May 16, 2013, 8:00 am
Last year, I reported on the website Quartzy, which can be used for inventory management. The site is nominally marketed towards use in the life sciences, but we have found it to be very useful in our physics department. Since last September, there have been a number of updates to the website, which might be useful to ProfHacker readers.
First, a major wish-list item of mine has been added to the site: you can now directly link protocols to inventory items. The key here is to think of protocols more broadly than just experiment protocols. In our department, we are using protocols to post introductory lab directions, and now we can associate a given protocol with the inventory records of the equipment used in the lab. This is a key functionality as we have students assist us with set up of labs; the students will be able to easily access information on types and quantities of equipment…
May 15, 2013, 8:00 am
Recently, I witnessed a Twitter conversation that pretty clearly demonstrated that the participants weren’t understanding one another very well on a key point. They worked things out, and the discussion ended with no hard feelings, but for a while the atmosphere seemed pretty tense, at least to those of us watching the conversation unfold.
Who the participants were in this particular instance really doesn’t matter, but the incident got me thinking about both the importance of effective communication and some of the difficulties involved in achieving it. Both the attitude we bring to a conversation and the means by which it takes place are vitally important.
In the Twitter conversation mentioned above, the two principal participants were able to work things out in part because there’s already a relationship—one involving mutual liking and respect—between them. They were…
May 14, 2013, 8:00 am
I’ve just wrapped up my first year as a junior faculty member at a new institution. Overall it’s been a wonderful transition, but I have run up against that familiar problem for academics: the encroachment of other duties into research time. Teaching well is essential, of course—as indicated by the many posts here at ProfHacker about the classroom—and every faculty post requires significant service. The time demands of both can creep into any crevice in a faculty member’s schedule, however, pushing research further and further into the ever-receding future. For me, at least, a haphazard approach to research time just didn’t cut it.
A mentor of mine suggested a simple hack to prevent such creep: add dedicated blocks of “research time” on your calendar and treat that time as you would any other appointment or class. If treated seriously, this method preserves valuable blocks of time…
May 10, 2013, 3:00 pm
As people on the semester schedule wrap up their year, I wanted to point to Jack Dougherty, Dina Anselmi, and Christopher Hager’s new project Web Writing: Why & How for Liberal Arts Teaching & Learning. As it says on the tin, the born-digital book aims to explain not only why faculty and students might want to develop this skill, but also how they might get started doing so. In addition to the general call for papers, there are also some small subventions available. Jack has previously co-edited a similarly-structured project, Writing History in the Digital Age. Why not submit a proposal?*
On to this week’s links!
May 7, 2013, 8:00 am
A week ago marked the end of my second term as president of the union on our campus. Following the “logic” that if four years are enough to get an undergraduate degree, it’s plenty of time to play this particular role, I did not run for re-election. (And since I’ve argued before that being a good university citizen means self-replacement on committees, I’ll just mention in passing that I took my own advice here.)
I’ve written a fair amount on AAUP and collective bargaining issues here on ProfHacker, and that will continue. But in this post, I wanted to offer four pointers to anyone contemplating a large
servicegovernance commitment of any sort (chair, etc.). Most of these are things I probably should’ve realized four years ago, but, as a great philosopher once said, when I was young and irresponsible I was young and irresponsible.
May 2, 2013, 8:00 am
Towards the end of grad school, I learned a key lesson about academia. I was discussing a draft of a dissertation chapter with my second reader. Although not my adviser, her work was critical for the arguments that I was building about psychological trauma and technology. Toward the end of the conversation, she said something to the effect of, “You know, this chapter could really use more Heidegger.” Inside, my heart sunk a bit. “Great,” I thought, “more to read. And from an author whose work I don’t really know.” But I dutifully wrote, “More Heidegger,” in the margin of a page, and after the meeting, I checked out a copy of The Question Concerning Technology.
I read Heidegger and tried to understand how his views on technology fit into his and my larger projects. It wasn’t especially easy going. And perhaps in the third day of thinking about Heidegger, I had an epiphany that was…
April 30, 2013, 8:00 am
I recently wrapped up a series on GitHub. Throughout the series I highlighted what I thought were some of the most powerful innovations that software developers and writers can take advantage of in GitHub. In particular I looked at two of its collaborative features, the ability to "fork" repositories of text that retain a connection to the original and the issuing of "pull requests" as a way to enable outside contributions in an decentralized environment which leaves everyone with full control over the texts they work on.
The social and collaborative potentials that GitHub provides makes it easier than ever for anyone to contribute to an open source project or adopt and adapt a repository for their own needs and pursue their own directions. If something like this caught on in the academic world, if we could fork the academy, we might move beyond merely referring to the work of others …
April 26, 2013, 8:00 am
Join the Postcolonial Digital Humanities (
#DHPoco) TODAY in our Global Women Wikipedia Write-In from 1-3pm EST! This write-in is aimed to improve and increase the amount of Wikipedia coverage on women outside of Europe and the United States.
If you’d like to join in, please sign up on the Wikipedia meetup page and check out the
#GWWI main event page. Also, if you’re on Twitter, send out a Tweet using the hashtag
#GWWI so that we’ll know you’re there. Real-time events are going on at HASTAC 2013, UCLA, Foothill College and the Sanger Papers at NYU.
Roopika Risam (@roopikarisam) and I will be live-blogging
#GWWI developments here between 1-3pm EST, so do follow along and let us know what you’re doing so we can add it to the live-blog! (Every little edit counts.)
Now on to today’s event. New Wikipedia editors often find that it is hard for them to create entries that will…
April 25, 2013, 11:00 am
This is part 3 (the final part) of the ninth interview in a series, Digital Challenges to Academic Publishing, by Adeline Koh. Each article in this series features an interview with an academic publisher, press or journal editor on how their organization is changing in response to the digital world. The series has featured interviews with Anvil Academic, Stanford Highwire Press, NYU Press, MIT Press and the Penn State University Press.
In this third and final installation of the interview, I speak with Ken Wissoker (@kwissoker), editorial director of Duke University Press, about open access publishing, the future of the academic press, and alternative academic careers.
AK: Let’s talk about open access publishing. Does your press have a policy regarding open access? Are you trying to move towards that in terms of your journals or your books?
KW: We don’t have an overall policy….