March 4, 2008
Why a blog is perfect for a researchers homepage…
After thinking a little bit about this by the end of last year, I came to the conclusion that the best homepage a researcher can have is… a blog.
Obviously, it is not a blog that is constantly updated with his life details or his love stories, but still… a blog. Generally researchers want a simple, effortless way to have a well-designed homepage so that he is able to show off his publications, links, contacts, blog roll, and even maybe (for those more daring researchers) photos.
A blog has all of these features, allowing the researcher to easily install, configure and customize it. It allows it to publish posts each time a paper is released or a conference from its research area comes up. It allows also the readers to subscribe to his feed to receive this information. Everything is organized and usually the blog provides a nice interface. More daring researchers might publish small articles about their topics of interest and publish photos of their conferences. Blogs provide all of these readily available either from the base install or in the form of plugins…
The researchers I personally know, either have a terrible homepage, updated once a year with an ugly photo on it, or they have scripts to generate the homepage along with the publication list but their freedom is certainly limited by the fact that adding something to the page means rerunning the scripts, reimplementing bits if needed, and redeploying the pages once again taking time that could be devoted to research or coffee drinking.
By following this exact line of thought I have started to convert my current webpage to a blog-based one. Soon a link will be created from the root address to the blog and it will become official. I think it is an improvement. This blog will continue to exist. Posts on that page will be solely about my research papers, conferences or contact changes. Only of interest for those close to me or to my research subject.