ACI Scholarly Blog Index
Reviewed February 2015
Lora Farrell, Catalog & Digital Services Librarian
Jannes Library, Kansas City Art Institute
Learning is accelerated with exposure to, and expression of, diverse viewpoints. Publishing on the web has become an established medium for expressing both factual discoveries and related opinions. Scholars and leaders in a variety of disciplines are expressing their work through blogs, but heretofore there has been no reliable way to find or authenticate blog publications. The ACI Scholarly Blog Index is filling this niche by aggregating and authenticating work published online through social media.
ACI Scholarly Blog Index currently includes over 10,000 blog publications. The Index is aggregated by ACI Information Group, founded in 2004 as Newstex. The company's aim is to "provide...researchers...with an editorially selected and curated collection of social media publications that provide relevant insights, analysis, and research unavailable in traditional media and journals." Blogs are reviewed rigorously by an editorial board before being added to the Index; according to ACI, 50-60% of new blog submissions are rejected.
Access is free, with a fee-based Premium subscription option available for institutions. A variety of disciplines are represented in the ACI Scholarly Blog Index including social science, law, and several STEM disciplines. The arts are also represented well; for example, searching the term "artists' books," retrieves 860 results.
The search interface is similar to many database interfaces with which the user will likely be familiar. Facets available for filtering include Library of Congress Classification, Author's Degree (with options of PhD, MA, BA, et c...), Comments, Publication, Author (name), Author Holds Position At, Author's Societies, and Author's Degree Subject, among others. Clicking on a title in the brief listing of retrieved titles brings the user to a detailed record page that includes the title and a summary of the blog entry, with a tab linking to the original entry. A side column on the results page includes publication information (i.e. the name of the blog) as well as the Library of Congress Class. Author information in the detailed record includes credentials and awards, live links to the author's presence on social media, including LinkedIn and Twitter, and a Twitter feed, as relevant. This useful section succinctly brings together all of the author's credentials.
Reading the blog entry itself requires clicking on the tab labelled "Original." Availability of articles within the ACI interface varies, but in all cases users are directed to requisite citation information for accessing the author's work.
The Index is very user friendly, with a clean, uncluttered design and a single search box in the middle of the screen. Researchers are brought immediately to their search results, with options for faceted searching available on the left side of the screen. Enhancements such as Bookmarks, Lists, and ACI Stream allow users to save and access relevant materials every time they log in. Searches yield fruitful results, benefitting authors and readers symbiotically. The layout of the search results encourages users to turn a query into a fulfilling pilgrimage for more resources.
The site works best on a personal computer. It does work well on a mobile device, but visibility of suggested readings such as Most Popular Articles is limited.
As scholarly contributions in social media continue to rise, so will their use and impact. ACI Scholarly Blog Index aggregates a world flourishing with creative, unique scholarly work. The works included make the Index worthy of consideration for adding to one's institutional holdings. Researchers in many disciplines will benefit from access to this resource.