Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Reflections on blogs as life-writing information sources

This week as I focus on writing a paper on blogs as information sources, I am learning and inspired. As I have been reading, I have encountered one author who has explicitly shared my perspective that blogging is a form of life-writing (Keren, 2006 p. 7). According to Keren (2006), blogging is a form of life writing encompassing all the life writing genres: autobiographies, memoirs, confessions, spiritual quests, meditations, personal essays, travelogs, autobiographical short stories and novels, portraits, complaints, conceptual writings, works of humor and family histories.

Keren's (2006) mention of family histories peeks my interest in developing my own blog to document my family history, including photographs, in order to preserve the historical record of my family and pass it on to my daughters for their heritage.

On another matter, I think the LIS community needs to be better educated about blogs. While libraries are using blogging software to create their own blogs and apply blogging platforms for various library applications, I wonder when I will see blogs incorporated into library collection development policies.

So far I have learned that blogs are dynamic web pages, that presents content in a chronological manner. I have also learned that the majority of the blogosphere (in America) blog personal life stories and experiences (Lenhart & Fox, 2006). I have also learned that a great portion of bloggers are actually entrepreneurs (Technorati, 2011).

Technorati's (2011) State of the Blogosphere report states that:
13% of the blogosphere is characterized as entrepreneurs [N=526 of 4,114 bloggers around the world], or individuals blogging for a company or organization they own. 84% of these bloggers blog primarily about the industry they work in, with 46% blogging about business and 40% about technology. 76% blog to share expertise; 70% blog to gain professional recognition; and 68% to attract new clients for their business.
This tells me that a lot of entrepreneurs are sharing their own life stories and experiences online.

This brings me to my final conclusion. For me, I foresee libraries being actively in pursuit of these stories and life experiences being shared online just the way that they pursue the purchase of other lifeworks. Books about real people and their lives and experiences are among the bestsellers of the world and are also in high demand in our libraries. Yet those life stories and experiences actually published are done by publishing enterprises who make them because they know that the people whose lives are be written about are famous and will be bought and sold in millions of copies. Publishing companies take risk to publish books only if they are confident that there is a potential market for the content.

Libraries end up only buying books from these dominant publishers and players in the publishing market, while the voices and stories of the poor and ordinary are not covered, unless the media or press captures it. (Or perhaps the musicians and other artistes and players in the popular music industry)

If future libraries want to ensure social equity in the voices represented and truly democratic representation of stories and experiences of members of their community, libraries need to see blogs as important information sources that capture alternative community voices that are not necessarily represented in the published literature of life writing.


Keren, M. (2006). Blogosphere :The new political arena. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Lenhart, A., & Fox, S. (2006). Bloggers: A portrait of the internet’s new storytellers. Pew Internet & American Life Project. Retrieved from

Technorati. (2011). State of the blogosphere 2011: Introduction and methodology. Retrieved 6/13/2012, 2012, from

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