This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

Electronic Highways

Published: March 10, 2005

This blog's for you

Blogs are in the news a lot lately. Web logs, popularly known as blogs (, are the constantly updated Web sites created by individuals or communities that sometimes take the form of a journal.

When a large number of bloggers focus on a single issue, they create a "blog swarm" and can even influence the mainstream media's coverage of a story and possibly create enough critical mass to effect change, as described in one recent article at

Since this column last addressed blogs in 2002, (, new aspects of this phenomenon have emerged. Notably, the population of bloggers has increased. Surveys on the state of blogging conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project indicate that 8 million Americans have created blogs and in 2004, blog readership jumped 58 percent (

UB hosts the personal Web pages of faculty, students and staff ( and although it does not currently sponsor a university-centralized blog tool, blogging across the curriculum at UB is not impeded. It is simple to find free, user-friendly blog creation sites on the Web. The Elmwood Strip community in Buffalo makes free data space available for individual and community blog creation at, and there are many others, like Google's Blogger ( and MSN Spaces (

UB's School of Informatics ( and Harvard Law School ( are among the growing number of academic entities nationwide that host blog servers for their communities. Other interesting academic blog applications include Archinect's School Blog Project (, where "representatives from a collection of architecture programs around the world...maintain blogs documenting their experiences and discoveries..."

There is a rich list of select higher education blogs ( and links to numerous resources on the use of blogs in academia. Other lists of higher education blogs include Jill Walker's Research Blogs ( and PhD (

Examples of blogs from the UB community include Buffalo Report (, the blog of Bruce Jackson, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the departments of American Studies and English; Alex Halavais, a thaumaturgical compendium (, by Alex Halavais, assistant professor in the Department of Communication, School of Informatics; Law Professor Shubha Ghosh's AntitrustProf Blog (; and librarian Michele Shular's new Cross-Section (, designed to keep the geology faculty informed of new information resources.

Blogs can be a source of timely, useful and intriguing information. How can you sift your way through all of the blogs in cyberspace and locate those of value to you? While blog entries often are retrieved as a result of standard search-engine searches, it ialso s possible to use a "blog search engine," like Technorati ( and others, such as those recommended by Search Engine Journal ( or Peter Scott's Weblogs Compendium (

Once you have identified blogs of particular interest to you, it is simple to use another Internet tool, the Web-based aggregator, to set up an efficient way to check new additions to your favorite blogs. Bloglines ( is among the many free services that allow you to create your own list of blogs for the aggregator to automatically check. PubSub ( uses a "matching engine" to search blogs and "instantly notifies you when new content is created that matches your subscription." Wikipedia ( lists many more free blog and news aggregator sites.

Now it's time—crack open some blogs!

—Nina Cascio and Rick McRae, University Libraries