“Build it and they will come” is the classic line from Field of Dreams. “Don’t build it, because THEY will come after you” is the idea that Sarah Glassmeyer is bucking in setting up the LisVendor.Info wiki of law librarian / legal publishing vendor relations.

The initial organization of the website is as follows. Feel free to add to it or move things around. Like all wikis, this site is what you make of it. Just so everyone feels right at home, let’s even have a discussion page for people to hash out ideas. You can pretend it’s a committee if that makes you feel better.

Anyone that has sat in the same room with me at a conference may have heard me use the following phrase: “All problems are Communication problems.” And it looks like Glassmeyer is working to create a communication platform where anyone can share information (including vendors) about the state of relations between the librarians and the vendors.

From and idea that started with the thought of “Someone oughta set up a wikileaks for library contracts,” it has evolved into what Glassmeyer describes as simply “a wiki where librarians and other interested parties can share information about all aspects of the library/vendor relationship.” A more defined definition of intent is found on the LisVendor.Info homepage:

This wiki was created to fill a simple need – the need for a place for librarians to communicate and otherwise share information about our interactions and business dealings with library vendors: complaints and compliments about customer service, problems with products, pricing information, etc. The Librarian Blogosphere, twitterati and other social networks are already a great resource for sharing this type of information. However, that is a limited number of voices and there’s nowhere for these conversations to be collected so that long term perspective can be gained. It is also hoped that this wiki becomes a place to learn the necessary business skills – such as contract negotiation – that we may not have learned in library school.

Sarah Glassmeyer has set up the platform, and is stepping back to let the community do the work (in a combination of what she calls as a mix of her “own greed and laziness” (I completely know what you mean, Sarah!!)  As with most wikis, it allows anyone to register and edit as they choose, but those edits are also visible, and trackable… so know your comfort level before jumping in with both feet. Glassmeyer also lets everyone know that she’s not going to be the Big Brother of this wiki and that she is trusting “that the community will be self-policing.”

I have to be the first to admit that I’m not much of a “wiki” person, and that I’ll need to bone up on my wiki editing skills if I decide to contribute to the LisVendor.info platform. It will be interesting to see if anyone bites and contributes, or if everyone just takes the simple approach of posting their librarian/vendor horror stories on the law-lib listserv and then going back to business as usual (assuming that it is now someone else’s problem to solve.)