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Prototype blogs

At the Thursday night blogging confab at the Berkman Center, the question of how to define blogs briefly surfaced in a meta way. It reminded me of a page I’ve wanted for a long time, but apparently haven’t wanted enough to build.

The idea is that most living terms are impossible to define cleanly. We do much better by pointing to some examples that everyone agrees “If these aren’t ___s, then nothing is!” (This is part of the rejection of Aristotelianism built on Eleanor Rosch’s work in prototype classification, but that’s an example of a different color.) So, if you wanted to explain to someone what a blog is, what would be a reasonable set of examples to which you could point? These aren’t necessarily the award-winning, big time blogs. In fact, they probably shouldn’t be because, by definition, the award winners aren’t typical. You’d want the list to include a good range of types and styles.

What would you put on a list of prototype blogs that would give a newbie — or a journalist — a good sense of the nature and range of blogs?

BTW, here’s now not to define a blog:

“A blog is a species of interactive electronic diary by means of which the unpublishable, untrammeled by editors or the rules of grammar, can communicate their thoughts via the web.”

This would be slightly amusing if it didn’t come from Michael Gorman, president-elect of the American Library Association, and Dean of Library Services, Madden Library, California State University, Fresno

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11 Responses to “Prototype blogs”

  1. I always compare Blogs to documentaries (Bowling for Columbine etc) but written and posted on the net. That usually gets them understood. If the person needs a bit more I liken them to a diary but one you don’t mind sharing with few hundred/thousand people!

  2. I still think of Slashdot as “the first blog” (even if it isn’t) and The Prototype.

    Considering the quantity of navel gazing in blogs, I’d be shocked (and awed) to discover that someone has not already made a list of blog types, complete with prototypes.

  3. A blog is a web page, organized in reverse-cronological order, that uses individual posts as a granular unit.

    You might as well ask “what is a book?”

  4. Like many of us, I consider myself something of a Johnny Appleseed of blogging, particularly using blogs to learn. When people ask me about blogging, I send them to

    Examples, definitions, comments, a brief presentation, etc. It’s easier to write this up once rather than repeat it over and over.

  5. The responses across LibraryLand have been amusing, at any rate, particularly this one from a great blog, It’s All Good:

  6. unlike books, which are heirarchical, linear and static, blogs are rhizomic like ginseng and crabgrass

  7. Tags e a gentenomia

    Caramba! Comecei este post depois de ver a página de tags do CCMixter, e sacando a boa idéia de visualmente escalar as tags na relação ‘tamanho x itens’ (, e sacando a boa idéia de visualmente escalar as tags na relação ‘tamanho x itens’ (

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  9. My First Presentation at a State Level Library Meeting

    This Friday I gave a short presentation about personal blogging at the Michigan Library Consortium’s Annual Meeting.
    You can download my presentation here.
    I was very excited to hear the keynote address by David Weinberger, frequent comment…

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