I have worked at for two years. Since the project was finished in March 2006, the weblog’s main focus has shifted to government libraries and public sector information, so I renamed it in “” recently (title with a wink).

Library news via RSS feed

Increasingly, library news can be subscribed to via RSS feed. If those news feeds can really be considered as weblogs, is debatable. Anyway, examples should be listed here:

University of Vienna library

Medical university Vienna library

University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Library

Technical University of Graz library