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Author IDs April 25, 2015

Posted by Mia in Frontiers.
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I’ve been sidetracking on ORCID these days. I need to walk through — make that click through — any process I’m reading about. I’m impatient and pretty quickly I have to just stop and go off and use whatever the heck is being described. How else to learn?   Even if I don’t subsequently have to be able to demonstrate something to others, I do it for my own edification.

So in my ORCID explorations, a less than satisfactory experience (on the Scopus side of things) was linking up a SCOPUS Author Profile with the ORCID ID.  I just prefer a UX that has much sharper definition.  I like things to be overly obvious. Is that such a bad thing?   Please use more textures!   There’s almost no such thing as being too obvious.   Every interface comes with a plethora of assumptions that it is built upon, so I prefer it when at least  some of those assumptions are unpacked and flattened out in front of my eyes. thank you.

The custom QR generator is a neat little gadget and I generated one for my ID, and I do like the idea of customizing a nifty design and ordering a sheet of labels to accompany a presentation/handout.   

That’s at least one use case for a QR code. 



Meta to the Fore October 23, 2014

Posted by Mia in Uncategorized.
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I am missing some good old-fashioned skeuomorphism. Too much white and overuse of the right side of my brain. I want something which will appeal to my left hemisphere. That’s right, hemisphere — a spatial metaphor. Like those round things: GLOBES. And what ever happened to using color to assign mail filters? Folders? Labels?

Can we please please please texturize that two-dimensional space that we use as the flat reading plane? Like using some color, pattern, shape. Jony, bring some texture back.

Revisiting some of my previous thoughts on the subject:

‘Cut, copy, paste’ are essential editing functions which need no introduction or explanation.  They constitute a highly functional suite of concepts we take for granted.  They are also are based on a paper/scissors/glue metaphor which has enormous utility. These functions could of course be replaced by other, far wordier alternatives, but it’s hard at the moment to see how replacements would be as effective, or compact, or universally understood.

Shall we do away with these familiar editing metaphors because they are rooted in a physical or even print/paper world?  Hardly.  Metaphors grounded in the paper-based world are very handy indeed, and will continue to be, until they are no longer valuable conceptually.

Probably few of us have used any ‘paste’ since we left kindergarten.  So when we’re editing a document, we know that using paste isn’t really involved.  But the metaphor works.  It sticks.

It sticks like PASTE.

Hannibal crosses the interalps March 23, 2014

Posted by Mia in Uncategorized.
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I’m a mood reader. I like anything with maps — usually that means historical fiction, but not exclusively. One of my tests for determining my type of good historical fiction is whether or not a map is included at the front. More than one map is better. Genealogical charts also count. Although if there are a slew of genealogical charts, that is not necessarily a plus.

Of course the absence of a map doesn’t prevent me from reading a book; it’s just one of my tests.

I know I have a great read ahead of me when I start looking up stuff (a.k.a. ‘information’) within the first few pages. Could be just an unfamiliar word or italicized phrase; reference to some siege or other, or a body of water. Might be a date or other historical reference, real or imaginary.

So one of my desultory research projects early this morning was to look at a map of Hannibal’s route over the Alps, because (and this is the fun part of reading historical fiction for me) I know positively nothing about Hannibal crossing the Alps. Only that bit about elephants being involved, and now that I’m off Hannibal chasing, I will try to verify whether or not that’s a myth.

Surprisingly tricky to determine, because unlike Xenophon’s march of the 10,000 (excellent map in Xenophon’s Anabasis Loeb library edition) Hannibal’s route apparently is a source of debate and lack of certitude.

To be continued…

Missing the snow December 28, 2013

Posted by Mia in Uncategorized.
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Is it here?

There used to be snow on the blog this time of year.    But climate change has come to the blog, and there is no snow.

Alternative stimulus response June 7, 2013

Posted by Mia in Frontiers.
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Something’s been bugging me.  There is a huge swell of interest in alternative metrics as an indicator of scholarly and social impact. These alternatives are distinguished from traditional bibliometrics which focus primarily on ISI’s journal impact factor (jif).

The scholarly journal framework has dematerialized into a loose, unbounded container — although “journal” is still a useful model and I don’t think it has outlived its purpose quite yet. It still meaningfully represents a collection of thematically related, stand-alone information units – otherwise known as “articles” — and regardless of whether the collection is completely virtual.

The direct dissemination of information will continue to inspire the creation of new and emerging models which will help us understand how scholarly information is propagated, absorbed, and digested into the broader community. Perhaps it is more of an organic process than we realize.

Some are calling for the inclusion of altmetrics into tenure packages, but I would be wary of endorsing such general recommendations, particularly since it is academia which misappropriated the use of the JIF for determining research ‘value’ in the first place.

There are tremendous differences in the way in which various disciplines conduct, generate and communicate research/results.

The click of a link may be an interesting pattern generator, but so much further analysis has to be conducted on those patterns in order to gain understanding of what they might meaningfully represent.

Internet/infotainment phenomena have very short life spans.  Reputation management is on the rise. Using Capitalizing on SEO tactics to drive more traffic in a particular direction may boost altmetric “scores”, but like a downpour on parched earth, there’s a lot of runoff with no absorption.   The lack of the term ‘altmetrics’ in this blogpost title is intentional.

Reflection and digestion take time.  Unless, of course, you’re just clicking links and aren’t actually reading, reflecting or digesting.

ISI’s Journal Impact Factor’s characteristics and methodology are well-documented. The journal impact factor has been well-studied and well-critiqued over the years.  It is so well-understood by the scientific research community that its rejection as a measurement (see here, and the recent DORA) has been greeted with widespread enthusiasm.

Now altmetrics need to be scrutinized with a similar kind of rigor along with a healthy dose of skepticism.  Or they run the very real risk of becoming altmetricks instead.