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Further Book Progress

I'm almost ready to deliver the final version of my book now - just some more work to be done on the final chapter by the end of the week, and then things should be pretty much ready. I've also received another back cover endorsement from my colleague Geert Lovink today:

"Ever wondered why people love to comment on the news? Axel Bruns describes in detail how, in the Internet age, this 'gatewatching' passion is changing the media landscape. Are news barons paying notice? Of course not. Will bloggers and open news contributors revolutionize our understanding of news production? You bet they will."

Blog Demographics

Doing more work revising my book manuscript today. I've incorporated some recent findings by the Pew Internet & American Life Project which Steve Jones pointed out to me - in fact, they just released a new update on blogging (in the U.S.) a few days ago...

The State of Blogging shows a 57% increase in blog readership over the course of 2004; at the same time, they also found that

for all the excitement about blogs and the media coverage of them, blogs have not yet become recognized by a majority of internet users. Only 38% of all internet users know what a blog is. The rest are not sure what the term ‘blog’ means.

(I'd suggest that while many users in that rest may have visited blogs, they have regarded them as online diaries, community fora, or news Websites rather than as blogs.)

So This Is 2005

Hmm, reading about blogs always makes me want to write another entry myself. Unfortunately I don't get around to it nearly as often as I should.

I've had some very good news in the meantime: my series editor for Peter Lang, Steve Jones, likes the manuscript for the Gatewatching book that I delivered at the end of November. A few minor corrections and additions to be made, but things should go smoothly from here. I'll try and I've updated the relevant pages on this site, too. I've also received a nice endorsement for the back cover from John Hartley:

It's journalism, Jim, but not as we know it. "Gatewatching," "multiperspectival editing," the "produser." Strange new terms -- but as Axel Bruns shows in this impressive account of online news media, the underlying issues remain very much as Herbert Gans described them a generation ago. In a democracy everyone has a right to practice journalism. Users are beginning to shape the oddly named collaborative instruments on the internet into a new chorus, giving a new voice to democracy. Axel Bruns shows us why and how we all need to learn the tune.
John Hartley, Queensland University of Technology.


Well, the launch of the revamped M/C - Media and Culture with its new publication, the M/Cyclopedia of New Media, and of the latest version of the Brisbane Media Map went well last night. A good crowd, a nice event, and live music from Iron On.

Do the Wiki

From the high life of international librarians and archivists I'm now thrust back into more mundane concerns - today will be focussed mainly on preparing the M/Cyclopedia of New Media for publication. This is something my students in KCB336 New Media Technologies at QUT have been working on over the past semester; we're launching it on Thursday week so it needs to be done now... Part of this will be to do some culling of sub-standard material and fixing of other bugs, so I'm afraid some students will find that their content hasn't been published as they would have hoped.

When It Rains...

One ugly hack: drives in the left machine are hotwired into the right...Argh - while I was away in Canberra, a massive storm in Brisbane seems to have affected my server. I've patched things up so I can go online and the mail and Web servers are operational again, but it's not pretty.

Virtual Remote Control, STORS, and Digital Format Repositories

Moving on now to the first of two post-lunch sessions - because I have a plan to catch later in the afternoon, though, this will be my last one for what has been a truly exciting conference. It's been great being able to cover the proceedings, and of course I should point out that all errors or mistakes here are mine and not the presenters' - at least this conference had only one track, however, so I was able to get to everything without missing any other papers being given simultaneously.

Nancy McGovern from Cornell University Library will begin this session, with some more information about Virtual Remote Control (VRC), which we heard something about over the last days already - it will be good to see more on this. (She's also putting in a plug for RLG Diginews, a Research Libraries Group publication she co-edits.) VRC's purpose is in both risk and records management, and it moves from passive monitoring to active capture. It offers lifecycle support from selection to capture, and enables the human curator through providing relevant tools. There are guidelines for increasing Website longevity and promulgating preservation practices, by understanding Web resources and risks.

IIPC Tools and LoC Crawling

The second session this morning once again returns us to the International Internet Preservation Consortium (IIPC). Julien Masanès, IIPC coordinator from the French National Library, will team up with Monica Berko, Director of the Applications Branch at the National Library of Australia. Julien begins by speaking on the IIPC's techniques for deep Web acquisition - the archiving of resources which are deeply hidden within Websites and which often constitute the richest content on the Web (and therefore form a crucial task for Web archiving). Originally, much of this material was inaccessible to Web crawlers, but smarter tools have now changed this.

Talking Tech

While the major part of this conference finished yesterday, we've still got another day to go. Billed as the 'information day', today will cover many of the technologies and projects which have been mentioned over the last few days. I'll try and take in as much of this as I can, but I do have to run off to the airport by 4 p.m.; this means I will miss some of the talks on what's happening at the National Library of Australia which very humbly have been placed last on the programme. Turnout today is somewhat smaller than the 200 or so delegates over the last few days, but still very good - I also have a feeling we'll be suffering from acronym overload by the end of the day…

The End of a Conference, the Start of More Challenges

On to the final session now - and in fact the final session of the conference proper (tomorrow is billed as an information day on the various archiving projects). Speaking now is David Seaman from the Digital Library Foundation (DLF); his organisation is involved in a wide range of projects across the many topics and issues raised in the conference.

He notes that 'the chaos isn't slowing down', where new and possibly important formats and genres of Web content are constantly arising (but where it is difficult to work out what is relevant and likely to continue further and what isn't). Libraries, at least, may have some degree of expertise in this field and will be able to make some useful guesses if nothing else. There is therefore also an imperative to collaborate, it really is a survival skill for libraries and related organisations, but that doesn't necessarily make it any easier.


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