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Sharing Your Opinion With The World: Weblogs, Photoblogs, & Podcasts by Peter McCracken

hink you have som ething to say? The res t of the world apparently does, and the simplicity of 'biogs' allows them to share their thoughts w ith everyone. Biogs-short for "web logs," or online personal jo urnals-have exploded over the past few years. Some estimates suggest there are now well over three million biogs, but that's a misleading number: nobody reads the vas t m ajority of them, and only several tho usand have significant readership. The ones that do, however, can have a great deal of influence, and in most cases have developed a critical mass of content and readers that assures atte ntion to item s reported there. Biogs are as variable as individuals. People write about whatever they want, and they say whatever they want, as well-occasionally getting them selves fired as a result. Biogs are probably most prominent in politics and technology, but they appear in nearly every field. In the watery world, however, there are surprisingly few biogs. Kelly Drake, a librarian at Mys ti c Seapo rt, recently started a nice blog on m aritime heritage issues called "Maritime Compass," at http://maritimecompass.blogspot. com. Anyone can submit items to post; everyone who reads her blog will then be able to read what she has included. Lincoln Paine, a Maine-based maritime historian (and a former editor of Sea H istory) , has a m aritime history blog at , bur like many biogs it's short on content: its most recent posting was from May 2005 . Hopefully, m ore will be added soon . A downside of biogs is that you need to go to the site to see each new posting. "Blog readers" solve this problem, however. Several free readers exist, including and In each case, you create a free acco unt and define which biogs you want the reader to track, using a format called "RSS ". (Just look for the little o range "RSS" or "XML" butto n on the page you want to track.) You're then notified, via various methods, when a new posting is added to the blog you're tracking.


Google recently introduced Google Blog Search, at http:// Google owns and blogspot. com, so it certainly has interest in the area. You can, however, search more than just the sites Google owns. Because it's a brand-new service, the Google service only searches feeds from about June 2005 or so. Biogs are not limited to text. Web sites such as com and provide space fo r individuals to post their photos. At fli, disparate images are gro uped together through the terms people use when describing their photos. Rea!Travel, at, hosts travelers' photos and trip journals. Another site, http://www.panoviews. com, shows a variety of 360° QuickT ime images of classic yachts, cargo ships, and cruise ships, usually in Genoa, Italy, harbor. Podcas ts are audio postings; they're sort of like an individual's personal radio show, posted to the internet for anyone to download and enj oy. Podcasts can be found at,, and There's no limit to what can be posted on these sites, and over time, we can expect to see more and more maritime co ntent, providing many more voices. These resources dram atically simplify the process fo r folks who want to post their opinions online, and as long as they can be found, they'll be wo rth exploring. ,t

Peter McCracken is the director of electronic content management and co-founder of Serials Solutions Inc. ( out of Seattle, Washington. H e holds a Masters of Library Science .from the University of N orth Carolina at Chapel H iff and a Masters in M aritime History .from East Carolina University. H e created and maintains two web sites: M aritime History on the Internet at and Index to Sh ips in Books at



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Sea History 113 - Winter 2005-2006  

10 Dangerous Voyage, by Roger Tilton • 16A French Spoliation Case: Not-Quite Justice after Never-Was War, by Jock Yellott • 26 Samuel Elio...

Sea History 113 - Winter 2005-2006  

10 Dangerous Voyage, by Roger Tilton • 16A French Spoliation Case: Not-Quite Justice after Never-Was War, by Jock Yellott • 26 Samuel Elio...