Saturday, February 3, 2007


Speakers: Mark Robertson, Kalina Grewal, Reference Librarians, York University.

Great session!

This session looked at blogs as a source for research materials, and it examined the content of blogs.

-blogs are emerging resources/tools for research
-they can be used in research even though they're not considered scholarly sources
-promote the content of blogs

-What are blogs?
-create an environment that fosters dialogue
-blogs have many purposes: commercial, personal, professional

-blogs have social and political impacts

Blog features:

-read/write medium: we read blogs and post comments.You can respond to posts.
-trackbacks: links to other blogs that cite the post. Allows blog author to know other people are reading her blog
-blogroll: links to other blogs
-RSS feeds: allows readers to subscribe to a site

Impact of blogs:
-interact with global issues

-reports from Gartner Group and Technorati that highlight huge blog growth
-"State of the Blogosphere" (2006), Dave Sifry

-the number of blog postings per day is impacted by world events
-many blog posts consist of political commentary

"The Corporate Guide to the Current Blogosphere"

-blog readership is significantly higher in key Asian markets
-blogs are much bigger phenemenon in other places in the world like the Far East
-most blogs are written in Japanese

-in Iran, blogs may be a substitute for a suppressed reformist press

-in China, blogs may be an alternative to the state-controlled press
-high level of trust in web-based media
-most popular blog in the world comes from China (Xu Jinglei)

Blogs' value for researchers:
-citizen journalism
-creation of communities
-as primary sources

Citizen journalism:
-citizens playing active roles in disseminating news
-blogs can do things that mainstream media can never do
-blogs are safe space to express identity
-citizens can communicate in closed regimes

Global Voices: example of citizen journalism blog, "blog of blogs"
-provides reporting from underdeveloped regions (Asia, Africa, Latin America)
-tap into conversations between people in these areas of the world
-allow people to have a voice and tell their own stories
-the mandate of these blogs is to get people to act (contrast with mainstream media)

Creation of communities:
-platform for discussion
-blogrolls create network of blogs
-bloggers share knowledge and collaborate
-there are multiple blogospheres. Each one is defined by culture, language, areas of interest
-many-to-many communication

As primary sources:
-blogs document events as they happen
-more likely to provide a personal perspective on an event (has historical value)

-sociological value: linguistic analysis, 1st-person narratives (narratives of girls with eating disorders)

-academic value: blogs can be pedagogical tools (use them in the classroom to communicate with students)
-object of study (primary source)
-a means to stay informed and building communities
-opportunites for information sharing and debate
-awareness/alert system
-role in informal communication

Possible responsibilities libraries have in relation to blogs:

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