At the start of this discussion I had many questions about how to categorize blogs on the list, and for a while I was thinking my questions had changed (as most early research questions do). But late in the discussion “groups blogs” and “e-magazines” have come up, though in reference to difference websites. I’ve been thinking they really are the same thing. Some people have given good reasons why they are valuable: the synergy around the subject, the multiple points of view. I think there’s also something about them that aesthetically and psychologically resembles journals.
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A quick clarification regarding my post. Ms. Spark wondered if I was suggesting that bloggers get more intense and begin using footnotes. No, I'm not in favor of that. My post meant to ask if the relaxed nature of bloggers (which I think is fine) has influenced scholarship in general. Has blogging caused us to expect less in the way of academic publications? I'm not sure about that question. My guess is that it has. But, in any case, I endorse the casual quality of blogs. They're important.
I agree with Louis Caton that bloggers should, at least in their own minds, write nothing to a lay audience that can't be justified with thorough scholarly apparatus. Sadly, most blogging is performed by ideologues with unscholarly motives, including venting, revenge, or pushing a particular ideological line.
A quick note regarding Claire Spark's questions about bloggers. I would agree with a qualification. The blogs I read seem just fine. However, it seems like blogging in general has caused a bit of a relaxing to some of the formal expectations of research. I've noticed several recent Ameicanist authors seem less interested in providing textual support to their observations. More books have no or limited end-notes, many have no pagination for quotations, and a few are more intent on giving observations about culture rather than deeply reasoned analysis about ideas.
This isn't so much a blog as a e-magazine, but http://werehistory.org/ (We're History) is short scholar-written articles on American History. FYI, I've contributed so I'm not impartial! Also on Twitter for those of you who Tweet at @WereHistory.
- Mimi Cowan
PhD Candidate, History
Hi. My research is in the social history of letter writing and postal history. I found a great book by Catherine Golden called "Posting It." It might have some useful notes that could direct you to other sources. Hope that helps.
A good place to start is Raymond Williams's keywords, under Communication.
Dear B. Rahimi,
I suggest you take a look at the Society for the History of Technology website at http://www.historyoftechnology.org/. You should be able to get a start by looking at the page for "Resources for Students, Researchers & Teachers."
Your query gave me reason to do some brainstorming. Four items came to mind.
1) I've been listening to Bernard Cornwell's most recent "Sharpe" novel, taking place in 1820-21. In it, the military uses a long-distance communications device that emits clacks as it posts messages. These sounds are the background of scenes of the story, adding to the book's veracity. Such developments in military communications will be an important part of your study.
I'm new to the field and I need help with some references.
I'm doing research about the changing telecommunication (telegraph, postage, etc) and transportation history from colonial to post-revolutionary history (particularly 19th century).
Could someone refer me to articles and books?
I would be grateful
B. Rahimi UC San Diego