This morning my web presence intersected on the Information World Review blog with the web presence of Ben Toth. In an IWR interview, Ben describes himself as follows:

Ben Toth, 48, domiciled on a farm in Herefordshire. I trained as a librarian at University College London about 15 years ago. I used to be the director of the NHS National Knowledge Service when it was part of Connecting for Health. The best known service it runs is the National Library for Health ( Currently, I’m designing the enterprise architecture for the National Institute for Health Research ( I’m also writing a book on Health 2.0, which will be published in parts later this year.

Further along in the interview:

Q: How long have you been blogging?
A: Since about 2001. Eighteen months ago I lost all my entries and had to start again.

This is nuts. Never mind the posthumous disposition of the writings of this librarian and enterprise architect. They are not even reliably available here in the present.

Here’s another example. Recently John Halamka, whom I interviewed here, launched a remarkable example of the genre I call the professional blog — by which I do not mean blogging for pay, but rather the purposeful narration of a professional life. At, Dr. Halamka has opened a window into the life of a dynamic individual whose insights into healthcare IT, and whose stewardship of key initiatives and standards in the area of portable health records, will be historically significant but are also important touchstones here in the present.

And yet… That’s the best we can do? Again, I’m not picking on any particular service. None of the present options offer anything close to the levels of service that a professional person investing real effort into the narration of a professional life ought to expect.

For Dave Winer, for me, for Ben Toth, for John Halamka, and for a growing number of professional bloggers in the sense I’m defining the term, there’s got to be a better way. We don’t need services that are free. We need services that are reliable here in the present, and that offer tiered levels of future assurance. If you build it, we will pay.