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Digital Curation Institute Symposium
November 22, 2011
iSchool, University Of Toronto
This presentation reports select findings from two descriptive studies of blogs and bloggers in the areas of history, economics, law, biology, chemistry and physics. The first study focused on scholar bloggersʼ preferences for digital preservation, as well as their publishing behaviors and blog characteristics that influence preservation action. Findings are drawn from 153 questionnaires, 24 interviews, and content analysis of 93 blogs. Briefly, questionnaire respondents are generally interested in blog preservation with a strong sense of personal responsibility. Most feel their blogs should be preserved for both personal and public access and use into the indefinite, rather than short-term, future. Over half of questionnaire respondents report saving their blog content, in whole or in part, and many interviewees expressed a sophisticated understanding of issues of digital preservation. However, the findings also indicate that bloggers exhibit behaviors and preferences complicating preservation action, including issues related to rights and use, co-producer dependencies, and content integrity.
The second study, currently on-going, looks toward the public availability of scholar blogs over-time, with findings drawn from a sample of 644 blogs. Content analysis is currently underway on inactive blogs, characterized as available, but with no new posts published within three months of coding. Initial analysis of the most recent post published to these inactive blogs shows that some bloggers did provide indicators of their respective blogʼs declining activity or, in some cases, blog stoppage. However, such indicators are only present in a clear minority of publicly available, yet inactive blogs. These preliminary findings offer implications for both personal and programmatic preservation approaches, including, notably, issues related to selection and appraisal.