Creating Useful Archives

I've done a little tweaking to the archives for dialectical futurism recently, including creating a new archive for science fiction and writing and being who I am this has inspired a little of thought regarding the state and use of archives of blogs.

The latest iteration of this blog has avoided the now common practice of having large endless lists of posts organized by publication month or by haphazardly assigned category and tag systems. While these succeed at providing a complete archive of every post written, they don't add any real value to a blog or website. I'm convinced that one feature of successful blogs moving forward will be archives that are curated and convey additional value beyond the content of the site.

Perhaps blogs as containers for a number of posts will end up being to ephemeral than I'm inclined to think about them, and will therefore not require very much in the way of archives, Perhaps, Google's index will be sufficient for most people's uses. Maybe. I remain unconvinced.

Heretofore, I have made archives for tychoish as quasi-boutique pieces: collections of the best posts that address a given topic. This is great from the perspective of thinking about blog posts as a collection of essays, but I've started to think that this may be less less useful if we think of blogs as a collection of resources that people might want to have access to beyond it's initial ephemeral form.

Right now my archives say "see stuff from the past few months, and several choice topics on which I wrote vaguely connected sequences of posts." The problem with the list of posts from the last few months is that beyond date, there's not a lot of useful information beyond the title and the date. The problem with the topical archives is that they're not up to date, their not comprehensive even for recent posts, and there's little "preview" of a given post beyond it's title. In the end I think the possibility of visiting a topical archive looking for a specific post and not finding it is pretty large.

In addition to editorial collecting, I think archives, guides, or indexes of a given body of information ought to, provide some sort of comprehensive method for accessing information. There has to be some middle ground.

I think the solution involves a lot of hand mangling of content, templates, and posts. I'm fairly certain that my current publication system is probably not up for the task without a fair amount of mangling and beating. As much as I want to think that this is an problem in search of the right kind of automation, I'm not sure that's really the case. I'm not opposed to editing things by hand, but it would increase the amount of work in making any given post significantly.

There is, I suspect, no easy solution here.

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