Blogs providing a solution for a variety of academic projects.
Blogs have been employed for some time within the University by a number of colleagues and more recently these have used as a means of feeding news, events and commentary to University webpages by a variety of departments such as Typography and English Literature.
As the example below shows, these have proven to be a simple, quick and professional means to delivery messages on a variety of subjects and allowing users the opportunity to comment on articles leading to debate.
More recently I have been working with a two academic colleagues from the humanities and sciences within the university, employing blogging as a solution for different parts of their projects.
Working with Professor Andrew Knapp – Professor of French Politics and Contemporary History who was looking for a way to convey the output of research on the “France under allied attack between 1940-1945”
The project required a large number of images with descriptive text and acknowledgement of the image owners to be displayed in an “online exhibition”. Another objective was to showcase the work to the public as means of capturing impact for the REF (Research Excellence Framework).
After discussing a couple of the options such as Flickr as a means to present the work we agreed creating a blog would be the best option delivering the following benefits:
- Ease of use and navigation for users
- Simplicity to update and maintain
- Categorise work into key groups
- Tag the images appropriately to display a tag cloud
- This had the additional outcome of showing which areas and years were more prevalent in the blog than others.
- Present the research outcomes to as wide an audience as possible
- Allow the option for users to comment on images and debate
- Have space for descriptive text to accompany the images
- Reference the image owners
Since the blog has gone live we have deployed google analytics to monitor hits to the site as well as added Andrew’s “bombing talk” podcast .
The beauty of using a blog for this piece of work has been to deliver all the functionality above, keep within branding guidelines while present an interesting and high quality product.
A second example, this time ramping up activity towards an a key workshop in July is our work with Professor Nick Battey – Head of Environmental Biology on the “Cultivating Common Ground” projects, an initiative aimed at understanding and adopting best practice between academics from Science and Humanities backgrounds.
In this case the blog has been used to publish articles to encourage debate between interested parties, encourage participation in the project as well as updates towards the event. The blog will also serve as a record of the project.