Blogging Archaeology – Publishing a Blog Carnival
The final question in Middle Savagery’s blogging archaeology carnival relates to publication:
How could we best capture the interplay, the multimedia experience of blogging as a more formalized publication? What would be the best outcome for this collection of insights from archaeological bloggers?
This is tricky, and I’m sure there will be a lot of varied responses from my fellow bloggers . I think a couple of things would be desirable. Firstly, I think the blog posts should be presented verbatim rather than summarised, with the addition of Colleen’s summaries as an introduction, rather like the introduction to a set of conference proceedings. If we’re talking about formalising the record of a blog discussion, it’d be nice to have a feel for the participants’ own style of writing (and thus a sense of what blogs are like). Perhaps each author’s contributions could be compiled into a single essay.
Secondly, I think the comments should be published as well – subject to the individual commenter’s permission. As last week’s question reveals, comments are part of the package.
Thirdly, I think the publication needs to come quickly. So much can change on the internet in such a short time that it’s quite undesirable to be still be waiting for the book of this in 2014. The last time I was involved in an internet-related session at a conference, the papers were published in SAA Archaeological Record for precisely that reason, which – given that this is an SAA session – seems appropriate.
I’m not really sold on peer review in this case. When I started responding to this carnival I had no idea formal publication was a possible outcome (which actually leaves me feeling a little vulnerable) and, although I do put quite a bit of consideration into what I’m going to write, blogging is a much more off-the-cuff and informal exercise than academic writing. Much of what has been written is opinion rather than research, and (perhaps I’m not being imaginative enough) I don’t see that peer review is appropriate for this kind of writing. Of course there should be a careful editorial eye passed over this, but I think the key with this collection is to embrace the informality.