Today we started discussing documentation, which we’ll be focusing on for the next 3 classes.
We began with a definition from the Oxford English Dictionary (search for documentation, also the verb to document). The OED is a historical dictionary and as such it documents the history of the words it includes, as well as defining them.
Next we moved onto the Hauptman reading, which poses the question Why Do We Document?
– Protection against accusations of misconduct
– Tangential substantive commentary
(Hauptman, 2008, 7)
We discussed and looked at examples of each.
Ultimately, documentation and citation:
– Acknowledge participation in the scholarly conversation
– Illuminate and preserve process/practice/research path
And are important to:
– academic work
– all kinds of professional work
We also discussed the article in the Chronicle of Higher Education about link rot: a term that describes the increasing numbers of dead links in citations from scholarly books, articles and other information sources that refer to the internet. A great example of this is the Badke chapter that discusses specialized search engines: you’ll remember that when we discussed those sites in class we discovered that many had already disappeared.
The Chronicle article mentions the Internet Archive, which is one resource you can use to try and find old internet resources. We also discussed the Wayback Machine as a way to view old versions of websites. I tried to show you the City Tech Library’s old website, but kept running into an error. If you’d like to try it yourself, visit the Internet Archive at http://www.archive.org/ and enter in the library’s URL: http://library.citytech.cuny.edu.
Please remember to complete your blogging homework even if you were absent from class today. I also want to clarify that the blogging homework is due by the beginning of each class, just as a printed writing assignment would be due at the beginning of the class period. If you haven’t submitted Tuesday’s blogging homework yet, you can post it today and still get partial credit.
For next week we’ll have two more classes on issues in information: Tuesday’s class on preservation and Thursday’s class on ethics. Please do the reading and bring a copy of the reading to class on *both* days.
These are complex issues and I know that some of this reading is a bit more challenging than what we’ve read before. Here are some strategies you can try:
– Read each article twice. I like to read straight through an article once, then on the second read I underline important or confusing parts and write notes in the margins (including any questions I have).
– If you come across a word you haven’t heard before, don’t hesitate to look it up in the dictionary. One option is http://www.dictionary.com.
– These longer, challenging readings can be difficult to summarize. Try putting the article down after you’ve read it and freewriting a sentence or two describing what the article is about. Sometimes it’s helpful to speak the sentences out loud — if it seems strange to talk to no one, try describing the article to a friend or family member.
– I’m sure you’ve also noticed that the scholarly articles we’re reading are written in a very formal style and use jargon or specialized terms. Often jargon is necessary, but sometimes academics (myself included!) do not write as clearly and simply as we should. Clear and simple writing is an admirable goal — you don’t need to use specialized words in your blog posts if there is another, more common term.
– Ask questions! Be skeptical! None of these issues are simple, and there’s no one right or wrong answer. The issues we’re examining affect all of us — use the blog posts to explore your thoughts and ideas about these topics.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Have a great weekend!