Kirstein Blog and University of North Carolina Doctoral Dissertation Survey.

Doctoral Candidate Carolyn Hank

Carolyn Hank a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Information and Library Science at Chapel Hill is doing research on her doctoral dissertation on the use of blogs by “academics.” I guess an ample number are involved in this solipsistic exercise in do-it-yourself-printing-press mania to merit scholarly exploration. The survey was quite long and while some of it was the usual patois of the high-tech priesthood or its gender equivalent, it was generally well conceived and sophisticated. Yet I did not see any issues of justice or improving the human condition. I think academic research today, including the dissertation, should aim at some aspect of this. Questions should include some exploration of the ethical implications of blogging; at least the reason why people blog; develop whether blogging can improve any aspect of the social condition and facilitate even modestly in the search for the truth. I would urge Ms Hank and her dissertation committee not to forget that research in a nation of such egregious racial and economic disparities must address at least tangentially such phenomena. The survey was instrumental without any real attempt at progressive change or even measuring the societal impact of blogging. Yet again I participated because I felt her study was worthwhile and of sufficient merit.

This is the email I received from Carolyn that was edited where appropriate.

From: Carolyn Hank []
Sent: Thu 8/5/2010 6:22 AM
To: Kirstein, Peter N.
Subject: Study: Scholars and Their Blogs

Dear Dr. Kirstein,

The phrases “bloggership” and “blogademia” have emerged in recent years to describe scholars’ adoption of blogs as units of communication.  But, are blogs scholarship? Where do they fit in relation to one’s cumulative scholarly record? Consider preservation, a primary function of the system of scholar communication. Due to the speed for which digital communications change – as well as our own publishing behaviors and preferences – will the scholar blogs of today be available into the future?

I hope you will consider sharing your opinions on some of these outstanding issues by participating in a survey in support of my research study, “Scholars and their Blogs: Characteristics, Preferences and Perceptions Impacting Digital Preservation.” You will be asked questions about your publishing behaviors, your perceptions of your blog in relation to your scholarly activities, and your thoughts on preservation.  Scholars who blog in the areas of biology, chemistry, economics, history, law and physics have been invited to participate.

Because I realize many bloggers publish to more than one blog, please respond based on your specific blog, Peter N. Kirstein, available at: When accessing the survey, you will be prompted for a 4-digit PIN. Your PIN is xxxx

The survey is now open. It will remain open until midnight (EDT) 27 August 2010 at the URL provided immediately below. The survey should take between 20 to 40 minutes to complete.

This study has been approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. If you have questions or concerns about your rights as a research subject you may contact, anonymously if you wish, the IRB at 919-966-3113 or by email to If you contact the IRB, please refer to study number 10-1254.

My research is supported in part by a Eugene Garfield Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, awarded by Beta Phi Mu. If you have any questions about participating, feel free to contact me.

Many thanks,

Carolyn Hank

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