Previous conversations about archives blogs

I should pause and acknowledge a previous conversation about archives blogs that took place last September between Thomas G. Lannon on Documenting Sources and Mark Matienzo on thesecretmirror.com–with comments from others. In his post “Archive Blogs,” Lannon considered “what is an archive blog?” and “what is the role of blogs in archivists lives?” He came to a rather negative conclusion, I’m afraid, and in response to a comment by Jeanne from Spellbound.com expressed a more general skepticism about the use of so-called 2.0 technologies among archivists as a whole.

Mark replied in a post on his blog–explaining how he determined what blogs to include in his ArchivesBlogs aggregation. He makes some interesting observations about the lack of adoption of 2.0 technologies in the archives community (which I agree with, and if you read my introductory post, this is part of what I want to address in this blog). He also responds to Lannon’s comments about the value of blogging for archivists.

Mark received a number of comments on his post, including a thoughtful response from Lannon that included this:

The power of blogging is evinced when communities or networks occur in which people participate in open debate, and share ideas about which they harbor thoughtful care. It is at this precise moment however, when unsettling aspects of our 2.0 identities arise, as bloggers become more than strangers firing missives off into the ether. We become known to one another through our written thought

Coincidentally, while writing this post, two things occurred to me. I was referring to Thomas Lannon as “Lannon” and Mark Matienzo and Jeanne Kramer-Smyth by their first names. Why? Well, I know who Mark is–I mean, I’ve seen him at conferences although I don’t think we’ve actually met. And I think I might have met Jeanne, but even if I haven’t, she’s at Maryland and she’s got her picture on her site and she looks familiar. So somehow they didn’t seem like total “strangers” but somehow Mr. Lannon did. I just thought that was kind of interesting. Since I’m a new blogger, I don’t really know what the etiquette is here. Any tips?

The other thing I noticed is that all of these people were identifying themselves, while I chose to remain anonymous on my blog. I don’t think there’s a hard and fast rule about this–I don’t know if it’s considered rude to be anonymous. I suppose it is if the “missives” you fire at people are incendiary. I suppose there’s really no reason to be anonymous, but I think I’d prefer to remain so at the moment. But, just for the record, if you want to refer to me, you can call me Kate. Everyone does.

And I should say, as Thomas (or Tom) did, that I hope no one — particularly Mark — takes any offense at my making distinctions about archival blogs or commenting on the state of what’s out there. I kind of think that it’s a good thing that “We become known to one another through our written thought” — anything that helps people who are interested in similar topics known to each other is a good thing in my book. We need more conversations and connections–but wait, that’s supposed to the topic of the next post!

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