Can blogs be useful reference tools?
Yesterday a library user asked me for a just-released journal article about panic disorder and cardiovascular disease that was highlighted on one of the local television stations. The station promised further information on its website, but our client could not remember which of the local stations ran the story. We visited the websites of Chicago's ABC, CBS, and NBC affiliates, scrolling through lists of recent stories and trying keywords in search boxes; we found nothing. We then tried EBSCO and Firstsearch databases, hoping the article would be indexed, but we found nothing. After a Google search yielded nothing, I tried Google Blogsearch. There I found several bloggers who were commenting on the three-day-old article and one gave a full citation.
I then tested Technorati and Feedster and found many of the same blog postings. So, yes, blogs can help the reference librarian. Try the search engines devoted to blogs when you need very recent information.