An overflow crowd turned out to hear about blogs in the first round of sessions after the opening keynote this morning. I only got to part of the session (and had to stand!), but I heard a good talk by Catherine Lavalée-Welch of the University of South Florida and creator of the EngLib blog. She reviewed how to measure the quality of a blog, why publish a blog, how to find blogs, and she gave some examples of specific blogs. A paper in the Journal of Library Administration on how to judge the criteria of a blog will be published in the fall. She also recommended the book , Weblogs and Libraries, published last year. Some of the quality measures she mentioned were:
· Regular updating
· Consistency of posts with the subject of the blog
· A lifespan of more than one year
· Links to other resources
· Brief posts
· Easy access to older entries, and
· Good graphic design (especially ease of printing)
She also pointed out that most of the standard search engines do not allow the user to limit the results to blogs, so if you are searching for a blog, use a specialized search engine like Technorati or Feedster.
Catherine concluded by noting that blogs are supposed to help you keep up with the literature, but, like any other information source, you can get information overload if you subscribe to too many of them. She feels that they can be used in some ways as a reference tool, especially if their author is a well-known expert in the field. They also can be authoritative, again by virtue of the status of their authors.
Columnist, Information Today