The Practical StuffIf you are a grad student or alumni of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of the History of Science or Department of Medical History and Bioethics you are allowed––nay, encouraged!––to post here. If you are not already an author, all you need to do is email Scott, Meridith, or Megan and ask to be invited to become an author of this blog. (With luck, this blog will survive us, and then new grads will have to take over this administrative role.) Then you will receive an email from Blogger confirming your status as an author. Now when you visit the blog, you will see "New Post" in the upper-right corner of the screen. From there it is pretty self-explanatory, but feel free to ask one of us if you run into trouble.
Many of us see each other every day, so why blog? Well, there's not always time to share your ideas at brownbag, sometimes an idea can be too long-form to share on our listserv, and usually we need a break from shop-talk at happy hour. A blog can help us pass information and experiences down to new cohorts in a way that doesn't always happen continuously. Also, some of us are dissertating from out of of town, and this blog can become one more way to reduce some of the isolation of such a situation. Finally, if you've never blogged before, practicing here is a good way to build your skills.
Rule #1: Keep it professional. This blog is public. That means your professors, your students, prospective grad students, your parents, and your future employers are all your potential audience. We don't want to have to institute heavy moderating of our activity here, so be good and police yourself. Professional doesn't mean stiff and formal--just be aware of your tone. If you ever are unsure about the appropriateness of content, feel free to ask the google listserv.
Rule #2: Don't think you have anything to post? Yes you do! We are all reading hundreds of books--use this blog to discuss one that you have found particularly interesting. If you went to a talk or a workshop that might be of interest to the rest of us, feel free to share it. If you just went through a milestone in grad school (MA Paper, prelims, etc.) discuss your experiences and resources you found helpful for navigating the process. Ran into a neat or puzzling historical source? Explain why it excited you. Share your hobby--we all have to have some life outside of grad school to stay sane! (Just because the tone here should be professional doesn't mean we can't share fun stuff!)
Rule #3: Add images and links whenever possible. This makes reading a blog post a much more enjoyable experience. (I am breaking this rule!)
Rule #4: Label your post! This is extremely important. Without labels, no one will be able to find your post in the future. When you write a post, there will be a spot on the lower right of the text box, "Labels for this post." Add all relevant keywords there, and try to use ones that have already been used for other posts (to see these, click on "Show all").
Rule #5: Proofread via "Preview" before you post.
Rule #6: Comment on other people's posts. It's more fun that way!