Blogs have emerged as valuable records of current social and political events. In response, calls in the literature have advocated that these new vehicles of communication and information dissemination are valuable additions to the human record worthy of stewardship [1,2,3]. The intent of this research is to study the requirements and feasibility of impacting stewardship of blogs at the level of creation. This will be accomplished by surveying blogger perceptions on digital preservation. Expected outcomes of this study include the development of a framework for constructing a digital preservation program for blogs. A survey will be administered to bloggers to assess perceptions of digital preservation issues as related to their own blogging activities and the blogosphere in general. The instrument is organized into five categories: demographics, awareness, appraisal, impact, and investment. Participants will be recruited through established contacts in the blogging community, with the intent of a resulting snowball effect for gathering additional participation. The demographics section collects basic characteristics of respondents, characteristics of their blogs (e.g., topic areas, platforms, linkages, content types, permissions for reuse), and their blogging practices (e.g., motivations, frequency of updates). The awareness section surveys current preservation-related activities performed by bloggers such as measures taken to ensure duplication of blog content; and whether, why, and how bloggers engage in practices that result in post-publication content changes. The appraisal section assesses perceptions of issues related to persistent storage and access. Respondents are asked to evaluate the importance of researcher-supplied blog characteristics that could be used to appraise blogs and their components. These characteristics include social and cultural factors such as perceived blog popularity, social linkages, and artifactual significance as well as structural components and content types. In addition to seeking clarification of the types and components of blogs that are perceived to be important with respect to preservation, the appraisal section addresses issues related to content ownership. The impact section focuses on the perceived importance of blogs to authors, preserving access to blogs, and blogs as a part of the human record. In the investment section, respondents are asked to quantify resources that they would be willing to expend to preserve their own blogs and their willingness to extend these expenditures to the blogs of others. Data collection will begin April 2007 and continue for one month. Following closure of the survey, data will be analyzed using descriptive statistics and qualitative evaluation methods. An initial assessment report will include a summary analysis of results and initial calls for recommendations. Future works include further development of these recommendations, development of benchmarks for planning ingest of blogs into a repository system, and the design and pilot testing of a user interface for deposit, storage, and access. This research is intended to promote digital preservation activities for continued access to blogs and to raise awareness of digital preservation issues among a population of users removed from the walls of academia and research. Bloggers constitute a significant producer type in that they have produced culturally and socially significant works, including those that contribute to wider public discourse. Furthermore, bloggers have the potential to become significant contributors to the dissemination of preservation awareness because they are vital actors in networks of communities that often span the borders of institutional, commercial, grassroots and personal communications.
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