Blogs

Technology Description

Weblogs (commonly known as blogs) are websites designed to allow users to easily share content on the Web. Often compared to online journals, blogs are arranged in reverse chronological order and enable visitors to the site to engage in a dialogue with the content creator (through commenting). Blogs serve many different purposes including:

  • Personal blogs—an ongoing journal or commentary by an individual
  • Institutional blogs—used to share information about an institution and its products
  • Opinion blogs—used to share opinions about topics and events and to spark discussion about those topics and events
  • Educational blogs—designed to share information about specific topics

There are a number of different tools available to help individuals or institutions interested in establishing a blog. The following features and functions should be considered when choosing blog software:

  • Create and manage posts
  • Upload images and video
  • Manage who can access the blog (public or private)
  • Enable and manage comments
  • Configure the appearance of the blog
    • Templates
    • Branding
    • Fonts and colors
    • Sidebars
    • Widgets
    • Customization
    • Technical support available
    • Local installation or hosted service
  • Availability of reports

There are several blogging platforms available for use. Among the most popular are:

Archival Applications

Blogs are already having an important impact on archivists and the ways that they distribute information. They are being used:

  • To unlock new audiences by exposing more people to information about our collections
  • To improve continuing education for archivists by providing online venues for discussions of topics of pressing concern to archivists and their colleagues in the information profession
  • By archival associations to communicate with their members and spread information about events sponsored by those associations
  • To enable archivists to be more relevant to their host institution
  • To engage in conversations with the users of our collections

The most powerful feature of blogs is that they allow archivists the ability to control the content on their websites as well as the way that the content is portrayed.

Case Studies in Archival Applications

Philip F. Mooney, “The Blog as an Archival Tool: Coca-Cola Conversations

Jeanne Kramer-Smyth, Spellbound Blog: Using Blogs as a Professional Development Opportunity”

Kevin B. Leonard, “Blogs and Blog Marketing: Bringing New Users to the Northwestern University Archives”

John M. Murphy, Cory L. Nimer, and J. Gordon Daines III, “The Challenges and Benefits of Using Blogs as Departmental Websites”

Rachael Cristine Woody, “Create and Measure Success: The Smithsonian Collections Blog”

Implementors

Many individuals and institutions have created their own blogs and blog-based projects. Below is a sampling of some of these projects. For an extended list, check our implementation listing at Delicious.com.

If you or your repository are writing a blog and would like to appear in the list, send a bookmark in Delicious.com using the tag for:interactivearchivist.

Resources

Wikipedia. “Blog.” Wikimedia Foundation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blogs (accessed Apr. 24, 2009).

Watson, Kate and Chelsea Harper. “Using Blogs and Wikis to Communicate with Library Clients.” InCite 27, no. 12 (2006), http://www.alia.org.au/publishing/incite/2006/07/print.html?ID=138 ( accessed Apr. 24, 2009).