14 September 2010

Some thoughts from inside the Toronto Blog Collective

Last week Will Thomas of Ether Wave Propaganda identified the Toronto Blog Collective and included The Bubble Chamber, Jai, Aaron and me. The attention is, of course, flattering if not slightly unnerving, and the advice is timely, if not ominous.

I wanted to point out that there is in fact a lot more to the Toronto Blog Collective than the four blogs mentioned, but Isaac already beat me to it. I've been promoting the IHPST-derivative blogs in my blogroll since I launched Boffins and Cold Warriors, but I think its still worth giving a series of shout-outs (blog-outs? blog-big-ups?).
  • Isaac deserves special mention as the one who has been at it the longest and most consistently.
  • Agnes was the next one to enter the blogosphere with her travel updates from her cross-Canada biking tour.
  • Sarah arrived at the Institute with a fancy blog dedicated to theatre, TV, movies and literature, and is certainly an enjoyable read.
  • Mike started a blog shortly after arriving, and has since started devoting his efforts to The Bubble Chamber.
  • Allan started a blog and updated it for a solid 10 months before his final push to finish his dissertation.
  • Ellie started a blog earlier this year and promises to be more consistent about updating it, as well as contributing to The Bubble Chamber.
  • Since taking over from Norman Ball as Director of the Centre for Society, Technology and Values at the University of Waterloo earlier this year, Scott Campbell (a 2007 graduate of IHPST) has been running a blog on the department homepage with help from the Centre's instructors. A welcome addition to the academic blogging landscape, to say the least.
  • Jai has been the most active, and certainly the most promotional, of all the TBC bloggers. The rest of us owe her for any readers we have outside of close friends and family.
  • The University of Toronto Scientific Instrument Collection created a blog to give an online presence to the physical collection.
    • In addition to this project, graduate students of IHPST run an online journal called SponGe (Spontaneous Generations).
  • I ambitiously started two blogs in August. This one (Boffins and Cold Warriors) and a week and a half prior to that a blog devoted to my more wide-ranging interests (Here's Jonny: There Goes the Netbourhood).
  • Aaron started up his very promising looking blog at about the same time.
  • And last, but not least, we collectively launched The Bubble Chamber after several months of planning. This is a project that we will be endlessly promoting, and that we certainly intend to keep running as long as there is the willpower to update it. Given the topics we plan to blog about, it is doubtful that we could ever run out of material.
  • My apologies if I've overlooked anyone from the Extended Toronto Blog Collective!
 So the view from inside the Extended Toronto Blog Collective (TBC) is reassuring. There's strength in numbers, and definitely a strength in the quality of the work that is being done. It is comforting for someone new to blogging to be able to look at the existing Extended TBC and see high quality work, it's even more exciting to see what the collaborative Bubble Chamber has ambitiously planned, and the extremely high quality of posts that are going to be published over the coming weeks and months by a wide range of intelligent posters. I can only hope that more members of IHPST (or the wider HPS community across Toronto, Ontario, and Canada) will extend the existing TBC even further by joining The Bubble Chamber or creating a blog of their own. I also hope that the view from outside the Extended TBC is as interesting and informative as it is inside.

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