From a humble beginning as ‘What’s New’ pages, blogs have arisen to become arguably the most
popular online personal publishing platform on the internet. Over the last few years blogs have come to
the fore appearing not only in the news media but also in search engine results pages.
Blogs (also known as web logs, or weblogs) are web sites that contain frequently updated ‘posts’ with the
most recent entry at the top of the page and the previous ones displayed reverse-chronologically. The
type of information contained within a blog varies greatly from individual to individual. Authors of blogs
(known as bloggers) can describe day-to-day observations in their lives, or more specific topics of
interest to them, such as web design or cycling. Some frequently visited blogs are topic related (e.g.
http://www.instapundit.com, one of the most visited blogs). Some mix this in with personal events in the
author’s life (e.g. www.kottke.org, another popular blog), such as going on holiday or meeting new
Since blogs are web sites, they are controlled and navigated using hyperlinks, and posts typically
incorporate hyperlinks to other blogs or news sources, together with related comments and discussions.
When blogs start linking to each other and commenting on what has been said, huge, distributed
discussions can erupt that include many different bloggers, and concern many different topics.
Blogging: personal participation in public knowledgebuilding
on the web
Blogs have emerged from a humble beginning to become a highly networked mass of online
knowledge and communication. All kinds of research, from searching for the best price of the latest
mobile phone, to more rigorous forms, are conducted through the blog medium. The mechanisms
that provide the possibility for blogs to link to each other provide possibilities for collaboration and
knowledge sharing in a fast, public and convenient manner. This working paper discusses the
lessons that can be learned from collaboration and research in the blogosphere with a view to how
they can be applied to academic and commercial research.