Month: March 2009

Unconference

Quite recently I stumbled upon the concept of unconference which is kind of a triggering idea. It is a way of meeting people which share the same interest that you do, but not in the traditional organised way of a conference but more chaotic and doing/creating something together. There is no spectators on a unconference, you have to participate and be active otherwise the whole idea fails. Some examples that have come in my way of this nice kind of sharing knowledge is:

Geek Girl Meetup – yesterday in Stockholm. I wish I could have been there it sure looked fun.

Bibcamp – a lot of librarians meet in Göteborg later this spring to discuss e-publishing and web stuff.

Reboot – about digital technology and change in Copenhagen each year, which in 2009 will be in late June.

Bibliotekarieutbildning och ABM-master

Sedan förra året har vi i Lund en vidareutveckling av den bibliotekarieutbildning (kallad BIVIL) som funnits på Lunds universitet sedan nästan 15 år. Det nya är att det är en masterutbildning som består av tre ämnen, dvs utöver biblioteks- och informationsvetenskap (B) även arkivvetenskap (A) och museologi (M), därav ABM-master 😉 . Under utbildningen läser man vissa kurser tillsammans över ämnesgränserna men flertalet är fördjupningar i det ämne man valt som inriktning. Jag tycker det är fantastiskt att det nu finns möjligheten att läsa en master i mitt favoritämne dels för att det därmed blir på avancerad nivå med samma starka kombination mellan teori och praktik som funnits förut, men också för att det blir mer internationellt gångbart.

Nu är andra året som det är möjligt att söka den nya utbildningen. Samma typ av ansökningsförfarande som hela tiden har använts för bibliotekarieprogrammet används nu för ABM-mastern. Det innebär att man skickar in ett “letter of intent” för att sedan intervjuas och cirka 40 studenter blir antagna i slutändan.

Dessutom passar den nya utbildningen väl in med högskoleverkets rapport om vilken kompetens som behövs för framtida bibliotekarier!

Utopian practices

What is utopian practices? I was at a conference yesterday were this question was asked, and the practices that are meant as being utopian is the practices that develop when art, design and science join together.
utopian practicesOne important point in the end of the day was that we have to understand the process. We should study the black-box of the co-practiced work. To understand the process will be a good starting point for more collaboration and how it can be used. It was also said that to be able to use the collaboration for something in the end it’s incredible important with evaluation. A question was asked about how we evaluate the boundary objects that is created in these utopian practices?

The evalutaion was also what we discussed some of us afterwards, even though it might seem boring to bring that issue up after talking about the idea of sparkling collaborations and how visionary work can happen when joining these three together. If we want to bring the utopian practices one step further our idea was that the evaluation and how you can report what has been created in this co-practice must also be brought into focus.

The programme can be found at de Balies web and they will also in a couple of days put a video out with the presentations from the day.

Blogging scientists requires new attitudes

In Nature a big survey has been presented about science journalism. One thing they point out is the influence off blogs in this enterprise. How science journalists both find their stories in blogs and themselves are part of the blogosphere.

In addition in the editorial in Nature yesterday it was mentioned that the attitudes towards science blogging is till mixed and that it is maybe time for a change?

[…]in today’s overstressed media market, scientists must change these attitudes if they want to stay in the public eye. They must recognize the contributions of bloggers and others, and they should encourage any and all experiments that could help science better penetrate the news cycle.

from
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v458/n7236/full/458260a.html

[Update] Malin is writing an interesting blog posting in Swedish about the report. She has penetrated some of the material from the survey which is freely accessible and found some interesting comments.

Digital humanities

What is humanities computing, digital humanities, humanistic informatics…some very different answers can be found from the participants in Life of the Digital Humanities project.

Today it is Day in the Life of the Digital Humanities (Day of DH) and maybe the reports from todays work will tell some of the story of “Just what do computing humanists really do?”.

Until I can read more about the outcome of Day of DH it can be interesting to read about cyberinfrastructures in the humanities. Patrik at HumLab has put together a reading list to dig deeper into cyberinfrastructures/e-science for the humanities.

Visualising part 2

From the blog Biomedicine on Display I found more visualising possibilities.

Among them where Trendanalyzer at gapminder:
http://graphs.gapminder.org/
“The initial activity was to continue development of the Trendalyzer software. This software unveils the beauty of statistical time series by converting boring numbers into enjoyable, animated and interactive graphics.”

It is now bought by Google and included in Google gadgets and is there called Motion Chart.

Hans Rosling makes a presentation here using the tool (it’s in English with a typical Swedish accent):
http://www.gapminder.org/videos/yes-they-can/

And Thomas posting in Biomedicine on display also lead me to the IBM visualisation lab, Many Eyes:
http://manyeyes.alphaworks.ibm.com/manyeyes/

Among the visualisations at Many Eyes found a nice way of showing Twitters that say “I need to…”.
Now I need to start working with my transcriptions of interviews, I don’t have any Twitter to display it in…

Visualising widgets

I have been thinking of how you can visualise different data after attending CYSWIK Pre Valentines seminar. Recently I read about dopplr at Jilltxt. Dopplr is a tool for sharing information about your travels.

Dopplr Visualisation of Obamas travles

Dopplr Visualisation of Obamas travles

One way of visualising the travels over time is what is shown in the image of Obamas travels during 2008. A kind of Annual report represented by images (including a carbon footprint).

Another visualising tool that I stumbled upon last week is the Media Cloud from Berkman centre where they started to develop a tool for visualising media flows:
http://www.mediacloud.org/.

An older similar visualisation tool that I have used before is Blog pulse. Here you can look at trends of issues appearing in blogs or conversations developed between the blogs:
http://www.blogpulse.com/

In digg they use the data and show it in several different ways to display how “popular” a certain web page or image is in the sense how many persons have “digged” it. Look for example on the stack or swarm here:
http://labs.digg.com/

The visualisations are still a bit hard to understand at first, e.g. it’s not that the images make you immediately understand dopplr if you haven’t came across it before. However, it is fascinating and I will continue to look for these kind of applications and see if I can find more examples.

Ethics in research

There is a lot of questions regarding ethics that arise when you are conducting research. In Sweden there is a new law and evolving a new praxis for “research involving humans”, including not only studies in medicine, where you have to hand in an application to a ethical vetting board:
http://www.epn.se/start/startpage.aspx

Although I know from a friend that handed in this kind of application to the ethical board that it was not easy to adapt the format of what you where supposed to describe about your research project to how you are doing research in humanities. The application form was still including things that are targeted only at medical research.

For that reason you could in way talk here about the way natural sciences or medical sciences practices will have an influence on how research will be performed also in social sciences or humanities. There is similar discussion in Sweden in regards to publishing practices and how the assessment of research is based on practices from a certain set of disciplines.

In June there will be a workshop in Amsterdam addressing ethical considerations in doing e-research. It would be interesting to discuss there the above issue…”how will the ethical rules and laws that are being developed in the end influence the way we actually perform research? This is also mentioned in the announcement of the workshop:
http://vksethno.wordpress.com/2009/03/13/ethics-of-eresearch/

Academic/Research/Scholarly blogs in Holland

I have been collecting blogs written by researchers in Holland for a while now and decided to do a list of what I have got so far. So this Weekend I did a table to put in the blog (I had forgot how tedious work it is to handcode things, but that was the option that I had right now…it was a bit fun too 🙂 ).

You will find the list as a page under “Stuff”. My main goal was to find blogs by active researchers that are active bloggers and that write in English. All the blogs in the list is maybe not fullfilling all the criteria, but it was a start for me to collect as many as I could find.

List of blogs

Trust in blogs?

I had to move my blog due to server trouble were it was hosted before…and yes the server trouble actually was that someone hacked the server and caused a virus in my blog. When I was going to move all the content I ran into the problem of lacking either some skills in database hacking, access to the server or a tool within the WordPress software to export all of it. I don’t know if I missed something in WordPress, but after some googling and also searching WordPress FAQ and help pages for a while I gave up. I decided to move the content by hand. Yes it was tiresome and yes it wasn’t a perfect solution. What has this with trust to do? Well since I had to move each blog posting and each comment one at a time I also had to change the date of publication in the new environment to at least try to resemble the way it looked like in the old set up. This made me think of how simple it is to twist things on the net and how the technology also allows these tweaking. I don’t think my blog is less credible now than before, but it is still not genuine, but the fact that I had to do the same kind of adding an old blogs’ postings into a new tool 2007 (the one that now is outdated and hacked) makes you kind of wonder how reliable the web is in terms of what you see is actually what was done…I think that it in addition says something about how fast the development of technology is in the online world. It is also interesting that my old WordPress version 2.0.7 wasn’t possible in an easy way to import into the newest version of 2.7, it’s almost like the problem in archiving old VHS etc., you have to have the old equipment to be able to see the old stuff if you don’t find a way to transfer it.