Archive for the 'blogging' category

Welcome to!!!!

YASBC. But this time an engineering blog community. This is a fantastic new development if you ask me, especially in a blogging environment domininated by science blogs. Time to let the engineers into the clubhouse, even if that means that we'll have to start serving massive quantities of various beverages to keep them all happy.

Let them explain:

This is a collection of some of the top engineering bloggers on the internet. Surprisingly, scientists seem to outnumber engineers, though we don't think that will happen for long. Some posts link directly back to the author's web page and some stay right here on Either way, we promise you some of the best engineering related content on the web. Tune in to our feed to get the newest information from all authors.

As they say, they have a collection of bloggers that both write on the their own personal blog sites as well as on the Engineer Blogs site. There also seems to be some re-posting going on too. An interesting model, to say the least.

There are only four blogs to start. I'll link first to the blogger's individual site then to their Engineer Blogs page, where available:

  • Cherish The Scientist (EB)

    I am an electrical engineer with an interest in various areas of electromagnetics, including antennas and numerical simulation techniques, as well as IC packaging. I have completed a master's degree in electrical engineering and am currently pursuing a doctorate in geophysics.

  • Chris Gammell's Analog Life

    My name is Chris Gammell and I am an analog electrical engineer from Cleveland, OH. Though I grew up in Buffalo, NY, I first came to Cleveland in late 2001; I earned my bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Case Western Reserve. Since I started working I have contributed to many different industries and picked up knowledge along the way. I'm very thankful for the fact that I am able to work on advanced electronics every day. I want this site to help others understand electronics and the electronics industry better. This site is dedicated to teaching those who are new to the industry and continuing the conversation with those who work alongside me industry.

  • Flying Flux (EB)

    Who is Fluxor? I'm a worker bee located in the nation's capital, the nation in question being Canada, and employed at FluxCorp for the purposes of building a Flying Flux. And what is a Flying Flux? It's a mixture of analog and digital integrated circuitry designed for mass consumption, although I focus mainly on the analog side.

    So that's what I am -- an analog IC circuit designer . That's what I've been doing since grad school. I've done designs ranging from DC (regulators, bandgaps), to multi-GHz RF (mixers, VCOs, LNAs), to multi-GHZ high speed analog (CDRs, PLLs), to behavioural modeling of components and systems. I've also managed projects where team members were spread across four countries and five time zones.

    Some day, I hope to be seconded to a land far, far away, with all the trappings of an ex-pat living lavishly in a foreign land. And in that land, preferably China, I hope to lead a local design office doing, what else, analog IC design.

  • Design. Build. Play. (EB)

    Just another engineer, formerly of the humanities discipline, writing about cars, aerospace, economics, coffee, design, school and exciting workplace adventures at MegaCorp.


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On women science bloggers, in chronological order #scio11

The women science bloggers conversation is getting so long and elongated, I thought it would be interesting and, I hope, useful to put all the posts in rough chronological order. By rough I mean that I haven't attempted to order the posts within each day of publication. Perhaps I'll take another pass at the list later on for that.

The original list of posts is here.

Yes, I'm a librarian and I do occasionally get these weird manias.

If I've made any mistakes or missed any posts that should be included here, please let me know in the comments.

Update 2011.01.31: Added "Women Science Bloggers" post.

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Around the Web: On women science bloggers

Jan 28 2011 Published by under blogging, scio11, so'11, social media, women in science

Since the Perils of blogging as a woman under a real name panel at ScienceOnline 2011 there's been quite a bit of commentary floating around the science blogosphere about how women are represented within that community.

A kind of introduction:

The perils women sciencebloggers face are not that different than those we face in the real world... though the exposure of the internet can occasionally make it less safe. And the risks that women avoid out in the world, are not unlike those we avoid in the blogosphere. That was one of many important conclusions made in the panel Sheril Kirshenbaum, Anne Jefferson, Joanne Manaster and I ran for the Sunday midday panel entitled "Perils of blogging as a woman under a real name." I believe Sheril was the one who first suggested the topic.

This panel ended up being a great experience, for several reasons. First, leading up to the session, I had the opportunity to meet with other women at the conference and discuss the topic. I found myself in large, women-only groups on a number of occasions (though I just realized, this happens to me a lot at academic conferences too: I think I avoid schmoozing with men more than I realize, a point I will return to later). Each time, I brought up the panel to hear what they had to say, and they made beautiful points, expressed legitimate frustrations, shared both good stories and horrible ones, and in general kicked ass. There were some seriously smart and savvy women at Science Online 2011.

I think the extended discussion across a whole range of blogs is interesting and valuable and well worth reading beyond the science blogosophere.

I've picked up as many of the posts as I could find, most of them from Kate Clancy's post. Thanks, Kate!

If you know of any posts I missed, please let me know in the comments.

FWIW, my list of science & technology librarian blogs is here (Friendfeed) and the Friendfeed group aggregating Women Scienceblogs here.

Added 2011.01.28:

Added 2011.01.30:

Added 2011.01.31:

Also worth noting, there's a page on the ScienceOnline 2011 wiki keeping track of these posts as well.

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Librarian socially disrupts Science 3.0

I'm always very happy to see a librarian blogger embedded in a science blogging network. It's very important to get the library message out beyond just the library echo chamber and to the faculty, students and researchers who are out patron community.

So I was very pleased to see Elizabeth Brown's new blog, Social Disruption, on the Science 3.0 blog network.

From her inauguaral post:

I've been able to found contacts and establish connections to quite a few people through Twitter, friendfeed, Linkedin, and Mendeley. This is/was an important resource as I'm the only person in the library with my job description and I don't have a lot of colleagues that I can share these issues with on a daily basis - for me these social tools are essential. I was also starting to see how easily research could be generated with 2.0 (and 3.0) tools. I had been doing this previously with chat and instant messaging in the library (a recent article is available at C&RL), and these tools were surprisingly easy to integrate into traditional experimental frameworks.

After some thought I realized part of the reason we're seeing some of the strange behavior is that these newer tools are socially disruptive, and this disruption causes anxiety and stress for both traditional and disruptive communicators. How do I tell my peers what I'm doing is important? How can I demonstrate its value? What if my peers think the work I'm doing is a complete waste of time? I noticed it's also hard to not be prejudiced when disruption occurs - everyone feels pressured to take a side. Part of the social side of research is convincing others that the work is worthwhile.

So that's the goal of Social Disruption - bringing policy and practice more closely aligned to help answer these questions. I know this will take more than this one blog to make it happen, and the current environment is undergoing a lot of disruption. I'm going to be looking farther afield than many of my colleagues blogging about scholarly communications and librarianship, and also looking at policy a bit more as I think this will show how disruption is becoming codified.

Some other posts:

Definately run on over and say, "Hi!"

And if you're a scitech librarian blogger (or potential blogger), think about the benefits of blogging as part of a network. There are still some science blogging networks out there that don't have a librarian presence that would certainly benefit from one.

It's all about the stealth librarianship, that's what I say.

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From the Archives: Balanced libraries: Thoughts on continuity and change by Walt Crawford

I have a whole pile of science-y book reviews on two of my older blogs, here and here. Both of those blogs have now been largely superseded by or merged into this one. So I'm going to be slowly moving the relevant reviews over here. I'll mostly be doing the posts one or two per weekend and I'll occasionally be merging two or more shorter reviews into one post here.

This one, of Balanced Libraries: Thoughts On Continuity And Change, is from June 6, 2007.


The library literature. I don't know about you, but those three words strike fear in my heart. When I think library literature, the word that comes to mind is, well, turgid. (And to be fair, most bodies of official scholarly literature are just as turgid, if not more so, so I'm not picking on us any more than any other discipline.) Books and articles that are basically a struggle to get through, dull, overlong, full of jargon. Just awful. For all the great ideas that can be encapsulated in the articles, the execution can often leave a bit to be desired. And the articles I've inflicted on the world are no different, I'm sure. So, what's to be done? Engage the biblioblogosphere, of course! Lively and diverse, full of opinion and debate, mostly written in a conversational, accessible style. The experimental rigor might not be there, but that's more than made up for by diversity, immediacy and accessibility.

On the other hand, wouldn't it be nice to have a shining example of a book that is well written and with ambitious, almost scholarly, intentions, well thought out arguments, deeply explored ideas, intellectually rigorous debate that seriously engages the most important professional topics of the day? Impossible, you say. I say, I'm holding that very book right here in my hands and it's Walt Crawford's Balanced libraries: Thoughts on Continuity and Change. And the issue it is engaging is perhaps the most important facing our profession these days: how to embrace new technological possibilities while still maintaining our core values as libraries and librarians while not going completely crazy in the process. And how does Crawford's fare in this endeavor? Pretty darn good, if you ask me. There's a lot of very profound wisdom in this book, and I would recommend it very seriously to any library professional, especially to those that are most directly engaged in building technology solutions for libraries.

There's a lot of good stuff in this book that I want to talk about, but first let's talk a little about the author for those of you who may not know about him. Walt Crawford is the author of numerous other books (including the excellent First Have Something to Say, which I've also read and which was influential in my blogging career), the important library ezine Cites & Insights and blog Walt at Random. A sage and sane voice in the biblioblogosphere, one that many have found inspiring.

And now, Balanced Libraries.

One of the best things about this book was that it provoked an awful lot of internal debates as I was reading it. You know how when you're reading a book and suddenly you're stopped in your tracks by something? It doesn't matter if you agree or disagree (and I certainly didn't agree with everything in Crawford's book), it makes you think, it makes you start a kind of virtual discussion with the author. You find yourself saying, "But, what if..." or "You know, that's not how I think that would happen..." or "Right on, and what about..." It takes a long time to read a book like that, because so much of your time is spent digesting what you've read. It often took me a day or two in between chapters to process. Lee Smolin's The Trouble with Physics, which I was reading more or less simultaneously, was the same.

So, what were those debates, what were the topics I endlessly worked over with my imaginary Walt Crawford? Well, let's take a look at the book more or less chapter by chapter and see what I came up with.

Chapter 1 (A Question of Balance) is the introduction. Crawford defines balance as "change with continuity," "expansion over replacement," and "continuous improvement over transformation," which is a definition I can live with. I guess you could say my first virtual debate was here, struggling with my own definition of balance. Like Crawford, I think I favour gradual, incremental change most of the time, but I do have a bit of the revolutionary in me as well and certainly this section helped me come to my own definition, even if it's a bit less than ideally "balanced." But it's a good way to start the book, to make sure we're more or less on the same wave length.

Chapter 2 (Patrons and the Library) really resonated with me. Are the "patrons always right?" Do we do what ever they want, no matter what, even if it might be outside our core mission? To what degree to we "pander" to patrons' every whim and to what degree do we use our professional judgment to decide what's best for them? A difficult question, one that I don't have the answer for -- and this this chapter provoked a lot of introspection.

Chapter 4 (Existing Collections and Services) struck a bit of a off note for me. In the discussion about existing collections there's quite a long section that romanticizes traditional book browsing on the shelves. I'm not sure the serendipity you get from browsing on the shelves is better than the kind of serendipity a good online system (with tags and recommendation systems, for example) can give you. I appreciate and use both kinds of discovery but I think that they can and should be profoundly complementary.

Chapter 6 (Balancing Generations) treats that hoary old proposition: kids today are going to hell in a hand basket/old fogies are so out of touch. Crawford struck a good balance here, talking about balancing the needs of younger vs. older patrons and the strengths of more experienced staff vs. new grads. Being a newer librarian who's not so young, I found a lot to like in this chapter, even if I sometimes seemed to find myself in both camps at once.

Chapter 7 (Pushing Back: Balance vs. Resistance) has a discussion of the dangers of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt that got me thinking. It seems that there's a challenge here, how to find a model for life-long contribution to the profession for everybody, not just the tech-savviest. Ultimately, we all get a little duller around the cutting edge (some less than others, some earlier than others), so how do we harness the wisdom and experience of those that have been-there-done-that?

Chapters 8 (Naming and Shaming) and 9 (Improving and Extending Services) were perhaps the most provocative and compelling in the book. They give the compelling and controversial story of the Library 2.0 wars, from the True Believers to the doubters to the mushy middlers. Crawford's portrayal of many of the L2 advocates is considerably less than flattering, to the point where I found myself shaking my head and remembering why I mostly stayed on the sidelines for the debate. On the other hand, Chapter 9 is an amazing exposition of perhaps what L2 is really about. I often found myself nodding my head in vigorous agreement, thinking "Gee, that's cool" or "Maybe I should try that!" The contrast between the two chapters is telling: in one librarians sound shrill and a bit mean, in the other we sound open minded, progressive and brilliant. Chapters 10 through 13 really just expand on the possibilities for embracing balanced change begun in chapter 9.

Chapters 14 (Balanced Librarians) and 15 (Change and Continuity) form a kind of extended conclusion for the book. Chapter 14 challenges us as professionals to take it easy, to use our time and energy wisely, to pace ourselves but at the same time to stop and think, to focus our concentration and really contemplate our situation. Chapter 15 brings it all together, challenging us to once again think deeply about what is worth keeping and what needs to be changed. As Crawford closes, "Whatever names you adopt, whatever tools wind up suiting your needs, I hope these thoughts will help you find a balance of continuity and change." (p. 229)

Well, you get the idea. Every chapter will make you think.

Another really interesting thing about this book was how it advanced the form of scholarship. Here's a self-published book with very serious intentions, not lightweight at all, which mostly referenced blogs in the bibliography. I find that really interesting. A book that's about how librarians should engage the most important issues in their professional practice and it's mostly propelled by bloggers and not by reams of articles in the official scholarly journals. By my quick count, 151/187, or about 80% of the items in the bibliography are blog posts. And he makes us sound pretty good too. And I'm not saying that because my blog appears three times in the bibliography. For the most past, Crawford showcases the best writing and the best thinking out there among the liblogs (except for Chapter 8, mentioned above, but even that showcases some real passion too); we are committed and engaged and thinking about the issues. If you are a liblogger and your colleagues are a bit skeptical about the the worth of what you are doing, show them this book. What we do, if we do it well, is worthy for our tenure files, for our professional CV's. Our work on our blogs should be counted the same as any one else's contributions in traditional media based on its intrinsic quality not its format or place of publication. Thanks to Crawford, we have an example of what we are capable of presented in a somewhat more traditional format and written by someone whose contributions to the field cannot be easily dismissed. We appreciate the support.

But enough of me. Go buy the book. One for yourself and one for your library's collection.

Crawford, Walt. Balanced Libraries: Thoughts On Continuity And Change. Cites and Insights (, 2007. 247pp.

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ScienceOnline 2011 Debrief Part 1: ebooks, blogs and stealthy librarians

Yeah, I'm talking about you, #scio11. The conference that still has significant twitter traffic three days after it's over. I've been to conferences that don't have that kind of traffic while they're happening. In fact, that would be pretty well every other conference.

Every edition of ScienceOnline seems to have a different virtual theme for me and this one seemed to somehow circle back to the blogging focus on earlier editions of the conference. Of course, the program is so diverse and the company so stimulating, that different people will follow different conference paths and perhaps sense different themes or perhaps no theme at all.

This post will contain some fairly disconnected thoughts, mostly directly connected to the program sessions themselves. I'll have another post up soon concentrating on the non-panel parts of the conference.

  • Stealthy Librarians. In the past, the sessions that the library invasive species contingent have organized have often been a bit sparsely attended by non-librarians. Even though we've tried to orient them towards a broader audience, they've usually had the L-Word in the session title. Unfortunately, there's nothing that'll turn off a bunch of savvy online science types faster than the library stuff. They'll tend to feel that it's stuff they've already mastered -- and most of them are certainly self-sufficient in their online activities.

    But, along comes librarian superheroes Molly Keener and Kiyomi Deards and scientist superhero Steve Koch to organize a session on Data Discoverability: Institutional Support Strategies. Essentially the session was about scientists and librarians collaborating to find a way to manage and make accessible large amounts of research data. And it was really well attended, provoked very lively discussion on a lot of important issues. To make things better, I think it got a lot of people thinking that the library is a natural ally in open science.

    By far, this was the best and most successful "library" session at any ScienceOnline. Bravo!

  • eBooks & the Science Community. This was my session, which was organized by Carl Zimmer and also included Thomas Levenson and David Dobbs. Once again, this was a case of a stealthy librarian (i.e., me) getting into a session that's not really about library issues and, I hope, getting some good points in about the things we worry about. Like sustainable business models that work for both content creators and consumers, preservation, open standards and, of course, the mutualized community sharing that are the whole point of libraries when it comes to the content we license and purchase.

    I somehow seem to recall referring to the emerging app ecosystem as "The Dark Side." I may have gotten carried away. Anyways, it was a great session and I'm really glad to have been part of it. Carl Zimmer and Christina Pikas have good summaries of the main points and Christina also has a post with some very kind words of commentary.

  • ScienceSeeker. Dave Munger and Anton Zuiker gave a session introducing the successor to, It seems like a fantastic project about aggregating science blogging content. Run on over and submit and/or claim your blog now.

    It's corrects the main fault with in that in accepts independent blogs and not just network-affiliated ones. My only hope is that they ultimately release the data they aggregate under a CC0 license, which seemed to be a point of some discussion in the session itself. At very least, they should make the data freely and openly available to those that wish to use it for research purposes.

Of course, there were a ton more sessions that I attended and they were mostly all very good. Watch the conference site and blog as a bunch of them were steamed live and will be made available for viewing.

All in all, this conference just gets better and more successful every year. Here's to #scio12!

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Reading Diary: Say Everything: How Blogging Began, What it's Becoming and Why it Matters by Scott Rosenberg

First of all, let me make this perfectly clear: Scott Rosenberg's Say Everything: How Blogging Began, What It's Becoming, and Why It Matters is a seriously terrific book. If you're a blogger, if you're interested in the phenomenon of blogging or even if you're just interested in where the media are headed, then you owe it to yourself to read this book.

I wanted to get that out of the way because, while I really enjoyed the book, there were some things that I would have liked to have seen done a bit differently and I be focusing on those quibbles more than on the things I liked about the book. I don't want to give the wrong impression about my final evaluation of the book.

First, the good stuff.

Parts One and Two give a very good history of "mainstream" blogging starting with pioneers like Justin Hall, Dave Winer and Jorn Barger through to Robert Scoble, Evan Williams Boing Boing and Heather Armstrong. While some of what he presents is pretty common knowledge, for most of it he really covered a lot of material here that I did not know. And this is really terrific, a really gripping story of people doing different things, working out a new medium on the fly.

What could be different here? Well, the story was a bit too male, a bit too American, a bit too techy, and certainly too much about political blogs and "newspaper" blogs. A bit too easy, in a sense, like he fell into the "business book" follow the money pattern. I would have really liked to get a sense of smaller blogging communities and how they arose, like the science blogging community or even knitting or food bloggers or even the liblogosphere. I really missed the small story. Blogging doesn't just disrupt mainstream journalism after all, it disrupted a lot of other information communities and that was worth exploring.

Part Three get into more conceptual territory with the title of Chapter 10, "When Everyone Has a Blog", giving a good flavour of what it's about.

Essentially he makes the case that blogging has a place in a broader media ecosystem, a normal communication activity. That everyone can play a role, that old-fashioned gatekeepers aren't the whole story for what has become a new publishing reality.

Bloggers are writers who sit down to type character after character, word upon word, day by day, steadily constructing, out of their fragments, little edifices of memory and public record. In this activity they resemble not the hordes outside the gates of a city, but rather the studious scribes within. Individually they are stewards of their own experience; together the are curators of our collective history. Their work may be less polished and professional than that of many of their predecessors. But they are more passionate, more numerous, and more inclusive -- and therefore more likely to succeed in saving what matters. (p. 351)

So, yes, a little blogging triumphalism. But that's ok, I certainly understand the impulse. Does he overstate the case on occasion? Sure, but we're only just getting beyond the early days of making that case.

Read the book, enjoy, learn. Most of all, take up the mantle, join the challenge. Communicate!

I would recommend this book to any academic library will collections in communications, journalism or science studies. It also fits nicely into any kind of general reading program that might exist. I'd also recommend it for any public library.

(And yes, Rosenberg is at ScienceOnline 2011 this coming weekend and I certainly look forward to hearing what he has to say about the tumultuous 2010 the science blogosphere had!)

Rosenberg, Scott. Say Everything: How Blogging Began, What It's Becoming, and Why It Matters. New York: Broadway, 2010. 416pp. ISBN-13: 978-0307451378

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#ArsenicLife #Fail: A teachable moment

For those that haven't heard about the NASA/arsenic bacteria story that's been exploding all over the science blogosphere over the last couple of weeks, I like the summary over at Jonathan Eisen's Tree of Life blog:

  1. NASA announced a major press conference
  2. at the conference they discussed a new Science paper claiming to show the discovery of a microbe that could replace much/some of its phosphate with arsenic
  3. initial press coverage of the paper was very positive and discussed the work as having profound implications for understanding of life in the universe - though some scientists in some of the stories expressed scepticism of the findings
  4. subsequently many science bloggers further critiqued the paper and/or the press coverage
  5. NASA and the scientists have now refused to discuss the criticisms of their work and press interactions
  6. News stories have now come out summarizing the blogger criticisms and also discussing the unwillingness of NASA / the authors to discuss their work

So, in the middle of all that I really appreciated Bonnie Swoger's recent post, Using the 'arsenic bacteria' story as a teaching moment for undergraduates. It really warmed my cold, dark science librarian's heart.

Precisely because it is so perfectly science-librarianish. It combines an interest and fascination with science and the scientific method with the drive to carry out one of the core missions of the academic librarian. That would be what we call Information Literacy instruction. In other words, helping faculty teach their students about the process of scholarly communication in the sciences.

From the ACRL Information Literacy Standards for Science and Engineering/Technology:

Standard Three

The information literate student critically evaluates the procured information and its sources, and as a result, decides whether or not to modify the initial query and/or seek additional sources and whether to develop a new research process.

Standard Five

The information literate student understands that information literacy is an ongoing process and an important component of lifelong learning and recognizes the need to keep current regarding new developments in his or her field.

From Bonnie's post:

First, you have scientists on record saying that basically, the peer review system didn't work as well as we'd like. These scientists are saying that the scientific methods used were not as rigorous as they should have been. In addition, many folks are arguing that what the scientists actually discovered isn't nearly as important as the hype surrounding it makes it seem.


Second, you have the controversy about where scientific debate should take place. Some scientists see little value in the scientific blogosphere. Many others (including myself) view it as a vital part of the communication between scientists and the general public. In addition, blogger's comments have led to the retraction of at least one article in a highly respected journal (that I know of).

I agree completely with Bonnie that this type of media event is the perfect opportunity to reach students about both the idealized conception of scholarly communications as well as the more sausage-making aspects of a very human process.

In fact, on December 6th, just a few days after the bacteria hit the fan, I was at a workshop session for a fourth year Science & Technology Studies seminar course here at York. I was there to help the students think about their major projects in the context of the sources they will need and just the practicality of various ideas in the time frame they were looking at.

And wouldn't you know it. One of the students wanted to do a media analysis of a scientific controversy. Bingo. I don't know if he'll end up doing the arsenic life story for his project, but it was a good example for me to talk about finding media reporting (new and old media) and the context that blogs and the web in general brings to that sort of issue.

Which led me to #ArsenicLife #Fail and Bonnie's post. Picking up a bit where she left off, I started to think in a bit more detail about how I could use the issue as kind of a case study in scientific communications and the media in the 21st century.

I thought about from the point of view of progression of media documents, from the original reporting to the various reactions. I also saw the case more or less mirroring Eisen's breakdown of the story I quoted above. I wanted my selection of documents to be concise and manageable yet give a good sense of the scale of the controversy and the main themes.

This is what I've come up with. Please, feel free to suggest documents and themes that I've missed that'll add to the picture, especially if you think there's a document that better illustrates one of the themes than the one I've chosen. Do keep in mind that I want to have something that will be manageable to talk about and discuss with a class in, say, 30-45 minutes.

Not that I'm ever going to get to do such a class or make such a presentation -- but it's fun to think about.

Here goes:

It'll be very interesting to see where this goes over even the next few days as the blogosphere digests the authors' latest response and the fact that they've decided to engage at all with non-traditional media.

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Welcome to YASBC: Occam's Typewriter

Dec 09 2010 Published by under blogging, culture of science

Yes, it was quiet for a while there, but it seems that change and disruption are inevitable in the world of science blogging.

Welcome to Yet Another Science Blogging Community: Occam's Typewriter.

Apparently born amidst much controversy and drama, it's a new community formed mostly (all?) from former Nature Network bloggers. For at least a bit of the inside story, run on over to NN survivor Eva Amsen's blog for My friends moved away, but I have their new addresses which seems to nicely encapsulate the science blogging world over the last six months or so.

Anyways, here's the really very fine list of blogs in the new community:


(From the scitech librarian blogger perspective, it's important to note that Frank Norman has moved his blog from NN to the new community.)

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The Science of Blogging

Via Bora Zivkovic, I see that there's a new blog in town -- this one devoted to the joys of scientists blogging to advance their work.

It's called Science of Blogging and it's by Peter Janiszewski and Travis Saunders who blog at Obesity Panacea.

I'll let them explain their mission:

Social media provides a tremendous outlet by which to translate and promote scientific knowledge and engage the public discourse. All scientists, researchers, clinicians, government and not-for-profit organizations have much to gain by adopting an effective and viable social media strategy.

Science of Blogging will not only highlight the ways by which social media is changing the way science and research is communicated, but also will provide basic guidelines for those individuals or organizations who seek to use social media to increase the public understanding of scientific research.

You should definitely follow up and read their story on the About page.

Their first few posts are:

Scientists: Publicizing your research gets you cited more often

There is no shortage of benefits for scientists - young and well-tenured - to publicize their research beyond peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations. And yet, few scientists look beyond the pages of their discipline's journal to showcase their work.

While all researchers should strive to translate their work for mass consumption, the scientist's day is a long one, and often this task is overshadowed by more pressing issues of academia; grants, lectures, publications, conferences, student's dissertations, etc.

Part of the problem is that many researchers fail to recognize the more tangible benefits of exposing their research to a greater audience.

How building your online social network may affect your offline social life

In the realm of online vs offline social networking, an interesting question often arises: As one's online social networks grow, does that person also become more popular offline?

There are generally two schools of thought on this issue, broadly promoted by the cyberpessimists and the cyberoptimists.

You can almost guess what I'm about to write next, right?

Why all scientists should blog: a case study

Although the PLoS Blogs network was rather new and traffic to our blog was lower than usual, the series hit a nerve.

The biggest nerve I managed to hit was that of, a very popular aggregator of interesting news stories which sent a good chunk of traffic our way.

All of this interest resulted in a total of 12,080 page views and over 70 comments from readers during the week of the series.

Put another way, the same research which I published in a prestigious medical journal and made basically no impact, was then viewed by over 12,000 sets of eyes because I decided to discuss it online.

And it doesn't end there.

Working with your Public/Media Relations office: A primer for researchers (by Andrew Careaga)

Ideally, the media relations folks on college campuses are valuable partners for scholar-bloggers who want to get their research ideas out to the public. PR folks should not serve as personal publicists for certain faculty members - although most of us in the PR field know of a few professors who would love it if that were the case. Rather, we are partners in disseminating scholarship. We can do so not only by publicizing faculty research, but also by talking about the researchers' own public-service blogging, and by pointing journalists and others to the researchers' own blogging efforts.

How to Promote Your Science Blog:

Research Blogging is a website that aggregates blog posts that discuss peer-reviewed research. The blog post must discuss the research in a relatively in-depth fashion (e.g. the post must do more than simply summarize the abstract), but this is something that many science blogs do on a fairly regular basis. If you discuss peer-reviewed studies on your blog, then you simply need to register your blog with Research Blogging, and then insert the Research Blogging citation code into each blog post which discusses a peer-reviewed journal article. For example, on our obesity blog roughly 1/3 to 1/2 of our posts discuss the results of a peer-reviewed paper, and so we include the Research Blogging code on each of those articles. These posts then get advertised on the Research Blogging main page, as well as the sidebar of the Scienceblogs network (Scienceblogs and Research Blogging are both owned by SEED media group). This is huge, as Scienceblogs is one of the most popular science websites in the world. So by signing up for Research Blogging, you are basically getting your work advertised for free, on a tremendously popular website that caters to people who like to read about science.

A project near and dear to my own heart, I wish them great success in spreading the word about the usefulness of blogging to scientists, academics and other professionals. They're soliciting suggestions and feedback here.

Here's some of my own writings and presentations on the topic, broadly defined as blogging for professional development and/or professional practice:

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