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Blogging Archaeology – Publishing a Blog Carnival

March 27, 2011


Logo by Colleen Morgan

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.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 29, 2011 2:55 pm

    Hi Matt,

    I think that you are right in that blog posts must be published verbatim, if they are to be re-published at all; essential to preserve the author’s style and tone. However, any addition of commentary during the formalisation of pubication could, for fairness’ sake, perhaps be attached to the original post – a kind of CC SA “ShareAlike” relationship between the ‘formal’ and ‘informal’ – a feedback loop if you will.

    One idea with commenter permissions could be to add a notice to one’s blog’s theme (or make it an option you can enable/disable for individual posts – WordPress plugin anyone?) stating that comments may be published elsewhere, and if you leave a comment you agree to this.

    You said “I think the key with this collection is to embrace the informality.” – absolutely. Shaking off the shackles of peer review, and letting your commenters be your peers is what blogging and archaeology is all about.

    (this comment may be republished)


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