Last semester I completed the LIBR287 course “The Hyperlinked Library” with Michael Stephens. I have naturally gravitated to blogs as platforms for personal expression, citizen journalism, and sources of information for nearly a decade. Michael’s course articulated something to me that I think I understood intuitively throughout most of my various blogging activities over the years, but had never seen articulated so well prior to his course. Blog hyperlinks subvert hierarchy and facilitate conversations between people with common interests. Conversations are key for creating/maintaining relationships and forming communities. I find myself frequently thinking about how to best approach the creation and maintenance of professionally focused blogs in the future. Paying attention to Michael Stephens’ work is a great starting point for anyone who has similar inclinations.
Michael’s dissertation was not required reading for the LIBR287 course but I recommend all MLIS students read it. Michael surveyed authors of professionally focused LIS blogs to form an understanding of their motivations and their learning experiences.
The primary reason I enrolled in LIBR246 is because the syllabus clearly listed blog posts as course assignments and I wholeheartedly believe that blogging is a skill that should be professionally practiced for the potential benefit of individual LIS professionals and the organizations they are affiliated with. I was also attracted by the text suggested for LIBR246 Social Software in Libraries which is authored by Meredith Farkas whose surveys of the biblioblogosphere are cited by Michael in his dissertation. I am mostly finished reading that text and am pleased to find it is packed with relevant practical instructions and a variety of content ideas for implementing LIS focused blogs. Meredith’s text emphasizes that since blogger.com was created in 1999 blogging has been free and easy for anyone who has the ability to type. The invention of the permalink in 2000 was also significant considering it enabled bloggers to link to specific posts rather than link to an entire blog for readers to dig through to find a specific post.