By the end of this workshop, participants should:
(The word “blog” is short for “Weblog.” See http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/blog.)
One way of thinking about different types of blogs is to consider their authors’ positions, and thus, their audiences. On this spectrum, blogs can fit into the following categories:
If you are tasked to create a blog for your institution, it will probably fit into that last category. But don’t overlook the possibility—as an authorized experiment?—of getting permission to blog about your work life (with appropriate confidentiality) and starting a work-focused personal/viewpoint blog (perhaps with a carefully chosen colleague) as a way of gradually introducing blogs to your organization.
Obviously, this is only one way of thinking about blogs, and one whose categories overlap a lot. What blogs have you seen that fit into each of the above categories? What categories of blogs can you think of?
Got a blog? Want your library to speak louder on the Internet? This workshop can help you. We will help you to understand the care and feeding of blogs.
Blogs and Really Simple Syndication (RSS) are the backbone technologies of a new generation of web publishing tools. Blogging is how the source communicates with its audience; RSS is how the audience finds out about and reads what the source has to say. (You’ll learn more about RSS in the next module.) By using these two technologies together, anyone who has an Internet connection can publish their own material and have it widely disseminated.
If you are looking for interactive and collaborative communication avenues, blogging is an excellent path to explore. Blogs and blogging allow you or your library to express your thoughts and activities, announcements and instruction easily and as often as desired. Blogs can be journals or diaries, newsletters, presentations, galleries, reviews, intranet and more--in short, your own publishing platform. You can post traditional written content, but you can also add photos and images, podcasts, and screencasts. Use a blog as an advocacy tool for library dreams and projects. Express your library’s individuality, build community, and engage.
A major benefit of blogs is that, rather than being one-directional like a typical Web page (one to many), communities of users spring up around well-made and well-cultivated blogs. Those user communities comment on blog posts they find interesting (many to many), and even comment on other comments (many to many many). Blog comments can sometimes be more attention-getting than the blog posts they comment on. This is why it is a good idea to “moderate,” or approve, blog comments, before the blog’s readers can see them—to ensure that comments are attention-getting for the right reasons.
Many blogging applications are designed to require little or no knowledge of HTML (or any of those other frightening acronyms). Though if you are familiar with HTML and CSS, you can format and design a blog to your heart's content. Like traditional Web sites, blogs can be found through search engines. Unlike traditional Web sites, a blogger does not have to wait for the webmaster to publish new or updated content--full speed publishing can be yours.
Blogs and RSS are such wonderful tools that more and more individuals, companies, governments, schools and even libraries are starting to use them for their web content. For instance, the Harvard Law School Library has its own Blog named Et Seq. Another example would be Oregon Legal Research, which is managed by law librarians in Oregon. They all use their blog as a tool to share useful information with others on the Internet. And yes, you can keep tracking updates by subscribing to their RSS feeds. You can also create RSS feeds to notify subscribers of updates on your web site: news and events, new materials, updated subject guides. The State, Court and County Law Libraries SIS of AALL has an RSS feed to do just that. RSS ensures that the information goes where the user is, not the other way around.
Some ideas for law library blog content include:
Check out other Law Librarians and what they are doing with blogs: http://aallcssis.pbworks.com/Law-Library-Blogs.
In this workshop, we will learn terminologies used in blogs first and show you how to find blogs and their RSS feeds. We will then introduce current tools and help you to create your own blog. Advanced techniques will also be introduced and discussed. We will then look at what other libraries have archived and discuss new trends of using blogs in the law library environment. We will end the workshop by exploring the possibilities of what you can do for your library. Examples will be shown through out the workshop and we will ensure that you have a good hands-on experience.