While figuring out how to summarise 30+ pages chapter on my blogging practices for a talk I’m giving tomorrow I realised that it could make sense to share some of the bits from it here. This one is on the reasons to use weblog to keep information bits, using the list of factors for choosing a strategy for Keeping found things found on the web.
Portability / Number of access points. Using weblog for organising my thinking resources fits well my preferences for web-based applications in general, since I use multiple computers and I’m very likely to be online while working. In this respect server-based weblog provides much better alternative for organising my ideas than any desktop application, since I can access when I’m online regardless of the location.
Preservation of information in its current state / Currency of information. To a degree weblog allows both at the same time. I usually quote most relevant bits of external resources, so those quotes are preserved in their current state. The quotes are accompanied with a link to the original (if online), so an updated version is easily accessible. If the original disappears or is moved, I could use the quote for find it (usually it’s an updated location easily found with any search engine, otherwise I use Internet Archive Wayback machine).
Context (remembering why it was saved) / Reminding. Most of my weblog posts contain a commentary that provides a context for a specific thought or reference; I also use multiple strategies to establish connections between different posts. That context is enough to recall why certain weblog post is there and to remember to use it at a later stage (although not as effective as to-do lists to serve as a reminder of an urgent task).
Ease of integration into existing structures. From one side, my weblog is a stand-alone tool that requires its own organisation and archiving. From another, it is essentially a set of webpages connected by links, with permalinks, metadata and underlying standards. It is an integral part of my online presence (as evident by searching for my name in any search engine) and references to it could be easily included in a variety of other documents or systems.
Communication and information sharing. Sharing information via a weblog is not a specific activity, but a by-product of writing. In most cases it’s an advantage; however it limits potential uses of blogging when access to some of the weblog posts have to be restricted. Weblog is not good for a goal-driven communication to a known few people, but it is a perfect instrument for non-intrusive sharing of ideas in cases where potential audience is not well defined.
Ease of maintenance. In my case most maintenance problems are technology-related and they are the result of choosing weblog platform that provides high degree of freedom and flexibility.