Whither blogging?

Two OA-related blogs that I’ve been following for quite a long time have recently undergone major changes. One is Caveat Lector, by Dorothea Salo, who has provided many credible (and readable) commentaries about repositories.This blog is no longer actively maintained. The reason? “It’s just too big” (excerpt from “Hanging up the keyboard“, June 23, 2009). She does continue to contribute to The Book of Trogool, where “an academic librarian confronts the way computers are changing academic research“.

Another major change is that Peter Suber, as of July 1, 2009, has curtailed his blogging on the Open Access News blog. Instead (among other activities) he’s tagging news items for the OA tracking project (OATP), via Connotea.

In addition to following the items tagged for the OATP, I’ve been paying attention to OA-related news items that are mentioned on Twitter and FriendFeed. See, for example, a search on Twitter for the hashtag #openaccess and a similar search on FriendFeed for #openaccess. These  searches can yield overlapping results, because posts from members of Twitter who are also members of FriendFeed will appear at both sites.

Because of Twitter and FriendFeed, the role of blogs may be evolving. For a relevant blog post, see: W(h)ither blogging and the library blogosphere?, by Meredith Farkas (July 22, 2009).  Excerpt:

With Twitter (and even more easily in FriendFeed) you can have the sort of discussion one might have in the comments of a blog post, nearly in real time. And it’s really cool, because you can feel much closer to the people you’re conversing with since the conversation is happening so quickly and in a single space that everyone is on equal footing in.

The comments about this blog post are also interesting. An example is Comment #17, posted by Walt Crawford. Excerpt:

Twitter et al (I really dislike the term “microblogging,” but can’t win that one) have, in a way, strengthened essay-length blogging while weakening short-form blogging (maybe)–and essays have always been harder to do than quick notes.

Meanwhile, a new OA journal has been announced: Journal of Scholarly and Research Communication. The International Editorial Board includes several people who have made pioneering contributions to the OA movement. An anecdote: I learned about the existence of this new journal via a FriendFeed entry from Bill Hooker (August 2, 2009). I then found that the same news was also available via a tweet from Shana Kimball (July 10, 2009) and a FriendFeed entry from Marin Dacos (July 20, 2009). Then, I noted that the new journal is mentioned by Peter Suber in the SPARC Open Access Newsletter of August 2, 2009. It’s also been bookmarked by Heather Morrison for the OATP (July 17, 2009). Unfortunately, at present, links to individual bookmarks in Connotea aren’t functioning properly. See: Update on recent and ongoing service problems for Connotea by Ian Mulvany (Nature Network, July 29, 2009).

Why the anecdote? I first became aware of the new journal via FriendFeed. This illustrates the advantage of short-form blogging as a means to disseminate news items.

Bora Zivkovic has compared Twitter and FriendFeed in PLoS ONE on Twitter and FriendFeed (March 30, 2009). Excerpt:

Despite online debates – which one is better: Twitter or FriendFeed, sometimes serious, sometimes tongue-in-cheek – the fact is that these are two different ‘animals’ altogether. Asking one to make a choice between the two is like asking one to make a choice between e-mail and YouTube – those are two different services that do different things. Thus, they are to be used differently. …

Comment: From the perspective of the OA movement, these microblogging services provide novel opportunities for wider dissemination of  information about OA. I regard these services as useful supplements to journal articles, blogs and mailing lists.

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