Some changes are afoot at the YALSA website, particularly, who can access certain information and how. It looks like it’s a work in progress.
At the moment, if you go to the YALSA website, and click on the menu item Book Awards and Booklists, instead of getting any information about the awards and lists, there is a log on screen. YALSA members can sign in and view content; non-YALSA members are taken to a form to fill out before getting to the content.
Abby the Librarian has posted about the whys and wherefores of the changes. Abby raises a bunch of questions and issues, from how this change was announced by YALSA to the reasons for it. I don’t want to duplicate what she says, so, yes, go over and read the conversation and comments. Abby is a strong champion of involvement in professional associations like ALA and YALSA.
Kelly at Stacked also blogged about this recent change. Like Abby, Kelly has a bunch of questions and observations. Kelly (like Abby and myself) are all YALSA members, so, like us, Kelly is approaching this from the point of view a member but with a different perspective from Abby. Please click through to her post, about how and why and what these changes mean. For example, if anyone can nominate a book for an award, but now they need to fill out a form to get to that page, will there be less field nominations? As with Abby’s post, an interesting conversation is taking place in the comments, so read the post and comments.
I just want to add that I think it’s important to be aware of what happens with our organization. What content should or should not be members-only has been informally in discussions as long as I can recall. In the comments at Abby’s post, Jen Rothschild(Biblio File blog) recalls, “you had to be a YALSA member to get the annotated lists, but you didn’t in order to get just the titles and going back to that is something I could support.” I recall that, also; and it’s how I had initially interpreted the October 2011 Fall Executive Committee Meeting.
According to YALSA’s Tweets (here and here) (as well as a YALSA-BK email, but I don’t like quoting a listserv email, but the listserv archive is here so you can find it), a technology issue is causing the current situation (needing to log in or fill out a form to see the existence of YALSA awards/lists, as well as all criteria, and the current lists and list archive) and the intent is for the lists (current and archive) to be members only or fill out a form. (Disclosure: I haven’t directly followed up with YALSA about this, because the tweets and YALSA-BK email seemed pretty clear to me; and I’m writing this up as an informal blog post, not an article).
Right now, Abby and Kelly are making valuable observations, but it’s a bit hard to know the long-term impact of what information is or isn’t “members/form” only because the current situation (total block) appears to be a temporary technology issue that is getting sorted. Of course, every day that gets worked out is a day that someone goes to discover what awards and lists YALSA has and encounters a barrier. Is filling out a form that big a deal? That’s an individual decision: for some people, yes, it’s a barrier. Others may say, “no big deal.”
So, just out of curiosity:
Did you notice the change? Right now, it’s possible to access the information if you go to it directly (i.e., use a search engine to search “yalsa best fiction for young adults 2012″) but that work around only works if you are already aware of the list’s name. Also, I suspect that it’s temporary and when the technology issues get sorted it won’t be possible. It makes me wonder — once that gets locked down, how will that affect search bots and search results? Could the YALSA page fall from the number 1 return for that search to further down the list?
Does it matter to you?
What types of content do you think should or should not be members only?
How big a deal is filling out that form? Does your answer change based on how often that form needs to be filled out by an individual?
Edited to add: From the YALSA blog, Changes to YALSA’s Website explaining what has happened. Rather than cut and paste, please click through to read the whole post. What do you think? Is something free if you have to supply an email to access it? How do you then expect your email to be used? Do these changes promote the awards and lists?