Blog

Blog: The term "weblog" was coined by Jorn Barger on 17 December 1997. Then Peter Merholz, jokingly broke the word weblog into the phrase we blog in the sidebar of his blog Peterme.com in 1999, from where it becomes popular as "blog". Thus Blog is derived from Weblog. Blog or weblog is a web-based publication consisting primarily of periodic articles normally in reverse chronological order with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer.

1. Definition: Blogs have different meaning to different people, ranging from “online journal” to “easily updated personal website”. A weblog is a journal (or newsletter) that is frequently updated and intended for general public consumption. Blogs generally represent the personality of the author or the Web site.

According to Concept Websites Ltd (http://www.conceptwebsites.com/SEO/common-terms.htm), “a blog is basically a journal that is available on the web. The activity of updating a blog is "blogging" and someone who keeps a blog is a "blogger." Blogs are typically updated daily using software that allows people with little or no technical background to update and maintain the blog”.

In simple, it can be said that it is a web based website where articles posted will automatically be arranged in reverse chronological fashion or in a chronological fashion. The owner/member will post message which are sometimes rich with graph, audio, video and hyperlink periodically enabling others to view and comment. Topics often include the owner's/member’s daily life or views on a particular subject or topic of important to the group. The original post with its associated comments and discussion provide a very insight to the topic at hand.

            Many blogs are frequently updated and publicly accessible i.e they allow anybody to sign up at any time; some others are private where entry to the group is restricted. Some advanced users have server-side software, and often implement membership management and password protected areas. Others have created a mix of a blog and wiki, called a bliki.

2. History: At the initial stage of internet development, Usenet, e-mail lists, Bulletin Board Systems (BBS), chronicles, commonplaces, diaries, and perzines were used as a form of Citizen Media. Bulletin Board is a service whereby messages and points of interest can be posted to be read and replied to unlike list server. The news group provides access to thousands of topic based discussion group services which are open to all. The news reader software allows one to post an article to any group for others to read. A comment to the message (original) can be added to the thread of the article. In recent times these are effectively replaced by the “blog”.

During recent days, blog has evolved into a tool that offers some of the most insightful information on the Web. It provides self-publishing phenomenon represented by blogging and becoming much more common in LIS, as librarians, libraries and library associations have begun to blog as a way of communicating with their patrons and constituents. Many librarians world wide also publish their personal blogs that offer a wealth of information about librarianship, their parent institution and sometimes to their personal lives as well.

The emergence of blogging provides a medium to give readers of the library new perspectives on the realities, as well as often offering different viewpoints from those of its official news sources. Many bloggers began to provide nearly-instant commentary on televised events, creating a secondary meaning of the word "blogging": to simultaneously transcribe and editorialize speeches and events shown on television (liveblogging).

3. Anatomy of a Blog Entry: Blog uses web interfaces that allow anyone over the Internet, to create blogs by their own. It usually does not demand the maintenance of server software by the users themselves. It also does not demand to go for the HTML. A blog entry typically consists of the following:

a) Title: The main title, or headline, of the post;

b) Body: Main content of the post;

c) Permalink: The URL of the full, individual article;

d) Post Date: Date and time the post published.

A blog entry optionally also includes the comments or feedback. Comments are a way to provide discussion on blog entries. Readers can leave a comment on a post (a way of correcting one’s error) or they can also leave their personal opinion on the previous post(s).

4. Types: There are various types of blogs, and each differs in the way content is delivered or written. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic, the ability to quote another user's post with special formatting in ones post is also a special feature of many blogs. Generally, blog can be categorized as follows:

a) Linklog: A blog comprising links;

b) Moblog: A blog written by a mobile phone or Personal Digital Assistant (PDA);

c) Photoblog: A blog comprising photos;

d) Podcasting: Blog containing audio;

e) Vlog: A blog comprising videos.

Blog can also be categorized based on a particular subject, such as political blogs, travel blogs, legal blogs (often referred to as a blawg), Library blogs, Academic Library blogs, Librarian’s blogs and so on.

5. Importance: Blogging combined the site with tools to make linking to other pages easier specifically permalinks, blogrolls and TrackBacks. This, together with blog search engines enabled bloggers to track the threads that connected them to others with similar interests.

a) Blog as a Forum: The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format and the scope for adding more than one author in a blog, can be used to create discussion forum. Wordpress comments at the bottom of a blog post allow for a single-threaded discussion of any given blog post. Slashcode, on the other hand, is far more complicated, allowing fully threaded discussions and incorporating a robust moderation and meta-moderation system as well as many of the profile features available to forum users.

b) Blog as a Group: The Blog’s RSS Feed or Atom by burning with some feed burning services can be used to provide email subscription option (some blog hosting service even produce it by default). This feature can be used as a group to notify the intended users or reader or subscribers about some announcement.

Blog also have blogrolls (i.e. links to other blogs which the owner reads or admires), and indicate the social relationship of a particular blog to those of other bloggers. Pingback (links to other sites that refer to the entry) and trackback (one of three types of Linkbacks, methods for Web authors to request notification when somebody links to one of their documents) allow one blog to notify another blog, creating an inter-blog conversation. In summary, blogs engage readers and build a virtual community around a particular person or interest, which have immense implication in library and information science.

c) A Major Part of the Internet: Blogs are easy to create and maintain as compared to websites. As a result, people are turning towards blog as a publication medium. Day by day, its volume as well as quality increases and now we are in a position where we can say that if one is unable to locate any information over internet by searching in the traditional general purpose search engine then it must be in blog.

d) Latest Information: The literature search forms the backbone of any research activities. In recent times, a part of this business relies on internet and for a comprehensive list of resources over internet, the search should extend to blog also, as it contains the latest, up to the minute information on a given topic.

e) Substitute of Mainstream Media: Blog increasingly considered as a substitute of the mainstream media for news services, consultants, etc. As blog becomes a standard part of the publicity arsenal, it is used extensively as a tool for outreach and opinion forming and as means of applying pressure upon concern authority and like other. It can also be used to push the messages directly to the public by avoiding the filtering process of the mainstream media (the editorial board of which often cut down the massage as a means to avoid the legal liabilities, to present credible news or at times to justify their presence!).

6. Finding a Blog / Blog Search Engine: The general purpose search engines generally avoid displaying results from blogosphere. So, for searching the blog over internet, reliance must be placed on the specially designed blog search engines. Several blog search engines are used to search blog contents (also known as the blogosphere), such as blogdigger, Feedster, and Technorati, which helps one to find out what people are saying on any subject of his/her interest. In the following paragraph an attempt is made to list and discuss some of the most popular blog search engines.

a) Blogdigger (http://www.blogdigger.com/index.html): Blogdigger is a blog and media search engine founded in March 2003 by Greg Gershman. Blogdigger began as an experiment with RSS and search technologies, developing into a search engine that provides fast, up-to-the-minute search results of the latest posts collected from blogs and syndicated content feeds, such as RSS and Atom.

b) Bloglines (http://www.bloglines.com): Bloglines is a web-based news aggregator for browsing weblogs and other news feeds. Mark Fletcher founded the site in 2003 and sold it in February 2005 to Ask.com. Bloglines uses an interface with the blogs names in one frame and their most recently updated content in another pane.

c) Feedster (http://www.feedster.com): Feedster was founded in March 2003 by Scott Johnson. In June 2003, it merged with RSS-Search founded by François Schiettecatte. Feedster began as a weblog search tool, indexing and archiving individual blog posts based on a site's RSS feed. Feedster gained popularity with blog enthusiasts because it indexed new information fast, let users sort search results chronologically, and made it possible to subscribe to search results as an RSS feed. It has now expanded to offer a wide range of related services, including "Feed of the Day".

d) IceRocket (http://www.icerocket.com): IceRocket is an Internet search engine specialized in searching blogs. IceRocket is backed by Mark Cuban and headquartered in Dallas, Texas. In 2005, CNet reported that it may be re launched as Blogscour.

e) PubSub: PubSub is an Internet search engine for searching blogs which was founded in 2002 by Bob Wyman and Salim Ismail. The site operates by storing a user's search term, making it a subscription, and checking it against posts on blogs which ping the search engine. When a new match is found, the user is notified, even if it occurs months after the initial search. This feature has led PubSub to call itself a matching engine. Results can be read on the service's website or on an optional sidebar, available for both Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox. PubSub is currently having problem as noted in by Bob Wyman.

f) Sphere (http://www.sphere.com): The Sphere search engine delivers blog posts based on algorithms that combine semantic matching with authority factors to deliver results relevant to the search query. Sphere also organizes bloggers by topic. The company produces an application called Sphere It! allowing users to seek blog posts related to news articles based on the contents of a particular web page they're viewing. The function is accessed from a browser navigation bar plug-in. Upon clicking the plug-in button, a semantic analysis is performed on the text within the page and blog posts related to the text of the article are returned.

g) Technorati (http://www.technorati.com): Technorati is an Internet search engine for searching blogs, competing with Google, Yahoo, PubSub and IceRocket. As of November  2006, Technorati indexes over 60 million weblogs. The site won the SXSW 2006 awards for Best Technical Achievement and also Best of Show. It has also been nominated for a 2006 Webby award for Best Practices. Technorati provides current information on both popular searches and tags used to categorize blog postings. Blogs are also given rankings by Technorati based on the amount of incoming links and Alexa Internet based on the web hits of Alexa Toolbar users.

h) Google Blog Search (http://www.google.co.in/blogsearch?hl=en): Google Blog Search is a search engine focused on blogs, with a continuously updated search index. Results include all blogs, not just those published through Blogger. Results can be viewed and filtered by date. Google provides following option to search for blog

i) Google-style interface (blogsearch.google.com)

ii) Blogger-style interface) (search.blogger.com)

iii) The Blogger Dashboard

iv) The Navbar on any Blog

All of the above provide same search, no matter where one searches. The Navbar, however, provides two buttons: one to search the blog that one currently viewing, and one to search all blogs. It also provides “Advanced Search” features where one can specify titles, authors, languages and more. After getting the search results, it also provides an additional link that allows to switch between displaying the results with either the most relevant or recent results at the top.

7. Blog Hosting Services: Blogs are generally hosted by dedicated blog hosting services or on regular web hosting services. Most of the free blog hosting services are ad-supported but generally have unlimited posting bandwidth and storage space.  Generally, a small advertisement square banner is placed on the user blog, which does not affect the overall make up the said blog. Many blog hosting services also notified the blogger when someone adds some comments on his/her blog. Examples include the following

i) Blogger (https://www.blogger.com/start): Blogger was started by Evan Williams and Meg Hourihan (Pyra Labs of San Francisco) in August 1999 and was purchased by Google in February 2003.

ii) coComment (http://www.cocomment.com/): coComment is a Swiss startup company funded by Swisscom Innovations and focused on providing high quality services to internet users worldwide. The company is based in Geneva, Switzerland.

iii) LiveJournal (http://www.livejournal.com/): Brad Fitzpatrick started LiveJournal in March 1999. The LiveJournal can be used as a private journal, a blog, a discussion forum, a social network, and like other.

iv) Open Diary (http://www.opendiary.com/): Launched in October 1998, soon growing to thousands of online diaries. Open Diary becomes the first blog community where readers could add comments to other writers' blog entries.

v) Pitas.com (http://www.pitas.com/): Andrew Smales created Pitas.com in July 1999 as an easier alternative to maintaining a "news page" on a website, followed by Diaryland in September 1999, focusing more on a personal diary community.

vi) Xanga (http://www.xanga.com/): Launched in 1996, had only 100 diaries by 1997, but over 20 million as of December 2005.

            Other blog hosting service includes Blog (http://www.blog.com/), DreamHost (http://www.dreamhost.com/), Salon.com (http://www.salon.com), Tripod (http://www.tripod.lycos.com/), Vox (http://www.vox.com/), WordPress (http://www.worldpress.org/), etc.

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