LibWorld – Switzerland

For our next LibWorld article we don’t have to travel as far as we are used to in the last weeks. Our next guest author is Heidi Stieger from Switzerland. She works in Mediothek of Kantonsschule Zuercher Oberland in Wetzikon. Until now she’s not blogging, but she became wellknown in German speaking biblioblogosphere for her Bachelor’s thesis about German language biblioblogs (PDF).

Review of the biblioblogosphere in the German part of Switzerland

I am pleased with the invitation to write this article because I wrote my Bachelor’s thesis in 2006 about the library-related blogosphere in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland (Fachblogs von und für Bibliothekare – Nutzen, Tendenzen. Mit Fokus auf den deutschsprachigen Raum (PDF)). During my research, I learned that only a few library-related blogs existed in Switzerland. As a matter of fact, the subsequent listing is not exhaustive. Therefore, if I have forgotten any relevant sites, I would be glad to be made aware of them.

Library-related blogs in the German part of Switzerland

The German-speaking part of Switzerland, which accounts for almost 70% of Switzerland, is the focus of our attention.

The first library-related blog to be published was probably “Blogthek” in 2003. It is part of Digithek, which is a project of the grammar and training schools of the Canton of Zurich (Mittel- und Berufsschulen des Kantons Zürich) and helps students, their teachers, and school librarians to find information. Besides a selection of appropriate links, the weblog “Blogthek” was established and can be used for up-to-date references of Digithek, new information offers, and tips concerning classes in grammar school. Although every school librarian in the Canton of Zurich is allowed to contribute to this blog, it is mainly written by Silvia Meyer, the head of the library of the grammar school in Wetzikon, near Zurich.

The second important blog to mention is the “Recherchen Blog”, although its focus isn’t only library-related. The blog is an offering of InfoLit, an information broker company. The weblog was founded by Andreas Litscher and assembled together with Beatrice Krause in the year 2004. It’s a blog about internet research. It should serve all professionals, who get in touch with search engines and internet research. At this time, six authors are writing the blog. They are experts in areas like information and documentation, librarianship, journalism, and information management.

In my opinion, these two weblogs are the most important contributions to the biblioblogosphere in the German part of Switzerland: both are institutional and collaborative.

Fortunately, there are some library-related blogs from Germany and Austria that also offer news about Switzerland from time to time. LIS Wiki maintains a list of German-speaking blogs by librarians or libraries.

There are some Swiss blogs that are more distantly related to librarianship. Some examples are listed below:

Library news via RSS feeds

There is a quite popular mailing list called swisslib that delivers current information for information and documentation specialists. A poll earlier this year indicated most Swiss librarians aren’t familiar with the RSS format and prefer to get e-mails. The results of this poll are here.

Recently, the library of the ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich) has begun offering its news via RSS feed. I don’t know of any further Swiss libraries offering this service.

Why Swiss librarians aren’t very active bloggers

Bloggers and librarians have a lot in common: they are always up to date, cite sources, put everything in context, select and assign subject headings, communicate, and archive information. Their activities seem to be connected in a natural way.

Unfortunately, it seems like many Swiss librarians don’t care too much about blogging, at least not professionally.

Some assumptions on my part:

  • A lot of users aren’t very confident about writing in public. They might be afraid of mistakes.
  • A lot of users aren’t very confident with Web 2.0.
  • Blogging takes a lot of time.
  • Switzerland is a very small country, and librarians know each other personally.
  • Due to the same language being spoken in Germany and Austria, many Swiss librarians seem to consume blogs from there.

Furthermore, not every user is a blogger. The author of a professional blog has to fullfil some qualifications: expertise, individuality, authenticity, spontaneity and endurance (Robes, Jochen (2005)[1], S. 5). I respect bloggers who write in some library-related blogs for sharing their knowledge.


I’m curious about the future of library-related blogs in Switzerland. For several years, no serious and regularly updated library-related blogs appeared. Additionally, I am not aware of any individual or institution-independent blogs, only collaborative and institutional ones. Will this change in the near future? Will they finally become more numerous? It seems to be very typical for Swiss people not to be on the front line, but to wait and see.

[1] Robes, Jochen (2005): What’s in it for me? Über den Nutzen von Weblogs für Wissensmitarbeiter. In: IM-Information Management & Consulting, Heft 3/2005. Fulltext [28.10.2007]