2016 Reading Challenges followup

This post covers my 2016 Reading Challenges and goals, as best as my data and time allow.

Personally set goals and some counts

Total number of books finished in 2016:  120

  • Nonfiction:  54
  • Fiction:  64
  • Graphic novels: 60
  • Ebooks:  8
  • Beer & Brewing:  15
  • Biography:  2
  • Central Oregon:  3
  • Cookery:  6
  • Erotica/Sex & Gender: 3
  • History: 5
  • Librariana:  0; 1 in progress very slowly
  • Literature/Language:  2
  • Memoir:  2
  • Philosophy:  3
  • Photography:  2
  • Poetry:  2
  • Renewal:  5
  • Science:  6
  • Tech/Software:  2
  • Translations: 14
  • Wander: 3
  • YA & Kids:  13

I know one book counted as both fiction and nonfiction: Aesop, Five Centuries of Illustrated Fables. No doubt some counts in some of the categories could be retroactively changed if I felt like reanalyzing many entries. For instance, science just went up by 2 [doubled] with just a quick look. Taking data as is though until I see a need to do otherwise. It has already received a fair bit of “fact checking” and cross-checking.

These were my generic goals for 2016:

  • More poetry; re-reading encouraged here,
  • More erotica, sex & gender.
  • Less graphic novels.
  • More literature.
  • Librariana? didn’t read any in 2015. “Who have I become?, one might ask.
  • Translations check.
  • Ebooks check.
  • Nonfiction check.
  • More essays and short stories.

How did I do on these?

Not so well. I read 1 less in poetry [3 vs 2 (2015 vs 2016)]; same number on erotica, sex & gender [3]; less than two-thirds as many graphic novels, so nailed this one [99 vs 60]; 7 less in lit [8 vs 1]; still 0 in librariana but I am working on one (very slowly); 7 less translations [21 vs 14]; 28 less ebooks [36 vs 8]; 14 less nonfiction [68 vs 54]; and as best I can tell no change in essays and short stories [0? vs 1?]. Not so well at all. The only one I actually accomplished was reading less graphic novels. ::sigh::

Books currently reading being read [2016current]

Finish all nine of the books I am supposedly currently reading.

  • Dunegan – Best Hikes Near Bend (A Falcon Guide)
  • Berlin – The Power of Ideas
  • Oliver – The Brewmaster’s Table
  • Bennett, ed. – Japanese love poems
  • Bishop – Living with Thunder
  • Gilbert – Collected poems [gave up]
  • Kabat-Zinn – Full Catastrophe Living
  • Farhi – The breathing book
  • Hornsey – Alcohol and its role in the evolution of human society

Finished 5 and gave up on one. Sara and I were reading that to each other and we both agreed to quit it. So calling this 5 for 9. Not great but acceptable.

2016 Books To Read Challenge (personal) [2016poss]

Read 12 of 44 possible

Read 11 of 12. Of the 11 categories I read books from this list in 7 of them [and one is currently being read from another for 8]. I read books in all those other categories, just not from this list. So calling this one close enough.

2016 Goodreads Challenge

My goal is 100 this year, up from 75 last year. I have been alternating between demolishing my goals and being a bit over here for several years.

Made this a while ago. Not quite as early or numbers as high as last year but I also read a lot less graphic novels. Total read is 120.

Challenges hosted elsewhere

Nonfiction Reading Challenge 2016 [2016nfc]

Master level 16-20 books (top) Reached 20 on 05 June 2016 [well, finished reading; not posted yet],

25 reviews posted. 54 nonfiction books read in total.

Books in Translation Reading Challenge 2016 [2016trans]

Linguist 10-12 books (top)

12 books reviewed. 14 translations read.

2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge [2016gnc]

  • 12 for Modern Age [Reached 31 January 2-16]
  • So 24 for Bronze Age [Reached 8 May 2016]
  • 52 for Silver Age [Reached 15 December 2016]

52 reviews posted but 60 graphic novels or manga read.

More breakdowns [books by month; from libraries]

These are the books I finished in 2016 by month (6 were started in 2015 and 1 in 2014!):

Author Title

January

  • Bennett, ed. Japanese love poems
  • Oliver The Brewmaster’s Table
  • Modan The Property
  • Fetter-Vorm Trinity
  • Berlin The Power of Ideas
  • Harris Integrating Reality
  • Hester Vegan Slow Cooking: For Two or Just for You
  • MacLean ApocalyptiGirl: Aria for the End Times
  • Lee and Hart Messenger: The Legend of Joan of Arc
  • Brrémaud and Bertolucci Love: The Fox
  • McKendry Aesop, Five Centuries of Illustrated Fables
  • Brontë, A The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
  • Modan exit wounds
  • Pond Over Easy
  • Tezuka Ode to Kirihoto
  • Way & Ba The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite [1]
  • Abouet & Oubrerie Aya
  • Modan Maya makes a Mess
  • Way & Ba The Umbrella Academy: Dallas [2]
  • Foster Porter (Classic Beer Styles 5)

February

  • Wang Koko Be Good
  • Brrémaud and Bertolucci Love: The Tiger
  • Foster Brewing Porters & Stouts
  • Williams A Pictorial History of the Bend Country
  • Backes Cannabis Pharmacy
  • Modan Jamilti and Other Stories
  • Hayden The Story of My Tits
  • Alanguilan Elmer
  • Simone, et al. Red Sonja: Queen of Plagues (1)
  • Simone, et al. Red Sonja: The Art of Blood and Fire
  • Black The Anti-Inflammation Diet and Recipe Book
  • Morrison, et al. The Invisibles : say you want a revolution
  • Strong Brewing Better Beer
  • Waters Tipping the Velvet

March

  • Gunders Waste Free Kitchen Handbook
  • Thug Kitchen Thug Kitchen Party Grub
  • Dunlap-Shohl My degeneration: a journey through Parkinson’s
  • McQuaid Tasty
  • North & Henderson The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1 (2015)
  • Delavier Delavier’s core training anatomy
  • Hennessy, Smith and McConnell The Comic Book Story of Beer
  • Vitrano The Nature and Value of Happiness
  • Hoffman Survival lessons

April

  • Tucholke Wink Poppy Midnight
  • Immonen & Immonen Moving Pictures

May

  • Miyazaki Princess Mononoke: The First Story
  • Rail Why Beer Matters
  • Tezuka Apollo’s Song
  • Lawson & Smith Sidewalk Flowers
  • Guojin The Only Child
  • Stuppy, et al. Wonders of the plant kingdom
  • Rail The meanings of craft beer
  • Miller Dave Miller’s Homebrewing Guide
  • Jackson The New World Guide to Beer
  • Kemp A bouquet of gardenias
  • Love Bayou, volume one
  • Dysart, et al. Neil Young’s Greendale

June

  • Yana Toboso Black Butler I
  • Yana Toboso Black Butler II
  • Stevenson Nimona
  • Dunegan Best Hikes Near Bend (A Falcon Guide)
  • Chapman The 5 Love Languages
  • Love and Love Shadow Rock
  • Love and Morgan Bayou, volume two
  • Toboso Black Butler III
  • Ratey Spark
  • Toboso Black Butler IV
  • Tonatiuh Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras
  • Halloran The new bread basket
  • ACSM ACSM’s Health-Related Physical Fitness Assessment Manual

July

  • DeConnick, et al. Bitch Planet, Vol. 1: Extraordinary Machine(Bitch Planet (Collected Editions))
  • Miller Water: A Global History (The Edible Series)
  • Kissell Take Control of Upgrading to El Capitan

August

  • Martin, et al. A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel, volume 1
  • Herz & Conley Beer Pairing
  • Martin, et al. A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel, volume 2
  • Arcudi, et al. A god somewhere
  • McCool and Guevara Nevsky: a hero of the people
  • Martin, et al. A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel, volume 3
  • Martin, et al. A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel, volume 4
  • Ottaviani & Purvis The imitation game
  • Vaughan, et al. Paper Girls 1
  • Abel La Perdida
  • Carriger Prudence (The Custard Protocol; 1)
  • Carriger Imprudence (The Custard Protocol; 2)
  • Ottaviani & Wicks Primates: The fearless science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Gladikas
  • Owens How to Build a Small Brewery
  • Orchard Bera the one-Headed Troll

September

  • Rowling The Tales of Beedle the Bard
  • Cantwell & Bouckaert Wood & Beer
  • McCoola & Carroll Baba Yaga’s Assistant
  • Hales, ed. Beer & Philosophy

October

  • Samanci Dare to disappoint: growing up in Turkey
  • Ellis, et al. Trees, volume one: In shadow
  • Schuiten & Peeters The leaning girl
  • Tsutsumi, et al. Out of Picture Volume 1: Art from the Outside Looking In

November

  • Stockton South Sister: a Central Oregon volcano
  • ATK Healthy Slow Cooker Revolution
  • Protz The ale trail
  • Smith The Wander Society
  • Krucoff Healing Yoga for Neck and Shoulder Pain: Easy, Effective Practices for Releasing Tension and Relieving Pain
  • Hensperger & Kaufmann The ultimate rice cooker cookbook
  • Sumner Brewing Science, Technology and Print, 1700-1880
  • Duarte Monsters! and Other Stories

December

  • Maltz, ed. intimate kisses
  • Milne The Complete Tales & Poems of Winnie-the-Pooh
  • Out of Picture Volume 2: Art from the Outside Looking In
  • Brown Andre the giant: Life and legend
  • Hanh How to walk
  • Brubaker & Phillips Fatale, Book 1: Death Chases Me (Fatale #1)
  • Brubaker & Phillips Fatale, Book 2: The Devil’s Business (Fatale #2)
  • Ottaviani & Big Time Attic Bone Sharps, Cowboys, and Thunder Lizards: Edward Drinker Cope, Othniel Charles Marsh, and the Gilded Age of Paleontology
  • Smith, et al. Long Walk to Valhalla
  • Colfer, et al. The Supernaturalist
  • Montellier & Mairowitz The Trial
  • Culbard, Edginton; Doyle The Hound of the Baskervilles
  • Bagieu Exquisite Corpse
  • Bishop Living with Thunder
  • Bryson Tasting whiskey
  • Dawson The Place WherE I Come From

Totals finished per month are:

  • Jan 20
  • Feb 14
  • Mar 9
  • Apr 2
  • May 12
  • Jun 13
  • Jul 3
  • Aug 15
  • Sep 4
  • Oct 4
  • Nov 8
  • Dec 16

Not entirely sure what happened in April, July September or October. Perhaps I simply was reading more longer books then and thus finished less. Or, I cut my right index finger to shreds along with minor finger and hand injuries in April so … who knows?

 From libraries:

  • Central Oregon Community College Barber Library: 12
  • Deschutes Public Library: 58
  • Summit (consortium): 7
  • OSU-Cascades: 3
  • Interlibrary Loan: 1 [suspect is a bit higher]

So, 81 of 120 books came from libraries. Not bad. Then again, several of these started out as books from the library that I/we went on to purchase.

Wrap-up:

There is always more can be said–genders of authors; but that is pretty much a mug’s game–and perhaps I have forgotten something I wanted to count or add but oh well. I have straightened out some categories to track for 2017–things to make life easier, or at least I hope. I already have two posts re books in 2017 up but at least one more will be coming.

Harris – Integrating Reality

Integrating Reality by Roy Harris

Cover image of Roy Harris' Integrating Reality

Date read: 05-13 January 2016
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016poss 2016nfc

Paperback, 141 pages
Published 2012 by Bright Pen
Source: Own via Amazon

Contents:

  • Preface
  • 1 Integrating Reality
  • 2 The Truth Unvarnished
  • 3 Empiricism and Linguistics
  • 4 The Grammar in Your Head
  • 5 Systems and Systematicity
  • 6 Meaning and Reification
  • 7 Language and Languages
  • References
  • Index

Preface

“The theory of integrationism defended is that expounded in Introduction to Integrational Linguistics (Harris 1998), Rethinking Writing (Harris 2000) and After Epistemology (Harris 2009a). The basic points will not be recapitulated here.

    Instead, attention will be focussed on the more controversial corollaries of integrationist doctrine, and how they conflict with orthodox linguistics and orthodox philosophy of language” (1).

In chapter 1 Harris states “The following chapters discuss the ontological commitments of integrationism” (3). I would argue that the book just as much discusses many of the epistemological commitments, but rather in a more negative way by rejecting much of the epistemology of its chosen interlocutors.

This volume was a great improvement over Integrationist Notes and Papers 2013 as for having an intact scholarly apparatus. I only found four citations not in the References and one of those was twice to the same resource.

Not a great starting point into Integrationism but a good volume nonetheless if you know your way already or if you just want to read some critiques of standard linguistics and its varied (and often conflicting) ontological commitments.

This is the 2nd book in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

Harris – Integrationist Notes and Papers 2013

Integrationist Notes and Papers 2013 by Roy Harris

Date read: 03 February 2015

My rating: 3 of 5 stars*

Content: 4 of 5 stars

Fastidiousness of scholarly apparatus: 2 of 5 stars

Cover of Integrationist Notes and Papers 2013 by Roy Harris

Paperback, v, 109 pages

Published 2013 by Bright Pen

Source: Own; acquired from amazon

Let me say right off the bat I did enjoy this book immensely, in a way. Most of its content resonates with me but there are a couple problems that have arisen in this volume that, while possibly understandable, are nonetheless unacceptable.

I mentioned in my review of the previous volume that a few citations did not make it into the references list. That even happens in major press books so, while I never appreciate it, I do understand it. Let me take a small sidestep to fill you in on how I read journal articles and books (that I own) like this. These are usually on topics that are of immense interest to me, or those in a discipline or area of a discipline that I am trying to “work my way into” intellectually, if you will.

I read with pencil in hand or near enough [STOP! These are books I own and articles I have printed or copied. DO NOT do this to library materials!]. As I read, for every citation (or should be citation) I come to I mark the page number(s) for it in the reference section. If there are footnotes or endnotes and those contains cites then they get “indexed” as well. I get that this is seemingly quite anal. I do not do this for everything I  read, although I will frequently mark/index interesting (questionable, interested myself, intriguing, …) citations in other sources so that I can track those sources down at my whim and pleasure.

What does this do for me?

First, as seen above—and soon for this volume—I easily determine the level of attention to detail in this aspect of scholarly fastidiousness. Did all citations get listed? It is a seemingly simple question. This does not tell us that much but it is one indicator that something may be amiss in the argumentation.

Second, and far more importantly, this is, at least to me, critical to find one’s way into a literature; whether the lit of a single author or that a broader “topic.”

If it is a book you will quickly determine who the author uses for support and who they are reacting against. You will know whether Freud was cited only once or sixty times. Now one book does not constitute a literature so this is a single author perspective. Also, I’d caution against the one book perspective as a global overview of an author’s citing practices. Definitely look at more by the same author, if available and applicable. By looking at several items you will get a better feel for individual uses.

The same goes for journal articles but it is far easier to read multiple articles and see any similarities and/or differences in practices between authors or within the same author.

I am here to tell you that—assuming you are not a slow reader—this is an amazing way to find out who is citing who. Who are the big authors, theories, and works in this area? If most everybody you are reading is citing such-and-such then perhaps you best acquaint yourself with it/them. This is not actually about citation practices as such but of sketching the outlines of a much larger “conversation.”

This method slows one down considerably and it also makes following the development of the author’s ideas a bit more difficult. But the way I see it, the kinds of sources that I treat this way are quite possibly something I am going to re-read, at least once. Thus the effort pays off in the long run. This is not a pleasure reading tactic, folks. Not to say that this kind of reading is incapable of being pleasurable. If that is your argument then grow up or go away now, please.

In this slim volume of seven papers there are two entire essays whose citations are not listed in the references. All of the other papers are missing an assorted but generally much lower amount. I ended up writing in so many that there truly is little room left to write on every page of the reference section. And as you can imagine, my attempt at trying to get them added somewhat alphabetically went to hell quickly.

A photo of the references section of a book with lots of penciled in entries

Last page of final paper and 1st of references section showing lots of penciled in entries. The other pages of the references are just as full. Look at the page numbers behind entries though to get an idea of my method. In essence, it’s a popularity contest.

The second issue which may be even bigger occurs in paper 51, “Normality and Neuroplasticity.” On page 100 Harris writes:

“But can this be right? Not according to proponents of neuroplasticity. Bloomfield ignores or is unaware of the kind of evidence presented by neuroscientist Norman Doidge. According to Doidge, we have ‘a brain that survives in a changing world by changing itself’ (Doidge 2007: 26)” (100).

But how in the hell was Bloomfield supposed to be aware of any neuroscientific evidence. OK, if  we take “neuroscience” quite broadly then perhaps Bloomfield, writing in the 1910s-1940s, might be able to take into account some evidence. But when the author cites a book from 2007 as not being cited by another author who died in 1949 I begin to get quite cranky. I savaged Hope Olson for similar crap in The Power to Name.

This is an excerpt from the Modern Neuroscience section of the Neuroscience article at Wikipedia:

“The scientific study of the nervous system has increased significantly during the second half of the twentieth century, principally due to advances in molecular biology, electrophysiology, and computational neuroscience. This has allowed neuroscientists to study the nervous system in all its aspects: how it is structured, how it works, how it develops, how it malfunctions, and how it can be changed” (emphasis mine).

The plasticity of the brain, also included in that section, has a citation date of 1999, it appears. Again, no idea how Bloomfield was supposed to be aware of these developments. Now, certainly, we had all kinds of “neuroscientific” evidence before the mid-20th century but that is when it truly exploded as a discipline and science. If Harris means to critique Bloomfield for not citing evidence available to him in the early decades of the century then he needs to be far clearer in his critique. Bringing neuroplasticity into a discussion of Bloomfield’s faults as a theorist is a major lapse though. According to the Wikipedia article, evidence for neuronal plasticity was discovered in Rhesus monkeys in 1923. But this research was ignored by almost everyone until the 1960s. Bloomfield may not get a complete pass and while his theories can certainly—and fairly (depending on use)—now be critiqued using what we know from neuroscience I feel Harris’ critique was extremely poorly worded. He needs to better tie the specific evidence available to Bloomfield into his argument or he needs to be much clearer than he is in applying a temporally aberrant requirement.

Harris is getting up in age and, as usual, he has credited his wife for “her meticulous editorial work.” I do not know the circumstances and I do not want to falsely attribute any particular reasons for these two lapses but they are fairly serious. I am kind of dreading reading INP 2014 which is queued up next. I sure hope it “meticulous” compared to this volume. [By the by, I have read 100s of 1000s of words—many books and articles, several multiple times—by Roy Harris and have not seen such “sloppiness” until now.]

Screen cap of the Roy Harris items I have read in Zotero

Screen cap of the Roy Harris items that I have read in Zotero

I do so love the ideas in these papers but I am concerned there may be some “slippage.” I am beginning to wonder if I am missing any other howlers of the Bloomfield-nueroplasticity kind. And that concerns me greatly.

But I still love the ideas contained in it.

Contents:

  • Preface
  • 45 Ordinary Language Again
  • 46 Empiricism and Linguistics
  • 47 Why There Are No Languages
  • 48 On Relativism
  • 49 Much Ado About Nothing
  • 50 Languages and Politics
  • 51 Normality and Neuroplasticity
  • References

This is the 7th book in my Traditional Chesterfield armchair

Harris – Integrationist Notes and Papers 2012

Integrationist Notes and Papers 2012 by Roy Harris

Date read: 01-02 February 2015

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cover of Integrationist Notes and Papers 2012 by Roy Harris

Paperback, v, 103 pages

Published 2012 by Bright Pen

Source: Own, via amazon

“These papers address questions at the junction between philosophy of mind and philosophy of language.” (Preface, 1)

“In the study of mind, words are vague shapes emerging unbidden from swirling mists. Many theorists seize gratefully upon them. For without them the terrain is dark and nebulous, with no clear landmarks.

The integrationist, on the other hand, takes the presence of a word to indicate always the presence of other signs, even if they are not appartent.” (Preface, 2)

Contents:

  • Preface
  • 36 Russell Revisited
  • 37 Minds, Brains and Language Machines
  • 38 Logic and Babel
  • 39 Reason and Truth
  • 40 Laws of Thought
  • 41 Ordinary Language
  • 42 Forms of Talk and Forms of Action
  • 43 By Any Other Name
  • 44 Any Questions?
  • References

Similar to previous volumes, the papers fairly straightforwardly address the topics of their titles. One small production note, there are five citations missing from the References. That is not horrible but it is not good, either.

I enjoyed it immensely.

This is the 5th book in my Traditional Chesterfield armchair

Harris – Integrationist Notes and Papers 2009-2011

Integrationist Notes and Papers 2009-2011 by Roy Harris

Date read: 29 January – 01 February 2015

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cover of Roy Harris' Integrationist Notes and Papers 2009-2011

Paperback, iv, 104 pages

Published 2011 by Bright Pen

Source: Own, bought from Amazon

It has been far too long since I read any integrational linguistics. The preface states “This publication is the third in the collection of Integrationist Notes and Papers that began in 2003, and completes the series.” The 1st clause is true but the 2nd is not. There are currently three more (INP 2012, 2013, 2014) that I acquired recently at the same time as this one.

Others in the series:

I am truly looking forward to reading the remaining volumes (began INP 2012 yesterday; finished it early today). I have read the first two a couple times already, but then I have owned them for several plus years now.

I am not going to do a “proper” review but will provide you the table of contents and a small excerpt from each paper. Perhaps you’ll be enticed to have a further look. [If you are new to integrationism I would suggest you start elsewhere; feel free to ask. Then again, if you already have some linguistics, philosophy, cognitive science, etc. these may give you something to “wake you from your dogmatic slumbers” and provide something to react to.]

At paper 34 The Translation Myth, I give a few thoughts on where all this was heading with my never-completed CAS project. I was actually attempting to do something much bigger—it was required due to the nature of integrationism and the sad state of philosophical awareness, theory critique, and knowledge of language and linguistics within librarianship and information science. See what I say at 34; that is the gist / the nub / the rub of why I embraced integrationism. It could begin to explain lots of difficulties which seemed to arise because of other views of language.

I am not suggesting that the kind of work subject analysis takes could ever be easy or even easily theorized. But it should be doable and, to me, language gets in the way. Something is wrong with our thinking and talking about language and the many and highly varied ways that way of thinking creeps in and impacts areas folks are not even aware of. Much of the work of subject analysis and of indexing and abstracting is metalinguistic, amongst other meta-s. Our talk about language best be sorted if we are to talk about the metalinguistic. And it isn’t. It is so far out of sorts that the problems reverberate pretty much everywhere. Thus, theoretic descriptions of translation, indexing and abstracting, subject analysis, and any other primarily metalinguistic activity (what is a description? what is a good description? It isn’t going to get any better.) are bound to obscure, in some manner, the doing of the actual activity.

Contents:

  • Preface
  • 26 Language Myths, East and West
  • 27 On ‘Primitive’ Languages in Linguistic Theory
  • 28 Linguistic Relativity
  • 29 Saussure and Logic
  • 30 Sentences and Systems
  • 31 Theory of Mind
  • 32 Mental Misrepresentations
  • 33 The Quest for Qualia
  • 34 The Translation Myth
  • 35 On Ultimate Questions
  • References

Preface

“Integrationism is perhaps best known for its most heretical tenet: that linguistics can dispense with the concept of ‘a language’. … It follows directly from the broader semiological principle that no sign is contextless. This applies as much to linguistic signs as to any. … Context is an intrinsic part of communication.” (Preface, 1)

26 Language Myths, East and West

“The two principal components of the Western language myth – the fallacy of telementation and the fixed code fallacy – are dual aspects of the myth of semantic invariance. Telementation guarantees semantic invariance as between speaker and hearer on a given occasion. The fixed code guarantees semantic invariance as between all members of a linguistic community at all times. … I have always regarded these as myths for the simple reason that there is no non-circular evidence in support of either” (4/5)

27 On ‘Primitive’ Languages in Linguistic Theory

“Chomsky’s primitive language is that famous idealized system which enables speakers in ‘a competely homogenous speech-community’ to communicate, without interference due to ‘memory limitations, distractions, shifts of attention and interest, and errors’ (Chomsky 1965: 3). In short, the ghost operates in what appears to be a communicational vacuum.” (20)

28 Linguistic Relativity

“The notion that an argument is either inherently sound or inherently defective, without reference to grammar or to any external criteria, is amongst the most confused in the history of the subject. Arguments must be judged by their context.” (27)

29 Saussure and Logic

“One of the more conspicuous gaps in Saussure’s linguistic legacy is his failure to provide any clear account of the relations between logic and language.” (35)

30 Sentences and Systems

“The term sentence is a metalinguistic expression. What we think of as exchanging verbally with others in the course of our daily affairs are not “sentences” but questions and answers, remarks and observations about the past, present or future. Whether or not any of these happen to coincide with what a grammarian defines as a “sentence” (under any of the many definitions of sentence that have been proposed) is simply irrelevant.” (53-54)

31 Theory of Mind

“Knowledge, in integrationist epistemology, is always a form of activity.” (63)

32 Mental Misrepresentations

Behaviourism vs. mentalism

“The immense damage which generativism has done to the academic study of linguistics is not merely to resuscitate a language myth that goes back to the days of Plato, but to resuscitate it in a form where it sounds like the product of the latest psychological research.” (75)

33 The Quest for Qualia

“It was only ever a belated attempt to resurrect the ancient concept of intrinsic essences and make it psychologically respectable.” (84).

34 The Translation Myth

“A well-known paper entitled ‘The theory of translation’ begins with the observation:

     To translate is one thing; to say how we do it, is another. The practice is familiar enough, and there are familiar theories of it. But when we try to look more closely, theory tends to obscure rather than explain, and the familiar practice – an ancient practice, without which Western civilization is unthinkable – appears to be just baffling, its very possibility a mystery. (Haas 1962: 208)

The interesting notion here is that theory obscures rather than explains the practice of translation. An integrationist would say that the reason why it does is that, throughout the Western tradition, translation theory – like linguistic theory in general – has been predominately segregationist in its assumptions.” (85-86)

This! This is what I had hoped to address in my CAS thesis. That never got written. That description of the act of translation versus the theory sounds exactly like the relationship between the practices of indexing and abstracting, and of subject analysis, and of their respective theories. That is the gist of what I wanted to address.

35 On Ultimate Questions

“The reason for the elusiveness of initial postulates, like ultimate questions, resides in the (epistemological) fact that the concept of ‘a language’ is not a given, waiting to be described, but is constructed – and can be differently constructed – in the course of inquiry.” (97)

If you got this far I hoped you found something thought-provoking. I just love this stuff but wish I had a better foundation of all the theories integrationism critiques. At least I have exposure to much of it and better than that in some cases.

This is the 3rd book in my Traditional Chesterfield armchair

If I Don’t Reach My Goal – Have I Failed?

Title unabashedly borrowed from this post by Jane Boyd, the timing of which couldn’t be better. I have been thinking about this more and more lately the last few days as it becomes more than apparent that despite getting off to a great start and keeping up for the first half of the month that I now will probably not make the goal of 50,000 (counted) words for DigiWriMo. As I write this (27 November AM) I need a tad under 10,500 words to reach it.

 So the question is this; by not reaching my original goal – have I failed?  Perhaps yes….perhaps no.  I’m not going to agonize over it.  Instead, I’m celebrating the various things that I have done and that I will continue to do in the days to come.

Now, I told myself before I even committed that not making it would not be an issue as long as I had actually begun writing again. So, thankfully, there’s that.

And I most certainly have been writing. You (whoever you are reader, and from whatever venue you are reading my words from) have probably not seen all of those words. And did I really not make 50,000? It depends on how one counts. So, how (and what) did I count?

I have been using Scrivener to draft in and/or store what I am counting. Scrivener provides a great tool—Project Targets—that not only counts your total but lets you set a timeline for your project and then gives you daily writing goals and tracks your progress toward those along with total progress. There are also ways to simply count your words without using the Targets but this suited my purpose better.

My Scrivener desk top

A screen shot of my Scrivener desktop with some folders collapsed and the Project Targets window up.

You can see the full-size picture on Flickr.

Counting

Blog posts – I draft in Scrivener, including pasting in all of the URLs I need for the post, and then paste the complete draft into the WordPress editor and get to work formatting. A fair few words end up not getting counted because they are “behind the scenes”—link text; alt descriptions, titles, etc. for photos. Once the post goes live, I highlight everything from the last tag or keyword up to the title of the post and copy that and then paste it over the draft in Scrivener. Any comments I make on the post—usually in response to someone else’s comment—gets copied and pasted into Scrivener at the bottom of the post; just mine, not others comments.

I have several potential posts drafted. Some may get posted—in November still, or later—some may not see the light of day. But I wrote them—whatever they amount to—so they count.

Tweets – At first I was only counting tweets that were directly DigiWriMo related and carried the #digiwrimo hashtag. I copied the text of each tweet and pasted it into a single Scrivener doc called “Tweets sent” that had a small rule placed between each date. I also pasted in the link to the tweet, which made up for the loss of link text, etc. in blog posts and other things not counted but nonetheless written digitally.

Eventually I noticed that I was having serious conversations—short as they may be—with others via Twitter that were intended to convey or ask for information about topics important to the participants, so I started counting those also. Not every tweet I sent was counted though since some were just goofiness. Still, it could be argued that all should count as they were written digitally. I say “Count what you want.”

When I post to my blog I routinely send out a tweet about it. I also post that same content into Google+ and Facebook for those folks in those venues who might be interested but for whatever reason don’t use RSS. Believe me, in Facebook anyway, I can get a lot of comments regarding my blog posts; more than on the posts themselves usually. ::sigh:: I only counted the tweets though, not the duplication into the other two venues. I could justify an argument for doing so but I don’t want to.

I also did not count retweets or favorites. Favorites I mostly use as a bookmark feature, although I do use it sometimes as a “Well done!” comment to the poster. Retweets are trickier since I am usually throwing them out there as a potential aid to conversation/commentary. Nonetheless, they take so little work that I chose not to count them.

Poems – I did not write many poems but a few were written (or co-written) and posted in assorted places. I took part in the DigiWriMo midnight launch party joint poem writing. Of the rest, two can be found on the blog—a poem written a couple years ago but I that had failed to put up after it was published and the rights reverted to me and one about my experience in the first #digped chat. One was my vignette for the group-written novel and included a doggerel poem written as a fan letter to Digi the Duck, one was a Twitter poem, and two were posted to Facebook since they were in response to a prompt given to me there by a friend (Jess). I have one in draft that is based on the Twitter Trending Topics during the midnight launch party but I never got very far with it.

Book-spine poems, inspired by Andrew McGregor, made up another five blog posts, including one that was a meta-poem about book-spine poetry. Compiling my list of book titles for possible use—only ones I own so far—provided me with 1885 words. I also have a few (very rough) drafts put together. I definitely hope to do more of them.

My journal – I am counting my journal, which I keep in Word, although with any luck no one will ever see it. I write it digitally and I do consult it on occasion, besides whatever benefit the writing of it provides. It used to serve as the genesis of  what became ~20 mix CDs that served as musical journals, many of which I gave away copies as gifts. So I paste my journal entries into Scrivener every couple days to be counted.

Book reviews – Many of these end up as blog posts but some only get put in Goodreads. I did not count both versions if they are in both, only the blog version. I also have a few draft reviews started. Sadly, these are the ones I came into the project with. One is long overdue. Oh well.

Fiction – I wrote a very short story (218 words) comprised entirely of one syllable words based on a prompt my friend (Jess) provided. I am also working from another prompt given to me by my daughter to write something based in the Girl Genius universe. At first I shrunk from that one a bit because as much as I love Girl Genius I don’t think I can do it justice. But then I had a brilliant insight as to how to write a mashup of Girl Genius and Gail Carriger’s The Parasol Protectorate series. No! I am not saying what it is. I want it to be a surprise since whether or not I pull it off successfully the idea itself is brilliant. Brilliant, I tell you. I kind of think it won’t be done for DigiWriMo either but that is OK. I want to make it as good as I can since I really enjoy both series.

Assorted – Not counting: As I said above, many tweets did not get counted, nor did much of what (little) I did in Facebook. I also did not count text messages of any sort although they clearly constitute digital writing and often mundane but nonetheless important communications to me. I also do a fair bit of data entry in a couple of spreadsheets for books read and books purchased and am starting a beer purchase history one. None of that has gotten counted. Also, my entries in the Untappd ap  take a fair bit of work with all the selections and ratings to be made even if in the end not that many words are actually typed. Not counted. Oh, no email counted.

Other things that I am counting: I started a list of issues for the new doctor will be going to visit soon since we moved; draft blog posts on liminality in my life, a comment policy, a review/commentary on two movies, draft book reviews, moving to Bend, Facebook promoted posts and businesses that primarily rely on Facebook for reaching customers, digital scholarly editions, and a few other odds and ends; and poem drafts.

Projected stuff – I had hoped to write a short Twitter novella but never found a story line and I had hoped to write more Twitter poems—haikus and similar short things.

Branching out – I was fairly successful in branching out by trying my hand at a group poem, a group novel, the Twitter vs. Zombies game, book-spine poetry, short fiction (of one-syllable), and an intended fiction mashup.

Prompts – I culled prompts, actively and passively, from many places. Some came from DigiWriMo directly, like the opening night party’s group poem, and later Twitter vs. Zombies and the group novel.

I started the month with a list of ideas, which my wonderful wife also contributed to. Some of the things she suggested were that while writing about moving to Bend that I try to answer the question,” What would I show to visiting family/friends?”, a list of areas for growth/learning over next couple of years, and some commentary on things not read, that is, things acquired with the full intention of getting to quickly but that fell by the wayside.

Other DigiWriMo participants contributed some through their own efforts or by directly putting out prompts. The idea for book-spine poetry came for Andrew McGregor. A poem and commentary came from the first #digped chat. I saw a few other prompts from DigiWriMo folks in various places but never got around to acting on them. A few days ago I goaded Jeff Brackett into posting the list of 51 that he had on Twitter and culled the following in a first pass:

  • Prompt 2: Select one Tweet & expand into blog post #DigiWriMo
  • Prompt 3: Choose one #DigiWriMo participant; comment on work and encourage them
  • Prompt 4: Why are you *not* writing? #DigiWriMo
  • Prompt 5: Turn ideas from one song from playlist (or radio) into Blog post #DigiWriMo
  • Maybe you can substitute some words/topics to generate new prompts #digiwrimo // thanks!

I also put out a request on Facebook on Black Friday and these are the responses I got:

Jess:

  • Pick a line/syllable restriction that appeals to you (3 lines/7ish syllables per line usually feels do-able to me even when I’m stuck) and poem it up. Tell me what you see, what you smell. Be a reporter in verse.
  • Write a short short story (I’m not picturing more than a double-spaced page, here) entirely in one-syllable words.
  • Write a creative non-fiction short story, but from the point of view of one of the other people involved.

Stacey: How about a blog post on Why the Humanities matters? 😉

Sara (daughter): Something in the Girl Genius universe?

Laura:

  • When I was a child, I loved…
  • Whenever I smell ____, I am reminded of…
  • I first learned about sex from…

I took on a few of those, as mentioned above, and am working on some of the others. I want to heartily thank everyone who has directly inspired me, challenged me, and supported me this month!

I have a fair few things in the pipeline ready to post but I think I will spend the next few days primarily writing. The goal is to write 50,000 words digitally and make some of them available and not to post 50,000 words. As of these words that I am currently typing, early in the morning of 29 November, I have 44,268 words. I am so very close. This post itself may or may not get posted before midnight Friday as it contains an awful lot of links and formatting in WordPress still takes a fair bit of time and effort.

Final words:

I actually made 50,000 words at 3:20 pm 30 November during the last #digiwrimo twitter chat with this tweet:

These 20 words will reach my #digiwrimo goal of 50k words on Friday afternoon, 30 November 2012. Go me! Win!

It also include this picture:

Success!

I had a good time, met lots of interesting people, many of whom I look forward to interacting with again, learned some things, have a ton of things drafted up and ready to post to the blog, and also have some interesting projects to work on further.

I send a hearty “Thank you!” to all partcipants but especially to Jesse Stommel (@Jessifer), Sean Michael Morris (@slamteacher), and all the others at Marylhursts’ English & Digital Humanities program for hosting, driving, and inspiring Digital Writing Month.

 

frenetic, or a comment on the New Media Citation digped of 2 Nov

digital citation in new media.
one hour, twitter,
go! #digped.

wrong tools.
tweets & convos
race past.

reflection,
@Jessifer files
Storified version.

On Friday the 2nd of November I participated in a Twitter chat on the topic of new media citation practices. It was quite “raucous” as Jesse Stommel (@Jessifer) calls it in his post at Hybrid Pedagogy. For me, it was “frenetic.” [OED online. Sense 2b: Of a quality, power, act, process, etc.: frenzied, manic; wild, passionate; rapid and energetic in an uncontrolled or unrestrained way.]

As soon as it was over I attempted to write a poem describing my experience of it. I got the first two stanzas out fairly quickly but then got no further. This morning, Jesse posted his Storified version to Hybrid Pedagogy and I read it through. I think he (and it) does a good job of capturing much of what was said, although clearly not everything was captured, as he used about a score of the total of 440 tweets.

The second stanza of the poem above reflects more my frustration with the tools I was attempting to use. I have participated in less than a handful of tweet chats previously and I was not prepared for this raucous freneticism. I was at my desktop for it—wouldn’t even begin to think of trying it on the iPad—where I use the Twitter app for Mac from Twitter. But I wanted to keep that kind of separate from what I was doing so I opened Twitter in a Chrome tab on the desktop I am using for DigiWriMo and ran a search for the #digped hashtag.

Perhaps the biggest problem was that the Twitter search on their website was not showing me tweets (or more specifically, replies) from some of the folks I follow. For example, @Jessifer’s responses to me were only showing up in the Twitter app for Mac. I figured this out fairly early as my phone was next to me and kept vibrating as I got replies that I wasn’t seeing.

Robin Wharton (@rswharton) suggested I try Tweet Chat but I, in the moment, assumed it was an app and not simply a website. Later, Sara seconded it as a good tool also. I will definitely try it the next time.

The next biggest issue, not directly related to the chat but to DigiWriMo, is that I was trying to copy my tweets and the links to them into Scrivener to save them towards my word count. This was much easier from the Twitter app than the browser. This meant switching desktops and multiple windows and …. I eventually moved the Twitter app onto the same desktop but things stayed hectic due to the volume of things going on in the chat.

On the other hand, stanza two in the poem above also reflects my firm belief that Twitter is simply not the place for such conversations. Sure, it sort of worked. If you look at the comments on this post at Hybrid Pedagogy you’ll see that a few of the participants think differently than me. And that is fine. I have had these conversations before. Twitter works great for some conversations but, at least for me, fails horribly for others.

There were so many differing, and frequently unexplicated, assumptions behind (most of) the tweets and no way to tease out philosophical, departmental, temperamental or other differences. There were, on occasion, conflations, or at least lack of specifying, between whether one was talking about a standalone bibliography (annotated or not) or one attached to a specific work (article, book, blog post, etc.). There was little actual real discussion about what purposes/roles/functions a citation actually does or should play. There was much agreement that things are, and probably should, change in academia regarding citation practices. I am fairly sure that sometimes some of us were bringing “old” media issues back into the discussion supposedly about “new media.” But I am not sure there is, or should be, a lot of difference. Certainly the how of how one goes about making a citation in many new media might frequently need to be different than how one does in a print medium, but I remain fully unconvinced that the why is different.

To me, these sorts of higher level questions are of more interest and ought also be more immediate. Once the larger issues of why—multiple reasons corresponding to different roles/functions—are sorted out, then it is time to figure out best practices (within disciplines/communities/media/etc.) for actually doing so. One of the larger questions—or perhaps more intermediate—to me then becomes answerable, or at least addressable.

Back in the day, over 5 years ago now, myself and others (and no doubt many others elsewhere including such folks as the makers of Zotero) were wondering what and how bibliographies could be of the web and not simply on it. Sadly, I never got very far with that, and all of the people involved in the conversation with me at the time have also moved on to other things, although I am willing to bet that they are still highly intrigued in how things could be different if we had better tools.

Some of my questions were:

What purposes (if any) do bibliographies serve on the web? Is there one?
What form should web-based bibliographies take to support those purposes?
Should embedded COinS or some other OpenURL or similar technology be employed?
What would be the best way to present our literature in a web-based bibliography that might entice you to read some of it?

I was also trying to get at things better tools could do for us and allow us to do. My brilliant friend, Jodi Schneider, hit the nail on the head, as usual, with her comment:

Ok: in my ideal bibliography system:

You would be able to:
* filter, search, and sort items by any metadata field.
*select any subset of the bibliography (including the whole thing)
*and do actions on the whole or your selection

Here are some actions I would want:
*download citations to your own collection (online or locally hosted on your own computer)
*mark the subset for later use in the online system
*search the full-text of all items in the subset. Results would show KWIC snippets and could generate subsets for further actions
*add all references to your collection (preserving field structure)
*use an associated “bibliography processor” to download all the associated items. Your processor would be able to authenticate for your library access and individual subscriptions. It would create a new subset of problem items, for manual inspection, which could easily be passed to other services (like ILL).

Other bibliography thoughts:
*free online resources and subscription resources would be distinguished by an icon
*a good bibliography should give a sense of the field–clustering and facets may help with this, and leveraging the structured data (e.g. by journal, tags/descriptors, etc.)

If we had tools that easily pulled citations, references, links, pointers out of new media documents, web pages, reference managers, and what-have-you, and that easily added them to other documents, whether web-based or not (prior to printing, of course) and that allowed us to easily manipulate sets and subsets of them and to perform assorted actions on them easily, then not only would our lives be easier (and, arguably perhaps, better) but much of the discussion that took place in the tweet chat would be moot.

Only the larger questions of why we would cite or compile bibliographies would remain, along with some issues of formatting. But, despite the amount of effort that goes into formatting citations into the almost innumerable styles that are out there, the reasons for specific formatting styles is rarely ever known by most users of them, and even less frequently ever actually theorized (and how much of this formatting is just bullshit wasted effort in the first place?). We truly need to get rid of about 95% (or more!) of the styles that exist for formatting citations (in any medium) and revisit the why of the specific how of doing so, with good and proper reasoning for each choice.

Ah. Now Mark the librarian and inveterate footnote/citation tracer is talking. ::sigh:: I think for now I’ll just wander off of this obviously passionate topic. It seems clear that many of my first-order concerns with citation practices are not the same ones as many of those who participated in the chat. And that is perfectly OK, too.

I do want to add that I did, though, despite the poem or any of the above comments, enjoy myself in the chat. It was just a very frenetic enjoyment which could have been helped by better tools.

“Better tools.” Maybe that ought be the title of this post.

 

Lakoff and Turner – More than Cool Reason

This is my 2nd book review for 12 Books, 12 Months Challenge although it is the 3rd book I’ve finished. I’ll be writing some comments on the other book shortly.

Lakoff, George, and Mark Turner. 1989. More than Cool Reason : a Field Guide to Poetic Metaphor. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I will admit that the explanations sometime bog down a bit. Once you get the method of their analysis you can probably do some of it on your own and thus the repetition gets a tad pedantic. All in all, though, it is an excellent introduction to how our language and thought processes work, showing that metaphor infuses worldviews.

One must be somewhat careful coming to this book with the expectation that it is entirely about poetic metaphor. It is not. In fact, the bookseller categories on the back cover are: Literary Criticism / Linguistics / Cognitive Science.

That said, it does address metaphors in poetry, but its larger task is explaining how metaphor works and arguing for a specific theory of metaphor, based on the Grounding Hypothesis versus most other theories of metaphor based on variations of the Literal Meaning theory.

This book came in handy for my Madwomen Poets class last week as I had just decided to write about Plath’s poem, “You’re,” and I then read the section on global readings of a poem.  I was noticing something in the structure itself similar to what I decided the poem was about and this book gave me the language to explicitly state what I intended.

About a fifth of the book is dedicated to the Great Chain metaphor, in both its basic and extended versions. This section is quite interesting and provided me a far better appreciation for the depth and prevalence of this metaphor. One of the more interesting uses of this section is in their explication of proverbs.

I highly recommend this book as an introduction to metaphor. I have previously read both Metaphors We Live By and Women, Fire and Dangerous Things and no doubt they helped me in reading this book. But I honestly think this might be the best one of the three to begin with. Then move on to Metaphors We Live By, and if you are still interested in the research, and cognitive aspects, of metaphor and concepts then have at Women, Fire and Dangerous Things.

Lakoff, George, and Mark Johnson. 1980. Metaphors We Live By. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Lakoff, George. 1987. Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal About the Mind. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Citations, whither art thou? – a rant

Let me state up front that I do not mean to pick on any particular authors here. Also, that I have an immense amount of respect for Dr. Brenda Dervin; for her output, for her research itself, and for her willingness to take on an established discipline and challenge it to be something better. But these are the articles I am reading and I need to know what they are citing in their articles. And I do not due to a mixture of shoddiness, journal (and editorial) practices, and a lack of support from citation formats.

Dervin, Brenda. 1976. Strategies for Dealing with Human Information Needs: Information of Communication? (Part One of Information: An Answer for Every Question? A Solution for Every Problem?). Journal of Broadcasting 20, no. 3 (Summer): 324-333.

[Cited by Dervin 1977]

Lankshear, C., M. Peters, and M. Knobel. 2000. Information, Knowledge and Learning: Some Issues Facing Epistemology and Education in a Digital Age. Journal of the Philosophy of Education 34, no. 1 (2): 17-39. doi:10.1111/1467-9752.00153. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.proxy2.library.uiuc.edu/doi/10.1111/1467-9752.00153/abstract.

[Cited by Kapitzke]

Dervin 1976

Based on a citation to it in Dervin 1977, which I did not write about here, I requested a copy of Dervin 1976.

The author is the same for both articles; I would assume then that the work would be correctly cited. When I got the article in question—a print copy via ILL—I found out that the article in question was guest edited and consists of 3 articles by 3 authors, each with their own title, but all under a collective title in one issue of the journal (only part of the content of that issue). The guest editor (Dervin) also wrote the 1st article. Later (1977) in another article she only cited her part of the collective article. Well, all of the citations for the 3 parts are collected at the end of the composite whole. Actually, in truth, that is an assumption since I haven’t seen them. Since I had to request it via ILL I now have part one (and the overview page, gratefully) but no citations as used in the article.

Aside: Back when I did e-reserves I got this all the time from professors putting things on reserves but it only bit us in the butt on the rare occasion when we had to ILL something (very rare; like if ours was missing) and I couldn’t 1st verify where the notes/citations were. Since we copied 99.9% of everything ourselves before scanning them we could look out for students who actually cared by making sure we included the notes/citations no matter where they appeared in the overall document.

Citations to a work must include page numbers to the references used by the author(s), especially if those references are located elsewhere in the document. Otherwise, imho, you are engaging in disingenuous and poor scholarship.

So it turns out the Dervin article is really [unsure of the final page #]:

Dervin, Brenda, ed. 1976. Information: An Answer for Every Question? A Solution for Every Problem? Journal of Broadcasting 20, no. 3 (Summer): 324-353?.

Or is it just this as is claimed on “Dr. Dervin’s Complete Bibliography“?: Dervin, B. (Guest Ed.). (1976-09). Information: An answer for every question? A solution for every problem? (Special section). Journal of Broadcasting, 20 (3), 323-324.   But that is only to the overall composite title and not to the articles comprising the article.

The problem is is that the references (30 in Dervin’s paper) are all at the end of the 3rd article, or so I assume. So while my proposed possibility for a citation, which is only one of several, would get a reader all three parts of the entire article it would also be more accurate in that it would get the reader the citations, too.

The set of three articles comprising this special section of this issue was purporting to look to the future of the discipline of communication and the impact of technology and fetish with information. I find it beyond ironic that these citations lack the basic information (the references) that one needs to verify the sources and ideas used in that time of serious upheaval in the discipline.

Check out the TOC for that issue at informaworld:

Can you tell me where the references are for each part of the article as a whole? By the way, Dervin’s part one really starts on p. 324 and not 323 as noted. P. 323-4 are for the short introduction to the 3 parts of the special section.

Lankshear, et. al.

Several evenings ago I printed the Lankshear, et. al. article at Briar Cliff when I dropped Sara off for her evening reference shift. The next AM I was trying to decide what to bring with me to “the office” (Pierce St. Coffee Works) where I go after dropping her off at work. Choosing the Lankshear, et. al. article to read, I took a quick glance at it and noticed that although it has inline citations in the article those citations were not to be found in my printed copy. I opened the pdf up but they were not there and the text seemed to end appropriately. Logged back in to the UIUC ORR and found the Journal of Philosophy of Education again and navigated to the correct issue. I opened the pdf in the browser and scrolled to the end. No citations. I backed out and scanned the list of articles and finally noticed one titled, “Bibliography,” which was credited to two “authors” not on this paper. I looked at another article in this issue and found inline citations and none in the paper proper. So I grabbed the “Bibliography” pdf and printed out the 6 pages. I’ll leave the things I wasn’t exactly mumbling under my breath to your imagination.

With nasty thoughts toward the editors of a journal that would do this I backed back out to the list of volumes/issues and saw no acknowledgment or indication that this was a special issue. So I checked a couple of issues from a couple volumes either side of this one and found that the articles in those issues *do* include their own references as part of the articles proper.

The article is on pp. 17-39 but the references, for all of the articles, are on pp. 203-208. The issue consists of: 16-page introduction, 12 articles, glossary, preface, and notes on contributors. Thus, by having the citations separate from the articles I now have at least 13x the citations I would have had otherwise.

I do not know who dreams this kind of idiocy up! Nor who if they are going to pursue it doesn’t at the very least mention it at the beginning or end of the article proper that the citations are to be found external to the article itself.

I have absolutely no kind words for this type of behavior. I am interested in what kind of reasoning drives one to do it; not that I expect I could fathom any said explanation once given.

At least in the Dervin case I can kind of understand. The overarching article has its own title and has an editorial byline. It is complete in one issue. So perhaps it makes some sense. But then I do not understand the citing of only a portion of the article. I can understand that she doesn’t want to take credit for the other two author’s portions also. Nonetheless, she or anyone else citing her part one of the composite article must be able to also reference the sources she used in her portion. The same is true for the other two author’s sections; especially the middle one.

Thus, I guess the citation to the Lankshear, et. al. article ought to be either to separate citations but then how do you indicate that they go together?

Here’s the 2nd one:

Blake, N., and P. Standish. 2000. Bibliography [Journal of the Philosophy of Education 34(1)]. Journal of the Philosophy of Education 34, no. 1 (2): 203-208. doi:10.1111/1467-9752.00167. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.proxy2.library.uiuc.edu/doi/10.1111/1467-9752.00167/abstract.

Or, perhaps it should be something like the following:

Lankshear, C., M. Peters, and M. Knobel. 2000. Information, Knowledge and Learning: Some Issues Facing Epistemology and Education in a Digital Age. Journal of the Philosophy of Education 34, no. 1 (2): 17-39; references on 203-208. doi:10.1111/1467-9752.00153. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.proxy2.library.uiuc.edu/doi/10.1111/1467-9752.00153/abstract.

Do any style guides provide guidance on these sorts of issues? The same sort of problem arises with a book chapter from a book that has endnotes [see my Aside on e-reserves above]. It seems to me that there should be some sort of confluence between publishing practices, citation practices, and the style guides. Publishers should not engage in practices that contravene the dictates of good scholarly practices. And our style guides should cover how to do good scholarship within the dictates of its purview based on the kind of materials those sorts of scholars will be using.

All I can say is it is a mess and I really do not know what to do. The citation to Dervin 1976 at the top of the post comes from how I entered it into Zotero initially after getting it. It is incorrect as it does not tell anyone where the references used in the article are located. Then again, neither does this which is how Dervin cited it in her 1977 article:

Brenda Dervin, “Strategies for Dealing with the Information Needs of Urban Residents: Information of Communication? Journal of Broadcasting 20 (no. 3, Summer 1976): 324-333.

That isn’t even its title.

Strategies for Dealing with Human Information Needs: Information or Communication? – article comments

Dervin, Brenda. 1976. Strategies for Dealing with Human Information Needs: Information of Communication? (Part One of Information: An Answer for Every Question? A Solution for Every Problem?). Journal of Broadcasting 20, no. 3 (Summer): 324-333.

I quite enjoyed this Dervin article.  But what I did not enjoy was not having access to any of the 30 citations!  [A rant on this head is in the works as a separate post.]  This is a mid-70s critique of the influx and impingement of the concept of ‘information’ on the field of communications, the misplaced overemphasis on it in everyday life, and the assumptions behind this which redirects research to the wrong questions.  Also addresses why so many of the things seen in communications research contradict what they assume or are even told is important by subjects.

The main article focuses on 10 assumptions and their ramifications “which have unwittingly hindered efforts focusing on the information “needs” of average citizens” (326). These are:

  1. Objective information is the only valuable information.
  2. If a little information is good, a lot must be better.
  3. Objective information can be transmitted out of context.
  4. Information is acquired only through formal information systems.
  5. Information is relevant to every urban need.
  6. Every need situation has a solution.
  7. Information that is not now available or accessible can be made so.
  8. The functional units of our information systems equal the functional units of users of those systems.
  9. Time and space can be ignored.
  10. The connections between external information and internal information can be assumed (326, direct quote).

Again, not really a review.  I pulled out some choice bits, for my purposes anyway, and added some commentary.  My goal in these article commentaries is to give you enough that might entice you into reading them for yourself if they fit your research or interests and not to make it so you do not need to.

“Directly or indirectly, each of these scholars has begun to take the scientist’s dilemma of “creation versus discovery” and pull it out for review. Does humankind discover reality (and, therefore, simply collect information about it)? or does it create and invent reality?

The question is not answerable. But, we behave as if it is. Despite the relativistic nature of our empirical findings, we continue to assume that objective information about reality is obtainable. We assume that only if we work hard enough, long enough, we can have complete knowledge and that knowledge is orderable.3 We assume there is a given order and we are but discovering and confirming it. …

… This view of knowledge essentially posits homosapiens as a totally adaptive creature, using information about reality to adapt to reality. Yet, the history of humankind is marked … by creation, invention, and control of surroundings. Humankind at least in part, creates its own reality” (325) [some formatting issues left in].

The above addresses a fundamental disconnect between communication theory and reality-as-observed.

A “three-type formulation of information is suggested as potentially more useful than our current cybernetic denotation of the term10” (326).

“Information1 – the innate structure or pattern of reality; adaptive information; objective information; data” (326). [Only included as this kind comes under critique below.  If you want to know all 3 read the article.]

The following will address bits and pieces from the sections on the 10 assumptions.

A1 : Misses a “great deal of information-relevant behavior because it appears in unexpected places” (327).

Exactly!  Information science (IS) is just as guilty of this.  Well, truthfully, IS is guilty of all of these, or certainly was in 1976.  We, as well as Comm, have made some progress I would like to believe.  Our theories are beginning to back away from these seriously limiting assumptions but I see little evidence of that theoretical progress informing the design of our systems.

A1 : “Instead of positing the use of advice, rules, and interpersonal help as an informing function (information3), we label this high use of informal sources as a “law of least effort” that operates in the acquisition of information” (327).

Reading this was like the hard slap in the face that I needed.  Besides the (seeming) general insider superiority of one uttering the “law of least effort” I was also bothered by it for reasons I could not put my finger on.  But this so-called law has simply been a smoke screen for our (and Comm’s) unwillingness to tackle the complexities of behavior and situations “covered” by this law.  It is not a law; it is simply laziness on our part.  And damaging laziness at that. Please realize that I am not saying that no one takes the road of least effort on occasion, myself included, but that much of what is covered by this “law” is not that. It only looks that way to us as we, as researchers, have taken the same road and have not adequately theorized the divergent behaviors we have lumped together under this “law.”

A2 : “Yet, if individual knowing is some unknown combination of objective reality plus personal reality, then being informed is not the same thing as having information1. We have focused on the “information” and not the “informing”” (328).

We are so utterly guilty as charged here.  As is much of society, popular and scientific, which seems to think that having or supplying information is the same as being informed/informing.

A3 : The assumption of objective information mapping to reality and that this is orderable leads to certain approaches to education and the mass media.  “We are bombarded with isolated facts. Because each fact is assumed to have a proper place, each fact is assumed to have informing utility” (328).  But this approach leads to much information being “rejected and ignored as being irrelevant and meaningless” (329).

There is also a tie-in to information literacy (IL) instruction here due to the fact that “our education system is geared primarily for the transmission of information1 rather than instruction and practice on how to become informed” (329).  If our educational system did focus on these important areas of becoming/being informed then there would be less need for IL at the college-level, or perhaps it could focus primarily on library-related systems instead of the ridiculous breadth of topics IL instruction is trying to undertake today; particularly ridiculous given the extremely limited amount of time instruction librarians have with students.

A6 : “We equate having solutions [which is “(after all, the raison d’être of the the system …)”] with being informed, being able to construct one’s own reality, being able to develop personal answers20” (330).

But see work on medical communication and seriously ill patients frustration with the system.

A8 : “As citizen’s begin to use information1 systems “designed for them,” they collide with those systems. The citizens, on the one hand, are asking for functional units that are meaningful to them. The systems, on the other, are protecting the functional units in which they have vested units” (331).  Kapitzke also had a critique on this head as it relates to IL, although I did not address it in my post.

A9 : While we have acknowledged that people are embedded in social situations, we have been on a quest for situation-free generalizations. … Yet, we continue to search for enduring personally traits, enduring information processing strategies” (331-2).

A10 : We assume the connections between external reality and internal reality must exist based on the assumption of an ordered universe. But we do not study them. “Thus, we know little about how people do inform themselves and make connections30” (332).

I apologize for not being able to tell you what those superscripts refer to.  Keep watch for a rant on that topic.  Soon.

Cited by:

Dervin, Brenda. 1977. Useful theory for librarianship: Communication, not information. Drexel Library Quarterly 13: 16-32.