deborah: Kirkus Reviews: OM NOM NOM BRAINS (kirkus)
Last fall, when I taught with [personal profile] astern, it wasn't until after we had started the semester that we realized what the ideal opening assignment ought to be. Now that we are taking a teaching hiatus, we have to give the assignment to you. This assignment will not be graded on a curve, so do your best work! We expect you to abide by the Honor Code*, which in this case means you may work together.

Your assignment:

Pick a book. In the spirit of the class we are not currently teaching, I suggest a speculative fiction work for children or young adults, but pick any book you are interested in talking about.

Now pick three types of writing off the following list. You must pick option 9, but the other two can be any you choose.

  1. A personal blog post reacting to your reading experience.
  2. A professional blog post about the text.
  3. The political response: a reading of the text on purely ideological grounds.
  4. A Goodreads or Amazon style review of the book.
  5. A professional (e.g. Kirkus, Publishers Weekly) style review. If you pick this option, read several examples, and pay attention to such things as house style, word count, ratio of summary/analysis/judgment, etc.
  6. Librarian book talk write up.
  7. Editorial analysis, from the point of view of a publisher or agent working with the manuscript.
  8. Critical scholarly discussion of the sort you would post in an educational forum discussing the text for a class.
  9. Formal critical scholarly analysis of any element of the text, as with a formal paper.


Write at least 500 words in each of your three styles (unless you are choosing to write a professional review, in which case use the word count appropriate for the house style you are choosing). Pay attention to what is different. Besides obvious changes (such as casual versus professional language), what differs? What different choices did you have to make? Did more or fewer words make things easier?

One of our goals with this hypothetical assignment was to show how, while each of these styles of writing is valuable and important -- we certainly don't think, say, personal blog posts of squee aren't valuable -- they are all wildly different. In fact, we hope some of you will choose to write both personal and professional blog posts, or both Goodreads and professional reviews, just to focus on the more subtle (but vital) differences between these types of writing.

Current students are so incredibly proficient at writing about reading, because what with blogs etc., they do so much of it. And yet at the same time, they are proficient in some very specific kinds of writing about reading (primarily personal blogs and Goodreads-style reviews, with some amount of professional blogs), and the process of showing people the requirements of the different kinds of writing is different than it used to be. Without devaluing existing proficiencies, we hope to show that high quality reactive blog post, for example, is not the same thing as scholarly forum discussion.

Over the next couple of days, we will be producing examples of each of these kinds of writing for a single book, and we will post our own examples as well as our own analysis of the differences in the writing style. Let us know here if you have tried this exercise yourself and would like us to link here to your results (whether that happens now or sometime in the future).


* Why yes, we are both bi-co, why do you ask? [Back]
deborah: The management regrets that it was unable to find a Gnomic Utterance that was suitably irrelevant. (gnomic)
  • "So You Want to Read YA?", a guest post by Amy Stern at Stacked. Everything she says there is completely worth reading, except for how I think Rob Thomas' later statements about his work have poisoned everything he wrote earlier in his career, to the extent that I find it impossible to talk about his earlier work in any non-negative fashion.[1]
  • "Specimens: Figurines, fishers, bugs and bats ā€“ how things in the world become sacred objects in a museum": I want to understand how things come to take their place ā€” especially in museums and collections ā€” as embodiments of knowledge, artefacts out of time and nature, provoking curiosity and wonder. How they become objectified.
  • "Fist-clenchingly poor science": But every time such fist-clenchingly poor science as the current paper is published, the prejudice is reinforced and the cause of open access publishing undermined. Thus, while Iā€™m sure everyone involved is dedicated and scrupulous, it is paramount that PLOS works harder to increase its editorial standards to reduce the chances of such embarrassingly weak science being published.
  • "Colleges Leaving Low-Income Students Behind": Schools have gone from helping to make college more affordable for those with the greatest financial need to strategically awarding merit aid to students who can increase their standings in rankings like U.S. News & World Report and bring in more revenue.






1. But then, I'm still capable of saying positive things about Ender's Gamer and Speaker for the Dead, and I'm sure plenty of other smart people feel the way about Orson Scott Card that I feel about Rob Thomas. Apparently I draw the line somewhere after "gay marriage is destroying my family" and before "women who make rape accusations are lying liars who lie." Or possibly I think Ender and Speaker are good enough books to get me past my anger at their creator; certainly I can no longer read lesser Card with any pleasure. And the highest quality Rob Thomas surpasses the quality of the worst OSC, but doesn't even come close to the best. [back]
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
Over at the Transformative Works and Cultures blog, TWC editor Karen Hellekson has posted an excellent essay "Breaking the primacy of print". Karen asks why online-only peer-reviewed journals are valued less than peer-reviewed journals with a print presence, when the delivery medium has nothing to do with the rigorous miss of the scholarship. TWC, in particular, is a multimedia-rich scholarly journal, for which a print presence would be a watered down equivalent.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
It's international "closing tabs so therefore linkspam" day. Actually, that was a month ago -- if you noticed the links at the bottom of this post are fairly dated, that's why.

Scholarly Publishing: California Versus Nature, Institutional Repositories, Humanities scholarship  )


Librarians and archivists: no longer advanced )

Polymers for fuel cell technologies


Awesome thing at my university: "Polymers for fuel cell technologies". Four undergraduate interns are describing their summer research project on polymers for fuel cell technologies. Orthogonal to the science or the topic of the video, all four students are deaf or hard of hearing, and the science and the video is communicated via ASL. And thank you, Tufts Jumble, for presenting the video as being about the science. Because it is.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
I'm trying to close out many of my tabs, so I'm going to break this into two posts, one which is mostly about archival/open scholarship/library issues, and one which is about children's literature -- because I think my readership is kind of divided down the middle.

"diaries are a window into life of Kennedy daughter" was a story which really resonated with me as I struggle to learn the ethics of archivists. On the one hand, the diaries are an important part of the historical record, teaching us incredibly troubling things about Joe Kennedy in giving insights into many of the causes supported by Ted Kennedy and Eunice Kennedy Shriver. On the other hand, their potential for harm to (at the time) living people was not small.

deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
I've mostly been blogging on children's literature issues lately, not archives and library issues. I think this is because in archives, I'm much more concerned with the pragmatic macro/micro day-to-day realities of the nigtmare that is digital preservation, rather than with any attempt to drive the field forward. It's one of the reasons I haven't said anything about the DuraSpace announcement, not wanting to harsh on anyone's squee, because while in the long-term I can see real benefits to having a joint foundation, not tied to a single software solution, in the short run I just wish the Fedora Commons team would think more about the daily pragmatic realities of running a production preservation and access tool using their software.

But I am going to break my library silence because I haven't seen the Elsevier scandal get much play outside of the science and library blogospheres, and it should. In a nutshell, one of the ongoing Vioxx lawsuits revealed that Elsevier produced a fake peer reviewed journal as a marketing tool for Merck. The Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine was apparently high enough quality to fool doctors who weren't looking for shenanigans. Jacqueline at Laika's MedLibLog points out that this practice seems either more or less outrageous when you realize it's hardly unique. Good thing Elsevier assures us that it was an isolated practice and those responsible for sacking those responsible have been sacked!

Keep in mind that Elsevier has spent a substantial amount of time and money lobbying at least the United States and United Kingdom governments explaining that open access research will be devastating because it will be impossible for anyone to tell what is high-quality research and what is solid, peer-reviewed, and published by a reputable gatekeeper.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
Oh, happiness. The open access, peer-reviewed fan studies journal Transformative Works and Cultures has just released its debut issue. A large crowd of volunteers and contributors has worked very hard to make this happen -- neither editor of the journal has institutional support, so their achievement is particularly impressive.

Of course I'm thrilled about adding a new open access journal to scholarship. Both the social sciences and humanities have far too few OA journals. And of course, I'm particularly smug about some of the things I brought in. DOIs might not seem such a big deal to those of you who are librarians and archivists, but think about how difficult it can be to have your library's databases provide links to material on the open web. And of course, from a preservation perspective DOIs will keep our articles accessible even if the infrastructure changes. For example, if we change our backend software so it is no longer the Open Journal Systems, our URLs might change but our DOIs will remain the same. Once we have the requisite number of published issues, I look forward to seeing our journal indexed in a large variety of indexing and abstracting services.

But one of the most exciting things about this journal is that it is fully multimedia, taking advantage of the online medium -- and of the journal is prepared to stand behind its assertions of fair use for some of the multimedia clips used. For example, Francesca Coppa's "Women, Star Trek, and the Early Development of Fannish Vidding" embeds both images and video, and Bob Rehak's "Fan Labor Audio Feature Introduction" includes audio clips from a workshop discussion at the 2008 Console-ing Passions conference that was inspired by the Gender and Fan Culture discussion (in which I was a participant) and Henry Jenkins' blog in 2007. And even the journal software itself encourages participatory culture; the software allows (and we encourage) commenting by readers.

Press Release )

The call for papers for No. 2 is available as an .rtf file here. Do disseminate widely!
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
In the last few years, all of the conferences I have been to have had rather fabulous keynote speakers. I don't recall this being the case in the past. Maybe it's just that I'm really interested in libraries, information, and changing technology, and there are some great speakers in that field.

(Though would be nice to have some female or nonwhite keynote speakers every once in a great while. I mean, Brewster Kahle is my Internet boyfriend, and only somebody crazy would skip a Jonathan Zittrain talk, but still. Just once in a great while. Somebody not white and/or male?)

John Willinsky. Sorting and Classifying the Open Access issues for Digital Libraries: Issues Technical, Economic, Philosophical, and Principled  )
Page generated Oct. 20th, 2017 05:10 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios