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6 Degrees of Open Access

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I have to admit that prior to my attendance of the Digital University Conference on April 21, 2010, my understanding of “open access” was essentially non-existent. After attending the afternoon panel, A Digital Future?, my grasp of open access and academic publishing started coming into clearer focus. As someone who has not (yet) published an academic article, I had no idea about the politics of knowledge access in addition to its relation to a faculty member’s tenure track.

Digital University Conference- photo courtesy of Andrea Vasquez

After searching for information about open access on the Commons, I came across Scott Voth’s (@scottvoth) Wiki Wrangler post about his creation of the new wiki page Open Access Publishing. Scott points out that, “As the cost of journals continues to skyrocket, OA needs to be on our minds.” This was certainly on the mind of Jill Cirasella (@cirasella), who created the public group: Open Access Publishing Network @ CUNY (OaPN @ CUNY) a couple of months ago after being inspired by Maura A. Smale (@msmale).

Maura was more than willing to contribute to the group she inspired Jill to create, replying to the forum topic Stephen Francoeur (@stephenfrancoeur) started: Library and info science journals that are OA. Scott used Maura’s comphrensive list of OA journals to create a new wiki page: OA Journals in Library and Information Science, which he tagged under Open Access (OA) and Library Science for easy access.

Most recently, George Otte (@gotte) posted a new blog entitled “An Immodest Proposal“ where he discusses the need to create an online journal, suggesting that those who are interested post to the Open Access group’s forum thread: Starting an online journal. With 5 comments on George’s blog post and 21 posts in the forum, the conversation of open access publishing at CUNY has begun. We also learned that Steve Brier (@sbrier) has plans to start an online, open source journal to publish the works of doctoral students in the Interactive Technology and Pedagogy program. With many willing contributors and Scott Voth’s direction for logical platforms and various models, I am certainly looking forward to seeing how this new model of academic publishing unfolds at CUNY.

Want to add your thoughts to the conversation or offer assistance? Jump in here!

6 Degrees of Facebook

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To quit or not to quit, that was the question… 30,000 users, that was the answer.

Whom among the Commons folk? Well, I know for sure Matt Gold (@admin) after reading his blog post “Why I Left Facebook“. Giving links to great resources, Matt forgoes the basic Facebook=Bad conversation and instead explains why he personally felt the need to leave Facebook. I couldn’t agree more about not wanting my child’s pictures being used without permission — not cool Zuckerburg!

I also know Boone B. Gorges (@boonebgorges) quit after reading his post “The Meat of Facebook“. Boone thinks that Facebook should be regulated in the same respect that the government regulates the meat industry.

“The government is justified in protecting its citizens at their most vulnerable (you might even say this is the primary reason for government).”

Despite the company’s humble roots, they have grown to be what anyone would call a “big business” — with an estimated net worth of nearly 4 billion dollars. We all know happens when big business is not regulated,  cough cough… BP… cough.  After Zuckerburg recently admitted at the D8 Conference: “When I was 18 or 19 years old, I did a lot of stupid things“, he reveals Facebook’s ultimate mission statement — via hoodie!!

While I like the recent steps he took to simplify privacy settings and the concept of the new insignia, what the H is it doing on the inside of his hoodie?? More importantly couldn’t this be done on any other platform? Yes. Well, not really. Definitely, but not immediately. I’m sure Facebook with not be the last place to connect people online. Myspace used to be the place where everyone had to be, and now it’s primarily used to promote bands. When the time comes, Facebook will also have relinquish it’s throne (and grip).

When that time does come (or if they do something uber creepy), I will be more than ready to jump ship like @lwaltzer. While I agree with everything Luke said in his blog post, “I Can’t Quit You Facebook“, from his reasoning behind not quitting to his thoughts on Twitter, the following quote really stood out to me:

“Many, but not all, are to the left of center, and most are to the right of me.”

I have (what some of you might alright know) a diverse set of friends on Facebook, most of whom are to the right of me. As someone who views web 2.0 platforms as a means of promoting social justice, I find that Facebook is a great forum for political (yet civil) discourse.

Some may argue that facebook and politics should never mix, somewhat like beer and politics. As someone with experience in the service industry, I certainly appreciated when these rules were adhered to by inebriated customers! In regards to Facebook, however; I would have to disagree. Of course (as with everything), there is a line. There have been many groups and individuals on Facebook that have crossed this line, but I’d like to consider myself a cut above (or a world apart) from these types of individuals.

So I posted an update on my Facebook profile about considering leaving and shortly after I saw that my cousin joined the group 1 Million Against the Mosque at Ground Zero!, which prompted me to post this religious AND political update…


With over 40 comments I thought the discussion was finally over, but it continues 5 days later. This thread, along with my other cousin’s comment, “@Sarah M M: thank you for posting this, and putting up with all the abuse. This is why you shouldn’t give up on facebook” made me realize I still had a vested interest in Facebook! In this thread alone I learned that one of my high school friends served as the New York State chairman of the Patriot Party, worked as an Arabic linguist for the Marines, and helped work search and rescue on the north side of the pile near the Winter Garden on 9/12. He also points out in one of his comments:

“Most of the other people I talk to who were actually there just want peace and reconciliation.”

Sure, most people won’t sway from their political or religious opinions, but if that thread was able to make one person think about the issue from another perspective then I’m more than OK with that. If you need three reasons why I am still on Facebook:

1. Community

2. Betty White Hosting SNL

3. This (thanks @wrhernandez!) YouTube Preview Image

While I certainly didn’t quit Facebook on May 31st, plenty of others did… did you?

6 Degrees of the iPad

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Last week, the Commons bought a few iPads for the Community Team to experiment with and after spending some one-on-one time with an iPad and reading some great resources I wanted to write a review — 6 degrees style. *This is an overview of my experience thus far, incorporating information from member’s posts as well as outside resources and opinion. 

When it comes to the iPad everyone has an opinion. The last time I used an Apple product, I was a Media Arts student at USC so I am not that familiar with the iPhone and I’m new to the whole Apple App Store thing. Either way, I will try to present a review that is as objective as possible. My first thought as I held the iPad in my hands was this… 

image credits: http://gizmodo.com

Matt Gold (@admin) posted this flowchart on the Academic Commons Project Management Base Camp back in April as a visual resource for creating new help documents on the Commons. Luckily, I’ve been beating the odds of this flowchart, but I often think of it as I eagerly await the back-ordered case! 

Holy Credit Card Batman!

Why does Apple need my credit card information?? I use my Zune and Zune Pass to satisfy my music needs (in addition to Pandora), so I was a little disappointed that I had to download iTunes on my computer again in order to start the iPad. I had to create an account and give my credit card information… which I did … because I didn’t really have a choice. After forking over some personal information I was finally ready to see what this iPad thing was all about and why Obama wasn’t a fan

Apps

There are a lot of them. A lot of apps seem useless, as Obama suggested in his commencement speech at Hampton University. Obama claimed that with new technologies such as the iPad, “information becomes a distraction”.  This is how most headlines read, but what these commentators overlooked is that Obama said they can be used as “tool(s) of empowerment… the means of emancipation”. I’m going to give Obama the benefit of the doubt here about his understanding of technology, especially after @kdelorenzo said: 

“…during the inauguration Obama is reported to have greeted Aretha with “You’re on my iPod!” so maybe he was fibbing a bit. Or maybe his younger daughter programs and syncs it for him.” 

On this topic, I would have to agree with Bill Maher’s take that Obama is putting on a cutesy political act. Obama says he doesn’t know how to use an iPod because “Americans conflate out-of-touch with adorable”. Lest he forget the power of the Internet during his presidential campaign! OK, back to iPad apps… 

In addition to @omanreagan’s ipad posts from his blog about Apple technology, Michael has also written a blog post about “religion applications available for the iPad” from his blog about interdisciplinary studies in Religion. Talk about a ‘tools of empowerment’ – good stuff Michael, thanks for sharing! 

Other apps that I consider to be tools of empowerment include: 

  • Calendar (pre-installed) This is your basic calendar. I’m able to keep myself on a tight schedule with reminders and repeating events. It’s not as customizable as I was hoping for (no task organizer).
  • Mail (pre-installed) I’m able to sync multiple Gmail accounts as well as my CUNY email. Bonus.
  • Videos>Podcasts (pre-installed>downloaded via iTunes)  I’m currently learning how to fix redeye from the Photoshop//Power Tips & Tricks Podcast. I wish the iPad had the ability to go outside of iTunes… non-jailbreaking style.
  • Notes (pre-installed) I’m able to quickly take notes from a meeting. I can tag notes to find them quickly and email them to myself, but there’s no ability for bold, italic, color, underlining, etc…
  • Todo ($4.99)  While I was hoping this app was going to be free (or included within the Calendar app) I am glad I downloaded it! Todo helps me keep track of multiple projects both at home and at work and can send reminders via email. Highly recommended.
  • Pages ($9.99) Mac’s version of Microsoft Word. You can use templates and have greater control over the layout and font style than you can with Notes.
  • Keynote ($9.99) Syncs great with Mac Keynotes. I am able to edit presentations (with limited capabilities). 
  • iBooks (free) I was able to download a lot of free books by typing “free” into the search bar.
  • Free Books (free) The name says it all — good stuff!
  • Pandora (free) I can  listen to a custom generated mix (unfortunately not while doing anything else on the iPad… without jailbreaking it).
  • Pocket Pond (free) Watching goldfish swim and interacting with them is extremely calming after a long day at the office.
  • Disney Digital Books: Toy Story (free) I am able to multitask – I can some work done at home while providing interactive entertainment for my pre-schooler!
  • Siri (free) Possibly my favorite app thus far! (see video below). The speech recognition and overall intuitive nature of this app is incredible! My favorite part is when you say “remember,…” and it will send your speech to your email… or saying “tweet” and your twitter status update bar is brought up for you to do just that. This was originally created for the iPhone.

YouTube Preview Image

Thanks to Adam S. Wandt’s post we also now know how to shop for our groceries in under two minutes using the Fresh Direct app!

In non-iPad app related news I also share @awandt’s feelings of disappointment that the iPad has no forward facing camera and wouldn’t be surprised if AT&T network-related concerns were at the root of this decision. This camera (or lack-there-of) news was also revealed in @jugoretz’s post: Early iPod Thoughts.

There are some great aspects of the iPad and the overall intuitive nature is very user-friendly. There are also many features that fall short of what a truly innovative tool the iPad should be.

Lastly, the question that everyone is asking … or perhaps just @brianfoote WILL IT BLEND???

YouTube Preview Image

Yes, yes it will.

Extra, Extra Tweet All About It!

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dital

I was checking out the agenda on the website for the Digital University Conference (planned by the The Digital University Conference Planning Committee Group on the Academic Commons) and stumbled across “Conference hashtag: #du10” on the right-hand side of the page. I clicked on the hyperlink, which introduced me to another great web2.0 tool Twapper Keeper. What a great find!

hashtag

For those who don’t know what Twapper Keeper is, it’s basically an archive service for Twitter that keeps track of #hashtags, keywords, and @people. Ok, so what??

Well, that means you can follow a conversation (as either an immediate conversation or extended ongoing conversation). If you want to know all there is to know about Twitter, I recommend checking out Mashable’s Twitter Guidebook.

After I finished reading some of the blog posts on the Digital University website, I read through @MattGold’s email message to those registered for the conference. This email also mentions the Digital University Conference hashtag #du10. Web 2.0 tools like Twapper Keeper act as a conduit for ongoing conversation and collaboration by keeping everything on file. Thanks to whoever found this source in the first place and for Matt explaining how to use it. This is what the Commons is all about!

mattemail

By ‘this is what it’s all about’ I not simply referring to new technology. I’m referring to the understanding of that technology through ongoing conversation and collaboration for the betterment of all CUNY campuses.

OK, let me step off my soap-box now…

After I read through that email I decided to try out some other hash tags in Twapper Keeper and came across the Commons hashtag #cunycommons!!  This hashtag is a great way to preserve an ongoing conversation about the CUNY Academic Commons. Do you have a resource or information you would like to share with the Commons community?? Just tag that tweet as #cunycommons and it will show up here!

Twitter tracker, twitter tracker, twitter tracker! Speaking of which, did you happen to notice the word mention in the same sentence as @mattgold?? Spoiler alert!!

mymentions

The new face of the Academic Commons is almost upon us. The latest version of Buddypress includes some great new features such as the Mention System, where members can be brought into conversations simply by putting the @ symbol in front of their username. This new filterable activity feed makes a member’s page more interactive (somewhat like Facebook), merging Status Updates with Wire Posts.

So get Twitter crazy at the #du10 Conference and get ready for some more Twitter-like features on the Commons. OK, that is all for now, but don’t worry there is more to come — and we will tag our tweets with the #cunycommons hashtag!

If you’re interesting in learning how to use sitewide tags on your Academic Commons blog check out Making Sitewide Tags Work on the the CUNY Academic Commons Development Blog.

6 Degrees of the Commons

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6I was just browsing through the Commons and came across a new blog: HunterGraduateSocialResearch. This peaked my interest not only because I’m interested in sociology (like these fellow members), but because I had recently checked out Hunter’s website for the MA in Applied Research when considering getting back into school.

After reading through the blog I figured I’d check it out Hunter’s website again and clicked on “Thinking about a Master’s Degree in Sociology or Social Research?”. Not only was the article interesting from the perspective of a prospective student, but I was just introduced to the publication Footnotes — an ASA online publication. (not to be confused with our community facilitator Brian Foote’s blog: Footenotes).

What I really liked about my new source is where I read under Changes at Footnotes! that they were making the online edition the official version that would be downloadable as a pdf (which means I’m probably getting access to material I wouldn’t have been able to access during snail-mail only times). This new change reminded me of our recently updated wiki Open Access Publishing. Through a little exploring on the Commons I noticed it was also related to the Academic Commons’ groups: Open Education at CUNY and CUNY Law Green Coalition. Folks it doesn’t end there!… I was also able to find relevant material in the blog posts: Print is Dead…Now What? and Convince Me To Go Green, both from the blog: York College Comm Tech.

*That reminds me, if you have a video that you would like to enter in the Sustainable CUNY Shorts Video Contest, please remember:

“Your submission can be in any form, skit, demonstration, song, short film, etc., but must be submitted to the Sustainable CUNY YouTube channel by April 21, 2010. The judging will be done based on both content and views, so make sure to get your videos up quickly and tell everyone you know to watch it.”

And that folks, is 6 Degrees (or more) of the Academic Commons.

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