Academic blogging

I have been blogging for 4,5 years now and consider blog to an embedded part of my day as an academic librarian. Whenever I have something to share, either tips on good books, experiences I have had during my day in the library or I have an opinion on something in the library community, I blog about it. I see this sharing as a natural part of being a professional. After all, libraries are about sharing knowledge and librarians are the facilitators for this culture.

Firstly, I write to learn. I think that once I have to put something down on my blog, I have to think through my ideas. And maybe this way, many of the ideas I get can actually become real projects or be turned into a more serious study. I doubt that they would have if they were just random ideas in my head. That being said, I find it very important to think while I write and not just before. I don`t write an article in Word and then post it to my blog. My blog needs to be authentic and a little spontanious. And maybe some of my ideas are unfinished when I start to write. Somehow, they become clearer to me while I write about them.

Secondly, if someone actually takes the time to read (and even comment) on my blog, that`s nice and helps me to think more, but I write for myself first and foremost. So if anyone can use my blog posts or get new ideas, that`s a very nice bonus.

Now, of course.. I`m not a scientist, so my results, ideas and so on are not something I will later try to “patent” as my own. I can understand why some scientists keep their results and research papers very close and secret until publishing it. It is the way the printed world of academia has worked for a very, very long time. Maybe it`s time to change that? Maybe it`s time to see that what I know can be worth twice as much or more if I share more openly? I don`t have all the answers to every potential problem with a more open culture within the academic world, but I would love to see more scientists blog about their research. That way, I could not only learn new things, but as a librarian I could give better services to our scientists if I only knew what they were doing..

3 thoughts on “Academic blogging

  1. Jan Husdal says:

    Don’t ask me how I got here (Google works in mysterious ways), but as an ex HiG student (class of ’85) I feel compelled to reply, especially since you said that as a librarian I could give better services to our scientists if I only knew what they were doing.

    As an academic blogger (mostly literature reviewer) going on for 3 years now, I am quite open about my own and ongoing research on my blog. Why would I give away for free the primary commodity I create, you may ask. Why not? Agreed, it is my intellectual property, but knowledge kept to myself isn’t going to help anybody, not even me. That said, I’m quite selective as to what is published on my blog.

    While many of my reviews disappear into cyberspace without being visited by anyone, some are visited by the very authors I have reviewed, and some of them even leave comments and commend me on my insights. I always try to strike a balance between the good, the bad and the ugly in my reviews…and it has to be really bad for me to say something bad. It’s all about constructive criticism.

    The biggest big upside to blogging is that I get publicly known to a worldwide audience, to the point that I am on occasion contacted “as an expert in the field” by other true experts in the field (who I consider to be way more expert than I am). In my opinion that is the biggest compliment an academic blogger can get.


  2. Karen Marie Øvern says:

    I`m so happy to learn that you share your research results and get good feedback on them, Jan. That`s what it`s all about:-)
    And I really do believe in the good reasons for sharing knowledge – including that it enables me to support the academic staff in a much better way. Thanks for your comment.


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