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AOIR: Finding ‘the life between buildings’: An approach for defining a weblog community

Long promised – our (still work in progress) with Stephanie Hendrick and Anjo Anjewierden :

Abstract. Although weblogs are perceived as low-threshold tools to publish online, empowering individual expression in public, there is growing evidence of social structures evolving around weblogs and their influence on norms and practices of blogging. Emerging from connections between weblogs and their authors, weblog communities often do not have a shared space, clear boundaries, or clear membership, challenging researchers who want to study them. Initially intended to be a study in the delineation of weblog boundaries, the scope of defining these boundaries immediately overwhelmed traditional methods and tools. The problems that arose from using traditional link mining methods led to an exploration of alternative approaches of defining these communities. The purpose of this paper is to get an insight into methods of finding “life between buildings”: virtual settlements where weblog communities may reside. We use Jones’ (1997) theory of a virtual settlement and archaeological metaphor to address research challenges of locating weblog communities, suggest an iterative approach that includes refinement of research methods based on assumptions about community norms, practices and artefacts, and propose which artefacts could serve as indicators of community presence. Finally we present a pilot study which explores different methods of identifying community membership beginning with a known core member of a group of knowledge management bloggers.


I’m running right now, but will add a few links a bit later one as well as talk about most interesting things we found last weeks in the blog (in case you are too lazy to read the paper).

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Archived version of this entry is available at http://blog.mathemagenic.com/2005/10/07.html#a1686; comments are here.

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