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Reflections on Blogging at SAA 2006

Mark A. Matienzo’s recent post (and its related comments) On what “archives blogs” are and what ArchivesBlogs is not over on got me thinking about my experience of blogging SAA2006 again (as well as making me want to send out a special thank you to everyone for their kind words – as much as I am writing for myself, I will admit to being encouraged that there are others who find my posts worth reading).

Since there was no internet available in the rooms where the panels were held – I found myself taking notes on my laptop. 37 pages of notes later and sitting at home alone trying to convert those notes into coherent posts and I found it hard sometimes to not be overwhelmed. It was interesting to try and strike a balance between sharing the ideas the panelists had presented and including my own insights. I think what I ended up with was a decent mix – with the opportunity to include ideas about the connections among many of the panel topics, as well as other ideas and websites from outside the conference. On the downside – I never did finish writing up all the talks I took notes on. The scale of the task got to me – and realized that I had started to wish I could write about something else. So I did!

I do wonder how different my posts would have been if I could have posted them live. I think that I would have covered a greater breadth of speakers – but with a loss of depth. I would have had less opportunity to reflect on how the speakers talks connected with the rest of the archival world – especially those examples and other ideas I was able to link to as a result of my extra time.

I hope that we (ie, anyone who wants to try their hand at it) can coordinate a broader group of bloggers at SAA 2007 in Chicago, both to expose the ideas presented with those who could not attend as well as to permit further reflection on connections among all the new ideas that might otherwise be hard to share. The library community is ahead of us on this front. Take a look at the page for the Public Library Associations’ recent conference in Boston. This page gives people an easy link to view the posts from the PLA 2006 conference – while spreading the work among many keyboards. Perhaps there is a place for something like this in the future of archives conferences.

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