Blogging Guidelines

The Indigenous Studies Portal (iPortal) produces and maintains a Blog, relating to Indigenous news and information that may be of interest to our target audience. The goal is to post at least one entry per day in order to entice visitors to make return visits to our website. The process of locating, evaluating, entering, and editing varies depending on the quantity and quality of newsworthy items located. The sources of potential blog information is varied and complex, and has grown considerably since the founding of the Blog in August 2008.

Sources regularly consulted for blog material include: Government of Canada, Government of Saskatchewan, Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, Assembly of First Nations, CBC, Globe and Mail, the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and several others. Upon locating a possible blog item, an assessment is performed to judge the appropriateness of the content and other factors such as topic and geographical region of interest. We try to vary the subject content and maintain a balance that will appeal to our audience. Once selected to be included in our blog, an editing process is initiated to “harvest” the most pertinent information that the original creator is attempting to convey.

A concise, and unique title is crafted, attempting to convey the applicable Indigenous content contained within the entry. A brief, yet enticing description is then created which does not duplicate the information already present in the original title. The entry must be original content, not simply “cut & pasted” from the original information source. A word or brief statement is highlighted in the entry to provide a hyperlink from the iPortal blog entry to the original content selected. After this has been completed the entry is edited for spelling and grammar. The entry should then be "previewed" to assess the layout and to confirm that the link is in fact operational. The entry then is scheduled for release, either published right away or at another specified date and/or time. In the scheduling process consideration is given to the other scheduled items that have not yet been published in order to set priorities appropriately.When making a decision we consider the date of an event or conference, the timeliness of the particular news story and the location of the origin of the story. For example, something more ‘local’ may get a higher scheduling priority.

Upon completion of all these steps, the iPortal Supervisor is informed that an entry needs to be reviewed. In the event of the supervisor’s absence, another team member is required to conduct a review of the entry. Our policy does not allow team members to review their own blog entries. This ensures that the highest possible standard is maintained.

Patrons viewing the blog have an opportunity to post comments, subject to a screening process by iPORTAL Supervisor or Content Assistants. This measure was implemented to eliminate spam messages and inappropriate responses.

Scope and Content:

1) Scholarly work (including works of artistic and cultural expression) news and events related to Indigenous Studies. For example:

  • Calls for papers
  • Conference announcements
  • Posting of conference presentations and proceedings online
  • Exhibits and gallery openings
  • Performances (plays and music)
  • Book launches and readings by Aboriginal publishers and authors anywhere in Canada (including poetry, works of fiction, children's books, etc.)
  • New Digital Projects, theses, books, journal issue (provided some articles are online)

2) Significant news stories about Indigenous people. (Aboriginal Canada Portal, CBC News, etc.)

3) U of S news and events related to Indigenous culture, studies and students, scholars, and researchers and institutes that would be of interest to the U of S audience in particular. This includes picking up the items from On Campus News and other campus news sites. It could be out scholars "making news" - receiving a grant, or award or giving a special lecture. It could also be cultural and other events from Saskatoon and surrounding area.

Examples:

  • Prince Albert to host 2011 showcase of aboriginal arts
  • Arrival of new faculty or research chairs
  • Grants awarded to researchers and students in On Campus News
  • Upcoming events, lectures, special extension courses, student orientation

The geographic emphasis is first and foremost Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and Canada, and where appropriate United States and international. In terms of scholarly events and publications, North America, Australia and New Zealand (depending on the topics covered) are the most useful to include.

Audience:

The audience is global. The blog is indexed in Google and other search engines. There will be novices and experts about Indigenous studies who read the postings so there will be a need to expand acronyms. The variety of readers also means that we need to point out the connection between the blog entry and Indigenous Studies if not apparent in the headline, conference title, etc.

Example: "Only a Matter of Time: Air and Energy Efficiency Conference and Tradeshow" - should read
"FSIN Hosts Conference on Air and Energy Efficiency".

Remember to avoid library jargon.

Editorial Style:

Write in complete sentences and use proper grammar.

The level of the writing is aimed at a literate audience that can pick up and read a newspaper easily. The weblog should be written in a snappy, informative, and interesting way. If you're bored, the audience will likely be bored too.

Bloggers tend to write somewhat informally and so should we. It's important to avoid institutional or corporate speak.
Example: "The U of S Library is happy to offer…"

Titles:

Blog titles are very important. The title should be upbeat, engaging, and informative. The following titles clearly state what the blog entry is about.

Good Examples:

  • Chemicals Blamed As More Girls Born in Arctic Ratio at 2:1
  • United Nations Adopts Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
  • Canada to Vote Against UN Declaration on Aborigina Rights
  • Greenpeace Backs Algonquin Uranium Protest

Titles to Avoid:

  • New Exhibit at the Diefenbaker Centre
  • New Book from X Publisher
  • New Book by Brendan Edwards

Title Conventions:

1. Title Case for Blog Titles - Short words or prepositions should not be capitalized in the title.

2. Hyperlinks in Blog Titles - As a rule, do not make the blog title a hyperlink. Include the hyperlink to the full article in the blog posting so that the iPortal blog gets the traffic. (Remember, the blog is indexed in Google.)

3. Special Characters - Watch for special characters - they may not display correctly on the iPortal homepage. Try typing them in, not cutting and pasting.

4. Acronyms - Spell out all acronyms. U of S is an exception, but it should be written without periods. Other acceptable acronyms in the title would include: FSIN, AFN, MNC, ITK, UBCIC, FNUC, etc. but expand them in the body in case some readers are not familiar with the organization or institution. For companies, you can abbreviate Ltd., and Inc.

Body of Posts:

What is the best length for a post? Keep it snappy and informative and use your best judgement. Posts should have a least a sentence or two of explanation and details and point out something interesting about the item. If there is a lot of pertinent information, (conference with a call for papers, list of U of S speakers at an event, content/background info) then it can be a few paragraphs to pull out and highlight important details. From the title and the description, the audience should be able to decide if the information is of interest or not. This is particularily useful if the item is a PDF.

It is acceptable to quote from the site that you are linking to. Longer posts need to be really interesting and/or include "meaty" information.

Posts announcing a new publication should have photographs, links, or logos of the event (if available).

Post Conventions:

1. Link to the primary document when possible rather than the secondary.
2. Links should be between 3-7 words.
3. Pick out the words to hyperlink that will indicate what the user will see when they click on the link. For example, hyperlinking the name of the event is more clear than hyperlinking the date of the event. If you link the place name, it may be expected that the user will be taken to a web page about the place.
4. Pick out meaningful words to hyperlink. Do not use phrases like, "click here" for the hyperlink.
5. If the link is to a PDf document, end the hyperlink and follow it with (PDF). For example: Aboriginal Women's Community Economic Development: Measuring and Promoting Success (PDF).
6. If your hyperlink is at the end of a sentence, end the hyperlink before the period or other punctuation. For example: Algonquins reject court process in uranium dispute.
7. Do not add "th" or "rd" after numbers unless it is part of the official name.
8. Use normal font for organization names. When it makes sense, you can hyperlink the organization's name to the organization's web site.
9. Italicize the title of the publication or newspaper. Use the complete name, for example: The Globe and Mail
10. When quoting a phrase or up to a couple of sentences, simply enclose the quoted text in double quote marks.

If you are quoting a few sentences, multiple paragraphs or excerpts separated with an ellipse, you may want to indent the text using an HTML tag, <blockquote< </blockquote>

You simply enclose the text that you want indented in the tags. For example,

<blockquote>

Text from parargraph 1 is here...

Text from paragraph 2 is here...

</blockquote>

Crediting Sources:

If you find a link via another blog, newspaper, or journal, then credit the source of the blog post itself, or add a note at the end.

If you've mentioned the source in the description, (i.e. Saskatoon StarPhoenix), there is no need to add a note crediting the source at the end.

However, if you find something online (blog or news site) that links to an important story or announcement, then it's good to cite your sources. For example, if you saw an announcement for "Our Homes Are Bleeding Digital Collection" on Peter Scott's blog then you would write an entry about the Digial Collection, link to it, and then add a link to Peter Scott's blog at the end.

  • Example #1

New Digital Collection About Aboriginal People from Interior BC

"The Our Homes Are Bleeding collection has grown out of the stories of cut-off lands in British Columbia". The site includes…

[via Peter Scott's Library Blog]

  • Example #2

Crombie Now Liaison in Caledonia Land Dispute

(When possible, avoid using the source name in the text as follows.)

The Globe and Mail reports that the federal government has appointed David Crombie as the go-between in the Caledonia land dispute.

(Instead, cite the source outside of the text in brackets as follows.)

The federal government has appointed David Crombie as the go-between in the Caledonia land dispute.
(The Globe and Mail)