2015.10.3

Stuff I’ve been thinking about

Trying to figure out where I go next

[Permalink]

This is the first of a two-part piece essay of me trying to figure out what I want to do. These are the things I’ve been thinking about most the last few years. Each deserves whole essays devoted to them—not just the few sentences I’ve written here—but if I don’t put a few sentences out now, they’ll never come out:

[Permalink]

Digital books

[Permalink]

Progress in digital books has gone stale. Our tools and readers have stopped innovating and lack the fidelity of print.

[Permalink]

I’ve written about this before, just this week Craig Mod wrote a fantastic piece on it, too. This isn’t the core of what I want to do, but it is a small part of my broader project.

[Permalink]

Systems analysis through long-story journalism

[Permalink]

Journalism, as commonly practiced, does a lackluster job at showing the underlying systemic problems in the issues they report on. One piece at a time will focus on a specific part of a problem, or a specific event, but does not provide enough coverage of broader contexts. I want to work on ways that draw connections between reporting on individual events and map out the gaps that need coverage.

[Permalink]

Access to scholarship

[Permalink]

If you are not part of an institution with resources to access expensive journals, it is extremely expensive to find access to scholarship because closed-access commercial publishers are pretty much evil.

[Permalink]

If the goal of scholarship is to benefit society, then we need unfettered access to scholarship, especially since a large majority of this research is publically funded. Further, keeping access to scholarship locked away disproportionally hurts communities in need (especially developing countries) who could benefit most from much of the research.

[Permalink]

New ways to communicate scholarship

[Permalink]

Public communication of scholarship is horrid. Public understanding is low in part because scholarship is often written inaccessibly. The publishing of scholarship needs to include forms that make it more understandable for public audiences.

[Permalink]

New research tools

[Permalink]

There is so much it is hard to keep up with all the research that is within a single field, much less finding interrelationships across disciplines. We need new tools that help us find pertinent scholarship.

[Permalink]

Personal archives

[Permalink]

Still looking for my digital antilibrary.

[Permalink]

Reforming the phd pipeline and overhauling tenure

[Permalink]

Novelty requirements hurt legitimate and necessary research projects, and those who are working in areas where simultaneous discovery is inevitable. And publish or perish is making scholarship unreliable and is discriminatory.

[Permalink]

As long as publishing within a traditional journal is fundamental to how academic credibility is deterimined, good work by those who try to communicate their scholarship through new or different methods and channels will be at best ignored and at worst punished for spending their time and resources on doing scholarship outside of traditional academia.

[Permalink]

Fundamental reforms to review systems

[Permalink]

Verification and negative results are fundamental to good research practices but the current system does not care. Novelty is overemphasized in what gets published, there are tremendously discriminatory practices in how research is reviewed, and many journals still artificially limit what topics are covered. Interdisciplinary research is often out of scope of any journal, and it often takes years to find a place to publish good research.

[Permalink]

Forms of collaborative PhDs

[Permalink]

Not a single PhD shared by a group, but an interdisciplinary program where each person’s degree was working on a particular part of a shared project?

[Permalink]

Better digital tools for not-for-profit communications and activism/advocacy

[Permalink]

I do not want to work on this, but most activism tools are pretty terrible and primarily built for growing email lists and collecting donations, not for effective activism. I’ve been working on parts of this and while there is still much left to do in this space, this is not the problem I want to work on.

[Permalink]

Separating considerations for authoring, content management, and publishing tools

[Permalink]

Collaborative writing/editing/content creation tools, decoupled/headless CMS + content API for multichannel publishing, design+UI pattern libraries.

2015.02.15

Floriography and small victories

[Permalink]

I have so many big things going on right now that I’ve been too tired to do anything small and slightly ridiculous. So after reading the first thing Professor Snape ever said to Harry Potter, I rekindled my love of flower and color language and started digitizing early 20th century floriography dictionaries: floriography.bernardyu.com

[Permalink]

I started working on it friday night and have been continually updating it all weekend. I have no real long-term plans but getting something small but tangible and interesting up in less than a day was quite satisfying. I’ll keep working on it, though probably not as single-mindedly as I did this weekend. Eventually I’ll add more books (hand-typing the first one took about 3 hours, but that’ll speed up now that I have the basics set up) so we can compare how the language and usage differs across regions and time. It is fun to see glimpses of how meaning was attributed to certain flowers (such as rupture of contract for broken straw, and union for whole straw). Some are simple and obvious such as majesty for imperial lilies, while others convey deep complex ideas such as “hopeless but not heartless” for Love lies Bleeding. It is a beautiful, fascinating, yet somewhat sexist language (so many definitions judging the purity of women, but nothing on men).

[Permalink]

p.s. Privet Drive would translate as Prohibition Drive, as in where Harry wasn’t allowed to do anything.

[Permalink]

p.p.s. If you’re wondering what sort of bouquet to prepare for President’s Day, I suggest French willow, black poplar, heliotrope, Cedar of Lebanon, wild plum, Rudbeckia, and red & white roses. Though the heliotrope won’t last long (if you can even find any in February).