continues Fall 03 log | other logfiles

Log Winter 2004

3 January
While working on materials for Geography of Human Cultures I happened to search for references around nexus and came upon some links now cached in metastuff to other uses of 'nexial'... which set me looking into things that led me back to what I was doing two years ago... which set me to considering whither those two years have led me. Nothing systematic to say about it all, but there's been a lot in that time, and a good deal of it dead-ending for the time being (especially the digital library stuff). So many contingencies....

10 Jan
Reading OCLC's Environmental Scan: Pattern Recognition, I ran across a reference to 'Fretwell Downing', of which I've never heard. Another of those things we need to keep an eye on: stable of products

The Campus Computing Project: An Interview with Kenneth C. Green by James L. Morrison and Kenneth C. Green Commentary NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2002

...there are, I think, two key factors that affect the decisions of faculty members almost everywhere about the role of technology in their courses and instructional activities. First, of course, is infrastructure. If we do not have an infrastructure to support faculty members, they are not going to use technology in their instruction: hardware, software, networks, content, user support, recognition, and reward are all key elements of the IT infrastructure.

Second, it is essential that individual faculty members be able to visualize themselves using technology as a resource in their teaching and instructional activities. The fact that my colleague in the classroom next to me is "doing interesting stuff" with technology makes little difference. If I can't see myself using it, if I'm unsure about the benefits, if I am uncomfortable "doing IT" in front of my students, then I will view IT as simply another distraction or another disruption. I will avoid it and try to ignore it.

)Note: This article was originally published in The Technology Source ( as: James L. Morrison, and Kenneth C. Green "The Campus Computing Project: An Interview with Kenneth C. Green." The Technology Source, November/December 2002. Available online at The article is reprinted here with permission of the publisher)

The Shibboleth Project is another (and this search finds my text...)

...and I reflect that the proxy server was a really big piece of development of the last 12 months. Reconstruct how it was done... it was John Doyle again. Doesn't this suggest that we ought to be in better contact, that John ought to be a more frequently included resource in what we're doing?

We need to be thinking about what an Information Portal might be like if we had such a thing... and then wonder what we ought to be doing to move in that direction? Would we WANT to have a W&L user do a search in a portal-space and then be directed to multiple media/resources?

"Metadata is data that supports operations on objects" (OCLC 92) --a formulation I haven't seen before.

Here's what I sent to various library and computing folks:

following up on a message I sent to several on Friday, and adding a few people to the distribution list:

I'm well into this remarkable OCLC document (from page at , and cached by me in its pdf subparts at ) and I'm finding it a startlingly good read and a WAKE UP! to librarians and IT folks alike --but especially to librarians. It has a lot that we need to be paying attention to as we think about how we should reorient the spectrum of information resources in our various bailiwicks. It's ESSENTIAL reading to overcome the semantic molasses that clings to the "Information Commons" moniker, because it takes us outside the limited view of physical space, and into the realms of distributed information services which are the REAL Commons.

It's not just the same old stuff. Really.

The Essential Guide toWeb Services BY SARI KALIN darwinmag Jan 2002

16 January
Today's Science has a number of things that connect with things I've been thinking/talking about recently:

Another bit from the language wars, this one from slashdot:

Posted by michael on Friday January 16, @10:31AM
from the popping-the-hype-bubble dept.
icke writes "A quick overview of where the Economist thinks we are with the The Next Big Thing, also known as Stuff that doesn't work yet. Quoting: 'It is increasingly painful to watch Carly Fiorina, the boss of Hewlett-Packard (HP), as she tries to explain to yet another conference audience what her new grand vision of "adaptive" information technology is about. It has something to do with "Darwinian reference architectures", she suggests, and also with "modularising" and "integrating", as well as with lots of "enabling" and "processes". IBM, HP's arch rival, is trying even harder, with a marketing splurge for what it calls "on-demand computing". Microsoft's Bill Gates talks of "seamless computing". Other vendors prefer "ubiquitous", "autonomous" or "utility" computing. Forrester Research, a consultancy, likes "organic". Gartner, a rival, opts for "real-time". Clearly, something monumental must be going on in the world of computing for these technology titans simultaneously to discover something that is so profound and yet so hard to name.'"

31 January
Again and again I've had the experience of encountering a bit of technology that I almost understand, but can't put together quite enough of the basics for to actually DO anything with. This is a recurrent problem for pretty much everybody, and it's one of those services that the Library ought to be able to mediate/provide. Case in point at the moment is RSS: Jon Udell's blog has had examples of his searches in his collected materials (tantamount to personal digital library), and it looks like just the sort of thing one would like to implement... but how? The search goes to port 8001, which I'm guessing has to do with his blogspace. There's nobody I can go to (as far as I'm aware) who can get me over the first hump of my ignorance, and onto a productive pathway to exploring this myself, and my attempts to find onramps via the Web haven't been successful. There would be at CET, of course... but I can't recall how many things like this I've sent in email to Skip or John Blackburn, things WE ought to be exploring and figuring out... And a Digital Scholarship enterprise would deal with just such developmental problems, AND then create demos and other bits of recoverable onrampery for the continuing record.

3 February
R:\global\asiaoutline.mxd makes outline map for Hutch

7 February
Evil gangmasters who rule the cockle slave trade by fear

8 February
Here's the code for a redirect... obvious once one thinks about it:

meta HTTP-EQUIV="REFRESH" content="0; url="

I've done a bit of reorganizing, putting current.html onto, and serend.html into /meta/, and putting appropriate redirect metatags in the old files.

9 February
Good old serendipity passed the term autoethnography across my desk in the form of a yellow YBP slip for Ellis' The Ethnographic I, which I've ordered. The Bourgeois Gentlehomme frisson: maybe this is what I've been doing all this time without knowing it. Some other stuff in the same line:Autoethnography: Journeys of the Self Thomas Russel 1998

Representation, Legitimation, and Autoethnography: An Autoethnographic Writing Story Nicholas L. Holt International Journal of Qualitative Methods 2 (1) WINTER 2003

< href="">technological autoethnography Adnan Chatriwala 2002

What Counts as Scholarship in Communication? An Autoethnographic Response Carolyn Ellis

25 February
H-P pervasive computing --a quick exploration of possible technologies for a grant proposal

29 February
Masked and Anonymous intelligent review by Chris Roth

3 March
From Seb's blog, on writing papers vs. blogging

In my experience, if what you're into is interdisciplinary, emerging-stuff research, as far as impact is concerned you're better off blogging your ideas. When you do, it tends to generate trails of links that automagically attract interested people from many different directions (given a critical mass of bloggers who care about your general area of interest), which enables your ideas to grow and sparks creative collaboration.

On the paper/conference scene, from the outset you face the problem of choosing a specialized forum, which likely does not match your ideal audience very well. And even if your submission is accepted there's a fair chance that it won't generate much interest or useful feedback (apart from a couple reviews by people who probably don't care much). In such a case all you'll get from the extra effort is an extra line on your academic CV.

I feel that unless you're pursuing research that fits within a somewhat mature line of inquiry, a research blog is to traditional means of disseminating research as eBay is to yard sales: given equal effort, your odds of getting what you need are much better.

5 March
Sarah Lohnes has an article in the current NITLE News on RSS, which has a sidebar with lots of useful on-rampy stuff.

So what do we NEED to set up RSS? Is it something I can test via Cassini? Or does it require that W&L's Webmaster be involved?

6 March
Saturday March 06, @05:33AM
from the that's-what-a-robot's-for! dept.
LukePieStalker writes "New York Times (open kimono before entering) is carrying an article on various robots that are being used in assisted living situations. In addition to mentioning the Wakamaru, the story has illustrations of a human washing machine and a description of robotic pants that help those with mobility problems. Apparently, the devices are considered the better choice in a country that is not inclined to grant working visas to foreigners. As Japan's population shrinks, will the robot population make up the difference?"

Chameleon Card Changes Stripes (Mark Baard, Wired News)

RDF from (lots of links to follow up...)

Struggling to get grounded in what's needed to **create RSS feeds** and make them useable in various connections.

13 March
I'm looking for someplace to put a collection of summary thoughts, and this is probably a logical one, though the territories include many of the subjects I've been working with in the last few months: 'infocommons' and library futures, collapsing Global stuff, generalized feelings of absence of support/interest, and so on. I don't have any real coherence, just a lot of fragmentary disgruntlements and questions about forward paths and possibilities. I see the worlds of Information Access (which include the personal activities of blogging, and the evolution of search utilities, and the building of Collections --both as abstracts and as personal activities) as vitally important to where libraries are going and need to go, but I dispair of communicating that to f2f colleagues and local administrators in such a way that things will change here. I can certainly do plenty of things myself, can listen in on and maybe even make contributions to conversations outside the local, but I feel an absence of interest and even a cold shoulder...

My course-centered activities tend toward the disorderly, gathering up far more than I can actually tame and summarize, and then going on to another and another facet, without 'finishing' or getting to closure. Mostly that doesn't bother me while I'm doing it --I enjoy the information-gathering challenges, and the doing of search-and-comment, but I'm not sure what it's really good for unless I'm going to "teach" (perhaps not even the right word for my activity) a subject again. Thus with malaria, with Sarawak, with coffee: each of those subjects could be the center of a course or a career or a lifework. For me they are territories I visit and might have occasion to REvisit... and they result in manila folders and electronic files, and accumulated bits tucked away in wetware, but it's not clear that they have any particular direction. And it is clear that nobody much wants or values them, or knows what to do with them.

Of course there are exceptions, and perhaps that points in directions I might go: as an adjunct to somebody who does have the narrower focus that I'm not interested in, I can certainly be useful. Thus, I can support what Ron does in the course he'll be teaching, in a variety of ways... but I don't know how many of those collaborations are really out there waiting to happen. Tyler and Tom Whaley are certainly examples of others I've worked with in much the same way...

22 March
Modern British Surnames a guide to the resources for the study of their frequency and distribution


26 March
Set up a blog for Mike Smitka to try out (

29 March
I'm not sure just what it would take to use Tracking Analyst to display the history of nuclear testing. I've moved the DATA to c:/nukesdata/, and at the moment 29iii.mxd is there --which shows the various test sites, and includes the .dbf with basic data. What needs to happen is to create a new data table, incorporating xy coordinates for each of the 2201 tests (alltests.txt). Perhaps that's a search-replace activity in Word, but perhaps not quite so simple... needs some thinking. And I'm not sure just how useful this would be, but the prospect of creating an exportable animation is pretty neat.

c:/nukesdata/alltests2.txt has the coordinates added (from summary24x.html)

I did quite a bit of messing about, but never did get to producing an avi animation.

30 March
This morning I ponied up the $$ for the Professional version of Onfolio, with the thought that it might make everything easier in the long run for managing and distributing the Web links that make up so much of my daily work. I'm pretty impressed with the package. What I'm not sure about is the best way to carry on my work in two places, on two machines... I can't see any very good way to share a collection of links, though I still need to explore the possibility of Remote Desktop Connection between skwillia and oook ... which may not be possible, but ...

I also did some looking into Live Music Archive, a remarkable cousin of Wayback. Needs WinAmp and a plugin called shnAmp to translate a lossless audio archiving format.