"All my life, whenever it comes time to make a decision, I make it and forget about it." said Harry S Truman. (http://www.worldofquotes.com/topic/choices/1/index.html)
I'm not Harry S. Truman.
When Ben from Inside History Magazine asked me to nominate this year's list of 50 blogs you need to read in 2013 I was honoured. It's always nice to get a repeat invitation because it means you must have done something right the first time.
In 2012 I tried to be objective with my choices; for this year's list I suggested to Ben that I must be more objective so I really did my homework. I read many articles on what makes a good blog, canvassed the opinions of fellow bloggers via Twitter and then set up a spreadsheet ((or assessment rubric in eduspeak)) listing the criteria against which I would assess the blogs. As this list was primarily for an audience of Australian and New Zealand readers I favoured blogs from those areas or those foreign blogs with relevance to downunder peoples. I immediately eliminated many worthy blogs but this didn't concern me greatly because there are a number of blogging gongs in the northern hemisphere that they can earn.
My first source of blogs for consideration was from my many RSS subscriptions. I then did some Google searching for genealogy blogs from Australia and followed this by having a look at the lists of blogs that some of my favourite bloggers follow. My list grew and I found that I had several hundred blogs to consider. Years of evaluating assessment tasks when I was an educator prepared me for the business at hand.
I visited all of these blogs until I had a list of 80+ blogs to consider seriously. It took me a few days to look at these blogs, measure them against my criteria and consider my gut instinct (the subjective element of the process) and come up with a list for Inside History Magazine. I sent them my Excel worksheet with 50 suggestions, additional strong maybes and the definitely don't bothers. Inside History Magazine had the final word, they scratched some of my choices, added a couple that were unknown to me and replaced a couple of others. When they sent me the final draft I only objected to one of their replacements and they changed that.
I am happy to stand behind my choices because I went through a thorough process to find and evaluate blogs but I'm not Harry Truman.
I keep searching for and thinking about potential blogs for the list. After we settled on the final list I said to Ben that I had just found some new blogs that looked promising but it was too late to consider them.
New blogs worth a look are:
Carr Family Search (New blogger Ed Carr is a member of my local historical society) http://ecarr357.blogspot.com.au/
Genealogically speaking from young blogger, Caitie G. http://genealogically-speaking.tumblr.com/
Hawkesbury Heritage & Happenings from Michele Nicholls (whose husband Jonathan Auld has a blog on the list) http://hawkesburyheritage.blogspot.com.au/
KK Genealogy Blog http://kkgenealogy.com/blog-2/
TNG Blog (love that software) http://tngsitebuilding.com/blog/
Just in case Inside History Magazine is going to repeat this exercise in 2014 (and invite me to be involved) I want to be prepared. If you come across any new blogs that should be considered for the list please let me know. I am especially interested in blogs from genealogy and historical societies where there is a dearth of good blogs. My RSS list expands daily but there is plenty of room for growth, please send me your links.
I'm interested in hearing what you think makes a great blog.