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Paper: Weblog as a personal thinking space

The deadline for submitting this paper was just a couple of weeks before the due date for my dissertation, so I hesitated a lot deciding to work on it. I’m glad I did: it provided a great opportunity to transform the insights from the study of my own practices of using weblog as an instrument to develop PhD ideas (Chapter 3 of the dissertation) into something that can live its own life.

Efimova, L. (2009). Weblog as a personal thinking space. HT’09: Proceedings of the twentieth ACM conference on hypertext and hypermedia, June 2009. New York: ACM. DOI=10.1145/1557914.1557963 (.pdf)

Abstract. While weblogs have been conceptualised as personal thinking spaces since their early days, those uses have not been studied in detail. The purpose of this paper is to explore how a weblog can contribute to the process of developing ideas in a long-term complex project. To do so I use autoethnography to reconstruct my personal blogging practices in relation to developing PhD ideas from two perspectives. I first discuss my practices of using a weblog as a personal information management tool and then analyse its uses at different stages in the process of working on a PhD dissertation: dealing with fuzzy insights, sense-making and turning ideas into a dissertation text. The findings illustrate that next to supporting thinking in a way private notebooks do, a weblog might serve similar roles as papers on one’s office desk: dealing with emerging insights and difficult to categorise ideas, while at the same time creating opportunities for accidental feedback and impressing those who drop by.

© ACM, 2009. This is the author’s version of the work. It is posted here by permission of ACM for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in HT’09: Proceedings of the twentieth ACM conference on hypertext and hypermedia, June 2009. http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1557914.1557963 [This is the first time I actually tried to negotiate something different from the default copyright agreement; it didn’t work.]

See also: short, practitioner oriented version of the insights from this paper – Blogging for knowledge workers: incubating ideas

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Anoush June 10, 2009, 21:50

    Thanks for sharing this paper, Lilia, I look forward to reading it.
    Re the copyright statement – does the “not for redistribution” provision mean it cannot be tagged in a social bookmarking stie? Eg would I be violating the copyright if I added it to my reading list in Delicious?

  • Lilia Efimova June 10, 2009, 21:53

    I think “redistribution” means sending copies around or putting it on your own website. Don’t think that tagging and any other way of linking to it is a problem.

  • Tim Kastelle June 11, 2009, 07:34

    Thanks for a really nice blog Lilia! I think that the IP issues are pretty interesting here. In some respects, since your paper is part of your PhD, which will be redistributed in a number of ways, they have a fairly unenforceable position here… I suppose that ultimately it ends up being like journal publications, where you’re entitled to distribute your own copy of the work as widely as you wish, but you can’t give copies of the official .pdf version away… I’ve never tried to negotiate a new copyright agreement myself for a conference papers, but I mostly submit to conferences that have pretty open policies anyway.

  • Wilfred Rubens June 12, 2009, 12:06

    Hi Lilia,
    The html-version cannot be found.

  • Lilia Efimova June 12, 2009, 12:59

    Wilfred, thanks! There is no .html version, that was a link to my company’s website with the metadata and so on, but it didn’t work when not logged in. Removed it for a time being.

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