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Citizens, Pundits & Scholars: In Defense of Blogs Kalina Grewal Mark Robertson Scott Library York University Overview What is a blog? A global phenomenon Why read blogs? Blogs and the academy Blogs and the library Discussion Blogs? What are they? Definitions

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citizens pundits scholars in defense of blogs

Citizens, Pundits & Scholars:In Defense of Blogs

Kalina Grewal

Mark Robertson

Scott Library

York University

overview
Overview
  • What is a blog?
  • A global phenomenon
  • Why read blogs?
  • Blogs and the academy
  • Blogs and the library
  • Discussion
blogs

Blogs?

What are they?

definitions
Definitions

One definition: “frequently modified web pages in which dated entries are listed in reverse chronological sequence” (Herring, 2004)

Creates an environment that fosters dialogue

Used for various purposes – personal, professional or commercial

features a read write medium
Features: A read/write medium

Comments

-readers respond by writing comments

Trackbacks

  • Links to other blogs that cite the posting
  • Incoming links

Blogrolls

  • Outgoing links to other blogs of interest
features rss feeds
Features: RSS feeds
  • RSS feeds
    • Really Simple Syndication
    • Allows readers to subscribe to a website
    • New postings are delivered to an RSS reader in standardized format
blog growth
Blog growth

Estimated total number of blogs:

  • Technorati tracks 63 million blogs
  • Gartner Group tech analysts estimates 100 million by middle of 2007 (BBC News, Dec. 14, 2006)
blog growth9
Blog growth

from Dave Sifry, State of the Blogosphere, 2006

blog postings per day
Blog postings per day

from Dave Sifry, State of the Blogosphere, 2006

case study iran
Case study: Iran
  • Population: 69 million people
  • 7.5 million web users (largest group in Middle East)
  • 700,000 bloggers?
  • Substitute for suppressed, reformist press
case study china
Case study: China
  • Population: 1.3 billion
  • 123 million internet users
  • 20.8 million blogs?
  • Most popular blog in the world: Xu Jinglei
  • Alternative to state controlled press
  • Relatively high level of trust in web-based media
why blogs

Why Blogs?

What’s the value for researchers?

the potential of blogs
The potential of blogs
  • Citizen journalism
      • Agenda Setting vs.
      • Grassroots Perspective
  • Creation of communities
  • As primary sources
citizen journalism
Citizen journalism
  • Defined as the act of citizens playing an active role in the production and dissemination of news
  • The trend has been fed by technologies such as: blogs, mobile phone cameras, YouTube, etc.
agenda setting
Agenda setting
  • Agenda setting a common critique of mainstream media
  • Bernard Cohen in 1963 stated:

“the press may not be successful much of the time in telling people what to think, but it is strongly successful in telling its readers what to think about”

  • Mainstream media have practices that privilege certain stories and certain people
grassroots perspective
Grassroots perspective
  • People who are generally ignored or misrepresented by the media are attracted to blogging for several reasons:
      • safe space to express identity
      • communication between citizens in closed societies or repressive regimes
      • mainstream media do not accommodate discussion and collective action
slide20

Citizen Journalism: Global Voices

Mission Statement:

Bangladesh

www.globalvoicesonline.org

citizen journalism22
Citizen journalism

January 11, 2007

State of Emergency Declared in Bangladesh

Violence claims more than 40 lives and media freedoms curtailed.

“Amid the chaos, the government has been cracking down on media freedoms -- but some Bangladeshi bloggers have not been cowed.” Mark Oliver, Internet World News

Ethos of Citizen Journalism

Drishtipat:“hear, speak out and help”

creation of communities
Creation of communities
  • Many-to-many communication
  • Platform for discussion
  • Blogrolls create networks of blogs
  • Multiple blogospheres
  • Bloggers share knowledge and collaborate
blogs as primary sources
Blogs as primary sources
  • Historical value
      • Document events as they happen
      • More likely to provide a personal perspective on an event
  • Sociological value
      • Linguistic analysis
      • First-person narratives
      • Eg. Narratives of girls with eating disorders; suidical behaviour
what is the academic value of blogs
What is the academic value of blogs?
  • Pedagogical tool
  • Object of study (primary source)
  • A means to stay informed
the role of communities in scholarly communication
The role of communities in scholarly communication

Academic researchers embedded in communities

The expert research model “requires a long process of acculturation…participation in a system of informal scholarly communication, and a view of research as a non-sequential, non-linear process….”

Gloria Leckie, “Desperately Seeking Citations”

a means to a scholarly end
A means to a scholarly end…
  • Not themselves scholarly
  • Provides opportunities for information sharing and debate
  • Role in informal scholarly communication
  • Awareness and alert system
blogs and the role of libraries a discussion
Blogs and the role of libraries:a discussion
  • Organization
  • Access
  • Preservation
  • Teaching
del icio us webliography
Del.icio.us webliography

http://del.icio.us/citizensandpundits

contact
Contact

Mark Robertson

Scott Library, York University

markr@yorku.ca

Kalina Grewal

Scott Library, York University

kgrewal@yorku.ca

Webliography:

http://del.icio.us/citizensandpundits