At the end of this module you will:
- Understand what a blog is
- Know how to create a blog and post to the blog
- Understand why people/institutions have blogs
- Have ideas on what blogs you may want to read
What is a blog?
A weblog (or “blog”) is a format for publishing content on the web. Blogs are, quite simply, web-based logs of information that have the following features in common:
- content that is organized in reverse chronological order, with the most recent entry appearing at the top of the Web page;
- a date and timestamp to indicate when the content was published to the blog;
- archives that are automatically generated by the blog software
The blog format began with the simple “What’s New” pages that littered the Web in the early days of web publishing. The blog format was formalized when web/tech savvy individuals began writing their own programs to make it easier and quicker to publish these sorts of pages, where it was important that current content appeared at the top of the page. Once these programmers made this software freely available online, the now widely-used blog format was born.
There are 2 types of blogging software tools out there: hosted and installed.
Hosted blogs allow users to sign up for an account and a free blog. The company providing the software usually takes care of everything for you, and all you have to do is choose a name for your blog and write! To introduce you to blogging in a quick and easy way we will be using a hosted service, Blogger, for this module.
Installed blogging services provide you with software that you can download to your Web server. Installed software tends to be more powerful and gives you more control over the functionality and look & feel of your blog. The University of Waterloo Library has installed WordPress which is the software used to design the site for this training program.
Why should I care about blogs?
Millions of people are blogging and more are reading blogs. Blogs are a quick and easy way to publish to the web without knowing HTML programming or waiting on a webmaster to post information for you. They are simple to create and maintain. As an added bonus your readers can subscribe to your blog so that you don’t even need to alert people when you add new content! (you will learn about subscribing to blogs in Module 2)
Blogs are ideal for current awareness, news items and commentary. They can be fairly informal and can handle text, hyperlinks, photos, videos and other multimedia files.
How can I use blogs in the library?
Library staff can use blogs to promote library events, services and resources, to invite comments from library users and to exchange ideas with each other or with library users. Blogs can provide a forum for communicating project updates. Of course, you can also create personal blogs on any subject imaginable!
Library staff can read blogs written by others to keep up to date with trends in the library world.
Examples of blogs that may be of interest to information desk staff:
Association of College & Research Libraries blog
The Kept-Up Academic Librarian
Confessions of a Science Librarian
Information Literacy Weblog
Accessibility in a Web 2.0 World
If you decide to create a library blog, don’t forget to think about accessibility issues, for example, including alternative text for images. See Accessibility Resources at the end of this module for tips on making your blog accessible.
Ready to start blogging? Good, because Activity 1 is to set up your own blog and add your first post!
Activity 1: (video of activity 1)
In this exercise you will be using the website Blogger to create your own blog.
• Use Blogger to set up your own blog. It is a free, hosted blogging tool where you can set up an account and start a blog.
Click the “create your own blog now” link.
• Your blog address will be http://nameyouchoose.blogpost.com.
• If you already have a blog and would like to use it to track your progress during this programme, feel free to do so!
• How you choose to identify yourself on your blog is your choice. You can blog under a screen name, anonymously, or as yourself.
• Once you’ve set up your blog, go ahead and add your first post!
The content of your first post can be anything you’d like; one idea would be to simply introduce yourself!
If you want to receive a certificate at the end of the Web 2.0 training, please send the URL for your blog to libweb20@library…
Activity 2 (optional)
Post a comment to the Web 2.0 blog on what you thought of this activity.
Information on the coming Accesibility standards for Ontario
Other resources (optional):
List of library-related blogs
Blogs in Plain English video
• Anatomy of a Blog
• Blog, Wikipedia article
• The Ethical Blogger – Karen Schneider
• Why and How to Use Blogs to Promote Your Library’s Services – Darlene Fichter
• 7 Things you should know about blogs
This post is based on The Learning 2.0@Mac program.