Blogging for historians presentation (SMKE 2013 conference)


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Slide show presentation from the SMKE 2013 conference (Social Media Knowledge Exchange) by Matthew Phillpott on the Blogging for Historians project.

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Blogging for historians presentation (SMKE 2013 conference)

  1. 1. Blogging for Historians Matt Phillpott (Institute of Historical Research) Social Media Knowledge Exchange conference 3 July 2013
  2. 2. • A blog about blogs •Six podcasted interviews with bloggers working in the field of History (academic, archival, librarian) • An online survey or questionnaire to investigate further the prevailing thoughts about blogging • A toolkit or guide to blogging developed especially for historians early in their careers Outputs of the project
  3. 3. Research blog – talking about personal research Point of view blog – discussing thoughts and experiences as a lecturer, archivist or librarian. Institution shared blog – promotes a department and gives staff members a joint-forum To discuss their research interests Scholarly shared blog – around a specific theme or topic area shared between a small group Of academics Events blog – designed to promote one or more events such as talks, workshops, conferences Project blog – updates about the project, things found out through the project etc. General types of History blogs
  4. 4. Archives & Library blogs • The National Archives blog – Ruth Ford • Untold Lives (British Library) – Margaret Makepeace and Penny Brook Individual research blog • Historyonics blog – Professor Tim Hitchcock (Hertfordshire) Collaborative research blogs • The Russian History blog – Dr Miriam Dobson (Sheffield) • History Matters blog– Dr Caroline Dodds Pennock (Sheffield) Blog aggregator • The Early Modern Commons – Sharon Howard (HRI) Podcasted Interviews
  5. 5. Ruth Ford – The National Archives Blog Why was it set up? • Part of a larger social media policy • Goal of transparency and openness • An attempt to emphasis a human element to the archives • As staff at the TNA are civil servants they operate under a strict set of guidelines and their public relations are usually a ‘we’ rather than an ‘I’. Blogs allowed staff to use an informal and ‘personal’ voice for a change How the blog is managed • A long-term plan in place to ensure the content continues • Staff asked to agree to provide posts for at least 6 months • Centrally managed by web team • Posts scheduled 1 month in advance with 3-4 posts per week
  6. 6. Margaret Makepeace and Penny Brook – The Untold Lives blog (British Library) Why was it set up? • One of many blogs operated by the BL – initial set up considerations already in place, but similar to those considered by TNA. • Also shared goal of transparency and openness • Also interested in emphasising the human voice through a storytelling approach • An approval process was required and the theme needed to be flexible enough for collaborative blogging. How the blog is managed • 2 editors acting as gatekeepers • Schedule which includes key dates in the year – an attempt to tailor posts to events that are current. • 5-10 posts as back up
  7. 7. Caroline Dodds Pennock – The History Matters blog (Dept. of history, Sheffield) Why was it set up? • To raise the profile of the departments research. • To engage with a wider audience and to demonstrate the relevance of academic history in today’s world. • A theme in which a department with diverse interests can all participate How the blog is managed • A schedule is maintained with important events noted and staff expertise called upon where relevant • Entirely voluntary but a growing interest from staff – some regularly take part, others occasionally.
  8. 8. Miriam Dobson – Russian History blog (various, mainly US) Why was it set up? • Frustrated with book reviews taking too long to be published – the blog allowed for an immediate forum of discussion that could even include the author. • A means to maintain an online presence without the additional pressure of regularly writing posts – with c. 10 people collaborating only need to provide a few posts a year • Acts as a focus for discussion around the subject matter • Good for networking – becoming recognised for being one of the Russian History bloggers How the blog is managed • More informal – one person in charge, but only to nudge when a post hasn’t gone up for a while. • Each contributor uploads their own posts • Occasional email conversations re. blog.
  9. 9. Tim Hitchcock (Hertfordshire) – Historyonics blog (personal research/opinion blog) Why was it set up? • Experiment – to see if blogs were useful • Initially talking about holidays etc., but soon focused on mulling over future direction in digital history, a place for random thinking pieces, a fun space to write and think – often a good way to put into prose something that would otherwise just remain as random thoughts in the head. How the blog is managed • Chaotic and undirected • No scheduling, just posts when he has something to say or something that he has no other use for.
  10. 10. Sharon Howard (Sheffield Humanities Research Institute) – The Early Modern Commons (blog aggregator) Why was it set up? • To be a blogroll + - i.e. a more useful blog roll • Includes over 260 early modern blogs with details and RSS feeds plus aggregates their posts A possible way forward for Blogging?
  11. 11. Audience Feedback Promotion of the blog Best practice
  12. 12. What the bloggers had to say about best practice Video
  13. 13. Survey results
  14. 14. Survey results
  15. 15. Survey results
  16. 16. Survey results
  17. 17. Categories: 1. Uses of blogs for historians 2. Setting up a blog 3. Promoting your blog 4. Shared blogs 5. Creating content 6. Paying for enhanced features 7. Going further (bibliography/further reading)
  18. 18. Uses of blogs for historians a. What is a blog? b. Why should I blog? c. What purpose should a blog serve? d. What are the benefits of blogging about my academic research? e. What are the risks of blogging? Setting up a blog a. First things to consider b. Choosing a blog platform c. Choose a topic/theme d. Choosing a blog name e. Designing the blog f. Launching the blog g. Elements of a blog h. Writing blog posts i. Adding video and audio to a blog Promotion a blog a. Search Engines b. Hyperlinks c. Social Media d. E-mails e. Other blogs f. Aggregators g. Statistics Shared blogs a. The benefits b. The downfalls
  19. 19. Creating content a. How long should a blog post be? b. What should a blog post contain? c. How do I write blog posts? d. Should I include images? e. Should I include footnotes/bibliographies Enhanced Features a. Domain Name and hosting b. Blogging Tools c. Monetising Going Further a. Useful resources
  20. 20. Choosing a blog platform Some institutions have blogging platforms customised for use by their departments. Therefore, if you wish to begin blogging within a university, museum, or archival setting it is well worth checking if there are any options (and rules) within the institution. The most popular blogging platform is WordPress. Its basic form is free and this is by far enough for most people (for details on the enhanced see the section on Enhanced Features). Other popular platforms you may wish to consider are Blogger and Typepad, although there are others. Here is a brief list of blogging platforms (prices are correct as of June 2013): Name: WordPress Address: or Costs: Free/various prices Information: Wordpress is the most popular blogging platform because it is easy to set up, use, and manage. Add-on’s and other features such as web hosting can be brought as or when they are needed, but for most bloggers the free service is perfectly fine. WordPress has a good internal statistics system, various free plug-ins, and numerous free themes so that you can create a blog that looks relatively unique and
  21. 21. Conclusions 1. If you want to start a blog think seriously about what you want to get out of it. You need to be enthusiastic about what you are blogging about. 2. Despite common wisdom it is not always necessary to blog regularly and there is no definitive word limit – although under 1000 words is generally considered plenty. 3. Consider shared blogs – they offer a more collaborative approach that can be inspiring and bring new opportunities. 4. But individual blogging is good as well.
  22. 22. Thank you for listening Matt Phillpott Blogging for Historians: