I did some looking into blog carnivals after hearing a talk by Daniel Mosquin from the University of British Columbia Botanical Garden about engaging different communities with them. From reading on blogcarnival.com I found this:
A Blog Carnival is a particular kind of blog community. There are many kinds of blogs, and they contain articles on many kinds of topics. Blog Carnivals typically collect together links pointing to blog articles on a particular topic. A Blog Carnival is like a magazine. It has a title, a topic, editors, contributors, and an audience. Editions of the carnival typically come out on a regular basis (e.g. every monday, or on the first of the month). Each edition is a special blog article that consists of links to all the contributions that have been submitted, often with the editors opinions or remarks.
To me that sounds like a topic based aggregation service but it’s not in real time, which makes it distinctly less blog-like and, as they mention in that quote, and more resembling an online magazine. Bora Zivkovic compares a blog carnival to a professional science journal on his own blog, he also maintains a list of active carnivals called the meta-carnival. This seems similar to Eyebeam’s ReBlog project, which also rotates through editors (guest bloggers). It might also be compared to smaller scale of Global Voices, which aggregates multiple blogs. The slower pace of carnivals may theoretically attract more thoroughly researched papers and grow an audience not interested in blogging because they see the fast pace of most blogs as frantic. In practice however neither of those conjectures are true about the blog carnivals I’ve seen.
We briefly discussed a museum centric blog carnival with Jim from Ideum while we were at the conference. I’m not sure if a carnival, or an aggregator or reBlogging is the best idea, but it’s certainly something we are interested in hearing ideas about.