Trip Report: Blogging Practices Session at the JISC MRD Launch Event (#jiscmrd)

On Thursday, 1 December 2011 I attended the JISC Managing Research Data Launch Meeting which was held at the National College for School Leadership in Nottingham.

Simon Hodson, the JISC Programme Manager for the Managing Research Data programme had invited me to run a workshop session on “Blogging Practices To Support Project Work“. This was felt to be an important topic for the funded projects as there is a contractual requirement for projects to provide blogs as part of their engagement and dissemination activities.

Running an interactive workshop session for an audience of over 60 people can be quite challenging, especially as many of the attendees were new to me and I was unsure of their expertise and interests and whether they be willing to engage on open discussions.  I had therefore prepared a large number of slides which I would be able to use to cover a variety of topics related to the use of blogs. Despite only a small number of people being activebloggers I was pleased to find the the audience was willing to engage in discussions which meant that I was able to allow time for the discussions to take place, with the slides being a resource (available on Slideshare and on the UKOLN Web site and embedded below) which could be accessed afterwards.

In addition note that a Storify summary of the session, based on the tweets posted during the workshop session are available.

The main points I made during the sessions are listed below:

  • Blogs have a role to play in engaging with a project’s user communities and supporting dissemination activities.
  • Not every will be a natural blogger (or coder or writer of peer-reviewed papers). However since project must publish blog posts there will be a need to enable those who enjoy blogging to do so and encourage those who may be reluctant bloggersto develop their skills in use of this medium.
  • Since many blog platforms provide mobile-friendly access to resources, we might expect access to content hosted on blogs to increase as use of mobile devoices grow.
  • Blog platforms can provide machine-friendly access to resources through use of RSS. In order to ensure that full content of blog posts is made available, blogs should be configured to deliver the full content of the posts and not just a short summary.
  • Spam comment can be a problem, but spam filters can trap much automated spam.  It is probably better to accept the need to manage spam that to impose barriers which can inhibit interested parties in adding comments to posts.
  • There will be a need to manage blogs which the project is completed.

The slides which are available on Slideshare are also embedded below.


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