Archive for March, 2007

Blog Assignment #9

This week, please use a single search string related to your research topic and plug it into Google, Yahoo,, Dogpile, and Vivisimo. List the three (3) websites that most commonly appear in the top results for each of those searches. Visit each website and assess the quality of the information using the criteria given on the class handout for Monday: Is the website created by an authoritative, credentialed source? Does it seem objective, or else make its bias clear? Is it current? Does the website give sources so that you can confirm its information?

Then, describe some of the differences and similarities you saw in the results. Which result list seemed to put the best information highest in the rankings? Which result list led you to potentially useful new websites? Did you discover new keywords from these searches? What kinds of information are on the open web? Is it useful information for your research?

You might also want to visit these sites and do some exploration:

Also mentioned in class: RefGrab-it, a downloadable plug-in which allows you to keep track of websites using RefWorks.

Blog Assignment #8

The blog assignment for this week isn’t related to what we’ve been studying this past week, as it usually is, but you should be able to do it fairly easily anyway, and I hope you’ll find it useful and interesting. E-mail me if you have trouble.

This week, please give as much information as you can about what seems to be the most important peer-reviewed journal for your research question. (Please don’t do either Science or Nature: those journals are very important, but they cover many disciplines.) List at least the following:

  1. The full title of the journal
  2. The name of the scholarly association that puts out the journal
  3. The name or names of the chief editors of the journal (up to 3)
  4. The year the journal was first published
  5. How often it comes out (weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.)
  6. What years are available online through the NCSU Libraries databases
  7. What years are available in print in the NCSU Libraries stacks
  8. The name of the company that publishes the journal
  9. The cost for an individual to subscribe to the journal (assume that the individual wants to get the whole journal both in print and online)
  10. The cost for a library or institution to subscribe to the journal (assume that the library wants to get the whole journal both in print and online)

Most of that information should be available in the NCSU Libraries Catalog (remember you can limit by “Journal, Magazine or Serial” using the left-hand links) or on the journal’s website. If it isn’t, then get a bound, printed copy of the journal and look inside the cover.

  1. In addition, do the following: Look up your journal title in either Journal Citation Reports: Science Edition or Journal Citation Reports: Social Science Edition. (Unfortunately, we don’t subscribe to the Humanities Edition.) Give both the Total Cites and the Impact Factor for that journal for 2005.

Roughly speaking, the higher your journal’s “impact factor” is, the more important the journal is. Just as an author who is frequently cited by others is probably an important author, a journal that is frequently cited in other journals is probably an important journal.

Finally, as usual, tell us how your research in general is going, and reflect on this particular assignment. For instance, you might browse through the journals in your field in Journal Citation Reports and compare the journal you chose to look up with other journals — how does it stack up? How many articles have you found from that journal? Would you ever consider subscribing to it yourself? Does the journal’s mission statement identify a particular method or approach, and is that method or approach consistent with what you think is the best way to address your research question? Did you find out anything about the journal that surprised you?

Links to utopian and dystopian videos

Utopian and Dystopian visions of the technology-drenched future (plus one of the technology-drenched medieval past). I’ve added a couple here that we didn’t watch in class, and I’ve included some links to brief online articles about the videos we did watch.

The first three, which we watched in class, deal particularly with the issue of replacing traditional information authorities (the Encyclopedia Britannica, the New York Times, the library as the organizer of knowledge) with “the wisdom of crowds”.

  • Heavy Metal Umlaut: The Movie — Programmer, blogger, and journalist Jon Udell’s screencast of an evolving Wikipedia article. Also see learning technologist Michael Feldstein’s comments on what to emphasize when showing this video to professors.
  • The Machine is Us/ing Us — Professor Michael Wesch’s take on the cultural anthropology of the Web; Inside Higher Ed calls it “A Lesson in Viral Video”.
  • EPIC 2014 — Bloggers and journalists Robin Sloan and Matt Thompson’s dystopian vision of the death of the New York Times and its replacement by socially-authored news distributed via technology. They tell the story behind the video on a trade website for journalists.
  • ACLU – Pizza — The American Civil Liberties Union’s comic vision of what it might be like to order a pizza if private information were not protected.
  • Introducing the Book — English-subtitled Norwegian comedy sketch that satirizes either computers or computer users, I’m not quite sure which.

Blog Assignment #7

Who is doing the work on your research topic? Give the names of at least three (3) of the most important scholars who are publishing work on your topic other than the expert you interviewed. You might choose authors of articles you’ve found, authors of works you’ve seen cited, or names your expert mentioned.

Look up each person using a web search engine (e.g., Google) and/or a biographical dictionary such as Who’s Who in Science and Engineering. For each person, give their place of employment, exact job title, exact field of study, and any other professional / biographical facts that are interesting to you. Also, plug the person’s name into the author field of Google Scholar’s Advanced Search; give the article and journal or book title, date, and number of citations of the person’s most-cited work. (Google Scholar is much easier to use for this purpose than Web of Science, though it’s probably less accurate. You can try to use Web of Science’s “Author Finder” if you like, or you can use a different database if it has a citation-tracking feature.)

As usual, please describe exactly what you did and reflect on what you found out. For instance: Do any of these researchers know or cite one another? How long have they been doing this research? Does finding out about the people behind the publications help you understand their writing better? Can you imagine e-mailing or calling this person or speaking to them at a conference? If so, what would you ask them or say to them?

Blog Assignment #6


For Monday, 3/12, please use the “Cited Ref Search” in Web of Science to create a “citation tree” with three “branches.” See instructions below.

Also, as usual, reflect on the current state of your research in general and on this assignment in particular. What stands out for you? What’s surprising or interesting about your “tree”? What picture of scholarly knowledge do you get? Did you find any new useful sources? Are you beginning to recognize authors or journals? Did you play with any of the other Web of Science analytical features, and if so, what did you find?


  1. Pick an important article (or book) citation from your research and plug it into the Cited Ref Search.
  2. Go as far forward and backward in one “branch” from that citation as you can. For this assignment, you must pick hyperlinked, frequently cited citations if you can — preferably ones that interest you.
  3. Pick a citation from the first “branch” and follow it as far forward and backward as you can in a different direction.
  4. Pick a citation from the second branch and follow it as far forward and backward as you can in a different direction.
  5. List the citations in three separate branches, clearly labeled. Within each branch, put the citations in chronological order from newest to oldest. Put two asterisks next to the three “stem” citations.
  6. Use exactly the following citation style: First Author’s Last Name, “Title of article,” JOURNAL OR BOOK TITLE, Year.

Bartley, “Imagining the future in the ‘Awakening,’ ” COLLEGE ENGLISH, 2000.
LeBlanc, “The metaphorical lesbian: Edna Pontellier in the ‘Awakening,’ ” TULSA STUDIES IN WOMEN’S LITERATURE, 1996.
Seidel, “Art is an unnatural act: Mademoiselle Reisz in the ‘Awakening,’ ” MISSISSIPPI QUARTERLY, 1993.
**Ellmann, OSCAR WILDE, 1987.
**Bartley, “Imagining the future in the ‘Awakening,’ ” COLLEGE ENGLISH, 2000.
Buell, “In pursuit of ethics — Introduction (Ethics and Literary Studies),” PUBLICATIONS OF THE MODERN LANGUAGE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA, 1999.
Derrida, “Adieu + The funeral oration for Emmanuel Levinas on December 28 1995,” CRITICAL INQUIRY, 1995.
Blanchot, ENTRETIEN INFINI, 1969.
Cook, “Geographies of food: following,” PROGRESS IN HUMAN GEOGRAPHY, 2006.
Hughes, “Geographies of exchange and circulation: transnational trade and governance,” PROGRESS IN HUMAN GEOGRAPHY, 2006.
Hughes, “Geographies of exchange and circulation: alternative trading spaces,” PROGRESS IN HUMAN GEOGRAPHY, 2005.
Bryant RL, “Consuming narratives: the political ecology of ‘alternative’ consumption,” TRANSACTIONS OF THE INSTITUTE OF BRITISH GEOGRAPHERS, 2004.
Popke, “Poststructuralist ethics: subjectivity, responsibility and the space of community,” PROGRESS IN HUMAN GEOGRAPHY, 2003.
Sanders, “Reading lessons (Ethics, politics, literary studies),” DIACRITICS: A REVIEW OF CONTEMPORARY CRITICISM, 1999.
**Buell, “In pursuit of ethics — Introduction (Ethics and Literary Studies),” PUBLICATIONS OF THE MODERN LANGUAGE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA, 1999.
Nealon, “The ethics of dialogue: Bakhtin and Levinas,” COLLEGE ENGLISH, 1997.
Hale, “Bakhtin in African-American literary theory,” ELH: ENGLISH LITERARY HISTORY, 1994.
Bruce, “W.E.B. Dubois and the idea of double consciousness,” AMERICAN LITERATURE, 1992.
Holt, “The political uses of alienation – W.E.B. Dubois on politics, race, and culture, 1903-1940,” AMERICAN QUARTERLY, 1990.