The University of Michigan has launched a free blogging service for students, faculty, and staff called Mblog. The system uses Movable Type, and I applaud them for launching the overdue service. One of the University divisions involved in launching the site is the Bentley Historical Library, which houses the University’s official archives. The library is interested in preserving the blogs created on the system.
Why should U-M provide a service that costs it money when the market already has a number of private vendors that provide the same service for free? And why give thereby give an advantage to one type of software over another (MoveableType in this case).
I agree that Bentley should have an electronic project that seeks out private blogs related U-M and archives them. Here’s an idea – you heard it first here if it is in fact novel – there could be an “Internet Archive”/Google-like type of project localized to Bentley that spiders the net for U-Mich. references, alumni work, and other material of historical interest to Bentley.
I think the University should provide the blogging service for the same reason it provides free webspace for individual students to create websites: for its educational potential. The service could be used for classes (I used my webspace for a class website), to teach people to blog, for writing courses, etc. Of course other alternatives are always available, but this provides one base level service for everyone.
Although Moveable type is fine, I do wish they would have chosen a custom or open source system, however I am not sure one exists that is as robust as MT.
Rob, the U-M developed COW (Conferencing on the Web) long-before any of the commercially available blog services were around. They should have marketed that when they developed it (or they did a bad job). Now they buy into another commercial service? And you’re right, when they could have gone open source.
I notice Mark Maynard is now on B2evolution, an open source that I think is better (and more customizable) than MT or WP. I use it as well.
I agree with Chetly that COW should be marketed more heavely, but on the other hand, I can’t say that it is a very user friendly UI nor as full featured as MT. I haven’t used COW for real, but that’s because I couldn’t figure out how within a few minutes.
By the way, COW still says its “in pilot”, but is copyright 1996-1999.
COW is dead, even its still being used somewhere. Open source forum technology dwarfs it now, and it would be pointless. U-M could have made it open source and it would have had a shot, but Bob Parnes probably precluded that.
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