Blog Post

Graduate Student Research Blogging

Dear grad student HASTAC colleagues of all stripes:

Do you have a research blog or do you write about your research, dissertation, conference papers, academics in general, school life, or other things in another online forum besides HASTAC? Is HASTAC your primary blog? If any of these apply to you, please respond to this post with your URL. You may also email me at kirstyn.leuner@colorado.edu.

I am collecting data on graduate student blogging for a talk I will be giving at this year's MLA. I have been gathering data and will continue to collect for the next 2-3 weeks. I will share my presentation when it is complete.

Thank you very much for your help!

-Kirstyn

I am presenting on the Serial Scholarship roundtable moderated by Mark Sample (George Mason University) and with the following participants: Doug Armato, U of Minnesota Press; Kathleen Fitzpatrick, MLA; Frank Kelleter, U of Göttingen (Germany); Jason Mittell (Middlebury College); Ted Underwood (U of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)

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18 comments

Good day!

I'm a rather obsessed gradblogger - I started my blog very intentionally on the first day of my graduate studies and have used it to keep track of my teaching and attendance at conferences. More recently, I've tied my teaching and research portfolios into it. I do a little cross-posting here  on HASTAC, but my personal blog is my base of operations.

Feel free to pester me with surveys and questions and stuff. I'd be very interested in a follow-up post of how this panel works out. :)

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Thanks Barry! I loved checking out your blog and will certainly use it in my study. I may message you with questions in a week or so, but for now just knowing about your blog and having the pleasure to read through it is a huge help. If you have colleagues or friends who are graduate students who are also grad bloggers, please send me their URLs or ask them to Tweet me: @KLeuner. Best wishes, K

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Hi Kirstyn, I have a blog here, which I'm starting to use a little more often. I use it to archive HASTAC posts, gather together a couple of different places where I "live" online, and to record my thoughts on lectures and conferences I attend.

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Thanks, Yvonne! I'm going to check it out right now. I use my own research blog to do something similar (it sounds like, based on your summary of your own). (kirstynleuner.wordpress.com)

Do you publish your conference papers online? For me, I feel like my academic research blog enables me to present my conference papers to a wider audience than the people in the room who happen to be able to attend. There are no concurrent panels on the Internet :).

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You know, I go back and forth on that question. I've seen people do so, but I have to confess that I'm wary about it because of that book contract I hope to get one day (fingers crossed, knock on wood). I've had many faculty members counsel against doing it because chances of getting a contract go down if too much of the book's contents are freely available online in paper or article form.

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That's super interesting -- I also work with some faculty who are very conservative about sharing work. In my mind, if you put on your CV that you have delivered a paper at a conference, that delivery is just as -- or almost just as -- public as a conference paper posted on a blog *if* you had a decent-sized audience, which is often out of the control of the presenter. It's almost a quesiton of record keeping or permanence or attendance at the conference -- how many people heard your talk, took notes, or talked about it with others; if you had a big crowd, that might be the same as a blog post. If you had a teeny tiny crowd (often a symptom of concurrent-panel-mania) then it's like the delivery or conveyance of information perhaps never happened. Just musing ...

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Oh yes, I don't necessarily disagree with you (though perhaps having a paper online, where it can be indexed by Google, almost indefinitely lengthens that post-paper Q&A session?)! I think my qualms come from the fact that hiring committees in my field are likely to be populated by scholars who are more conservative in this regard--and of course TT requirements look for book contracts, not for how many people you reached through your blog. It's a tricky needle to thread!

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Hey Kirstyn,

Here's my blog: abbymullen.org. There's not much there yet because I'm only in the first semester of my program, but I hope to use it to get advance feedback on some of the DH stuff I'm doing for class projects and eventually my dissertation.

 

Abby

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Thanks, Abby!

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Kristyn, I have a blog, Paper Pills, that I started during my reading period to keep myself writing. Since I started my dissertation, I have to admit, I've kind of neglected my blog. I am trying to figure out how to balance my dissertation writing with the side project of keeping a blog. The problem is that I don't want to just blog material I've already written for my committee. I want it to be a real side project in the sense that I use it as a space to write about material that won't necessarily be incorporated into my dissertation. 

I also keep a seperate (but linked) professional website where I keep my teaching and research portfolio and other information about what I'm working on. This one is still under construction. Once I have a relatively "complete" portfolio with a teaching statement, etc., I will purchase a domain name for it and make it searchable. 

Your presentation sounds great. Good luck with it!

Clare

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I have been carefully re-reading Ernesto Priego's post from last year regarding his fear that blogging will become an extinct medium of electronic serial scholarship and the very interesting discussion that ensued about methods of peer review for blogging and definitions of "funding" when it comes to motivation for blogging, among other things. One of the many topics raised briefly was that of blogging for a "sanctioned" group like HASTAC versus blogging on one's own personal site. Both Ernesto and Elizabeth Cornell agreed that participating in sanctioned blogs, like HASTAC or The Chronicle, is a great way to create a larger, professional audience for graduate student-created content and offers blog post authors "compensation" in the form of a line on their CV.

Besides HASTAC and The Chronicle, I am wondering what "sanctioned" blogging organizations or websites graduate students regularly blog for? For example, I am webmaster for the NASSR Graduate Student Caucus blog and host a group of bloggers who contribute regularly there, and as a Romanticist I know that grad students occasionally (or in the past) have contributed to Romantic Circles (www.rc.umd.edu). I suspect there are many other organizations and publications to which pre-PhDs contribute.

Bloggers: who do you write for (besides HASTAC :)? Where do you publish your content, if not on your own research blogs? Thanks, in advance, for your feedback!

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I've never liked ''sanctioned blogging'' because I feel like it splinters my writing (otherwise I might write more here than I do). I end up double-posting my blog entries both on the sanctioned blog and on my own blog in order to ensure that my personal site is ''complete'', but I frown on cross-posting when others do it and when I do it as well. Though I do admit saying that my posts are on HASTAC is a bit more prestigious than citing silly little ''isharacomix.org''.

All that aside, one such blog I've been promising to contribute to is OpenSource.com. They're a pretty cool bunch of people.

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Barry, can you help me understand more what you mean by writing on sanctioned blogs as "splintering" your writing? Do you mean you just want to collect it all in only one place? I distinctly remember when I received my instructions for being a HASTAC scholar that they encouraged us to re-blog and double-post, and I assumed that was because posting material in this forum would create a different discussion than it might in another forum or on a personal blog--which I have found to be true. Blogs, I have found, are just as much about the content posted as the people that participate in them.

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In the internet cultures I grew up in, "cross-posting" and "double-posting" was a bit of a taboo, and it's been hard to shake that feeling. One of the principles of good software development is DRY (Don't Repeat Yourself), which refers to the fact that as you spread your content across multiple channels, they can fall out of sync with one another. Blog posts are very much "living" documents, and the commentary on each one counts as part of the document itself. Even if you spread it to more people, the conversation happening on one copy is going on unaware of the conversation or readers of the other copies.

The "computer sciencey" way to approach this problem is to have a canonical version of the document, and post pointers (links) to it on other channels. This is appropriate for Twitter or Facebook, but I'm pretty sure I would win no love by simply filling my HASTAC blog with links to my website. So faced with this issue, if I feel as though I have to decide on a single place to put my work, I choose my own blog. The only time I feel comfortable reposting is when I am compelled or obligated to blog somewhere (like I am for STARS).

The issue of splintering is something I see as a major issue with the proliferation of social media websites, as we divide our identity across Twitters and Tumblrs and Google Plusses. I discuss this issue in depth in one of my own blog entries.

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A lot of people in my program have blogs where they post notes on the books and articles they've read. I find that super useful and started my own blog during the first semester of my PhD program (which you can find here).

I use it primarily for note-taking and to think through ideas. It forces me to actually make sense of what I'm reading and researching rather than just copying and pasting quotations into a Word document, and it's a particularly nice way to tag all my exam readings together. I also use it to post full-text conference presentations (for archiving and accessibility purposes), and I've been able to make some acquaintances in disability studies--a network that I'm only partially connected to--which is an unexpected yet awesome side effect.

I don't update it as much as I'd like, but I definitely think it's worth having, which I realize is contestable. I'm definitely not someone who feels threatened by posting ideas online, and I like the idea that my notes could benefit someone else who's working through the same texts/ideas that I did.

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HI Allison,

Thank you for sharing your blog and your blogging ethos -- I share a similar ethos, yet I admit that I spend most of my blogging time organizing bloggers instead of doing the actual blogging (I organize nassrgrads.com, a blog for graduate students studying Romanticism). (I'm also a slow blogger -- posts usually turn into long multi-part essays that take a lot of time, but the payoff in thinking is usually worth it. Anyway ... )

I'm very interested in learning about your experience in how your blog has enabled you to make connections in disability studies. As I just responded to Barry, and as the HASTAC community demonstrates and nassrgrads.com as well, I am interested in the idea that blogging creates scholarly communities. Did disability studies scholars find your blog and respond? Or did you invite other scholars to be guest bloggers? Have you blogged on other scholars or organizations' blogs? Thanks for your feedback!

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Would you be also interested in studying students that don't have a research blog ? You might have a theme for another talk, to find out why they don't. =)

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Hi Renato,

Yes, I would be interested to hear why you personally or others do not blog. One of the things that has surprised me the most in my research on graduate student blogging is how few graduate student blogs and bloggers there actually are. I honestly thought I wouldn't have any trouble locating these blogs, but it turns out that they either aren't there or the blogs are difficult to search for using search engines. I have had better luck using Twitter (looking at profiles of followers and others like me for their website link in their profiles) and HASTAC than search engines. Thanks for your response!

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