User or something else?

I heard just now and interesting report on the radio from the conference Interact in Uppsala. The conference is about Human Computer Interaction and one of the keynote speakers, Kristina Höök, problematised the user concept. Can we talk about a user in the new digital development where we see people are as much producing as consuming? User feels to passive she says and suggets instead actors, players, creators or constructors. Her reflection was that we make it harder to be innovative if we think of a user rather than a creator when we design new digital tools.

I thought that was rather intriguing at the same time I have sometimes been thinking of my own project in terms of understanding a special user group. When I study why and how researchers use blogs I see that as part of being more aware of how to meet their needs in other situations of their scholarly process (and by we here I mean librarians or the research libraries for example), but maybe I should rather think of actors actually…

Twitter is really entering the scholarly world

If you would have asked me six months ago I would have just shaken my head…but now I just tried out Twitter to see what it was after meeting Lilia.  A couple of months later I have made some observations about scholarly activities on Twitter…

Somehow one way of using Tweets as a remembering tool of links is done in the same way as the early blogs that often were link collections of good web sites to remember or recommend to your community.

What does writing do

I found Bazerman’s Shaping “Written Knowledge: The Genre and Activity of the Experimental Article in Science” online fully available as a PDF file, which was great since it is hard to get hold on and I have to return my library copy now. As the title suggests he writes about written knowledge in science and studies the writing practices in different disciplines. His standpoint is constructivist oriented and praxis based and is looking at science as carried out by rhetorics. It is all in the writing you could say but not entirely so or at least you have to problematize what you mean by writing. To carry out his examination how written knowledge in the sciences is created he uses case studies and looks at rhetoric activity as the interaction of microevents where the choices are made by individuals and macrostructures where the context and social forms over time is shaping choices. You could also say that he intertwine the scholarly practice with the written discourse and don’t separate it to make specific writing rules etc. The writing is not only defined as the text and you can not tell what writing does by only textual analysis but Bazerman situates the text in the discourse community much in the same line of thinking that I understand Swales genre theoretical approach. Also with Bazerman is physics the main case study – although it isn’t the intention for Bazerman it is strange that physics always becomes the discipline to use as a “role model”, why is that?


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.


[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:
“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):

And Thomas posting in Biomedicine on display also lead me to the IBM visualisation lab, Many Eyes:

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:

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:

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:

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.