links as ‘works cited’

October 2, 2006

Hey everyone; as I am working through our readings covering blogs again for our upcoming assignment, i was struck with a sentence from one of the blog posts we read entitled Anatomy of a Blog : 

“At its best, blogging uses links to support critical, well-considered arguments with supporting facts. Links, in those cases, serve as a kind of Works Cited page, directing readers to additional sources of relevant material.”

I have been noticing that many of the links offered in the blogs which comprise our course readings are dead-links. Even in the aforementioned article, there are at least 2 dead links… what impact does these dead-links have on our so-called ‘works-cited’? does it have an impact on the content of the blog? i would say it does… if these external links are meant to flesh out our argument, or lend support to our ideas, then offering supporting opinions via dead links is the same as leading our readers down a blind alley.

 But how can we insure that the links within our blog-postings remain overtime, considering they are often external links that are outside of our control? my personal suggestion is to include a bit of the text (kind of an electronic ‘block quote’ if you will) from the passage you are ‘citing’… although this still does not prevent deadlinks, it will at least preserve the context which you are citing, even though the citation would be rather empty without the ability to corroborate your citation to the actual cited article/posting…

 what do you all think? any thoughts on what the impact of deadlinks are in blog postings? how can we prevent/lessen the impact if you feel an impact does exist?

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week 5: digitizing

October 1, 2006

“the library of the Lunar and Planetary Institute offers a feed that includes ‘Recent additions to the collection’ as well as ‘New and Noteworthy’ items.

I work at the University of Guelph and we have a location on the first floor where all of the new acquisitions are shelved for about a week. This is a great way to present to the patrons the newest acquisitions for them to examine.

 The university of guelph (as well as many other public and academic libraries) has been slowly acquiring more and more electronic resources. We have also begun a huge project to digitize some of our resources which have fallen out of copyright. We are also involved in online virtual reference, and we are also involved in a pilot which uses MSN for virtual reference…. with this growing shift to digitizing the entire ‘library experience’, it makes sense to move to ‘digitizing’ the ‘new acquisitions shelf’ by providing an RSS feed to it. Those patrons who don’t physically visit their library may still want to know what resources are being acquired. by enabling RSS for new acquisitions, libraries enhance their ability to reach a greater portion of their patrons and, perhaps, to entice those who don’t typically visit their library, to come in for a visit to pickup a newly acquired book that they probably would not have heard about, had their library not had an RSS feed about newly acquired items.

RSS overwhelming

September 29, 2006

it seems that the popularity of ‘rssifying’ websites has lead to the surmise of several of the free start-me-up rss creation sites identified in Cohen’s article

 Daypop

voidstar

 Unfortunately, i think this is how the ‘big wig’ companies beat out the little guys: the little guys cannot afford the bandwidth that gets generated by their own popularity similar to the slashdot effect , except for the websites crumble under their own popularity. Then, larger companies who have the available bandwidth to sustain the http requests swoop in and fill the void created by the crumbling of the ‘start-me-up’ company. typically, these larger companies also charge for their offerings, where the start-me-ups typically did not.

 I suppose this is also similar to the WALMART EFFECT… where walmart moves into the outskirts of a city strategically because the rent is cheaper. what walmart will do is put items on sale, even at a loss to the company (negative profit) in order to draw people to the store. this draws business away from the local shops who cannot afford to take a hit on 1 product in hopes of selling enough of another product to profit overall; this inevitably results in the closure of local shops because they ‘cannot keep up with competition’…. these practices have been referred to as ‘playing dirty’, ‘fighting dirty’, ‘unfair competition’….

Huge controversy surrounds these competition practices by walmart, but why does the same controversy and outrage not surround the unfair competition experienced by startup companies at the heavy hand of big internet business?

How TO for RRS;

September 26, 2006

i must admit, i did know what RSS feeds were… and i do use them… (not as often as i should though… i have a hard enough time keeping up on my work email, personal email and blogs for this course 😀 )

 however, one thing i did not know, but always wondered about, was HOW exactly to incorporate RSS feeds into ones webpage…

 but thanks to good ol’ Luke Rosenberger… i now have some quick and dirty tips on how to do it! i figure it is one of those ‘easy to do’ things VIA coding… but had never taken the time to figure out how to do it… so first off, KUDOS goes out to Luke for giving us some information on how to incorporate RSS into our own webpages!

secondly, a few words on the death of webbrowsing; i wonder if RSS will lead to a decrease in the amount of ‘browsing’ behaviour… we no longer have to go hunting for information: for many of our searches now, we can set up RSS feeds that will send us the precise data that we want… its like having your own personal research librarian who just combs the research journal databases daily and presents you withthe most recent and pertinent findings for your research!

An open response to Jen:

September 25, 2006

Hey Jen!

thanks for the comment!

i went and took a peek at blog article you posted and i seem to be getting stuck at one point:

“Weblogs in fact began as change logs for websites. At the time, it was standard practice to post a line with a date attached to indicate that change had been made to a website. With time, those change logs morphed into sites dedicated not to posting diary-like reflections but annotated links.”

hmmm… i think i fail to see how this jump occured… ok… when ite admins would make updates to websites, they would add a little line of text to the bottom of the page indicating something like “last updated on June 19 1999”, or something similar to this…. sure… i’m on board. website admins sure did do this… but this is a FAR cry from a blog… perhaps we’re talking about “VERSION HISTORY” for a website? something similar to the version history of say, winamp…  but i can’t remember seeing a live changelog for a website… if a changelog for a website is kept, is it often not kept by the admin for his own  purposes?

again… i fail to see how this is a blog…the only thing i see in common between ‘change logs’ and blogs is the time-stamping of events…

week 3 post:

September 20, 2006

hey again everyone;

first off; some more definitions of a the term BLOG:

1) from http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/b/blog.html

n.) Short for Web log, a blog is a Web page that serves as a publicly accessible personal journal for an individual. Typically updated daily, blogs often reflect the personality of the author.

2) http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/blog

a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer

 3) from www.wikipedia.com

“The modern blog evolved from the online diary where people would keep a running account of their personal lives. Most such writers called themselves diarists, journalists, or journalers”

notice that all three of these definitions (there are many more definitions and most, if not all) mention the word PERSONAL. This is why I find multi-user blogs or corporate/departmental blogs to be somewhat of an oxymoron… perhaps i am just wrestling over an issue of semantics again (WEEEE  BLOG vs WEB BLOG)… but i really don’t think so.

The original intention of a blog was to free personal journals from their paper tombs and release them into the digital world for all to see. Note again the term PERSONAL; maybe you’re thinking to yourself “but randy, who cares if they were originally intended for personal use… can’t thing evolve and change…?” well, yes you stickler :D, they sure can. But it still holds true that some avenues of communication are better fitted for certain tasks. for example, imagine if you will that instead of getting served a court summons by registered mail or courier, that you were EMAILED or INSTANT MESSAGED by the lawyer. It is certainly plausible that the lawyer could use either of these other modes of communication just as easily to transmit the court summons, but other modes are more ‘accepted’ for this sort of communication.

 same goes for blogs i argue; blogs are meant, as their definitions suggest, for PERSONAL communication. because of this intent, it is expected that their language be colloquial, informal, and conversational.

in Schneider’s Posting, she attacks librarian bloggers:”

Every blog produced by librarians, no matter how casual, represents librarianship to the world. We are the standard-bearers for accurate, unbiased information. Blogs filled with half-baked “facts,” misrepresentations, copyright violations, and other egregious and unprofessional problems do not represent us well.

No cop-outs, either. I despair of librarians who blog “information” gleaned from rumors or “he-said/she-saids,” only to later brush it off with, “It’s only a blog.” That’s up there with saying, “It’s only a reference question.”

Schneider is arguing for a code of ethics for library bloggers since, when blogging, they apparently are “representing the entire profession”… i think this is a pretty extremist view. isn’t this what we would call PREJUDICE? letting the actions of one person be extrapolated and applied to the whole of the group? “All construction workers make cat calls at women when they walk by… Chinese people are bad drivers, italians are all mob-bosses”… we don’t stand for these generalizations for other groups, so why does Schneider feel that a librarian’s blog need be placed within a rigid framework of rules to protect the sacred image of the librarian?

if i were to have a blog when i was a librarian, and i always dropped the F-bomb on it, would you extrapolate that to mean that all librarians swore too much? i should hope not… I argue that this rigid structure being suggested by Schneider and blood is COMPLETELY contrary to the intended purpose of a blog: to be a PERSONAL journal for PERSONAL reflection and opinion.

as for CORPORATE BLOGS/Departmental blogs… while not the intended purpose, blogs have been used for such things as dry news feeds and event listings… but these uses are INFORMATIONAL and by and large NOT replete with personal commentary (although, they may be OPEN for commenting, the commenting is not provided by the BLOGGER in these instances… it is provided by those who attended the event, or passer-by’s)….so you can see that although BLOGS are used by departments and corporations, they are not (typically) being used in this manner according to their initially intended purpose as a PERSONAL journal.

my 2 cents

😀

Week 2: Blogs:

September 12, 2006

funny that i’m doing a post on blogs on my blog… 😛

first off,I must apologize for my lack of capital letters. for some reason i tend to not capitalize things… i think it is part of being of the spell-check generation.

secondly, i’d like to apologize for missing week one’s posting. i am going to do a posting right after this one. i am having a hard time sussing out precisely what is required of me for this course… i thought we were waiting for WEBCT… but i think i have this all sussed out… it had nothing to do with you Amanda. it is very clear in the blog what we are required to do. but i think just setting up blogs, subscribing to everyone’s and finding where the syllabus is was all a bit daunting (and i am pretty techy… or so i thought)… but anyways, enough whining.

———-

now for some week 2 posting fun:

1) i was always told that BLOG was short for WEB LOG…. and after some preliminary searching, it appears those who told me that were right:

http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/blog

although, in the first article, the author says: “Peter Merholz announced in early 1999 that he was going to pronounce it ‘wee-blog’and inevitably this was shortened to ‘blog’ ” WEE BLOG? if it is WEB BLOG, why would you decide to pronounce it WEE BLOG… perhaps an issue of POE TAY TOE, POE TAH TOE…. but web log and weeee blog sound pretty different. i think i am just being picky.

——

The main points of blogs:

1) anyone can do it; no HTML coding required.

2) Dated entries, like a journal.

3) comments and opinions welcome

4) Link to other sites that are similar to their own and offer commentary to these sites.

I guess i am left wondering what the intended PURPOSE of a blog is? is it intended for a ‘niche’ market where members share similar interests? an online ‘public’ debate? or was the initial blog meant to be a sort of ‘journal’, a way of ‘bookmarking’ those sites of particular interest to themselves, so that they had one location to head back to when they wanted to review their notes an research on a given subject? if the latter is the case, then it seems odd that SEARCHABILITY is a relatively new addition to blogs (see TECHNORATI)… but then maybe the ‘categorization’ inherent in blogs is a way of transcending the need for searches… just think, if you created the classification scheme for how your CD’s are arranged (suppose you want to arrange them by the last letter of the lead singer’s LAST name…ok… i know… bizarre…. but just suppose) then the only person who needs to know that classification scheme is you…. no one else needs to understand the classification system but you, and since you know the system, is there really a need to have ‘searchability’? because if you were looking for ERIC CLAPTON, you know to look under N…. 😀

 Also, the fact that all blog entries are dated might further assist the blogger in classifying and categorizing their postings… date lends them a reference point with which they can refer… “I wrote on the intricacies of pizza making BEFORE i wrote on my love of mexican food…”, again, reinforcing the ‘internal’ categorization/classification schema for BLogs…

 so i wonder if Blogs were meant for others… i suppose that the fact that they are UP on the web, and the fact that there is cheeky commentary could be used to argue for the fact that the blog posts are meant to be read by others… but then couldn’t one make the same argument for JOURNAL posts? remember journals? when you used to right them as a child (or perhaps you still do…)… were you righting them for others? i would think not… but you would still offer your commentary on the day’s events, and tell your life story to no one… the intended audience was YOU. it was meant for later review, and also as a cathartic process… but it was not intended for other readers.

just some food for thought.

Hey all!

September 7, 2006

Hey everyone! My name is Randy Oldham and I am a part-time MLIS’er, just like many of you here. I am in my second semester (had to pull a few strings to get into this class actually… shhhh).

 I work full time at the University of Guelph McLaughlin Library in the ITS department. ITS stands for Information Technology Systems…So you can probably guess that I am kinda techy.

In all honesty though, I only read about 1 or 2 blogs regularly (well, a lot more now…!) and those are more ‘websites’ then they are blogs (slashdot and wired… i know… i’m a bit of a geek).

I have never actually done my own blog… never really wanted to… but here I am

 😀

i was first interested in this course because of a Committee I am on at work: Social Software Implementation. This committee is charged with examining different web 2.0 and social software initiatives and seeing how we can incorporate these into our own website/OPAC…. so I saw this course and thought PERFECTION!!!

anyways

i am 25 years old, have an undergrad in Philosophy with a minor in behavioural Neuroscience. I enjoy photography and computery stuff…

i look forward to chatting with you all throughout the course!

Randy Oldham