Blogging Archaeology: The Next Step

Posted by on Mar 26, 2011 in Dirt, Research and Engagement | 4 Comments

This spring, I will be taking part in a session at Society for American Archaeology Conference entitled “Blogging Archaeology”. In anticipation, there are a series of questions being asked by the session organizer, Colleen Morgan (@clmorgan), on her blog, Middle Savagery, regarding archaeology and blogging, to be answered by archaeology bloggers. Each week for the next four weeks, I’ll be doing my best to answer these questions. If you’d like to participate, here’s the gist of it all. Here are links to my posts answering question onequestion two, and question three. Here are links to Carnival OneCarnival two, and Carnival three!

For our last question, I would like to ask you to consider the act of publication for this blog carnival. How could we best capture the interplay, the multimedia experience of blogging as a more formalized publication? What would be the best outcome for this collection of insights from archaeological bloggers?

This is the big question. How do you synthesize such as thing as a blog, or, in this case, a blog carnival? You see it all the time with popular humor blogs, that get transformed into a book, but I don’t know of any stories where an academic blog gets turned into a book.

The folks at the Center for History and New Media recently spent a week developing Anthologize, which lets you turn your blog into an e-book, so people are certainly thinking about it. I’m not sure if that wordpress plug-in would work for this Carnival though, since so many other platforms were being used. Regardless, if going the route of publication is the goal, it might be interesting to place it all in the context of a “how-to” and “why does this matter” type of arrangement.

I wouldn’t be the person to ask about the prospect of publishing, but one direction I think might be interesting would be a collaborative blog. These things are beginning to pop-up, such as ProfHacker, which started as its own thing but is now part of the Chronicle, or Play the Past, which I know some archaeologists already contribute to. And, of course, there is Savage Minds which covers cultural anthropology. Would this be the type of thing that archaeologists would be interested in participating in? I could imagine something that had a host of regular writers, and covered the wide array of archaeological topics.

This would also give us all a central hub to branch out from. I couldn’t help but notice on Shawn Graham’s post last week how really disconnected we all are from each other, despite the fact that we all blog. I know I have discovered a number of new blogs through this Carnival, and I imagine I’m not the only one. Creating a space where we all come back to, a sort of “home base” for archaeology bloggers, could help build this community. It would also build the profile of archaeology blogs, so that the public would have a source to go to. They could then be led to our individual blogs through that page.

Anyway, those are some thoughts. Special thanks to Colleen for organizing the Carnival and the session. I have had a blast thinking about and synthesizing these topics, and discussing them with everybody. I’m looking forward to continue these discussions in “real life” at SAA, particularly over some cold beverages.