What is This "Weblog" of Which You Speak?

What do you get when you cross an online diary with an annotated bibliography? You get a new writing genre native to the World Wide Web. A weblog is a collection of short paragraphs, with new material added at the top of the page (several times a week or several times a day). Some weblogs contain mostly personal reflections, while others are more focused on annotating and critiquing material that appears elsewhere on the Internet.

The term weblog was coined by Jorn Barger late in 1997, but the basic form had existed as a navigational and publicity tool since the beginning of the World Wide Web. The genre began to emerge as a form of personal expression in mid 1999, when easy-to-use weblogging software enabled authors who don't think of themselves as designers or coders to publish by filling in forms and pushing buttons.

My own weblog began as a list of writing links that I had kept at www.uwec.edu/jerzdg/writing since I started working at UWEC. Here's what my writing site looked like in June of 1999, just before I began dating each new entry. I had a left column with static links to other collections of writing resources, a main column that linked to interesting resources that I found online, and a rightmost column where I planned to post each new handout I created as I started expanding my curricular website. Appropriately, I called the page "Writing Links and Commentary."

When I added a humorous post about Neil Armstrong's grammatical flub while stepping onto the surface of the moon, I felt the need to add that I was writing on the anniversary of the event, so I added a date. I keep separate archives for 1999 and 2000. From 2001 on, each of my posts are filed under multiple subject headings.

Somewhere along the way I added the subtitle "Online and Offline Literacy Links." As the weblog phenomenon grew, I figured that the word "links" in the title of my page was redundant. I toyed with changing the title to something cute and snappy like "JerzBlog" or "Jerz's LitBlog," but people had already started linking to my page as the "Literacy Weblog." I've recently been running to references to a weblog called the "Information Literacy Weblog," so I've started using the name "Jerz's Literacy Weblog."

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