Is blogging for personal information management generalizeable or just for some?
Is blogging for personal information management useful for all professions and personality types or just for writers and information workers?
When I talk about blogging for information management I mean maintaining a personal blog (or if a collaborative one, one with low or no barriers to posting) to keep what you've found, provide context and analysis though commentary and linking, and to allow for time sequencing and searching. (You can see what I mean in my ASIS&T presentation and my presentation in June). A few years ago, Seb Paquet
noticed that the early blogosphere was dominated by professions who uncover implicit information. Specifically he mentions journalists, librarians, lawyers, and educators. Looking at this a few years later, I would say that it's different aspects of the various jobs that encourage blogging: communication skills, writing fluency, extroversion (or at least comfort in dealing with people, desire and ability to network)... So, to the professions mentioned above, I would now add public relations and perhaps politician. Of course, the individual has to also be willing to experiment and try new things.
Where do scientists and engineers fit in? Both fields tend to draw more introverted people; however, in training and in practice both groups need to collaborate and share to get ahead. They get together at conferences and virtually to co-author papers, brainstorm ideas, and solve problems. They work on project teams and together in labs. Some trust is implied from this sharing of information but that trust may only exist when a f2f meeting has occurred. Comments to this Cosmic Variance post
reinforce the idea that one to-many sharing like on blogs is uncomfortable for researchers who are being pressured to patent, publish, etc. Like an earlier Educause article
, the Cosmic Variance post linked above talks about making conference or seminar conversations persistent, asynchronous, and at least partially available to interested parties unable to participate in preferred channels.
This morning I read the David Secko article
from The Scientist
(8/1/05, free reg. req, pointed to by ResourceShelf
) with great interest. The article discusses the power of blogs for finding information, collaborating, networking, keeping up with science news, archiving project information. The article also mentions that the life science blogosphere is in its infancy. Eric Gerritsen speculates (in a quote in the article) that this might be "due to scientists' caution about retribution, unfamiliarity with the technology, or not grasping the potential impact yet." Both the Secko article and Clifford's Cosmic Variance post encourage me to believe that blogging can
help the PIM of scientists and engineers.
So for science/technology librarian bloggers: how do we translate our success with our personal blogs to the work of the scientists? We can offer training and familiarization with the technology and go on about the impact... we can provide internal blog hosting (thereby limiting the risk and returns
of sharing). Is this something that has to come from within their field?
Update: amazingly enough, I completely missed the editorial
from the issue in which life scientists are prodded into action. Well, let's see what that does and let's see if physical scientists get jealous... (pointed to by Geoff