It's not unusual for retail stores to open their doors for business, operate for a few weeks, and then announce a "Grand Opening." I'm not sure about the rationale for this practice, but welcome to the Grand Opening of the FWGNA Blog! Doing business since July, 1998.
For any newcomers who might stumble onto this post - the Freshwater Gastropods of North America project was born at the first World Congress of Malacology in Washington, 12 years ago this summer. Our objective has always been to survey the entire continent for freshwater snails, by any means necessary. Four states mostly done as of February 2010! What a team!
In any case, very early in the effort I fell into the habit of sending mass emails to an ever-growing addressbook of colleagues - 186 at last count - recently about once per month*. Often these messages have been simple news items about upcoming meetings, grants, employment opportunities, or whatever. But increasingly I've found myself reviewing and reporting on the current literature, offering opinions on taxonomic questions, and pontificating on invasive species, endangered species, and matters at the interface between science and public policy.
Clearly we've needed a medium to open up a better conversation for a long time. I'm not sure why I didn't migrate to the blog format years ago.
An important (although perhaps secondary) benefit of modern blogging is the convenience of the indexing function. So over the last couple weeks I've uploaded (from the "FWGNA Archives") the great majority of my old email posts, "tagging" them as I did with the brief descriptors you see listed at right. And I imagine you've noticed the Google-powered search box. It may take a while for the Google webcrawlers to find this tiny corner of the internet and "populate" that search box, but eventually it should become a helpful tool.
And now its up to all of us to give those web-crawlers something to feed on! Regarding comments - I am advised that, unless I moderate this blog, unscrupulous agents will use the blank spaces provided to advertize viagra. But you do not need a Google account to comment. Type your message in the comment box, and choose "name" in the "select profile" box, or even "anonymous" if you want. I'll get an email alerting me that a comment needs my approval, and do so promptly.
Looking forward to it,
*I'm still planning to maintain my email list, and I guess I'll continue to send monthly emails. But they'll be short - probably just a title and a link to the blog.