Monthly Archives: August 2010

Nick Carr’s Argument About Links in The Shallows

I know that there are a number of folks currently reading or who have recently read Nick Carr’s book, The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, or who are using the book in their classes. One of Carr’s arguments is that links embedded in hypertext are distracting to the reader. Carr refers to some studies that he claims back up that assertion. A recent blog post by Scott Rosenberg examines that claim much more closely and finds that Carr is misrepresenting those studies he cites.

Rosenberg, Scott. “In Defense of Links, Part One: Nick Carr, Hypertext and Delinkification.” Wordyard, 30 Aug. 2010. Web. 31 Aug. 2010.

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Technology Sandbox at NCSU Libraries

Here is local news story from North Carolina about the technology sandbox that NCSU Libraries offers to students:

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Experiments in Peer Review for Journals

Today’s New York Times has a must-read article about the way some journals are beginning to experiment with the traditional peer-review process. Shakespeare Quarterly recently posted online recently submitted articles and asked for comments from users who would register on the journal’s site. Comments were then fed back to the authors, who revised their works accordingly and saw them ultimately published by the journal.

The Times article mentions Dan Cohen, a historian at George Mason University and who has helped develop the Zotero citation management software at the Center for History and New Media, whose critique of the traditional system is worth noting here:

Advocates of more open reviewing, like Mr. Cohen at George Mason argue that other important scholarly values besides quality control — for example, generating discussion, improving works in progress and sharing information rapidly — are given short shrift under the current system.

“There is an ethical imperative to share information,” said Mr. Cohen, who regularly posts his work online, where he said thousands read it. Engaging people in different disciplines and from outside academia has made his scholarship better, he said.

To Mr. Cohen, the most pressing intellectual issue in the next decade is this tension between the insular, specialized world of expert scholarship and the open and free-wheeling exchange of information on the Web. “And academia,” he said, “is caught in the middle.”

Cohen, Patricia. “Scholars Test Web Alternative to Peer Review.” The New York Times, 24 Aug. 2009. Web. 24 Aug. 2010.

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Personal Websites by Academics

There is an interesting article in the Times Higher Education this week about the growth of personal websites by academics that are created outside of the institutions where they teach. The piece discusses the debate about how much personal, nonacademic content to include and whether it is advisable to create a page on the university’s domain or your own.

A number of years ago, I started my own web presence outside the bounds of the academy so I could have greater control over the look and feel of my site (and, more to the point, the URL for the site itself). Recently, I moved my Digital Reference blog over to a new domain,, and added pages on the main URL that link to my articles, presentations, etc. When I go to conferences and workshops to make presentations, it’s nice to be able to give out my home page URL that is basically just my name; this makes it much easier for folks to get to or to find again if needed.

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Timeline of Information History

This timeline of information history from Michael Bergman is kinda fun to play around with and may be useful in some of our credit courses we teach. You might also want to read the details about how he made the timeline and caveats about the data in it.

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Free Unconference on Wikis

Image representing Wikipedia as depicted in Cr...

Wikipedia is sponsoring a free unconference to be held on August 28 & 29 at NYU. Two speakers will be featured: Clay Shirky and Sue Gardner. Topics and sessions at the rest of the event will be determined by the attendees.

Did I mention this is free?

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