The BlogForever Survey: Coming soon!

May 23, 2011 in Blog

The Blogforever Survey is currently in preparation and we expect to launch it in June. This will comprise an online questionnaire targeting a large number of blog authors and blog readers – and asking them to share with us details of their behaviours, activities, attitudes and expectations around blogs and blogging. We’ll also be selecting some individual blog users for 1-to-1 interviews, as well as investigating the relevant outputs of other studies in the field, from the Technorati reports reports, to the academic work of Carolyn Hank and Jill Walker Rettberg, inter alia.

The main aim of the survey is to provide an analytical basis for subsequent design and decisions about the nature and function of the BlogForever repository software. As stated in the BlogForever project proposal, the purpose of the survey is:

to examine a large number of weblogs which is representative of the Blogosphere and create a survey regarding:

  • the technology used by current weblogs
  • patterns in weblog structure and data
  • types of data which should be preserved
  • important aspects of weblogs which should be preserved
  • common weblog authoring practices

The survey data will lend itself to many analyses. Among the priority areas for the first phase of analysis will be extracting information about:

1. Communities

We expect to find out more about the existing communities of blog users, and how they engage with the blogosphere – with a particular emphasis on what this might mean for a blog archive. What attitudes and behaviours do they exhibit, and can distinctive patterns can be discerned among particular groups (e.g. by age, nationality, background)? The survey will be directed at current blog users, and seek feedback about their attitude to the blogs they read and/or write, the nature of their interaction with users, and to the preservation of those blogs. We also hope to make informed inferences about the nature of the designated communities we expect will be interact with blog archives.

2. Use cases

We expect that, through the survey results, we will be able to find an evidential basis for a number of key use cases for blog archives. We will, for example, look for evidence of trends in how blog users use blogs themselves. This will enable the repository developers to make key decisions about the design of the repository, both for digital preservation features, and the interactive features archive users will require.

3. Significant properties

The survey will also seek information supporting a sound basis for assessing the significant properties of blogs and their features, and the relative importance of those properties. This will support a systematic approach to making decisions about what aspects of blogs need to be preserved and rendered by the archive. Some properties may have greater significance for specific communities and/or use cases (for example, rendering of graphic elements may be less important for computational analysis of web links than for analysis of graphic design).


In practice, preservation projects often have to make difficult decisions about selection of materials and management of resources. Fulfilling the oft-expressed desire to preserve “everything” is generally unfeasible (impractical, impossible or prohibitively expensive), and therefore preservation policy needs to be based on a well-founded understanding of what outcomes are essential, desirable, or undesirable; in short, what is the target of our preservation actions. The purpose of the BlogForever Survey is to provide this basis, and we are looking¬†forward to seeing the data, and the results.