Discussions on the history and historiography of Australia's New England

Monday, March 10, 2008

Musings about method and directions

This blog now gets a small but steady stream of hits, so that's progress. Some of the stories have been useful to at least a small number of visitors measured by feedback. Again progress.

To this point I have not worried too much about blog progress in terms of my stated objective: With time, I hope that it will develop into a living history of New England. My feeling has been that if I just keep going, I will ultimately achieve this objective once content gets past a critical minimum point. However, the site is now 16 months old, so it is time to re-assess both objective and progress.

When I used the phrase "living history", I think that I had in mind a history that would evolve and deepen through the act of writing and responding to both my own work and other's inputs. I am less sure about this now. My own knowledge has indeed deepened, but the site still remains too fragmentary to provide any natural coherence.

One particular problem relates to the blog format. This is simply not good for longer, more complex, pieces. I really need to associate the blog with a standard web site. The blog could then be used for discussion, the web site for publishing specific articles, chapters.

A second problem is my reliance on on-line sources. I have little choice here for the present - I have neither access too nor time too access University or archive resources. Yet in using on-line resources I have to be more careful about referencing. People need to be able to check my sources.

I can do something about the reference issue. However, the blog issue continues to worry me, given that I cannot afford to create a web site of the type I would need.

My time is very limited. Every time I try to write a longer thought piece I stall because of time. Further, each time I go in a new direction, I leave other topics sitting at a level still too undeveloped to be of use to others. I do want visitors to find something of use to them on the site, so this is a real problem.

There is no easy solution. I suspect that for each new post I write, I need to put an equivalent time in to updating previous work.

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