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Picnic in the Park

July 2, 2011

The next meeting of thecardigancontinuum will be held on Saturday 30th July at 12 noon. The intention is to meet in Hyde Park near the Lido Cafe Bar to have a picnic and discuss the archives and records management blogosphere.

So, bring something to eat and drink. Bring something to say about a blog of your choice. Bring a picnic blanket. You can even bring the kids if you like (assuming you have any).

In the meantime, if you want to post a comment about the blog of your choice, please do so below. And keep an eye on this blog in case a wet weather plan is posted when the five day forecast is for torrential rain!

  1. Nicole Convery permalink

    Great! Just booked my train tickets. Any suggestions for what to read and discuss yet?

  2. 80gb permalink

    Thought it would be worth posting my blog, in case people have a chance to read it in advance, since there are some follow-up links which are also worth reading if you have time. Rather than pick one of the major archives blogs, I thought I’d go for something a bit more out-of-the-way…

    flickr Commons is open to new participants again, and increasing numbers of UK archives are joining up, I think this post might spur some interesting discussion, although it was written (by a historian working at an archives in the U.S.) two years ago:

    See you in the park!


  3. As I can’t make it to the picnic today (partly down to a badly-coordinated diary), I thought I’d leave my thoughts here. I hope the discussion proves lively and productive.

    (i) I rarely pay much attention to blogs and I’ve recently starting thinking about why I don’t. I think the main reasons are:
    – I think I already spend enough of my ‘free’ time doing or thinking about archive-related things
    – Most of what little I have read on people’s blogs (whether archives- or recordkeeping-related or not) is of enough interest or practical use to me to justify the time spent on it. Perhaps I’ve just been looking in the wrong places – or perhaps I just don’t ‘get it’ and I’m missing out(?)
    – I have difficulty grasping what kind of audience most bloggers have in mind or what they hope to achieve by writing it. Does it matter to the author whether anyone actually reads the blog or not?

    Perhaps when I hear the outcome of the discussion it might help to convince me otherwise…

    (ii) More positively, I’ve been trying to think about why some blogs might be more successful than others. One blog that I do think is well-written, interesting and pertinent is: It’s mainly a ‘professional’s’ view of family history but with an archival angle.

    These are the reasons that this blog strikes me as successful:
    – The author says that her criteria for posting something are (a) that it’s genealogy-related and (b) that (in her opinion) it’s interesting enough to be worth sharing. She sticks to this.
    – The blog supports and builds on the author’s existing reputation as an expert in the field.
    – A lot of people are interested in family history so there’s potentially a fair-sized audience – but the author’s personal enjoyment is an important motivating factor too.
    – It highlights sources of genealogical interest at The National Archives (where the author works) and elsewhere, including the kinds of material that tend to be in private hands. In this way, it draws out very effectively how interesting and useful ‘records’ (in the broadest sense) can be. It has a ‘marketing’ angle (for archives as a whole as much as for the author’s employer), but the author doesn’t allow this to dominate the blog.
    – As it encourages people interested in family history to look beyond tracking down just the minimalist ‘family tree’-type information, many readers would actually learn something worth knowing from this blog.
    – It has a lively style and features a couple of recurring themes (‘Mappy Monday’ and ‘Shopping Saturday’) likely to encourage readers to come back again.

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