Although my main area of research focuses on sixteenth (and seventeenth) century book history, I do also have an interest in writing and reading habits in our present day. When I started work at the Institute of Historical Research (IHR) back in 2010 I was quickly introduced to the world of blogs. At the time I’m not even sure if I had looked at a blog on a History-related topic, not alone posted anything. However, I was told that I needed one for the History SPOT project, and so my first blog was born (The History SPOT blog). It’s proven quite successful in its own modest way, with between 20 to 150 views per day and with a total (as of 11 December 2012) of 213 posts written and uploaded. I have since created a blog for the IHR relating to its temporary relocation while work is undertaken to modernise the north block of Senate House (IHR Relocation Blog), another that acted as a ‘virtual conference’ for the IHR’s winter conference Novel Approaches: from academic history to historical fiction, and of course this Sixteenth Century Scholars blog that you are now reading.
|The History SPOT blog|
I also read blogs on a regular basis. Among my favorites are Medieval Fragmentswhich looks specifically at twelfth century manuscripts for a project based at the University of Leiden; The History of Emotions from Queen Mary, looking at the history of feelings (often in the early modern period); and Cardiff Book History which focuses mainly (but not solely) on research and MSS at the Centre for Editorial and Intertextual Research at Cardiff University.
For early modernists by far the greatest resource relating to blogs is the Early Modern Commons website. This site contains an index (kept largely up-to-date) for academic quality blogs on any subject of the early modern period. It’s well worth a look!
You are probably wondering why I’m talking about blogs rather than something related directly to the subject of early modern scholarship. It’s a fair question and I’m afraid on this occasion the link is tenuous (at least it is right now). Thanks to a grant from the SMKE Scholarship (Social Media Knowledge Exchange) I have now begun my own small project investigating blogging practices by and for historians. The idea of the project is to investigate why individual historians or institutions (including academic, librarian, and archival) begin a blog, how it is managed, and what is hoped to be gained from it. The project is also looking at why people read blogs and what they expect from an academically produced History blog in particular.
How will this be done? First, I will be conducting interviews with several owners of blogs which will be podcasted and uploaded online. Second, I will create a small tool-kit designed especially for postgraduate and early career researchers from what I learn from the interviews and from a series of online surveys.
|The Blogging for Historians blog|
Now we come to the part where I ask for your help. The project has a blog of its own – Blogging for Historians – and the first survey is now live. If you could spare a moment to fill in this survey I would be very appreciative. It is designed for anyone who looks at History-related blogs as well as those that own one or post on a blog. I’m hoping that at some stage I can relate this study more closely to my research in the early modern period, and as soon as I do, I will post something more about it here. Here are the main links:
Blogging for Historians Blog: http://bloggingforhistorians.wordpress.com/
Thank you in advance for your help and time.