Thursday, January 08, 2009

A tip of the Molly hat to Kevin Carson's Mutualist Blog for this one. Anarchoblogs is a blog aggregator for the sort of blogs described below.
Anarchoblogs is back:
Thanks to the efforts of Charles Johnson (aka Rad Geek). From the "About" page at Anarchoblogs.Org:

Anarchoblogs is a collection of blogs from self-identified anarchists, anarcho-syndicalists, anarcha-feminists, anarchists without adjectives, libertarian-socialists, autonomists and other assorted anti-statists. We use free software to syndicate our weblogs, in order to raise awareness, bring together anarchist voices, promote cross-linking and discussion between anarchist bloggers, and to archive and index anarchist materials on the Internet, while we’re at it.

Anarchoblogs began life in September 2004. It was founded by Evan Rabble Henshaw-Plath, and run with a Planet aggregator at Technical difficulties caused to disappear from the web in late 2008, so Anarchoblogs contributor Charles Rad Geek Johnson contacted former contributors about establishing a new Anarchoblogs aggregator at, with new software and some new features (including localized hubs, archiving and indexing of posts by date, tag, and author, and a updated, semantically-richer set of aggregated feeds). The new Anarchoblogs has been live since December 2008.There are some new features in Anarchoblogs 2.0:
Comunity hubs — the new setup will make it easy to create and manage multiple community hubs, which aggregate blogs for specific communities, instead of simply dumping everything into one global aggregator. (But if you want everything dumped into one global aggregator, you can still get at that easily enough.) Communities can be defined geographically, ideologically, linguistically, organizationally, or along any other lines which become useful. Currently, there are three hubs up and running, for their own sake and as examples for the future — the language-specific hubs Anarchoblogs in English and Anarchoblogs auf Deutsch, and the ideology-specific hub Market Anarchist Blogs. Soon I hope to get some other ideological community hubs up (syndicalist blogs, green anarchist blogs, that sort of thing) and to roll out community hubs for geographical communities for various countries, cities, provinces, bioregions, etc....
Indexing anarchist discussions — the new Anarchoblogs runs on top of a standard WordPress (MU) installation, and so takes advantage of WordPress’s features to index content by date, tag, and the full text of the posts, so that if you want (for example) to see what anarchist bloggers were talking about in January 2009, or to findposts tagged Feminism on anarchist blogs, or to search for posts where anarchist bloggers mention Greece, you can do all those things, and it’ll work about the same as it works on any individual blog, but will search across all the anarchist blogs we index.
Archiving anarchist discussions — Lots of anarchist writers write only one or two things and then disappear; lots of anarchist distros pass out small runs over a small area for a few years and then disappear; lots of anarchist works are cheaply printed, done on the fly, and get out to only a handful of people. Anarchist media has always been grassroots, usually seat-of-your-pants, and typically ephemeral: imeo sheets, xeroxed zines, tiny runs of amateur pamphlets or movement papers with microscopic circulations. When most of our materials were printed this was a problem but not a crisis: an author or a distro might disappear, but the physical pamphlet or the zine would still exist, and people who took a professional interest could find old copies and preserve them for others to find. But when blogs or websites disappear (as they often do), they disappear forever. Unless someone has archived the material elsewhere, there’s no physical copy left for some future Labadie Collection to dig out of someone’s attic. Just how important this is was really driven home for me when I went through the old Anarchoblogs contributor list to try to get in touch with folks about the new project. Out of over 100 former contributors, I was able to find a still-active blog for less than 30 blogs. The others blogs were no longer being actively updated, or had simply disappeared from the Internet. The old Anarchoblogs just aggregated the most recent content on contributing blogs, and discarded old posts; the new Anarchoblogs archives posts over time in a database where they can be indexed, searched, and re-read, even if the original blog disappears from the Internet. I think that as we spend more years working on building a grassroots, D.I.Y. culture, we are going to find that these kind of archiving efforts are going to be more and more important for our ability to preserve what we have built in media where people come and go quickly, constantly change addresses, drop out, get yanked off, or otherwise disappear from the web.

No comments: