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.

Homework for Monday, 2/26

Please do three things for Monday, 2/26:

  1. Bring a printed copy of an article relevant to your research to class — we will be working on evaluating articles, so you’ll want to work on one that’s relevant to you.
  2. Bring the name of the expert you will interview for the expert interview assignment to class, plus your list of questions. You might choose one of your professors, or you might choose the author of a book or article you’ve found. The web is great for finding contact information, but if you can’t find it on the web, then look for a directory of experts in your discipline in the NCSU catalog. Directories are a type of reference work we didn’t go over, but they can be very useful.
  3. Do this week’s blog assignment.

Blog Assignment #5

List potentially important keywords and phrases for finding information about your topic in proprietary scholarly databases. Be sure to include synonyms, broader terms, and narrower terms. You can use the terms you generated for class and recorded on your worksheet.
As usual, reflect on the process: Which of these keywords are most useful? Which need truncating? Which need quotation marks around them? Also, how is your research going in general?

Expert Interview Assignment

Expert Interview

Due March 19

20% of overall grade

Learn and reflect on how an expert researcher in your field finds, retrieves, analyzes, and shares information.
Identify an expert researcher in a field that interests you–most likely a field related to your research question, major, and/or Capstone Project. Contact this researcher and make an appointment to interview him or her over the phone or in person (not by email). Prepare a list of 10-15 questions to ask the researcher designed to find out how that expert does research and communicates with other researchers. Conduct the interview, then write a report with the following three parts:

  1. Introduction of the expert: What are this expert’s qualifications? Why did you choose this person to interview? (1-2 paragraphs)
  2. List of questions you asked and the answers the expert gave: Draw up the list of questions beforehand, and make sure to take good notes on the expert’s answers. (1-2 pages)
  3. General conclusions drawn from your interview with the expert: What did you learn from meeting with the expert? Was anything surprising? Do you think this expert might be unaware of resources or methods that you’ve learned about in this class? What factors might have affected this particular researcher’s habits of research and communication? What other observations do you have? (1-2 pages)

Come to class on March 19th prepared to discuss your findings.
Possible Interview Questions

  1. What are your main sources of information?
  2. How do you decide whether to use a source of information?
  3. How has your information-seeking process changed over the years?
  4. Do you get most of your information from printed or electronic sources?
  5. How useful do you find the following sources of information? (Cite examples.)
  6. Do you think your information-seeking methods are typical of other researchers in your field?
  7. Is there anything that prevents you from getting the best information that you can?
  8. I?m considering doing a research project on [topic]. Do you have any advice for me about how to go about retrieving and analyzing information on that topic?
  9. What are your main methods of communicating with other researchers?
  10. Do you have any thoughts about the process of communicating with other researchers?

Blog Assignment #4

I forgot to post the assignment last week! Mea culpa. Please do contribute this week’s assignment by class time on Wednesday February 21. It’s exacty what we’ve been doing, anyway.
Please post here everything you listed on your Database Exploration worksheet for the database you explored. Also, as usual, reflect on this particular research exercise, and on your research process in general. Be sure to read everyone else’s database reports to see if their databases might be useful for you.