I was going to title this post “how to blog a conference,” but then I realized that what Tyler Williams is asking, on behalf of Leonard Greenspoon and SBL, is really more a question of how the host institution should handle blogging. I will comment on why I value bloggers live-blogging and using daily recaps, but first let me suggest how I think SBL should handle the blogging of their conference.
In House – Storehouse
There are two options for SBL. They can manage blogging in house or they can act as a store house. The first, I think, is impractical. There is no way that every session can be blogged. It does, however, make sense to me, as Tyler suggests, that SBL provide an institution blog of major presentations. That such a formal blogging should occur through the SBL Forum makes sense.
What I would find far more useful, however, is that the Forum should instead serve as a storehouse (linkhouse) to other blogs. Inside Higher Ed does this now for a few select blogs on education. Simply providing a page with links to SBL-affiliate bloggers who are willing to make a prior commitment to blogging the conference would be great. (A mashup of their feeds would be even better!) Of course there might be a little bickering and jealousy over who gets selected (*ahem*) but I think such a service would be a great opportunity for biblicabloggers and non-blogging scholars alike. It would certainly be great, and has been when it has already occurred, to read blog-reviews of sessions I could not attend.
How should we blog a conference?
I nearly forgot to add this! As suggested above, I think that those of us who do blog regularly (when not overwhelmed with administrative obligations) should try and compose at least a daily account of the conference. What we found of interest, of use, or offensive (that’s always interesting). Even better is a summary or a live-blog of the sessions and papers we attend. I have found this actually helps me, like taking notes in class, to better “hear” and retain the information being delivered.
In January I exchanged a few emails with Matthew Collins, the Director of Congresses and Professions for SBL, regarding podcasting SBL sessions. SBL used to tape prominent sessions on a regular basis and while the initial, upfront cost would be substantial to purchase equipment to regard all sessions, it is certainly feasible. SBL gave me permission, so long as all speakers gave permission, to post as podcasts the papers from our Aramaic Session. This I did and with permissions will do again this year (albeit with a power cord or at least additional batteries to ensure that I capture all the papers!).
I would also support and encourage SBL to consider Tyler’s suggestion of a regular, daily I should think, podcast from SBL. This could include interviewing prominent scholars, the President, folks on the floor of the books menagerie, etc. In fact, I had hoped to do just that last year and I will make every effort to do so this year. So either SBL could ply me with incentives to do it for them or we can just be in a friendly competition. 🙂
So thanks to Leonard Greenspoon for contact Tyler Williams and Tyler for posting this for all of us to comment upon. What other thoughts are out there? Please do share because I think if SBL can do this and do it well it will be a great service to the broader community. (And those who know me will know that I do not use the notion of technology developing community lightly.)