Peter Krautzberger on the web

Introducing mathblogging.org

I think I mentioned at some point that I had started a secret little project a few months ago. Well, Felix, Fred and I have decided that the new year should be plenty of reason to put some more hours into its development and make it more public.

mathblogging.org — the idea

As we say on the main page (click it now!), ‘’Mathblogging.org is your one-stop shop for mathematical blogs’‘. Why on earth, you might say, do we need such a thing? Well, I have been following mathematical blogs for quite some time now but I am frequently amazed how unaware of the rich mathematical blogosphere many people are. Maybe some people became more aware over last years PvNP-proof-debate or the fantastic polymath projects. But too many people I talked to, whether academically young or old, although interested in blogs often complained to me how complicated it is to find out what’s happening in the mathematical blogosphere.

So one day, when Felix, Fred and I talked about this, I suggested that we could really use a mathematical copy of the extremely cool project over at scienceblogging.org [wayback machine]. Of course, the science bloggers have not just the advantage of numbers and public interest. They also have strong blogging networks which already guarantee a high degree of connectivity within the scientific blogosphere. Since the ideal solution of starting a blogging network can not happen by wishful thinking we thought we could at least help to raise the visibility of the mathematical blogosphere. So we started to design a clone of scienceblogging.org while tyring to accomodate the shape of the mathematical blogging community. And thus mathblogging.org was born…

mathblogging.org — what it does

If you still haven’t clicked on the link to see what the website actually does, let me fill you in. As you’ll see we try to keep everything very simple. So far, we have created three views of what’s going on in the blogosphere:

  • The page with latest posts [wayback machine] gives you a quick fix, just check what’s fresh out of the typewriters so to speak.
  • The page with posts by category [wayback machine] gives you an overview of the different kinds of blogs (group blogs, single researcher blogs, institutional feeds etc) with the latest entries organised by blog.
  • The page with our favourites [wayback machine] (well, favorites — BE vs AE, not easy for three Germans…) is for those who feel overwhelmed by the amount of posts and blogs and just want to read something interesting. The page contains a couple of blogs which either we like or we think are interesting in general.

Other than that, there’s the obligatory about-page [wayback machine] and some elementary feeds [wayback machine]. That’s it. Of course, we don’t yet have every blog in there — that’s why there’s a nice “send us your blog” icon on the front page as well.

mathblogging.org — the technology

mathblogging.org is beta and still in development. We have many ideas to make it better but we’re all working in research so forgive the slow development. Every page (except the start page) has a comments section thanks to disqus so feel free to comment on anything and everything. In the scientific spirit, the whole project is free as in freedom: the code is GPL’ed and on github, the content is licensed under creative commons and we will dump the database on github after we do some cleaning up. So you are free to give us some competition or help us make it better. Finally, we host everything on Google’s app engine which is nice and affordable. To give credit where credit is due, we generated the initial database by going through our own feed readers and, most importantly, the mathematics section of academicblogs.org discarding dead blogs and those without a (mathematics related) post in the last 9 months (for the record, we did this in November 2010 so feel free to let us know what we missed since then).

mathblogging.org — the future

As mentioned, we have many ideas. The views are very basic right now and especially the category-view is a bit cluttered due to the amount of blogs (which will only increase…). So check out our development over time and feel free to give us a hand. My personal hope is that the increased visibility will lead to some mathematical blogging networks eventually, making discussions even richer.