Oxford Dictionary defines "blog" as "a personal website or web page on which an individual records opinions, links to other sites, etc. on a regular basis." This definition was of course retrieved from the Internet: the information portal where blogs reside. Although the concept of a world wide web has been with us since the 1960s, the first web journal, written by an American college student, did not surface until 1994. The moniker "blog" was not used until five years later, in 1999, when the name "weblog," coined by Jorn Barger in writing his "personal newsmagazine" Robot Wisdom, was shortened by programmer Peter Merholz. Since then, the concept of blogging has taken off and there are now over 152 million active blogs read by millions of people.
There are, of course, blogs about everything (peanut butter) and everyone (Dr. Dee), including blogs about every topic such as law. There is no record of the first law blog but there are law blogs touching on every area. In Canada alone, there are over 400 law blogs written by practitioners and academics alike. Stem Legal hosts The Canadian Law Blogs list and even awards annual Canadian Law Blogs Awards or CLawBies, in a number of categories, to those blogs which have distinguished themselves as worthy of special recognition. This year the recipients were many and varied, a testament to the dramatic increase in interest in the internet generally and blogging in particular.
I am proud to announce that this law blog - Ideablawg - was recognized as a runner-up in the Best Law School/Law Professor category. The winner in this category is another Alberta blog, Ablawg, maintained by the University of Calgary Faculty of Law, which just happens to be my LL. M. alma mater. I encourage you to read this winning website and indeed all the other recipient blogs as well. As Sir Francis Bacon acknowledged in 1597 well before the technological revolution of the web, yet still apt today, "knowledge is power." Thus, in this way, to use the Internet as a tool for inquiry and the gathering of knowledge is empowering and can provide everyone with the opportunity to be meaningfully engaged in the global community - and all with a click of a button!
Correction: As pointed out by Jorn Barger, he coined the term "weblog" in 1997 but the phrase was shortened by Merholz in 1999.