In Box

Commercial Blogging

Web logs ("blogs"), once the sole domain of self-indulgent diarists and wannabe journalists, are fast taking on serious corporate and military applications. Rhode Island-based Traction Software produces "enterprise blogging" software for corporate and government clients. Using Traction’s software, a group of engineers developing, say, a new fighter jet can use newspaper-like, searchable blogs containing project ...

Web logs ("blogs"), once the sole domain of self-indulgent diarists and wannabe journalists, are fast taking on serious corporate and military applications.

Rhode Island-based Traction Software produces "enterprise blogging" software for corporate and government clients. Using Traction’s software, a group of engineers developing, say, a new fighter jet can use newspaper-like, searchable blogs containing project information and colleagues’ updates. (To see a sample enterprise blog, go to www.tractionsoftware.com.) The technology eliminates the thousands of faxes and e-mail messages a development team might otherwise exchange.

The U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR) (www.onr.navy.mil) is exploring whether blogs can help the Pentagon adopt new technologies more quickly. ONR is testing Traction’s software on a pilot project to develop night-vision technology. On a single blog, defense contractors and engineers can exchange test results, ask each other questions, and swap ideas.

Last year, the Western States Information Network (WSIN), a U.S. federal program that connects law enforcement data and criminal information across five states, adopted blogs as its preferred information medium. "It was frustrating to lose important e-mails or to not have access to them when we traveled," says WSIN Assistant Director Karen Aumond. "Now we have all of our information in a single, searchable place on the Web ."

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