This is a response (kind of) to the article/blog of “Professors, Start Your Blogs,” by Dan Cohen (http://www.dancohen.org/2006/08/21/professors-start-your-blogs/).
The idea of blogs being written by professors is an interesting one, and when I look at it could be quite a bit of fun. Well, that is since I’m a philosophy major the idea of having thought tracks out there and in the open allows more access to knowledge, and philosophy is the love of knowledge. Granted, this “knowledge” is still in the rough and probably not fully thought through, but aren’t diamonds more valuable in the rough? Answer: For the most part yes, but it’s a bit of give and take (http://www.diamondintherough.com/pages/value-of-rough-diamonds). Of course there is a bit of worry in the case of putting unrefined ideas out on the web, as that could lead to someone taking it and going through with it to refinement (which may or may not break some kind of law, not my area, but would still sting either way); however, it doesn’t have to just be the unrefined ideas that go out on blogs. Since there is some kind of safe guard about the whole concept behind these, putting bits of the refined ideas out there would help to spark the thoughts of others. It could get a person to go and buy the books of that person. It could also save some students a lot of time trying to find the print version of a few sentences they really need to finish up a paper.
From the history side of things, it starts to get a bit unclear for me. On one side, I’ve seen a ton of blogs through my experience as a member of a living history group; however, I can see where short scribbles of digital text could work against the historian. To point out the major flaw of having all things digital, one decent sized EMP (electromagnetic pulse) and all this data is gone, it would be the same as when the Library of Alexandria burned to the ground, and the only way to save any of it is to print it before all of the electronics stop working. Though that may seem a bit extreme, it does have a good chance of happening, there’s a lot of things in the universe that can produce it, and ones made by people are doable too (just not that huge, yet, that I’m aware of). On the more bright and cheerful side, by historians (or really anyone of authority in a topic) putting things up on the web in easy to read and (mostly) short bursts it will lessen the number of inaccuracies in what people know. And I do believe that everyone would be better off having more knowledge than less.