Using Blogs for Legal Research and Practice Development Raizel Liebler Reference Librarian John...

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Using Blogs for Legal Research and Practice Development Raizel Liebler Reference Librarian John Marshall Law Library
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Transcript of Using Blogs for Legal Research and Practice Development Raizel Liebler Reference Librarian John...

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  • Using Blogs for Legal Research and Practice Development Raizel Liebler Reference Librarian John Marshall Law Library
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  • This presentation will cover Definitions RSS and feedreaders Finding blogs Creating blogs Blogging tips
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  • Definitions & Explanations What is a Blog? A blog (an abridgment of the term web log) is a website, usually maintained by an individual, with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse chronological order. "Blog" can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog. Blog search engine Technorati is tracking more than 110 million blogs.
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  • Definitions cont What is a Blawg? A law related blog. Blog + law = blawg The usefulness of this term is disputed.
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  • What are the components that make a blog a blog? Posts shown in reverse chronological order Generally focus on one area can be professional or personal Blogs combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic. Most allow for comments by readers
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  • What are some of the components that vary greatly from one blog to the next? All blogs have posts made on a regular basis, but what is regular varies by the blog, generally not more than five times a day and not less than once a month Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries. Some blogs are written by one person, some by multiple equal authors, others maintained by one main author
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  • What is the way that most people use to keep up with the blogs of greatest interest to them? Through attaching those blogs RSS feeds to a feed reader. What is RSS? The technology of RSS [Real Simple Syndication] allows Internet users to subscribe to websites that have provided RSS feeds; these are typically sites that change or add content regularly.
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  • Huh? You can be notified when there is an update to a blog if that site offers a RSS feed. This means that you could push content from another website on your own site for others to read. For RSS feeds you need a an aggregator.
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  • What is a Feed Reader/ Aggregator? A RSS Aggregator/Feed Reader allows you to subscribe to multiple RSS feeds and read them all in one place. Using an aggregator eliminates the need to visit every single site you want to keep up with all of the content is kept in one place. Bloglines is one of the most popular aggregator. Bloglines allows you to view all of your RSS feeds in one place and access your feeds from any internet- connected device. See also (
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  • Finding Blogs That Will Interest You Where do I look? Start by seeing what other people are reading then you can read what other bloggers are reading. Look at lists of best blogs, such as the ABAs top 100 blawgs: a_journal_blawg_100/ a_journal_blawg_100/
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  • Finding blogs (cont) There are also lists of blogs by category by the ABA: Blawg: Justia: spx spx
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  • How do I start blogging? There are lots of free blogging tools. I've had blogs on Blogger, Typepad and WordPress.Blogger WordPress
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  • What's the difference between remotely hosted and on a local host? Remotely Hosted Stored on someone else's server May cost Limited control over look Best way to blog without needing to know the technical end of things Locally Hosted Coding skills needed Your own web server required But: Complete control
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  • What if that is too much effort? You can pay for someone to create a blog for you (likely one time payment or payment for a complete blog makeover Or you can pay for a service, like from Lexblog or Scorpion, which advertise as companies that will create and host your blog and there are other services available.
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  • Tips for Blogging based on the Legal Undergrounds original list 4/10/guestpost.html 4/10/guestpost.html The original list was from 2004, but the tips are still useful.
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  • General tips 1. Pick a Topic well Others have gone before and are generalists. You didnt get there first, so you are going to have to focus on a specific topic.
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  • More general tips 2. Know your audience Realize that not everyone who reads your blog will automatically know what a 12b6 motion is. Unless you only want a super-specialized audience, make sure you explain (or link to) explanations.
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  • More general tips 3. Write with your own voice, in your own style. But remember to keep things professional, if that is your focus.
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  • More general tips 4. Keep it Interesting by offering a Free (But Valuable) Service 5. Post often How often varies on your topic, but make sure your blog doesnt die. Generally, post at least once a week.
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  • More general tips 6. Be timely and thoughtful Writing about events two-three months in the past is like an eternity in blog months unless you have some really sharp/unique analysis. Yet being the first person to jump on something without time to analyze the issue can make you seem uninformed.
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  • Technology-related tips 1. Brand Your Blog Pick an interesting and explanatory name for your blog. Have the blogs name in the web address. Will my readers remember me; and will they be able to find me on Google?
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  • More tech tips 2. Use Blogger, Typepad, or WordPress to blog on your own (or hire someone to set up your site) 3. Add an RSS feed
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  • More tech tips 4. Find Out Who is Reading Your Blog (suggestion: Google Analytics)
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  • More tech tips 5. Link Early, Link Often. And give credit where credit is due. Link to others who have written about the same issue, especially if those are well- known bloggers. They may add you to their RSS feedreader and therefore may return the linking favor.
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  • More tech tips 6. Change things up -- often
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  • What to always keep in mind 1. Posting is immediate and can be forever
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  • What to always keep in mind 2. Be Prepared to Learn. The one--and likely only--thing all successful people have in common is a broad vocabulary. The most well- known and well-respected blawggers all also have something in common: Theyve spent hours learning how to link to other blogs, how to build a blogroll, how to install an RSS feed, and dozens of other tricks of the trade. You might be the greatest appellate lawyer in the land, but you probably have a lot of to learn in this new world. I find learning about technology gratifying. I think that you will too.
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  • What to always keep in mind 3. Remember, Its Only a Blog.
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  • What to always keep in mind 4. But Please Remember, its Your Blog. 5. Establishing Your (Blog) Street Credibility takes time and effort
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  • Questions? Thanks!