Friday, April 30, 2010
The report also finds that 31% of online adults have used social tools such as blogs, social networking sites, and online video as well as email and text alerts to keep informed about government activities. Moreover, these new tools show particular appeal to groups that have historically lagged in their use of other online government offerings-in particular, minority Americans. Latinos and African Americans are just as likely as whites to use these tools to keep up with government, and are much more likely to agree that government outreach using these channels makes government more accessible and helps people be more informed about what government agencies are doing.
"Just as social media and just-in-time applications have changed the way Americans get information about current events or health information, they are now changing how citizens interact with elected officials and government agencies," said Research Specialist Aaron Smith, author of the report. "People are not only getting involved with government in new and interesting ways, they are also using these tools to share their views with others and contribute to the broader debate around government policies."
Read more » http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2010/Government-Online.aspx
For the full article, go to http://harvardmag.com/pdf/2010/05-pdfs/0510-36.pdf
Thursday, April 29, 2010
In either case, it's the #1 most frequently emailed article from the Times today!
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Ellen's comment: Hmmm, do we know if this happens to faculty too?
Students and Their Social Media Addictions: American college students -- cut off from social media for 24 hours -- use the same words to describe their feelings as as associated with those addicted to drugs or alcohol, according to a new study by the International Center for Media and the Public Agenda, at the University of Maryland at College Park. In the study, 200 Maryland students were asked to abstain from using social media for 24 hours and then to write their feelings. The words frequently used: in withdrawal, frantically craving, very anxious, extremely antsy, miserable, jittery and crazy.
Susan D. Moeller, a journalism professor at Maryland and the director of the center that conducted the study, said that students see social media as key to their relationships with others. She said that researchers "noticed that what they wrote at length about was how they hated losing their personal connections. Going without media meant, in their world, going without their friends and family."
The University of Maryland press release is at http://www.newsdesk.umd.edu/sociss/release.cfm?ArticleID=2144
The study itself is at http://withoutmedia.wordpress.com/
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
He writes, “New York's Gramercy Park is a curious institution: two acres of fenced-in greenspace that is accessible only to those who own the houses surrounding the park. (Non-residents must either stay at the Gramercy Park Hotel or join the Players Club or National Arts Club if they want to visit, and each of these institutions has a limited number of park keys.) Private parks like it are the exception, of course, not the rule: since the days of Frederick Law Olmsted, who campaigned for and designed city parks across North America (Central Park, in New York, and Montreal's Mount Royal Park among them) we have come to expect most of our recreational spaces to be public…The near-universality of public parks and playgrounds in our physical spaces makes it all the more striking that the online world contains almost no spaces that are genuinely public.”
Johnson argues that online services like Facebook, Google, Hotmail, and Youtube are pseudo-public spaces; they are for-profit services that go to great lengths to seem like a public space. Johnson concludes with these questions: “If Gramercy Park had been the model for our municipal parks -- if we had to pay to let our children use them, whether directly in money, indirectly through advertising or data collection, or a mixture of both -- would we stand for it? Or would we demand that our governments provide true public spaces where all our children could play?”
Media Awareness Network: http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/index.cfm
Monday, April 19, 2010
“With a frequency that is dismaying, I run into people who are widely versed in the manuals, and quasi-literate in all other ways. They have no sense of the love of the art they wish to practice, because they have very seldom or never been in the thrall of a work of fiction as practiced by the great artists in their own literary heritage, or even the good craftsmen in the genres. They may have had some exposure to the great writers, or some anthology-exposure to a fraction of someone, little pieces of the treasure that is there. Or their reading is so deficient that in fact the only books they’ve read that might be called fiction are the few best sellers that achieve some literary merit or cachet. Which is to say that these people, many of them college students, want to be considered serious writers; they seek literary excellence; but they have come to believe that they can accomplish this by means of the convenient shortcut. And the industry that produces the how-to manuals plays to them, makes money from their hope of finding a way to be a writer, rather than doing the work, rather than actually spending the time to absorb what is there in the vast riches of the world’s literature, and then crafting one’s own voice out of the myriad of voices.
My advice? Put the manuals and the how-to books away. Read the writers themselves, whose work and example are all you really need if you want to write.”
You can read the full essay at http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/04/how-to-write-in-700-easy-lessons/8043/
While somewhat breathless in tone, this page-turner does present extensive details of the aftermath of the theft of works by Rembrandt and Vermeer from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990. Following an introduction to Museum’s founder and her approach to the collection and placement of the objects, journalist Boser moves on to discuss the reasons for and methods of successful art thefts in museums great and small. These include complacency, underpaid security guards, the reticence of museums to acknowledge thefts – alas, no surprises here. Caught up in the Gardner search himself, the author regales the reader with accounts of colorful characters of art theft investigators, convicted and unconvicted art thieves, art dealers and curators which unfortunately lapses into a somewhat tedious litany of dropped names and dead leads. And yes, he believes that the Gardner paintings will reappear, probably damaged, but he will not be the one that discovers them.
Thanks to former Archives student Kristin Justham for alerting us to this work. For an update on the Gardner’s director Anne Hawley, and her plans for expanding this museum of a museum, see Julia Klein’s “Elitism for all” in the March 23, 2010 issues of the Wall Street Journal http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB10001424052748703580904575131660016264280-lMyQjAxMTAwMDIwMzEyNDMyWj.html#printMode. Hawley had joined the Museum in 1989, the year before the "Gardner Heist."
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Once defined by heavy-industry and blue-collar masses, Pittsburgh now hosts the fifth most educated young workforce in the United States, a distinction that groups the city with such bastions of erudition as Boston, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., according to a recent report in the Pittsburgh Economic Quarterly published by the University of Pittsburgh's University Center for Social and Urban Research (UCSUR)
The blog story is at http://www.scienceblog.com/cms/pittsburghs-young-workforce-among-top-5-most-educated-us.html and the UCSUR report is at www.ucsur.pitt.edu/files/peq/peq_2010-03.pdf .
We will also be putting out a press release later with even more details and quotes. Expect to see an emphasis on the scholarly and research implications of the acquisition. I’m no Ph.D., but it boggles my mind to think what we might be able to learn about ourselves and the world around us from this wealth of data. And I’m certain we’ll learn things that none of us now can even possibly conceive.
Just a few examples of important tweets in the past few years include the first-ever tweet from Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey (http://twitter.com/jack/status/20), President Obama’s tweet about winning the 2008 election (http://twitter.com/barackobama/status/992176676), and a set of two tweets from a photojournalist who was arrested in Egypt and then freed because of a series of events set into motion by his use of Twitter (http://twitter.com/jamesbuck/status/786571964) and (http://twitter.com/jamesbuck/status/787167620).
So I wonder what the metadata for the following tweet would be (collected just moments ago):
"All Time Low didtngin gr2 ABG..?! Ogah ah dtg..(tp, klo diksh gratis jg gpp..hehe)"
Monday, April 12, 2010
Thursday, April 08, 2010
While at times you feel as if you are lumbering through the vast landscape painted by Castells, you also discover interesting and insightful assessments worth the effort. Here are some examples. Castells is always careful to keep the historical background of the present network society in view: “Media concentration is not new. History is full of examples of oligopolistic control over communication media, including the priesthood’s control of clay-stylus writing, the Church’s control of the Latin Bible, the chartering of the presses, government mail systems, and military semaphore networks, among others. Wherever we look across history and geography, there is a close association between the concentration of power and the concentration of communication media” (p. 74). Castells’s command of a vast array of studies and other evidence enables him to make interesting assertions about the role and implications of communication technologies: “Because mobile phones enable people to be perpetually networked, anytime, anywhere, explosions of anger felt at the individual level have the potential of developing into an insurgent community by the instant networking of many different individuals who are united in their frustration, though not necessarily united around a common position or solution to the perceived unjust source of domination. Because wireless communication builds on networks of shared practices, it is the appropriate communications technology for the spontaneous formation of communities of practice engaged in resistance to domination; that is, instant insurgent communities” (p. 363).
What I have here is just a few excerpts. Here is the publisher’s blurb, providing a broader characterization of the book: “We live in the midst of a revolution in communication technologies that affects the way in which people feel, think, and behave. The mass media (including web-based media), Manuel Castells argues, has become the space where political and business power strategies are played out; power now lies in the hands of those who understand or control communication.
Over the last thirty years, Castells has emerged as one of the world's leading communications theorists. In this, his most far-reaching book for a decade, he explores the nature of power itself, in the new communications environment. His vision encompasses business, media, neuroscience, technology, and, above all, politics. His case histories include global media deregulation, the misinformation that surrounded the invasion of Iraq, environmental movements, the role of the internet in the Obama presidential campaign, and media control in Russia and China. In the new network society of instant messaging, social networking, and blogging--"mass self-communication"--politics is fundamentally media politics. This fact is behind a worldwide crisis of political legitimacy that challenges the meaning of democracy in much of the world. Deeply researched, far-reaching in scope, and incisively argued, this is a book for anyone who wants to understand the dynamics and character of the modern world.”
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
If libraries do not seriously rethink their role in the lives of researchers, they could come to be seen as resource purchasers more than than research collaborators, according to a report released today by the nonprofit group Ithaka S+R.
That certain scholars no longer see libraries as “gateways” for finding information is no secret, write the Ithaka researchers, who have conducted the survey every three years since 2000; past data have shown that scientists tend not to turn to library-specific resources — such as library catalogs or librarians — to kick-start research projects.
What previous studies have not shown is that researchers in the humanities and social scientists are following suit, says Roger C. Schonfeld, the group’s manager of research.
Humanists still see the library as indispensable; 75 percent said librarians still play an important role in supporting teaching, and 82 percent said the library provides crucial archiving services.
But as far as research goes, the percentage of humanities faculty who use the library building as a starting point for research has gone down in each iteration of the survey, from 18 percent in 2003 to 6 percent in 2009. Ditto the library's online catalog, which 24 percent of faculty used as a starting point last year, compared to 39 percent in 2003.
One of the other themes the Ithaka survey explored was what motivates scholars when they are deciding where they want to get published.
Their highest priority? That the publication be widely read by their peers within the discipline. Their lowest? That the publication be openly accessible.
Outside of making scholars put their studies into open repositories, which are seldom used anyway, university leaders might seek to nudge their faculties toward open access by “realign[ing] incentives.” Schonfeld says this could mean one of two things: tying promotion and tenure policies to publication in open-access journals, which probably won't happen; or playing to scholars’ desire that their work be visible by emphasizing that anybody, not just subscribers, can find and view openly accessible articles.