A Father of the word Weblog?

Updated: 18 August 2007 at 15:35 , 20 February 2008 and 14 May 2009

In a surprising development I was alerted today by our Vice-Chancellor, Robert Stable, of a blog entry by Duncan Riley from March 2005. Duncan’s entry is entitled ‘A Short History of Blogging‘ and when talking about the word weblog states:

The first use of the term weblog in relation to the delivery of content on a website comes from the delivery of a paper titled “Exploiting the World-Wide Web for Electronic Meeting Document Analysis and Management” by G. Raikundalia & M. Rees, two lecturers from Bond University on the Gold Coast, Australia made to a conference on August 14, 1995.

[Gitesh was a successful PhD student of mine and researched the topic of automated electronic meeting software and associated processes.]

These historical notes have also found their way into a Spanish version.

We used the term WebLog in the title of our paper presented on 21 August 1995 at the QCHI’95 Symposium held at Bond and organised by Sandrine Balbo and myself. Sandrine sent the QCHI’95 notice to the news.announce.conferences group on Usenet on 6 August 1995. The title of our paper was ‘WebLog: exploiting the Web user interface for document management in electronic meetings’ [a scan of the paper is now available on epublications@Bond].

The QCHI presentation was a precursor to our more extensive paper at the combined AUUG’95 and Asia-Pacific World Wide Web 95 conference at Darling Harbour, Sydney, where our paper was presented on 19 September 1995. Our paper is available on the CSU web site even though the figure images have not stood the test of time.

Duncan admits Gitesh and I didn’t actually use the word weblog in the Sydney paper but we did describe a web-based system that is remarkably like the weblogs we know today:

“a Web browser access to various meeting document information, such as minutes, tabled documents, reports and document indexes. Applications are being developed to take standard electronic meeting log files, postprocess them in a variety of ways, and generate a series of indexes and summary files. These files are formatted in HTML and exploit hyperlinks to the full in order to relate the different types of information.”

It is interesting to note that Robert naturally uses a Google alerting service for “Bond University” and this picked up a blog entry by Johanna King of the University of Oregon for her class in Communication History with Professor Kathleen Ryan in the School of Journalism and Communication. Johanna quotes from Duncan’s blog entry.

Update: On the celebration of the 20th anniversary of Bond the creation of ‘weblog’ is slightly misquoted as ‘blog’ in a BrisbaneTimes article.

Update 4 November 2012: A tweet from Mary Garden @marygarden queries:

@mrees Hi Michael, just wondering whether in that 1995 paper you guys actually defined what you called “WebLog”? Log of links maybe?

Our QCHI’95 paper is available for download on the Bond Epublications repository. By Weblog we meant the postprocessing of what today we would call liveblogging the data generated in real time during an online meeting. A nominated meeting participant, the meeting secretary (diarist, journaller), adds agenda entries, action items and minutes to the online meeting software logs (primarily chat logs) and these additions might very well include links.

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About Michael Rees
Academic in IT interested in Web 2.0 and social media

2 Responses to A Father of the word Weblog?

  1. Peta Hopkins says:

    How cool is that!

  2. Peta Hopkins says:

    Have you still got a copy of the paper, perhaps, with better images? It would good to put a copy in our own repository.

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