Lavellee-Welch spoke on how reading blogs fits in well with other professional development such as subject reading, conference attendance and networking. She spoke about specific criteria she and others have been developing for a paper to be published later in the year. The criteria help to establish which blogs are good for professional development reading, and briefly include:
- titles convey the blog's topic or focus
- posts are updated regularly (no less than once a month)
- posts are brief and contain links to other resources (I'm doing my best to keep them short!)
- posts are consistent with blog's focus
- posts are archived chronologically and by subject (well, Blogger does have its limitations with regard to subject...)
- site contains a search engine (Hint: to search this blog, go to the advanced Google screen and pop conniecrosby.blogspot.com into the domain to search only this blog. Then search the terms you like)
- site uses good graphic design principles (again, I do my best with the application I am currently using...)
- blog's lifespan exceeds one year
Other criteria as determined in Weblogs and Libraries by L.Clyde (2004) included:
- Purpose of the blog aligned with the needs of the reader
Following the criteria, she had picked out several examples of good blogs including (among others) beSpacific.com, librarian.net and Peter Scott's Library Blog.
She listed a few directories and feeds for locating and reading blogs.
To combat information overload from blogs, she suggested pinpointing specific topics of interest and finding one or two blogs covering those topics particularly well, and then use the aggregators to view them; there is no need to read the full blog, only posts of particular interest.
I found both talks interesting and covering a lot ground. Even though I already know a lot of this, it was good to be pointed to websites I haven't viewed and tools I wasn't aware of. I would have liked to see more about the use of RSS in various ways, however. It seemed more of an afterthought in the presentations, whereas it was billed equally with blogging. I can only imagine that perhaps Jenny Levine would have covered this?