Monday, March 14, 2005

Brooklyn Naval Gazing

I notice that two bloggers I keep an eye on, Lex and callalillie (I came across them last year when reading their blogs on the NYC Marathon), have set up a web research project/quasi-blog, developing an information base on the Brooklyn Naval Yard (to read about the project, see here). It all seems to be fairly new so far but I find it fascinating nonetheless.

I suppose my primary interest in the site is that it sits on the net's blurred boundary between the public and the private. Blogging is a strange phenomenon on this front, with people purposefully setting out to span the public and the private, often in creative, interesting (and sometimes downright sinister!) ways.

The Officers' Row project, though not quite blogging, obviously reflects the personal interests (as some of the older posts suggest) of the two authors, but they have developed those interests as, well, an exercise in authorship. It's certainly a public site, and is designed around a search for information, but at the same time it's theirs.

On top of that it's an interesting exercise in using the net as a tool in building local histories (take a glance at some of the links in their sidebar). These sites are more than trawls for information, given that they can be updated when needs be. So they function in ways different to private databases or books. What those ways might be in general remains to be seen, but I suspect that they are will highlight the role of the net as a public space.

Or maybe I'm reading too much into it all!!

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