I’m writing a piece for the History of Science Society fall newsletter about history of science/medicine blogs and blogging on the blogosphere. It seems lately this has been a hot topic for discussion on the ‘net, especially after the New York Times Article which outlines possible web-alternatives to peer-review. Last year, our favourite history of science blogger, Michael D. Barton, gave a talk at the annual HSS meeting in Phoenix as part of the Committee on Education session, Teaching the History of Science Using the Web. Recently, fellow IHPST students Aaron S. Wright and Jonathan Turner continued the dialogue on posting academic content online. Also, recall Sage Ross and Michael Robinson‘s comments on my post about the internet protecting (as opposed to exposing) original academic records.
There’s something to be said here. A lot of academic bloggers I know blog about their academic lives, research ideas, provide advice, or just provide links to interesting articles around the web to read. In his talk, Michael also showed the results of his informal online survey to popular histofsci bloggers, and one of the question dealt with the content posted:
3. Is your blog specifically a history of science blog, or another blog which has history of science content?
Hos specifically: 8; HoS content: 12
4. Initally, why did you start your blog?
Sharing content (8), research (7), science communication (2), political commentary (2), networking (1), online reference (1), “It just happened!” (1)
For me, sharing content and research are only one of my main reasons for blogging; establishing my place in social media networks is another (especially for future job prospects and technology).
I do wonder: is there a history of science community on the blogosphere? There’s one on Twitter, with folks that advocate and support each other ideas as well as their own (#histsci), but they are all bloggers, or at the very least, individuals interested in the history of science. Is being a blogger a necessary requirement for participating in this community?
I started off my interest in the role of blogging back when I was frustrated about not being able to quickly or properly find great history of medicine blogs. I ended up spending hours and hours and hours…and hours surfing through the internet, and eventually managed to get a decent list of history of medicine and history of science blogs (which you can see on the links section on the right-hand part of the website). Michael also compiled a list of updated history of science blogs and twitter accounts.
I want to go back to the question I asked in my original post on history of science blogs: is there a strong readership for histofsci blogs? Who reads these types of blogs? Particularly, how often do historians make use of blogging sites?
I want to direct you, Dear Reader, to take five minutes out of your busy day and complete this very informal survey. Your assistance is greatly appreciated and I will post results after September 20.