Instructions for Blog Posts

Blackboard

For any post you submit to the blog, you will also submit a document to Blackboard, either as a Word, PDF, or text file. In this document, include a link to your blog post. All grading and comments will be on Blackboard.

Website

The front page of the course website will feature previews of the most recent blog posts, as captured in the image below.

Categories

Blog posts should be labeled with a category. You can see how this work by visiting the Examples category. Each assignment has a unique category: Before the Internet, Minitel Services, Lost Sites, Security and Encryption, and NFTs. Select the corresponding category for the assignment by opening the Settings menu in the blog editor and checking the box next to the name under Categories (See the image on the left below.

Images

For several of the blog assignments you will be required to include images. To have an image appear in the preview, you’ll want to add a “feature image” to your blog post.

To include a feature image, open the Settings menu, which will appear on the righthand side of the block editor. Under the Page tab, you’ll see an option for “Featured image.” Click “Select Image” and then “Media Library.” In the Media Library you will have the option to upload an image by selecting “Add new.”

Image Requirements

Your image should ideally be a JPEG. This file format is smaller than others and serves our purposes effectively. Before you upload any image, be sure it is a reasonable size. Smaller is better, and anything under 500 kB is optimal. Be careful if you’re taking screenshots on a 4K monitor because the image size can come out very large. In such cases, converting the PNG to JPEG can often resolve the issue.

WordPress recommends featured images be 1200 x 628 pixels, but the preview will automatically crop the image to these dimensions. That said, the closer the image is to this rectangular format, the better it will look in the preview.

Attribution

All images should be attributed to a source, unless specified in an image database as requiring no attribution. (Sites such as Pixabay and Shutterstock specify attribution requirements for all images.) Anytime an image requires attribution, include a citation in the image caption, preferably using a hyperlink as well as identifying information. For our purposes, in an educational course and as scholarly research, screen captures from The Wayback Machine, oldweb.today, and other archived sites should fall under fair use. We’ll want to include a link to these important tools though.

References

Citation for blog posts will follow the Chicago author-date system. References in the text will include the author’s last name and the year of publication and can take one of two forms. If you discuss the author in your sentence, you can simply include the year in parentheses after the name:

As John Markoff (1988) reported in the New York Times, a computer virus forced the Pentagon to isolate the military network from the corporate and academic networks it had long shared connections with.

You’ll notice that I have included a hyperlink to the newspaper article because in this case, the article has a stable URL. If you’re using Lexis Nexis or another database behind a proxy, then you’ll want to include identifying information and omit the hyperlink.

If you do not include the author’s name in your sentence, then you can simply use a parenthetical citation at the end:

A computer virus around the same time forced the Pentagon to isolate the military network from the corporate and academic networks it had long shared connections with (Markoff 1988).

Again, you’ll notice that I’ve included a hyperlink because the article has a stable URL.

A full reference should be provided at the end of your document:

Markoff, John. 1988. “Pentagon Severs Computer Linkup.” New York Times, December 1, 1988. https://www.nytimes.com/1988/12/01/business/pentagon-severs-computer-linkup.html.

The reference list should be in alphabetical order by last name.

Checklist

  1. Title. Our website has a global setting that makes the main title invisible. This means that the title at the top of your blog post will not appear when published. As a workaround, we’ll have you place a second title beneath your inline image. So in your post you’ll see the main title (which will be invisible), your main inline image, and then a repetition of your title (which will appear when published).
  2. Image and attribution. Ideally, your post will include two images, a featured image that will appear on the blog preview and inline image within your blog post. These should be the same image, but they will need to be placed separately. Only the inline image requires attribution (see above for more details on attribution).
  3. References. Citations should be in Chicago author-date format. For more details, see the section on references above.
  4. Category. Be sure to tag your blog post with the corresponding assignment category. See above more further details.
  5. URL slug. If you have an especially long title, it might make sense to use an abbreviated URL slug. For the Minitel assignment, all URL slugs can simply be the dial number and code, such as 3615 VERIF (“3615-verif” in the slug).