6 thoughts on “Some things read this week, 2 – 8 September 2007

  1. Hi Bryan,

    Well, it seems that I used it myself 3 times in this post. 🙂

    But I don’t have anything specific against the use of “thus;” it is a fine word, especially in more philosophical contexts. “So” is usually too informal for such contexts but either, and in particular “thus”, implies that the following clause follows in a logical or causal manner from the preceding.

    I think many people use it for something along the lines of, “It is possible that …” Well, lots of things are possible, but “thus” says a lot more than that.

    I think Furner used it in the causal sense but, except in a circular way as I sketched, I do not think that what he said after the “thus” follows at all in a logical or causal manner from the preceding. So, perhaps his use truly is justified from a linguistic sense and it is more his circular argument that I should be protesting.

  2. Hello Mark. I have some questions that relate to the source of these readings and to the practice of collecting your thoughts about them here, if you have time to respond.

    Do these readings all come from a particular class, and if so, what class is it? Or are you just finding things that you think are interesting and reading them? I’m reading many, just about most of the same authors, but different articles for an introductory class at UT Austin (Intro do Doctoral Research and Theory).

    So, I know you write your thoughts about your readings here, but I’m wondering how your web bibliography project is going and the relationship of that project to what you post on your blog? You (and some of your commenters) have convinced me that I need to get moving on finding an application to collect this kind of data in. I’ve got to figure out what the deal is with Zotero — I just haven’t wanted to spend the time to figure it out. But once I get started with it, I know I’ll want to make whatever I’m able to do with it public, leading to the question about your project and the relationship between Zotero and blogging (for record display/search etc.).

    Thanks for sharing your readings.

  3. Hi Georgia,

    Sure. And I was, for awhile, aware that I still needed to respond to the commenters on my previous bibliography post. I got real busy for a while and then forgot. Sorry about that; it wasn’t supposed to work out that way. 🙁

    As for what I read. Pretty much just stuff I want to read as I stumble across it in various ways, with the primary one being tracing citations.

    Yes, there are sometimes things related to specific classes, but not so much lately. Plus, in many of my classes for a while now I have been able to follow my own muse primarily. I get interested in a topic, or find an interesting article/book, and start tracing citations that seem productive, interesting, if I question how it might support an author’s use of it, and/or if I have seen it cited by multiple sources.

    By principle, I consider the concept of information and the topic of just what constitutes library and information science as two of the most fundamental issues in what it is I, and many others, are up to. So I began reading a bit on the concept of information again–primarily Raber’s The Problem of Information–and following citations from there.

    As I was tracking down things not available online I looked at the current print copy of JASIST (which is online) and found the Hjørland article, “Information: Objective or Subjective/Situational?” and critiqued a small point that I saw in it and several others places.

    Dr. Hjørland found my comments and responded, suggesting that I write up my critique as a letter to the editor of JASIST. That led to further reading …. And since his article was a critique of 2 “recent” articles by Marcia Bates I needed to read those and some of her sources.

    And so it goes. So, it is mostly stuff I want to read for my own educational purposes and edification. There is so much to learn and innumerable working librarians swear to me that I will not do this when I become one of those myself that I feel that I need to read what I can now. All the while, of course, hoping that they are wrong about me.

    I have read some other articles by some of the authors previously, and I need to be careful about ensuring I find them and only re-read them if I really feel the need as I trace more citations. But this is kind of difficult since I lost most of the (electronic) record of my previous reading when my computer crashed. This means I need to get my hands on the physical copies–where I can–and get them entered back into Zotero.

    As for the web bibliography and bibliography class I’m not sure. I was thinking that I would do the concept of information in LIS and even suggested that to the prof. I also could do the “Just what is LIS?” question. But they are both kind of big and extremely complex.

    I’m now thinking I might do the very boring topic of Published Subject Identifiers (PSIs) in Topic Maps as I am thinking of writing an article on the topic.

    I wish I could find something of the right scope and fun and interesting, but I do not have the time to do anything “frivolous” as much as I might like to. I do enjoy much of what I read and do consider it fun. With the little time I do have I need to pick a topic that I am or need to be reading in anyway right now. And as useful as the PSI topic would be to writing an article, it is kind of boring and I think far less interesting to others. Of course, that assumes that anything I do might be interesting to others.

    But the scope is right I’m pretty sure and it would make sense to do it on the web. As for that, though, I have yet to discuss it with the prof. So, we’ll see.

    I don’t want to sound like Zotero is the only tool available or even the best. It certainly isn’t the former and only you can answer for you if it is the latter.

    I originally used EndNote when I only had a desktop PC. It’s effective but limited in various ways, but then there are newer versions out so I can’t honestly say.

    When I got my laptop as a 2nd computer that quickly became my primary machine I started using Refworks since UIUC subscribes to it. I never did really take to it. But it did allow access to my citations from anywhere with a web connection. This has also been upgraded since I tried using it so I cannot really comment on its current version.

    Zotero is far from perfect, but I don’t expect perfection, especially for free. But I like its promise and it does pretty well by me for now. It is a product of a group of academic types and is supported by educational institutions. I like that and consider it a much healthier model than the give some money to a corporation model. I’d love to see a bunch of universities throw some serious support behind the project.

    I think the biggest issue in that regard, other than current contracts with tools like RefWorks, is that is limited to certain browsers. I think it supports more than just Firefox 2 now, but it may never be able to support IE. And that, unfortunately, is a major issue. Just not for me.

    Also with Zotero, I have access to my data whenever I have my computer with me, which is pretty frequent. There are ways to sync across multiple computers and there may even be built in ways now, but I don’t need that. I do not need an internet connection like I would with RefWorks. Sure, to do any automatic importing from the Web requires a connection by definition, but there are lots of ways to import stuff while not connected to the net.

    Right now there is no great way to make your stuff public in a direct way, but that is supposedly coming this fall, including shared bibliographies. You can always export your data in various ways including into automatically generated web pages. I heard rumor that you could do a direct export to WordPress but have not seen it yet. Maybe it was one of those “soon” things.

    As for how I use it in my blog right now, it is kind of convoluted. I primarily use it for books to get automatically generated COinS. I quit using it for articles in that regard since it was so hit-and-miss in that regard.

    How I do use it is to have it export a (or group of) citation to a web page in whatever citation style. Then I open the web page, view the source, and copy and paste the citation I need into the WordPress code version. This places the COinS data and the citation, of course, into my blog posts.

    That way, if you have Zotero or some other product that recognizes OpenURLs you can do whatever actions they allow. That, though, is a whole ‘nuther can of worms. I’d love to have ubiquitous link resolvers that “knew” my affiliations, and the same for others. I’d work harder at getting the COinS data in for the articles if that was the case.

    If you have Zotero installed and look at my posts you will see an icon up in the address bar to the left of the RSS icon. If it is a “standard” blog post of mine with no citations included it looks kind of like a page from a document. Clicking on that icon would import the COinS metadata for that post into your Zotero. I have a plugin that automatically generates a COinS for all my pages/posts. You would get a record for the post with my name as the author, the post title, the blog title, the URL and one or to other pieces of citation data.

    If you look at one of the “Some things read this week…” posts or any other that has more than one citation with COinS data you’ll see an icon that looks like a folder. Clicking on that should open a dialogue box where you can put a check in the check boxes for any item that has a COinS attached to it, be it the post proper or a specific item. You also have a choice to select all at once via a button. Clicking OK imports whatever you selected into your Zotero.

    So, things are still a bit clunky to say the least. But they are only going to get better as there as some brilliant, dedicated folks working on this project; people who daily work with citations in their own work versus some corporate programmer who does who knows what in their daily job or leisure time.

    The main thing is find something that works for you based on the way you use the computer (and where) and whether you can install Firefox and Zotero. From what I hear most of these tools are improving and all seem to have some angle over (or at least different from) the others.

    Me. I’m a Firefox user and Zotero works for me. That said, I sure wish I had someone to tutor me in using it more productively. 🙂

    I hope this answered your questions, at least partly. But please feel free to ask any others or for clarification.

  4. I would like to bring to your attention my 3 “lifeboats”: “Lifeboat for Knowledge Organization” “Epistemological lifeboat” and “Core concepts in Library and information science”. (All constantly revised and expanded). All thre available from the main page of the other, for example from here:

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