Blogging – the publishing of online journals or web logs – has increased rapidly in popularity and is now starting to penetrate the consciousness even of lawyers.
For the publisher (or blogger) weblogs are attractive as no technical skills are required to publish them: with a blogging service provider such as Blogger, you can set up an account and publish your blog within minutes, just by “pressing buttons”. But there are enough amateur publishers out there on the web already and you may be forgiven for thinking that blogging is just adding to the mayhem. However, blogs have a standard structure – a reverse chronology of items (or postings) comprising date, title and body – and standard methods for maintaining archives. So a standard format is established and the reader quickly becomes familiar with it.
Blogs tend to encourage personal diaries and musings and the better ones make for compulsive reading. For a sample of quality blogs see the Guardian Online article on The best of British blogging.
The diary format is also ideal for current awareness publishing and this tends to be their application in the better law blogs (also, unfortunately, known as blawgs). Legal blogging has taken off in the USA (too many lawyers?) – see The Blogbook for a listing – but in the UK only a handful have so far come to light, including:
- Keeping Legal – Legal issues affecting the information profession.
- Freedom of Information Act Weblog – news, views and updates on the UK Freedom of Information Act and worldwide FOI
- IPKat – intellectual property news and issues, particularly from the UK and Europe
- Law and Support’s Local Government Update – with roots in a newsletter intended for members of the Association of Larger Local Councils
- UK Criminal Justice Weblog – latest news about criminal justice issues from around the UK
- Bournemouth and Poole 6th Form Law Weblog
Law blogs are of various quality and utility. I’ll leave you to make your own mind up about the ones listed above; their only distinction is that they are the first. And, of course, some of the best specialist legal news sites are not blogs, though they share similar hallmarks; see, for example, Out-law.com’s IT and e-Commerce News.