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Citizens, Pundits & Scholars: In Defense of Blogs

Citizens, Pundits & Scholars: In Defense of Blogs

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Citizens, Pundits & Scholars: In Defense of Blogs

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  1. Citizens, Pundits & Scholars:In Defense of Blogs Kalina Grewal Mark Robertson Scott Library York University

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

  3. Blogs? What are they?

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. Blogs in a global perspective

  8. 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)

  9. Blog growth from Dave Sifry, State of the Blogosphere, 2006

  10. Blog postings per day from Dave Sifry, State of the Blogosphere, 2006

  11. Blog readership by country

  12. Blogs by language

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. Why Blogs? What’s the value for researchers?

  16. The potential of blogs • Citizen journalism • Agenda Setting vs. • Grassroots Perspective • Creation of communities • As primary sources

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. Citizen Journalism: Global Voices Mission Statement: Bangladesh www.globalvoicesonline.org

  21. Global Voices website

  22. 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”

  23. Creation of communities • Many-to-many communication • Platform for discussion • Blogrolls create networks of blogs • Multiple blogospheres • Bloggers share knowledge and collaborate

  24. Communities of interestAn example from Six Months in Hanoi

  25. 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

  26. What is the academic value of blogs? • Pedagogical tool • Object of study (primary source) • A means to stay informed

  27. 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”

  28. 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

  29. Blogs and the role of libraries:a discussion • Organization • Access • Preservation • Teaching

  30. Del.icio.us webliography http://del.icio.us/citizensandpundits

  31. 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