So, Let’s Discuss What a “Biblioblog” Is

As I’ve seen some discussion around the Blogosphere (Rod, Joel, Scott, James, Jim and counting) over the Draft of Inclusion Criteria I’ve been using to re-categorize the entire Biblioblog list.

I figure I’d post the current draft here, open up the comments, and see about what everyone has to contribute.

The current draft as of July 10th 2011 reads:

This is the current draft of inclusion criteria for The Complete Biblioblog List.

A ‘Biblioblog’ must meet these three core criteria:

1) Relevance – It must be primarily about Biblical Studies, a sub-field, or a very closely related field. A blog about Biblical archaeology would fulfill this criteria, a blog about archaeology that touches upon Biblical finds every once and a while is not.

2) Academics – Where blogs tend to be a bit less formal than other media to begin with, a combination of citing sources, utilization of academic methods and adherence to ‘mainstream’ academic theories as the basis of argument tend to fulfill this criteria. Blogs primarily about personal theology, homilies or apologetics do not qualify for this criteria (but may qualify as a Related Blog below).

3) Civility – It must — barring traditional sarcasm or banter — keep proper decorum, free of disrespect for other bloggers. Direct personal attacks against other bloggers will result in disqualification.

Additional criteria include:

a) Credentials, Experience & Endorsement – The author holds appropriate credentials, has relevant experience, or is endorsed by those who do in the field they write about.

b) Publication – The author is published (books, journal articles, etc.) in the field they blog about, excluding vanity publishing from services like Lulu or CreateSpace.

c) Press Coverage / Direct Involvement – If the author is the center of a current issue in Biblioblogging, this may act as criteria for temporary inclusion in the archiving efforts on the Reference Library, but does not in and of itself qualify them for the Top 10 or Top 50.

A ‘Related Blog’ may follow a directly related field (including but not limited to theology, philosophy, religious studies, etc.) or a field that Biblical Studies may rely upon (including but not limited to archaeology, epigraphy, ancient languages and cultures, etc.). Furthermore, like all other blogs listed, it must meet the criterion of Civility.

Adherence to these criteria does not guarantee inclusion on the list and the Staff of the Biblioblog Top 50 reserve the right to exercise final editorial decisions.

Additionally, this set of criteria may periodically undergo revision to better suit the Biblioblogging community as it grows.

So, how can this be improved?

— The Reference Librarian


About Steve Caruso

Steve Caruso is the Translator at Aramaic Designs and The Aramaic New Testament.
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9 Responses to So, Let’s Discuss What a “Biblioblog” Is

  1. Excluding commercial blogs.

  2. Joel says:

    Steve, I’ve listed just a few issues of my own. I think that we should exclude primary commerical ones, such as those who require or offer special membership.

    Also, I might would reexamine the self-publishing issue.

  3. Joel says:

    Oh, and again, great, great, great job. Thanks

    • Steve Caruso says:

      Thanks. 🙂

      I do like the idea of excluding primarily commercial blogs from the main list. I can also see making allowances for non-profit and not-for-profits, provided they meet the other criteria, have solid content and aren’t obnoxious.

      Related magazine article feeds (such as BAR, etc.), although “commercial” I think could fit in under a Related Blogs category simply because their content tends to be discussed about the community and it would be a good idea to have an archive.

      Any blogs that that *require* membership to access content I think have no place in the Library at all.

      When it comes to self-publishing, I’m honestly torn. Some of the greatest authors and scholars of our day started off self-published, but today there are quite a large number of “self published experts” (even though the most prominent examples of this that come to mind don’t blog, I shall refrain from naming names). This is why I listed it among additional criteria rather than the core three, and I think that if a self-published work is endorsed by others in the field, or if it’s a self-published work from someone who is already published “traditionally” from a reputable publishing house, it might satisfy both.


  4. Tom Verenna says:

    Steve, I have to agree with Joel here, but with some middle ground, I think, and I agree with your last reservation. I’ve self-published, but I’m also about to be published academically (co-editor of a collection of essays, with an essay included in the collection). Also, others like James McGrath and Jim West have published via Lulu or other POD publishers. So perhaps a better criterion might be ‘can be self-published’ but with the caveat ‘has also published academically or will publish academically at some point’? I think that fits into your last point quite well.

    As for credentials or relevant experience or approval, I think that is important. But using my own personal situation as an example, I’m a student now, but I’ve studied, as an amateur, on a broad range of subjects related to Biblical Studies, but with a focus on exegesis, mimesis, and intertextuality in the New Testament, but my aim is to get a degree in Classics. I’m a student member of three societies (SBL, ASOR, and APA), and also a member of BA. So where would you say my experience lies? I think this could get a little complex and, if we decide to start limiting or defining such terms, we will need to consider a broad range of types of experience. What do you think?

    Also, thanks for this, its good work.

    • Steve Caruso says:

      I’m not sure that “will publish academically” would work well, because I also know of plenty of individuals (again, primary examples aren’t amongst the Bibliobloggers, but I will not name names) who say that they plan on publishing academically year after year… but instead their Lulu stores continue to grow. 🙂 On the other side of the coin, there are also others of who aren’t ‘published’ at all (for example, my CV is filled with field experience, presentations, interviews and NEH grants) which is why I think that publications are a plus, but not a core requirement for this. I know that some are even published in both mediums (James McGrath, for example, has two books from traditional publishers, one self-published title, and he’s selling subscriptions to his blog on Kindle).

      However, perhaps that criterion could be better amended to:

      “The author is published (books, journal articles, etc.) in the field they blog about. Self-published material from services like Lulu or CreateSpace or materials published by unconventional printers may be subject to case-by-case consideration.”

      When it comes to credentials, there are plenty of blogs I have seen that are written by amateurs that are full of very well-written and well-researched articles, and plenty of blogs written by professionals that aren’t as focused. Both I think can have a solid place here.

      Say a truck driver whose hobby is Biblical Studies writes a blog about the Synoptic Problem and it’s well written and academic in nature. Who cares that they’re a truck driver? Replace “truck driver” with any profession or qualification and it’s the same thing. In my opinion, barring any serious or systemic oddity, they have a spot on the list as they’re promoting Biblical Studies as a field.


  5. Steve Caruso says:

    At this rate I might also include an addition to the Civility criterion that reads,

    “Demanding the expulsion of another blogger from the list based upon this criteria is a violation of this criteria. Such concerns should be reported to the staff.”

    However I worry if that would seal my fate as the Rowan Williams of the Biblioblogging community…


  6. Pingback: August 2011 Biblical Studies Carnival « Daniel O. McClellan

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