Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Early Modern Notes: So, why would I champion academic blogging?

Early Modern Notes: So, why would I champion academic blogging?

Academic Blog Survey

Overview:The following survey is for bloggers who are actual or aspiring academics (thus including students). It takes the form of a go-meme to provide bloggers a strong incentive to join in: the 'Link List' means that you will receive links from all those who pick up the survey 'downstream' from you. The aim is to create open-source data about academic blogs that is publicly available for further analysis. Analysts can find the data by searching for the tracking identifier-code: "acb109m3m3". Further details, and eventual updates with results, can be found on the original posting:
Instructions:Simply copy and paste this post to your own blog, replacing my survey answers with your own, as appropriate, and adding your blog to the Link List.
Important (1) Your post must include the four sections: Overview, Instructions, Link List, and Survey. (2) Remember to link to every blog in the Link List. (3) For tracking purposes, your post must include the following code: acb109m3m3Link List (or 'extended hat-tip'):
1. Philosophy, et cetera
3. Add a link to your blog here

Age - 23
Gender - Female
Location - Johannesburg, South Africa
Religion - Christian (Anglican)
Began blogging - October 2004
Academic field - Ethnomusicology: South African Choral Music
Academic position [tenured?] - Prospective Graduate student

Approximate blog stats
Rate of posting - dailyAverage no. hits - 20/day
Average no. comments - .10/day
Blog content - 98% academic, 2% personal.

Other Questions
1) Do you blog under your real name? Why / why not?- Yes. I want my work to be associated with my professional persona. I consider this blog (pleasant) work.
2) Do colleagues or others in your department know that you blog? If so, has anyone reacted positively or negatively?- Yes. I've had mostly positive feedback, but some concern has been expressed about my risking my professional persona and my intellectual property by publishing work in progress.
3) Are you on the job market?- Yes, part-time, for 9 months untill I begin grad school in September 2006
4) Do you mention your blog on your CV or other job application material?- Yes.
5) Has your blog been mentioned at all in interviews, tenure reviews, etc.? If so, provide details.- no
6) Why do you blog?- I use my blog as an information gathering and archiving tool, and I enjoy the interaction with other bloggers.

Monday, November 28, 2005

ABD: Almost Bloody Done

ABD: Almost Bloody Done Here's someone else who's also just finished a degree, and hasn't stopped stressing. I'm glad I'm not the only one. Also, some interesting musings on the academic blogger issue.

Digitizing the Past

Digitizing the Past Well, Google is certainly trying to fill the information gap. I really believe that this is the best use of the internet, as it makes quality information available in a space that, I believe, contains too much imperfect data, simply because there is nothing better filling it. I really am convinced that the more quality data that becomes available on the internet, the less unreliable data there will be.

When Information Access Is So Easy, Truth Can Be Elusive

When Information Access Is So Easy, Truth Can Be Elusive I get the point. In fact, student research practices that do not take into consideration print resources are a real concern. The thing is, how many people the world over don't have access to specific print resources? Even our university library has proven woefully inadequate on many occasions, with some of my primary resources being unavailable, even by inter-library loan. I have the resources to purchase, but how many don't. Surely the solution is to make all the relevant resources available in digital form.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Technology Review: An MIT Enterprise

Technology Review: An MIT Enterprise There is a fabulous argument built into this about the educational value of improved access to information via digital technology. Don't be frightened away by the title, or the technospeak in the beginning. It's worth pressing on. The last few paragraphs are the best.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Morpheme Tales: BLOGFIRED: Bloggers and Employers Test Each Others' Boundaries

Morpheme Tales: BLOGFIRED: Bloggers and Employers Test Each Others' Boundaries The ins and outs of blogging are complex in many industries, it seems. This article was written by a journalist (I think) who was not given a job at a radio station because of his blog. It certainly makes for interesting reading, and I think a lot of the same points apply to academic bloggers. At the same time, though, the potential of blogging as a research tool complicates the issue for us in academia somewhat. I would like to think that openness about my work makes me more employable in an academic situation. But on the other hand, does a post like my last one do the opposite? I have considered pulling it, but left it up, because I really do want to know if others have had a similar experience, and I want others struggling with this issue to read it and know that they are not alone. Does it make me less employable? I guess time alone will tell.

This article offers an interesting perspective on why people blog about work despite the pitfalls.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

finishing this damn degree

I guess what I'm experiencing must be a bit on the unusual side. Most people are particularly excited to complete their degrees. I was, too, to some degree, but to my horror, I've lapsed into a real depression over it. For the past four years, I've had a real purpose. I was doing something important. And there were people with an investment in me. There was a reason for me to push forward every day. There was also a lot of stress, enough that I got pretty sick at one point because of it, but at least I was doing something meaningful. Now, everything I do feels pointless. I've gotten involved in a seriously stupid romantic entanglement with someone I don't love, more because it fills the emotional space left by my degree than anything else. I have work to do, but it just doesn't fill the gap. Has anyone else felt like this? I typed "finishing a degree" into google, to see what I could find, but it seems like everyone else is really glad to reach the end of it. People's lives seem to start when they finish studying. My life seems to have been my studies. Please, someone, tell me I'm not the only one feeling like this!?!
I'm doing a little better than I was when I first posted this. I'm working on two publishable pieces simultaneously, and rehearsing for two choir performances, and so things really are moving again. The negative feelings will take time to get over, as will the stupid relationship (which I have extracted myself from), but I'm moving forward, and that really is all I can do at this point.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Why I blog (Anders Jacobsen's blog)

Why I blog (Anders Jacobsen's blog)


EFF: This is an interesting plug for anonymous blogging. There are some strong, sometimes undeniable points, but I still don't think they really count for me. It's always worth thinking about though. Particularly thought-provoking is the point that a potential employee may think twice about hiring a blogger. My supervisor suggested recently that being too open with half-formulated thoughts or in-progress research may give a competitor for jobs an advantage over one. I know a lot of what I blog is not thought-through enough to be really valuable, and I change my oppinion on issues frequently as I work through them. Does that mean that revealing them makes me look bad? I hope it makes me look human, and sympathetic. Will have to keep thinking about this one more.

choir concert

The concert yesterday was a disaster! Ok, maybe that's not fair. The preformance itself was really good. The choir were the best I've heard them yet, and the audience was responsive and engaged. The problem was, the venue was double booked. The insane thing is, I checked several times last week to make sure the booking was in order, and phoned someone who had booked a rehearsal there during our performance. The rehearsal was cancelled, but I wanted to be absolutely certain. And then, half an hour before we're due to start, another party arrive, and claim the space as booked. The result was, we landed up sharing the venue, with the choir concert following their piano recital, their noisy audience socializing in the next room during our performance, and our program cut to half length, because it was getting so late. And now, the venue managers want to charge both groups overtime for using the venue for longer than originally booked. I can't believe they are being like this! whose fault is it, after all, if not the venue organizers. I was so mad yesterday, I was shaking during the performance, and today I'm exhausted, and very stiff.
Ah well. These things happen. such are the trials of running a choir.

Saturday, November 19, 2005


PhDweblogs My blog just got listed on this site! there are so many interesting sites here, I'm quite honoured.

Also, I just performed a concert with the Johannesburg Chamber choir, the choir I conduct. It went really well. We're having a repeat tomorrow, at the atrium at Wits University at 15:30, if anyone reading this is in the area. I'd love to meet you in person...

Friday, November 18, 2005


thought:less:ness � Just Quote Is this an answer to my comment on the impossibility of a PhD?
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Richard Butterworth

Richard ButterworthThis is hilarious! I think I need to right something similar about doing an honours degree. Seriously, though, it can't be that bad. Can it? Please tell me its not....

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

so now what?

At 4:20 this morning, I finished my undergraduate degree.
Of course that isn't the end, I still have publishing to do, and I want to work so much more on my research. It has become so personal, I can't let it go till I feel I've done something worthwhile with it. but despite all that, the last submission really did go in this morning, and there is no longer anything I can do about any of it.
I hate feeling so out of control.
So now what?

I probably should go sleep (I've been awake for 51 hours straight), but the adrenaline in my veins is keeping me fidgeting, and I know if I stop too suddenly now, the downer will leave me depressed. Ah well, this is the perfect excuse to surf some of those blogs I read, but never have the time to comment to, and get some real interactions going. Also, I have so much reading to do before I touch my research again. Perhaps that's the way to go.
Sorry if this post doesn't make much sense. My brain is fried.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Blogs - How Weblogs Influence A Billion Google Searches A Week

Google Blogs - How Weblogs Influence A Billion Google Searches A Week - Microcontent News, a Microblog An explanation of the impact of linking on page ratings and search engines.

Academia and Wikipedia. Many-to-Many:

Academia and Wikipedia. Many-to-Many: Some writing on the role of expertise in knowledge publishing. The debate continues here and here.

Internet has academia seeking Web detours

Internet has academia seeking Web detours info on internet2. Is this the answer to all those misgivings my supervisor has posed in relation to my advocacy of academia online?

Professors online

Professors online A recent survey of the use of the internet by US college faculty


INTERNET PRICING: INTRODUCTION This is a useful reference site on some of the issues associated with internet access.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Some friends from the writing retreat

The time I spent in Mpumalanga last week was all devoted to writing. I am part of a student publication project, run by the grad school at my university, and part of the project involved us spending a week at the Wits Rural Facility, on the boarder of Thronybush Game Lodge, in possibly one of the most beautiful parts of the country, writing. And write I did. I finished three essays for anthropology and my 10 000 word honours essay, and I made good progress on my blogging article, which I have since completed in draft. 16 hours of writing per day. It was superb. Funny thing is, though, with my degree, and all this writing, coming to an end at a rapid pace, I'm feeling increasingly reluctant to let it go. I know the choir research is going to continue. There is just so much more I want to do with it, and I think I may extend it into my masters next year, if practicality allows. It still just feels a little strange to be reaching the end. And I don't even know for certain what I'm doing, or where I'm going next year.
Ah well. Will just have to see what comes up.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Blogging Thoughts: Personal Publication as an Online Research Tool from University of Oslo White Papers at ZDNet UK

This is a fabulous and useful article, but you will need to get a username to access it. It is a bit of a pain logging on, as the system is far from bug free, but the article, on blogging and research, is thought-provoking, and eerily similar to what I have been writing about academic blogging. Well worth a read.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

About the South African Choral Society

About the SACS Was doing a search on blogging on choral music, and stumbled across this. The sentence under "vision" is particularly fascinating

Monday, November 07, 2005

home at last

It is so great to arrive home to such a great set of engaging comments (see my post from October 12th, and the comments there in particular). Thanks to all of you. Weirsdo, I take your point, and have done some of the anti-hegemony reading, but I still feel that it is a useful concept. Rather than taking it to imply that we are all "mindless dupes", though, I prefer to think that it explains why good, intelligent people land up subject to systems that often don't make any sense. If there wasn't power in hegemony, if there wasn't something really difficult to see through, we wouldn't all be tricked for as long as we are, or as frequently. Perhaps you could comment further, but I really think that the concept of agency, as it modifies the hegemony issue, is the most satisfactory, as it takes into account the power of hegemony, but also the greater power of human intelligence to recognize and resist hegemony.
Thanks for the suggested reading. I am working through the Bernstein at present. I always had a problem with the cognitive psychology perspective, bit it always seemed to me to miss the point that hegemony implies extreme coersion. It's a coersion that's masked, admittedly, but that's what makes it so powerful. And as for the Comaroffs, I love their work, and have read quite a lot of it. Do you refer here to Of Revelation and Revolution? I read it so long ago, that I don't really recall their perspective on hegemony (I was reading it for other reasons then, and may have missed it altogether), but will certainly return to them. Have you read their "Ethnography on an awkward scale" in Ethnography. 2003; 4: 147-179? its available online, but unless your institution has access, you'll have to subscribe to the journal to read it. It's well worth it, though. John Comaroff's "NOTES ON ANTHROPOLOGICAL METHOD, mainly in the key of e"is available freely, and is also a worthwhile read.

Allan, thanks for the heads up. I loved Asimov's "I Robot", but got into trouble in grade school for bringing a book that "wasn't suitable for children to school", and so never actually got around to finishing it... Perhaps over Christmas break.

Ah, it's good to be back! I will still get around to posting photos etc from both trips, so look out for them, but in the mean time, keep reading and posting comments. I love the feedback. I am turning my paper from the Cape Town conference in August into a publishable article, so will probably be posting on blogging mostly the next while, but that doesn't mean the other conversations need to be put on hold.