One Way to Name a Blog

My name is Jason Green,  and I’m Director of Distance Learning at Pulaski Technical College in Arkansas.  I’ve been teaching French and music courses online since 2002. My primary reason for plunging into POTCERT  is that I’m on a team just starting to develop a similar program at Pulaski Tech.

And now for the really important question,  “What is that weird thing in the blog title?” Anyone reading the post on the POT aggregator will need to click through to the original site to see it.

While I’ve blogged on and off for a year or two,  POTCERT prodded me to move things to my own domain.  This brought me back to the first great challenge of blogging….choosing a name for your blog.

I had decided that this new blog would be general purpose, instead of specifically about POTCERT or online learning, so that meant no cute puns with ed- or -learn.

As I mentioned in Wednesday’s session, I prefer to think of a blog as what Cory Doctorow called an “outboard brain“.  However , the default word association with “outboard” is “motor” , and I was stuck with a vivid image of grey matter dangling over the stern of a speedboat.  It was time to try something else.

Over the last couple of years, several commentators have noticed the similarity between blogs and the commonplace books of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.  The problem with this is that the meaning of  commonplace has shifted to something like a synonym for ordinary or frequently encountered, so new readers might misconstrue the title.

I wondered if there were other terms for similar collections of information. Wikipedia mentioned Greek Hypomnemata  (ὑπομνήματα),  which   sounds cool, but has been used to death in blog titles .  Harvard University Libraries has a page which referenced commonplace books in several languages , none of which were especially catchy.  There was even one in Icelandic,  which reminded me of something.

Icelandic uses þ and ð .  While I’ve never studied Icelandic , I did take a semester of Old English, which uses those characters.  One of the texts for that Old English  class was titled Word Hoard.

While word-hord didn’t mean dictionary, it is attested  in the Old English corpus, along with beah-hord “ring hoard” and wyrmhord “dragon hoard”.  That got me to thinking how a blog is sort of a thought hoard (þoht-hord) . Technically that should probably be þoht-hord* since it’s not attested. Hordcofa (treasure-chamber, used metaphorically to refer to the heart/mind) is found in the Wanderer.

What have I learned from the process?

* þ is ALT 0254 or rt alt-t
* The feed listing system alphabetizes þ last.
* It will be an interesting experiment to have a blog title which may be google unique, but which nobody will likely ever type.

Greetings to all, and away we go.

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