Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The Role of the Author in Topical Blogs

This paper was also submitted to CHI 05.

Abstract Web logs, or blogs, challenge the notion of authorship. Seemingly, rather than a model in which the author's writings are themselves a contribution, the blog author weaves a tapestry of links, quotations, and references amongst generated content. In this paper, I present a study of the role of the author plays in the construction of topical blogs, in particular focusing on how blog authors make decisions about what to post and how they judge the quality of posts. To this end, I analyzed the blogs and blogging habits of eight participants using a quantitative analysis tool that I developed, a diary study, and interviews with each participant. Results suggest that authors of topical blogs often do not but strive to create new content, often follow journalistic conventions, use the content of their blogs as a reference tool for other work practices, and are connected as a community by a set of source documents. Results also show that Instant Messaging is useful as an interview medium when questions center around online content.

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