Archive for the 'blogging' category

Welcome to Yet Another Science Blogging Community: Popular Science Blog Network

Oct 08 2013 Published by under blogging, scholarly publishing, social media

Yes, another science blogging community among the many and yet another where an established print magazine enhances its online presence with a blogging network. And a bit more shuffling of the chairs on the deck as people with established blogs switch places or even some people start up whole new blogging personas.

The Popular Science Blogging Network!

Here's the welcome post and the list of blogs

Welcome To The Popular Science Blog Network

Today we’re unveiling 13 new blogs on, each one home to a notable writer covering a specific area of innovation. We live in an era when science and technology have made their way into every corner of our lives, from the baby’s crib to the battlefield, and we’ve asked these writers to be your reliable voice of analysis.

Zero Moment: Erik Sofge on our robot future
Techtiles: Emma Barker on the science behind the clothes and gadgets we wear
Biohackers: Daniel Grushkin and others on bathtub genomicists and tissue tweakers
Ignition!: Peter Madsen on the world of amateur space exploration
Our Modern Plagues: Brooke Borel on the latest contagions and infestations, and the science of fighting them
LadyBits: Arikia Millikan and others on gender and feminism in science and technology
Boxplot: Maki Naro on science through the medium of graphic narrative
Rotorhead: Chelsea Sexton on the green rebirth of the automobile and other forms of transportation
Vintage Space: Amy Shira Teitel on the history of space exploration
Under the Microscope: Jason Tetro on microbiology and the germs that define us
Unpopular Science: Rebecca Watson on the area just beyond the fringe of science
KinderLab: Kate Gammon on the science of childhood development
Eek Squad: Rebecca Boyle on creepy animals

A couple weeks before launching this network, we announced a new no-comments policy on the site. It was the result of a combination of factors: a rising tide of unpleasant comments, a growing body of evidence that those unpleasant comments, left unchecked, can have a disastrous effect on scientific comprehension, and a lack of resources to properly moderate the comments to ensure that the resulting discussion is productive. Here, we’re giving our bloggers the option of turning comments on for individual posts, and asking them to actively lead the discussion. We hope you’ll take part.

Jacob Ward is the editor-in-chief of Popular Science.

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Welcome to Yet Another Science Blogging Community: Phenomena!

Dec 18 2012 Published by under blogging, scholarly publishing, social media

Yes, the science blogging community has certainly seen some gyrations in the last few years with a bunch of new networks sprouting up, sometimes from the ashes of other networks, sometimes completely on their own.

The latest is Phenomena: A science salon hosted by National Geographic magazine.

Phenomena is a gathering of spirited science writers who take delight in the new, the strange, the beautiful and awe-inspiring details of our world. Phenomena is hosted by Jamie Shreeve, Executive Editor for Science at National Geographic magazine, who invites you to join the conversation.

So far at least, it's quite small with only four bloggers.

But what bloggers they are!

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Happpy 10th Blogiversary to me!

Oct 03 2012 Published by under blogging, personal

Ten years ago today, three days shy of my 40th birthday, I started a blog more or less on a whim. I have to admit, I only had a pretty vague idea of what blogging was all about or what its potential was. After all, my main inspiration for getting started wasn't even a blog at all, but a zine.

Sitting here, all these years later, three days shy of my 50th birthday, I can only say that it's been a wonderful, exciting and sometimes strange trip. The trip has meandered through the broad crossroads of librarianship and science at the beginning of the 21st century and I'm sure will continue to wander that same path.

I'm not much on extensive recaps or endless sentimental remembrances (which I know, seems rare among bloggers...), but this seems like an anniversary worth noting, if only briefly. Blogging has been good to me personally and professionally in more ways than I can count. I hope to continue contributing my one small voice to the profession.

To all my readers who have patiently followed me hither and yon over the years, all I have to say is thank you for your time and attention.

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Welcome to Information Culture, the latest blog at Scientific Amerincan

I'd like to extend a huge science librarian blogosphere welcome to Information Culture, the newest blog over at Scientific American Blogs!

This past Sunday evening I got a cryptic DM from a certain Bora Zivkovic letting me know that I should watch the SciAm blog site first thing Monday morning. I was busy that morning but as soon as I got our of my meeting I rushed to Twitter and the Internet and lo! and behold!

Information Culture: Thoughts and analysis related to science information, data, publication and culture.

I'm always happy to see librarians invading faculty and researcher blogs networks and this is no exception.

What's even happier is that one of the bloggers at the new site is Bonnie Swoger, long-time blogger at Undergraduate Science Librarian. Bonnie is a super blogger and a terrific colleague who I'm always glad to see at Science Online. I'm sort of wondering what's taken so long for a blogging network to snap her up and I guess it's not surprising that Bora's the one to finally get it done.

Joining Bonnie is an equally wonderful but new-to-me blogger, Hadas Shema. Hadas is an Info Sci grad student at Bar-Ilan University in Israel and formerly blogged at Science blogging in theory and practice.

Here's what Bora has to say in his Introductory post: Welcome Information Culture - the newest blog at #SciAmBlogs

How to do an efficient search? How can a librarian help you find obscure references? What is this "Open Access" thing all about? Why is there a gender gap among Wikipedia editors? How do science bloggers link to each other? Can tweeting a link to a paper predict its future citations? How to track down an un-linked paper mentioned in a media article? What is going on with eTextbooks?

And from the new blog itself, a taste of the first three posts:

Introduction post - Hadas Shema

Two questions I get asked now and then are A. "What do you study?" And B. "What is it good for? (as in "Why should my tax money fund you?"). Now that I have an excellent platform like this SciAm blog, I might as well take advantage of it to answer at least the first question (I'll let you decide if it's worth the taxpayer's money).

I study Information or Library Science, and my sub-field is what used to be called Bibliometrics, "the application of mathematical and statistical methods to books and other media of communication," (Pritchard, 1969). The term was invented back in 69′, when official scientific communication involved dead trees. The Russian version, "Scientometrics" was coined around that time as well. Today we have a variety of other terms, perhaps more appropriate for the net age: Cybermetrics, Informetrics, Webometrics and even Altmetrics. But for now, let's stick with Bibliometrics.

Bibliometricians measure, analyze and record scientific discourse. We want to learn what impact scientific articles, journals, and even individual scientists have on the world. Until recently "the world" meant "other articles, journals and individual scientists" because it was next to impossible to research the way scientific discourse affect the rest of the world, or even how scientists affect it when they're not in "official" capacity (publishing a paper or speaking at a conference). Now Bibliometricians not only need a new name, but new indices. That's what I (and plenty of other people) work on. We ask what scientists are doing on the Web, how and why they're doing it and the most important thing - can we use it to evaluate the impact of their work.

You have to share (by Bonnie Swoger)

Understanding how scientists share their results is my job. I am a science librarian.

I work with scientists at my college to make sure that they have access to the information they need to do their work. I teach undergraduates - novice scientists - how the scientific literature works: What kinds of information are available? Where can you find what you need? How can you use the different types of information? I work with researchers to help them understand new developments in scholarly communication: What is a DOI and how can it make your research just a bit easier? Are you allowed to post a copy of your recent article on your website and what are the advantages if you do?

And as I work with students and faculty at my institution, this blog will be a place for me to share some of these concepts with you. I'll share tips to help you find information faster, explain basic concepts related to the publication of scientific results and try to figure out how recent scholarly comunication news


It's hard to stand on the shoulders of giants if the giants are hiding under the bed.

Understanding the Journal Impact Factor - Part One (by Hadas Shema)

The journals in which scientists publish can make or break their career. A scientist must publish in "leading" journals, with high Journal Impact Factor (JIF), (you can see it presented proudly on high-impact journals' websites). The JIF has gone popular partly because it gives an "objective" measure of a journal's quality and partly because it's a neat little number which is relatively easy to understand. It's widely used by academic librarians, authors, readers and promotion committees.

Raw citation counts emerged at the 20′s of the previous century and were used mainly by science librarians who wanted to save money and shelf space by discovering which journals make the best investment in each field. This method had a modest success, but it didn't gain much momentum until the sixties. That could be because said librarians had to count citations by hand.

Run on over and say Hi to Bonnie and Hadas!

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Around the Web: Resources on academic blogging and social media use

Dec 06 2011 Published by under blogging, faculty liaison, social media, yorku

I'm doing a short presentation tomorrow on blogging for researchers as part of a day-long communications workshop for faculty here at York. And since a few months back I created a reading list for a social media presentation for grad students, I thought I'd expand that list in this post and add some more specifically blogging-related resources.


Feel free to add any suggestions in the comments.

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The power of blogs, or #OccupyScholComm

I've long been a believer in the power of blogs to drive and aggregate conversations at every level. Frivolous, for sure. But also serious and scholarly.

The rise of science blogs over the last few years has certainly demonstrated that. In librarianship as well, blogs are a powerful source of comment, theory and practical advice. I've always thought that the practical side of the library world was ripe to be the first field to truly leave journals behind and embrace blogging as a kind of replacement. It would be messy, sure, but it would be democratizing and re-invigorating.

The kinds of discussions we see in the best of the library blogosphere are as good as anything we see in the formal literature. In the Library with the Lead Pipe is a great example of one of the ways it could work, with Research Blogging or PLoS Blogs as an example of how meaningful aggregation or community could arise.

Impossible, you say?

Let's see what Paul Krugman has to say about economics blogs:

Second, even for more academic research, the journals ceased being a means of communication a long time ago - more than 20 years ago for sure. New research would be unveiled in seminars, circulated as NBER Working Papers, long before anything showed up in a journal. Whole literatures could flourish, mature, and grow decadent before the first article got properly published - this happened to me with target zones back in the late 1980s, where my original 1988 working paper had spawned a large derivative literature by the time it actually got published. The journals have long served as tombstones, certifications for tenure committees, rather than a forum in which ideas get argued.

What the blogs have done, in a way, is open up that process. Twenty years ago it was possible and even normal to get research into circulation and have everyone talking about it without having gone through the refereeing process - but you had to be part of a certain circle, and basically had to have graduated from a prestigious department, to be part of that game. Now you can break in from anywhere; although there's still at any given time a sort of magic circle that's hard to get into, it's less formal and less defined by where you sit or where you went to school.


As you can see, I think this is all positive. The econoblogosphere makes it a lot harder for economists to shout down other people by pulling rank -- although some of them still try -- but that's a good thing.

Or Nigel Thrift on an emerging new field where blogs are the cutting edge of scholarly communication:

For one thing that I have found really interesting about the turn to speculative realism is that is has clearly been fuelled by online communities which have turned above all to blogs as an important means of swapping material, revealing first thoughts, and making revisions. I doubt that the growth of speculative realism would have been so insistent without these communities scattered all over the world, or so rapid. Why?

First, they are a key preserve of particular communities like postgraduates and early career researchers, not least because so much activity can go on below the radar, so to speak, outside the attention of the kind of disciplinary policing that journals and other institutions tend to impose.


Fourth, they allow all manner of researchers to communicate with each other, establish reading groups and the like, often concerning intellectual alleyways which might prove of the greatest importance. There is real debate.

Fifth, new material reaches an audience much more rapidly than it would through the normal means of communication.

So did these blogs have an effect? I think that they did. In the case of speculative realism, they allowed the field to agglomerate more quickly than it otherwise would and to gain momentum faster than it otherwise would have...

Still skeptical?

Of course, the revolution won't happen over night. And it's unlikely that we'll ever have a scholarly communications landscape that is only or even primarily populated by blogs.

But on the other hand, blogs are certainly a way that scholars can take back their scholarship and control how it is disseminated. As the great philosopher once said, it is time to #OccupyScholComm.


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So who the heck is still on ScienceBlogs anyways, 2011 edition

Aug 26 2011 Published by under blogging, social media

What with the latest round of departures seemingly immanent with the new "no pseudonymous bloggers" policy, I thought I'd revisit the list I did last year at about this time.

With a few exceptions, I'll call blogs dormant if there hasn't been a post in 2011.

There were three new blogs over the last year, We, Beasties, Art of Science Learning and Dean's Corner, which I've added.

I may have missed a couple of other cases of pseudonymous blogging or maybe a move or something, so please feel free to offer corrections in the comments.

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Friday No Fun: Pseudonymous blogging no longer allowed at ScienceBlogs?

Aug 19 2011 Published by under blogging, personal

According to DrugMonkey's recent post, ScienceBlogs' new overlords The National Geogrpaphic Society will no longer allow pseudonymous to continue blogging here.

I have just been informed that ScienceBlogs will no longer be hosting anonymous or pseudonymous bloggers. In case you are interested, despite extensive communication from many of us as to why we blog under pseudonyms, I have not been given any rationale or reason for this move. Particularly, no rationale or reason that responds to the many valid points raised by the pseudonymous folks.

This is, as they say, not unexpected. It is pretty clear that when corporate flacks ask you for your opinion in response to their reflexive stance they are not in fact going to be influenced. So I do hope none of my colleagues are surprised by this. Disappointed, as am I, but not surprised.

This is very problematic for me. The ability to speak freely and without fear of reprisal is the foundation and necessity of pseudonymous blogging. These bloggers work long and hard to establish the credibility and reliability of their online identities and shouldn't be punished or banished because of it.

Check out this wiki page, Who is harmed by a "Real Names" policy? for more elaborate reasoning on the issue. There's also been tons of posts on the Google+ real names policy, this one for example.

What does this mean for me?

I'm not sure. I'm certainly not going to act rashly but frankly amongst all the turmoil here over the last year or so, this is the first time I'm actually seriously considering whether or not I belong here.

I see three possibilities.

  • Suck it up and continue blogging here. It's at least marginally useful for my career to blog here and I think somewhat useful for librarianship as a whole to have a librarian presence here. These are not inconsiderable factors but not automatically more important than principle.
  • Return to my old location at Blogger (or perhaps a new indie location at WordPress, say). This is probably the most likely alternative to staying put.
  • Moving to another network. There are currently no offers on the table from other networks nor do I intend to seek any out at this point. This may be the least likely alternative but I have to say I don't have much of sense of what that likelihood actually is.

I considered a blogging hiatus until I figure this out but I do have a couple of things in the pipeline for the next week or so so I'm just going to continue as normal for now.

I appreciate any feedback from my readers.

10 responses so far

Friday Fun: The 8 Worst Types of Blog on the Internet

Jul 29 2011 Published by under blogging, friday fun

I usually don't feature too many Cracked posts here because, well, they can tend to be a little on the NSFW for a family blog like this one.

But this one is very funny and very true. Fortunately, I don't seem to qualify as any of the worst kinds of blogs, but I guess I'm not the best judge of that!

Here they are:

  • The "Let's Start a Blog" Blog
  • The Corporate Blog
  • The Shill Blog
  • The Parrot Blog. This is a blog which seems to exist solely to reprint, quote or link to other people's content. You can find these blogs everywhere, but by their very nature, they prefer cropping up in the more heavily populated parts of the blogoverse.
  • The Spam Blog
  • The Snark Blog
  • The Crazed Blog. These lurk on the fringes of legitimate parts of the blogoplex, often around political blogs. You'll stumble upon these occasionally while browsing useful sites, maybe while pursuing an automatically generated link looking for Hillary Clinton upskirts. (This is all hypothetical.) Their insanity is easy to pick out when you arrive, as they tend to prefer garish fonts and graphical themes, animated gifs and heavy capitalization of words like Truth, Underground, Crystals, Secrets, Patriot, etc. ... They'll also usually have links to self-published books written by self-published book writin' kind of authors.
  • Well, I'll let you discover this one for yourself...

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Academic/research librarians blogging in non-librarian communities

My previous post was about Brian Mathews moving his blog to the Chronicle, a non-librarian blog network.

So for this post I thought I'd list all the academic and research librarians I know of that are embedded in non-library blogging communities.

On the one hand, it's a pretty short list. On the other hand, it's not like there are that many relevant blogging communities out there!

Needless to say, I think it's hugely important to get the librarian point of view in front of our patrons and getting ourselves into their blogging communities and talking about issues they care about is a great way to do just that.

So, here's who I know about:

Are there others I'm forgetting or don't know about?

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