October 1, 2014

Roy Tennant About Roy Tennant

Roy Tennant is a Senior Program Officer for OCLC Research. He is the owner of the Web4Lib and XML4Lib electronic discussions, and the creator and editor of Current Cites, a current awareness newsletter published every month since 1990. His books include "Technology in Libraries: Essays in Honor of Anne Grodzins Lipow" (2008), "Managing the Digital Library" (2004), "XML in Libraries" (2002), "Practical HTML: A Self-Paced Tutorial" (1996), and "Crossing the Internet Threshold: An Instructional Handbook" (1993). Roy wrote a monthly column on digital libraries for Library Journal for a decade and has written numerous articles in other professional journals. In 2003, he received the American Library Association's LITA/Library Hi Tech Award for Excellence in Communication for Continuing Education. Follow him on Twitter @rtennant.


  1. Jackie Dooley says:

    Not to be a cataloging pedant, but if the cataloger was certain about the publisher s/he could have used “[CreateSpace]” instead of using that off-putting question mark. :)

    • Jackie, what I’m really arguing is that standard cataloging conventions like putting information in brackets that is not found printed on the item will become increasingly anachronistic and unhelpful in the world where we already find ourselves. We need to take stock about what really matters now, in the 21st century.

  2. Yep, I know. Aren’t I sweet to so ably reinforce your point? :)

  3. We just published a book through CreateSpace. They will allow you to make the publisher whoever you want, so it’s us (the museum, that is).

    And I think you may have the royalty rates wrong. We did not opt for any distribution (just bought what we wanted and sell them in-house), but I recall royalties from sales on Amazon and their “expanded distribution” being appallingly low. It was more like if we sold on CreateSpace we would have received $1/book. On Amazon, $0.50, and the expanded, $0.07. (And if you look at reviews of CreateSpace, there are a number of authors with major beefs regarding the expanded distribution for this reason.)

  4. Technically, if a CreateSpace book uses a CreateSpace-supplied ISBN, CreateSpace is the publisher of record (but need not be the publisher’s name on the book). With Lulu, it’s different: The ISBN is optional, and if you don’t take a freebie, then Lulu isn’t the publisher at all. Period. Full stop. (You can find my Lulu-published books on Worldcat.org: The publisher is Cites & Insights Books.) That also shows up at year-end, as Lulu doesn’t send a 1099: Your share of the revenue isn’t a royalty at all. It’s net proceeds.

    For both of them, there’s not a royalty rate: There’s a production charge and a percentage charge, and you take what’s left (but, of course, you set the price).

    Absolutely right: Libraries will be seeing a lot more of these. And I’m hoping libraries will be helping local authors produce a lot more of them now, as detailed in my new ITI book The Librarian’s Guide to Micropublishing.

  5. Karen Coyle says:

    There’s so much to say about this one, not the least being that using punctuation to convey information about the origins of the data is just so… so… 1950. It’s also a good example of cataloging as a secret language, known only to other catalogers. It may be important to differentiate between data that is found on the piece (and is being transcribed) and data that is provided, either by the cataloger or by someone else. I see no reason why we shouldn’t have the option to code the data accordingly, but I can’t believe that we’re still using punctuation for this.

    The other thought that comes to me is that we are moving back to the incunabula phase, before book publishing was truly industrialized. Technology allows us to engage in artisanal book production. I hope this gets peoples’ creative juices flowing, even though the resulting books will drive catalogers mad.

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