[This page was last updated 2010.1.8]

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: “A blog (a portmanteau of web log) is a website where entries are written in chronological order and commonly displayed in reverse chronological order [latest first]. “Blog” can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.”
Blogs are simply a very easy method to create a changing website with minimal effort.

Blogs usually provide commentary or news on a particular subject such as food, politics, or local news while others function as personal online diaries (and many are a bit of both). A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs.

Most blogs are primarily textual, although some focus on art (artlog), photographs (photoblog), sketchblog, videos (vlog), music (MP3 blog), or audio (podcasting), and are part of a wider network of social media.

For another view of what blogs are about, try a brief video on Blogs in Plain English.

Wikis versus Blogs

Wikis and blogs both offer ways to create web pages easily, without knowing a lot of technical details about HTML and so on. However, wikis are more for collaborative efforts, with lots of group work to edit and revise to create a final, stable result. They would work well with group and class projects.

A blog, on the other hand, is more of a continuing effort, by one or more persons, with entries being made and then moving on. It’s useful for current events, new information, and changing conditions.

Of course, THIS blog has a bit of both — fixed pages like this one (like a wiki), and links to blog entries for topics which continue to be entered as new information comes along.

Blog Services, Software & Advice

Blog Search Engines

Blog Services and Software

Educators’ Blog Services

  • The Academic Blog Portal is a voluntary listing of educators’ blogs, arranged by subject.
  • Blog Scholar “Blogscholar is intended as a resource for academics who blog. See who else is expressing themselves in the directory, tap into slick RSS feeds using Storyfinder for sources of inspiration, read the latest news items on this site or access archive posts of articles about academic blogging.”
  • Edublogs is a free host for educators’ blogs, using WordPress (see below) software and other tools. They offer 100MB worth of free hosting to educators who create blogs there (1GB for $25/year). They offer Edublogs Campus service for use on your own domain, on a fee basis. This service has been offered from Melbourne, Australia since 2005.
  • See also WordPress, below, for an excellent choice in free blog software & hosting.

Boreham Library Blogs

WordPress “ is brought to you by some of the same folks who work on the open source blogging software available at Open source WordPress [software] has been incredibly successful and risen from a handful of users to the most-used blog tool in its category.”

WordPress software is also available for download — free!– if you want to run your own system.  (However, you may want to pay for the spam filtering system offered.)

There is a free hosting service for would-be bloggers (3 gigabytes of space free!), or a regular fee schedule to get more features and options (such as a fancier or more customized header).

  • You can set up Categories for specific topics in blog posts
  • Your posts and pages are automatically indexed
  • RSS feeds are available
  • Widgets for special functions are offered
  • You can have a changing blog page and/or stable pages
  • A number of templates are available for the free hosting version, and more if you put WordPress on your own server. People are customizing new templates (“Themes”) for special looks for their blogs all the time. Free ones are available at WordPress Themes and TopWPThemes (which are for only for those who run WordPress on their own server, remember).
  • Statistics are automatically collected to show when and how people come to your blog
  • Akismet spam-blocking software protects you from unwanted posts

This blog and the Boreham Library blog “Literary Lions” is currently hosted on WordPress. Along with being free, WordPress is considered one of the leading blogging softwares available, and has excellent spam protection on the free host (called Akismet).

Online video tutorials are available here for WordPress.

Other Blogging Services and Features

  • Blogger free blog service and AllBlogTools for extra features for it.
  • Bloglines lets you set up a list of blogs to keep track of, which can be accessed from any Internet-connected computer.
  • Gravatar is a service that works with your blogging — it registers your globally recognized avatar, meaning those 80×80 pixel pictures/icons/graphics that appear next to some names in blogs. Sign up here and upload your gravatar, and learn how to use it to help identify yourself in blogs.  (WordPress owns Gravatar and it works with WordPress.)
  • Greymatter forums and software for blogging
  • Manila software for blogging
  • Geeklog software for blogging
  • LiveJournal free and pay open source blog service
  • Meshly is a combination microblog and social bookmarking tool.
  • Pitas free blog service
  • Radio Userland software for blogging: RadioUserland for individuals, Manila for groups. This is the community server address.
  • Tumblr is a tumblelog service [“A tumblelog is a variation of a blog, that favors short-form, mixed-media posts over the longer editorial posts frequently associated with blogging.” — Wikipedia].
  • Twitter is a popular miniblog which is limited to 140 characters per post.
  • Ujournal free and pay blog service

The latest posts on this topic are available by clicking here.

RSS Feeds (Updated Blogs, News, etc.) Software & Links

How would you like to keep up with news and posts to blogs and websites by letting the computer do the work, saving your time for other things?

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication (among other things). This is an easy way to check up on the latest news, blog postings, and other web site changes. It doesn’t clutter up your email, since you only get it when you want it (you ask it to check for updates), and only what you want (you select the places to check), and you only look when you have time (but remember to take time!).

For a good overview of why you should use RSS and how, click here.

For a list of RSS tools and uses: The Ultimate RSS Toolset.

Another good post on advice on good ways to use RSS is from Dragonfly.

First: the site must have RSS featured, usually with a little or RSS feed symbol, or a (usually orange) symbol for “RSS” or “XML”.

You can create or use these symbols youself, from sites such as the Online Marketing Blog.

You can use an RSS reader program to search a page for such links, and add them to your list of RSS “feeds” to search every so often. If anything new has been posted since you last checked, you will be alerted (depending on the RSS reader you use, you might see the name of that blog in bold font instead of normal type, or some other alert method).

One way to use RSS feeds is inside Microsoft Outlook.  Click here for instructions.

You can also use RSS feeds from inside browsers such as Internet Explorer and Firefox.
For example: Firefox has several extensions that handle RSS feeds, including one called Sage (see the Firefox page for links to extensions).

Sage in use Here’s an example of Sage in use.The little green sage leaf (under “History” at the top) activates the panel.Click on the little blue circling-around-a-page icon and Sage searches for any new posts on those blogs. If it finds any, that link turns to Bold print so you can see it. Click on the bold print links, and get a digest of posts.

Here’s an example of just part of a (old!) feed page for this blog:

feed example

Internet Explorer 7 (and later versions) has included a similar RSS function. Or you can use one of a number of online services which handle this.

A good listing of RSS Readers is available here, including stand-alone and plugins for IE and Firefox.

Literary Lions, the Boreham Library blog, has a post on RSS with many of the possible symbols and some more useful links. This Computer Helpers blog also has RSS service for all the posts made about various topics (but not for changes on pages like this).

Blogs are becoming more popular, and often have very up-to-date information about your areas of interest. While you do have to allow for whoever is creating the blog (how objective is this person, assuming you want objective information?), it’s a useful way to gain insight into advice, current events and the opinions of a number of bloggers.

Here’s an example: Search for updated blogs

Mashable has “The Ultimate RSS Toolbox” list.

The latest posts on this topic are available by clicking here.

Videoblogging (a.k.a. Podcasting)

“Videoblogging (better known as Podcasting) is a new form of expression centering around posting videos to a website and encouraging an audience response. It is the next step from text blogging and podcasting.” [defined by]

Example Policies of Companies and Organizations

Advice for Blogging

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