Blog-ray exposure (Weblogs in Munich Part 3)

The first afternoon session presents existing blogs. Maybe I will finally understand what makes a good blog. So far, my conclusion was that the traffic on a blog defines its official success. But on the other hand, a scholarly blog with 15 visitors that are “the right ones” is also considered successful. All in all, I still don’t understand what success looks like for a scholarly blog. The number of visits combined with the number of quotations or links? The number of commentaries? The number of tweets? Or maybe nothing that could be summarized in numbers? Let’s see…

Eva Pfanzelter talks about “Blogging the holocaust” and, among others, the controversial blogs you can find on that topic. She demonstrates that it is not the scholarly institutions that are key influences in the holocaust blogging. She does not speak about censorship (I would tend to go that direction, but I am not a historian… which also explains why I did not even tweet in this session: I had the feeling I did not really know all the underlying debates). She refuses to open the page of the holocaustdeniers blog though. Should we refuse to click on them by principle, because it increases their ranking as a blog? It is just not possible to get control over such blogs. So , should scholarly blogging have primarily pedagogical virtues in order to fight off this kind of  “sucessful” blogs?

Klaus Graf presents “Archivalia“. Considering the amount of posts he is responsible for, it is only natural he might adress the question whether a scholar who does not blog has to be considered a bad scholar. He evokes a thesis we already heard a couple of time: Scholarly blogging is more blogging about scholarship than blogging on scholarly contents (which would be some kind of pre-print function). Klaus Graf gives examples where blogging on Archivalia actually brought science one step further: unidentified manuscripts available on wikicommons, could be identified by experts from everywhere around the world (on the other hand: what guarantee do you have that a commentary on a blog post is serious – back to the review / peer-review theme.

Georgios Chatzoudis presents L.I.S.A., das Wissenschaftsportal der Gerda-Henkel-Stiftung. He opens on the question whether the degree of interactivity is only to be measured by the amount of commentaries you get to a blog post. According to him, consulting a blog post has to be considered like interaction (meaning that the main question is the one of traffic). Another way of implementing interactivity on the portal is the organization of live chats, facebook interviews, tweeten auf Tagungen, skype-interviews, instant messaging, and a lot more. How do they keep track? I find twitting and blogging are demanding enough if you want to still have some time to actually do research…


Anne Baillot

I am a Professor of German Studies at Le Mans Université. My areas of research include German literature, Digital Humanities, textual scholarship and intellectual history.

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1 Response

  1. Graf Klaus says:

    For real scholars the question “what guarantee do you have that a commentary on a blog post is serious” isn’t worth thinking about ist. If you cannot recognize obvious fake entries you should not blog. And preparing research on a fake “Turnierbuch”: there is no guarantee that respected scholars don’t believe in a fake.

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