Friday, March 29, 2013

Quick Thoughts on Blogging

I know people use blogs for 10,000 different things, and that's why I adore this medium.
But I want to clear up some misconceptions about what I use this blog for.

While I have some semi-serious research on here, some crack-pot theories, some great tutorials, and some awesome "this is how I made this" garment diaries, this is not a place for uber-super-serious academic scholarship (as you can tell by my Valley Girl chirping of "uber-super-serious").  That doesn't mean that I'm not serious about my research.  It just means that chances are, you won't find the actual stuffy-academic paper here.  You're going to get the layman's version.

So that's clear, right?

The reason I'm bringing this up is that in the past 3 weeks or so, there have been several online discussions where bloggers (and some of them are indeed serious academic researchers) have self-referenced their own blog posts as serious academic sources.  These  blog posts did not, in fact, contain any historic references of any kind, no citations, no original quotes - some pictures, yes, (but they weren't even labeled with the museums or original publications)... but the words contained in the posts were those of the blog authors drawing their own conclusions about their own research.  Which is fine.  That's what research is for.  It's just not a suitable reference source.  You can't cross-check research that doesn't have references. 

So, dear blog readers; please be careful about listing your references, or please refrain from being self-referential.  You may well be "the best in the business" in your area of study, but without a bibliography post-post... it's useless to the rest of the world, and makes you look less professional than you may actually be.

Hopefully no one is mortally offended, but it's something to bare in mind.
Serious Research = Bibliography. 
No References = Just For Fun.


Stephanie Ann said...

I wish blogger made it easier to insert references. It's possible to do but difficult and typically not worth the effort.

Gail Kellogg Hope said...


That's why I have this set up as an informal format. There are people who do list their references either at the bottom (like a bibliography) or in text (citations) or link to the original source... but most don't.

Which is cool. But if you don't, you just can't use a blog post as a reference in a serious discussion. It doesn't work. All the info may be right, but without the source, it's not academic.