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Blogs can be sources, too

February 05, 2008
A contributor to Law Librarian Blog perfomed a (admittedly unscientific) survey of academic and federal resources available through LexisNexis to see if blogs from three popular online blog services--Typepad, Wordpress, and Blogger--had been cited. Among other findings, he discovered that blog citations had increased more than four fold since 2003. The author also provides a sidebar that extols the usefulness of citing blogs when conducting research:
There are a number of reasons to cite to blogs. Ones usually identified are factual assertions, crediting/criticizing ideas, and using a blog post as supporting authority but one largely overlooked reason is the role blogs play as informal repositories of downloadable documents.
I would add that currency is a factor as well. For example, I was recently reading an article in the International Journal of Communication about wireless network policy. Since there hasn't been much scholarly analysis devoted to this emerging topic, the author cited blogs and even quoted an angry patron's comments that he retrieved from a cell phone carrier's customer service forum! Of course, it all depends on which blog you cite and the context in which you cite it. Sounds a lot like traditional research, doesn't it? In other words, for all its innovation, in many ways the blogosphere is just another publishing platform. And when choosing which blog posts to cite and which ones to ignore, you'd do well to rely on good, old-fashioned judgment.