Monday, August 07, 2006

New book: Uses of Blogs

Over at Crooked Timber, John Quiggin has noted the publication of Uses of Blogs, edited by Axel Bruns and Joanne Jacobs. Looking at the contributors and reading the online introductory essay, this book would appear to be an examination of blogs from the point of view primarily of sociologists, information specialists, economists, lawyers, and psychologists - not an historian in the bunch, as far as I can tell. Not a shock - blogging is only a few years old, not yet in the viewfinder of most historians. Heck, my own research area is on material 40 to 50 years old, which makes me a student of "contemporary history." But whenever historians get around to using blogs as sources, they will want to read just this kind of thing, because Uses of Blogs is an attempt to get at basic questions of authorship - who are the bloggers, who are the blog readers, and what are the writing and reading for? These are always the first questions an historian asks when examining a document for the first time. I want to say a lot about this, and I have few comments about the introductory essay in Uses of Blogs, but for now I will simply say I like the turn of phrase "mass amateurization of publishing," (p. 3), which is a pretty fit description of blogging.

1 comment: said...

I prefer to think of serious blogging as everyone's Thomas Payne. Contemporary historians could learn a thing or two about history I agree. Check out my blog for some examples of historical comment. Like your blog.