The Blog Realm: News Sources, Searching with Daypop, and Content Management. (on the Net)

By Notess, Greg R. | Online, September-October 2002 | Go to article overview

The Blog Realm: News Sources, Searching with Daypop, and Content Management. (on the Net)


Notess, Greg R., Online


Like to browse, surf, wander, and explore the Web? It is easy to find many interesting nooks and crannies during the process, yet remembering the URLs for each is a daunting task. Bookmark lists and favorites can help, but too often they just expand too quickly, soon becoming unmanageable. And they are individual, designed for a single user to keep track of items, rather than a tool for adding and sharing notes and commentary with the entire Net community.

Enter the Web log. Quickly conjugated to "Weblog," the shift of a space makes "we blog," and the shortened version is "blog." It has become the "in" technology of the moment on the Net. While at first glance, a blog may appear to be little more than an online diary of oft-uninteresting personal opinion and seemingly random links, there is much more to the blogging world of which the information professional should be aware.

Despite the many purely personal-focused blogs and opinionated pontificating of others, Weblogs offer access to breaking news, rumors, evaluations, and other information that might not otherwise be readily available from our traditional databases. Above and beyond their information value, the software for creating blogs is basic content management software, and it can fulfill purposes well beyond the keeping of an online diary.

WHAT'S A BLOG?

The world of Weblogs is a strange one that many an information professional may appropriately choose to ignore. Blogs are as varied and diverse as their creators. Typically, it is a Web site with frequent, dated entries listed in reverse chronological order. The entries have links and commentary and often an opportunity for others to comment.

Many blogs have a high link-to-word ratio; so, reading a blog can involve frequent meandering to other pages to fully understand the reference and comments. Thus, blogs can function as a teen's diary, a political pundit's soapbox, or even simply as one person's view of the news.

For a more detailed introduction to blogs, see Darlene Fichter's "Internet Librarian" column, "Blogging Your Life Away," in the May/June 2001 ONLINE. She covers the history of blogs, usage on an intranet, and basics about the software. She also lists several library-oriented blogs. Or just explore a few on your own such as www.theshiftedlibrarian.com.

EXPLORING THE BLOGOSPHERE

A quick look at a few Weblogs may leave you rather unimpressed and uninterested in the whole blogging phenomena, especially if the bloggers' interests do not match yours. Why would a busy information professional want to spend time reading the thoughts and opinions of someone who seemingly only spends time reading news, linking to it, and commenting on it? With thousands of blogs online and new comments added at almost every moment, a blog-reading addict can quickly find that there is little time left for anything else.

But the profusion of blogs allows the Internet community to provide an interesting and very up-to-the-moment news source. Rumors and inside information along with blatant errors fill the Blogosphere. Yet when you need current information about a just-breaking topic, or would like some commentary on recently released software or Web sites, check the blogs. For every hundred blogs of absolutely no interest to you, there will be one or two with top-notch information and commentary.

The problem, of course, is how to find a relevant blog, especially when you are on a deadline. Check the Open Directory listings [www.dmoz.org/Computers/Internet/On_the_Web/Weblogs/] to try and find a few of interest. But the real need is for searchable access to the blog content. Fortunately, Daypop provides that opportunity.

DAYPOP FOR SEARCHING BLOGS

Daypop is a specialty search engine that just crawls and indexes Weblogs and news sites. It does not try to get every blog out there. Instead it focuses on what it calls the best of the blogs and news sites. …

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