personal publication as an online research tool
Torill Mortensen & Jill Walker
Once upon a time, weblogs were automatically collated overviews of data about visitors to a web server. That's changed. Nowadays the texts called weblogs are definitely not written by a computer. Weblogs today are subjective annotations to the web rather than statistics about it. Weblogs, or blogs as they are affectionately termed, are frequently updated websites, usually personal, with commentary and links. Link lists are as old as home pages, but a blog is far from a static link list or home page. A blog consists of many relatively short posts, usually time-stamped, and organised in reverse chronology so that a reader will always see the most recent post first. The first weblogs were seen as filters to the Internet; interesting links to sites the reader might not have seen, often with commentary from the blogger. Though weblogs have many different themes, looks and writing styles, formally the genre is clear. Brief, dated posts collected on one web page are the main formal criteria. Evan Williams, one of the creators of the popular blogging tool Blogger, is succinct in his definition:
To me, the blog concept is about three things: Frequency, Brevity, and Personality. (..) This clarification has evolved over time, but I realised early on that what was significant about blogs was the format — not the content.1
This paper is about the use of weblogs in research. We are both researchers of online games, texts and culture, and most of our material is
Researching ICTs in Context
gathered online. A lot of our research is done online. Unsurprisingly, we came across weblogs when surfing the net. Discovering how simple Blogger makes blogging, we started our own weblogs. Jill Walker started jill/txt in October 2000, and Torill Mortensen started Thinking with my fingers not long after. The weblogs were originally used as a way to... [continues]
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