Thursday, 1 December 2011

RESEARCH is a category that local blog aggregators should offer!

Written for (South) African researchers who blog and local blog aggregators.

Not only is it impossible to organise an appropriate domain as an individual, non-profit researcher, but researchers will also experience further difficulties categorizing their blogs with local aggregators for appropriate promotion. These services do not offer "research" as a distinct category and are arguably doing a disservice in categorising academics' blogosphere contribution!

In my case, my research spans three disciplines; media studies, education and software use.
Ideally, I would like to categorise my blog as a research one first, with sub-categories. 

However, I am not given research as a primary category option by the three popular South African blog aggregators (Amatomu, Afrigator and MyScoop). Since Afrigator's erratic service is down today, I will use the other two to illustrate the challenges this presents:

First up is MyScoop. In registering, I am offered the following directory choices for my blog:  

While education is available, researchmedia studies and software are not. By only being able to select "education", I am concerned that my blog content is being placed in an inappropriate context (the primary focus of my research is students' choices, not their educator's pedagogy or education, as such). However, as some visibility on an aggregator is better than none, I must compromise!

In my second example, amatomu.com, there are fewer choices:
There are no choices for researcheducationmedia studies or software. Since my research is more concerned with students' use of media, I chose the "media and marketing" category. Even if it is potentially misleading, it is arguably less so than the other categories!

I appreciate that the readership of academic blogs may be small relative to those for politics, sport and entertainment. However, I believe that it would be helpful for raising the profile of South African academic research blogs if our local aggregators offered the ability for academic bloggers to select a "Research" category and to give their readers the option to select it.

Do you agree? Is this feasible? Please let us know your thoughts in the comment box below...

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