A blog about using blogs. Torill Mortensen and Jill Walker wrote: "Blogging Thoughts, personal publication as an online research tool". Next project is: "Intimate Confessions and Public Display". This blog works as space in which to collect ideas and tangents to this research.


a thousand secret kings
Frustration in the process of writing a Ph.D., and airing out that frustration. sounds familiar, and to the point here, right?

posted by Torill at 00:44

The complete guide to weblogs
By way of Mark Bernstein. I'll look at it with explorer before I know if it's actually useful! (netscape gives me just a white/grey grid).

posted by Torill at 00:13


Interessant diskusjon hos

posted by Torill at 00:13

..:: Credo Of The Web Log Writer ::..
Og denne, som er ganske morsom :)

posted by Torill at 00:12

synthesis :
Via distantsun: enda en blogg om det å skrive/blogge.

posted by Torill at 00:11


Kvinnelig, dansk student som skriver en blog om det å skrive.

posted by Torill at 23:39


Fairvue Central >> Features >> Second Annual Weblog Awards

posted by Torill at 05:00


For the record:
Jill: blogging as academic thought organising.
Torill: academic publishing as we go

posted by Torill at 00:43


Let's split this up in two parts, in order to make things easier for ourselves, and as you suggested, Jill:

blogger targeted at others: academic publishing as we go

blogger targeted at ourselves: academic thought organising.

NOTE: we are talking blogging as a tool for scholars, not the world wide weblogs.
I think the order of these points can be rearranged:

blogging for others:
- presentation tool (rhetoric, aesthetic)
- arena of discussion (Habermas)
- political choice (scholarship visible to the people who pay for it)
- form - technical, what's so special about publishing on the net anyway

blogging for ourselves:
- note-taking: storing your links
- analysing: storing your hints, hunches and ideas
- print as a medium for reflection and editing (opposed to speech and film) (a recording of my thoughts just wouldn't do for me)
- organising by time and space, not by topic (Barthes)

When we have both written 8-9 pages on the topic of our choice (if we don't agree, let's just toss coins about them), we can write 2 pages together on this:

Methodological notes
- reflexivity
- non-linearity despite chronological presentation (to our topics)
- ???

and then one page introduction and 1-2 page conclusion and we should be there! line 1 1/2, 10 000 words are 24 pages... should be done easily for two such productive creatures as us!

We discussed using a form of notations: comments in the margins. Now that it's just the two uf us writing, I think that's still a good idea, but perhaps we could use footnotes? I place literary references and quotes in the text and at the end, so footnotes would be comments to the writings the way I use them - we might perhaps comment on each other's writing that way? Or does that look too normal and settled? I would not mind a column running next to the text, a margin, but it might be complicated lay-out for the printers.. I don't know. Still want to use that thought?

posted by Torill at 00:47


I wrote:

Blogs are
a) a presentation tool
b) a tool for note-taking and possibly for analysing notes
c) a sharing and an arena for discussion

And Torill points out that they are also a tool for academic self-discipline. We could make two main areas for blogs, then:

a) towards others, making research visible: presentation, publication and discussion
b) for ourselves: self-discipline, storage and writing of notes, analysing notes

These two aspects of blogs are closely related, dependent on each other even, and that is what makes them so useful? It's certainly what makes them unique. Private journals are good for b, but not for a. Traditional essays and presentation are good for a but not much good for b. (Though the deadline of an essay that must be finished, like this one, is disciplining :)

And most crucially, blogs are about process and not about a finished work or finished thoughts.

posted by Jill at 07:44

We've been talking about chronological organisation... Barthes often uses alphabetical organisation to avoid the tyranny of logical argumentation, and this has a lot in common with the order of blogs. Though blogs are less random since thought follows thought, yet perhaps more random since alphabetisation is a structure edited and worked through and the author organises and names each fragment to create a whole, finished work to be published all at once, whereas blogs are bit by bit, always in progress (always becoming) and never finished. Barthes writes:

The alphabetical order erases everything, banishes every origin. Perhaps in places, certain fragments seem to follow one another by some affinity, but the important thing is that these little networks not be connected, that they not slide into a single enormous network which would be the structure of the book, its meaning. It is in order to halt, to deflect, to divide this descent of discourse toward a destiny of the subject, that at certain moments the alphabet calls you to order (to disorder) and says: Cut! Resume the story in another way. (Roland Barthes: Roland Barthes by Roland Barthes. 1977. p 148)

posted by Jill at 07:38

who you write to: this is something both Iser (Lisbeth talks of the implicit reader) and Umberto Eco writes of: the model reader, the ideal reader etc.

And presentation form definitely is methodology or closely connected to it - I think perhaps Bourdieu: Reproduction, but also some of the writings on Action Research supports this.

I think blogs go beyond point a, b and c - see Laurel's notes on how writing organises her thinking, helps her to be more precise and explicit: it's a tool for academic self-discipline.

I had not planned to do any further information gathering, re: "We could do a survey of how bloggers in general describe their blogging? ", but base the on the experiences we have already done, and the ways we have used this in our own academic work so far. I am not certain, in a discussion of this as a tool to think, publish and discuss with, if the words used to describe it are very revealing.

I like the main idea: that form influences the thought. This is central to my own work (or at least used to be), and a blog aesthetics could have some bearing on that. It's also a different rationality: cronological rather than topical, which is almost medieval, if I don't remember too wrong - the hand-written treatises would be a jumble of logic, arguments leaping back and forth as things were written down and not edited. There's a lot of argument for that in film theory as well, ever since the famous montages of face, empty plate, face, pretty woman (or what ever), where the face was interpreted differently each time. And I think blogs have a "montage" quality, with the links and the sometimes random postings.

More tomorrow.

posted by Torill at 06:22

I am reading, Jill...
until then, I thought I'd just link blog of the day from here, so we have a list of different types of blogs.

posted by Torill at 02:50


What do you think of this, Torill? It's not exactly taken from the blog, well only indirectly, but what the heck. What I want to claim is that presentation affects thinking and so that presentation form either affects or perhaps to an extent is methodology. There are other aspects to methodology too of course but this is one. This is also related to what Lisbeth wrote about thinking about who you write to.s I find my arguments very convincing but I don't have any references (either I've forgotten where I've read this or I've brilliantly surmised it myself from untold other reading). I know I've read about the printing press affecting how we write and I could probably find some kind of reference for that. The following is definitely a draft but I'm thinking of it as raw material for our essay. It reads a bit like an introduction but needn't be, I think I've written that way because I'm writing my way into thinking the essay.

There are several ways in which we can think about blogs as a method. Blogs are
a) a presentation tool
b) a tool for note-taking and possibly for analysing notes
c) a sharing and an arena for discussion

[of course we should discuss this if we use it. this could be one possible disposition?]

The "blogs are..." statement could have many other predicates (did I use that grammatical term correctly? I mean "the rest of the sentence after the verb" ;) We could do a survey of how bloggers in general describe their blogging? For instance we could collect adjectives they tend to use about their blogs - perhaps the result would include: intimate, immediate... And then we could reflect on this in relation to academic work?

Here's a bit about the presentation tool aspect.

Presentation forms always affect the way we work and think. Different ways of presenting data and arguments create/encourage/shape different methodolgies. The ancient Greeks developed a rhetoric based on their presentation form: the speech. Since the aim was to convince a present audience emotive and persuasive techniques were as important as objective logic (might need a ref or to calm that assertation down a bit) The dialogue developed from an oral pedagogy......

Academic practice since then has developed many alternative forms of presentation. In the middle ages commentaries written into the margins of manuscripts were common, and so new ideas were developed in close contact and relation with previous writings. With the printing press the idea of objective, detached science and thought became stronger and scholars wrote individual works that could stand alone and that were less attached to a particular time or place than oral speeches, a known audience or a handcopied text bound within a particular traditon and probably a very limited geographical area, perhaps a particular convent or library.

Many have considered how computers and networks affect our writing and thinking. Often these considerations have been abstract and ungrounded in practice (e.g. some of the exuberant ideas about hypertext liberating us, but perhaps it's a bit dull to include this kind of reference since it's been done lots of times before and isn't always completely fair, especially since these ungrounded utopic things are all ten years old and their authors have moved on since. Perhaps an "as many have noted, thes considerations have often been.... and refs to the many who have noted it.) This essay attempts to examine ways in which using weblogs as a presentation tool affects our thought.

Here we should probably note characteristics of a weblog. E.g.
- chronologically ordered
- informal? personal? (not necessarily but common)
- brief notes, frequent posting
- ...

we can find some of this in other articles about weblogs, I think Rebecca Blood's essay has some of this.

We are not arguing that publication and presentation determine content and form completely. The relationship is not necessary but neither is it arbitrary: it is contingent. [this is extremely inspired by Toril Moi's clarificaton of the relationship between sex and gender, and by her very careful way of clarifying exactly what she means and what she doesn't mean.] While experimental writers and artists have always pushed the limits of any medium to its limits, this experimentation highlights the pragmatic presence of limits. Where there are limits there is also a middle ground that most practitioners will follow. Weblogs can be many things, but they are often one thing. This form of publication tends towards certain methods and ways of thinking.

(Probable references: Richard Lanham, The Electronic Word, Michael Heim: Electric Language: A Philosophical Study of Word Processing, maybe Ong though I'm not sure, some of those books about the printing press perhaps)

posted by Jill at 12:20


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