Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Timothy Burke on academic freedom

This essay was published last year, but I just found out about it. It's about academic freedom, groupthink, tenure, and digital publication.

Another take on Zotero

Scott McLemee is a step behind our own Brian Croxall, but his take on Zotero is here.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Comic Relief

In the dual interests of not being totally gloom and doom and not idealizing academic superstars, I offer this great snarky piece about a Stanley Fish op-ed.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Job Market: Wheee!

I stumbled across this post from an academic philosopher about the job market process for philosophy PhDs. While my overall response was visceral self-pity, there was also a twinge of comfort in recognizing most of our own miserable process in another humanities field. They're probably all the same, but what do I know.

One thing of particular interest was when the author notes a part of the process to be circulating one's list of potential jobs to one's committee, in order for the latter to eliminate jobs that are"too good for you." Can I ask someone to do this for me, or is that too defeatist? Do we, in English, also operate under the assumption that some jobs are just definitely too good for a particular grad student to get? If so, could someone just narrow down my list already?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Coming soon: electronic dissertation submission

Beginning in fall of 2008, all dissertations at Emory will be submitted electronically. Right now, there's a pilot project involving a few departments (not us), but if you want to look at the site where you will upload the dissertation, and see what an uploaded dissertation looks like, you can do so here.

Expect to hear more about this in the coming years. One of the things that electronic dissertations will mean is that you will need to think about whether to replace restrictions on access to your dissertation. (This is already a question with print dissertations, but I do not people think as much about it now as they will when they are accessible via the internet.) I think it will also mean that those people who heavily quote copyrighted materials (think 20th c. poetry) may have to be more diligent about staying withing the boundaries of fair use -- or securing permission.

EndNote Alternative

I've been a fan of EndNote since I discovered it about 3/4 of the way through my undergraduate career. It's a great tool to keep all your notes about a particular project or all the research you've ever conducted in one place. That it can help you build bibliographies is just icing on the cake, in my opinion. Oh, and for those of you who don't know, you can download EndNote for free from Emory's software servers.

I just discovered a new Firefox-based alternative to EndNote, however: Zotero. It serves most of the functions of EndNote, except that it works within your browser and can automatically create records from many of the pages you're looking at (like the Emory Library Catalog or subscription databases like JSTOR). You can also export your bibliographies into documents.

The next version of the software will allow you to share files/references with others/groups of scholars and even use RSS feeds to get the latest information that, say, the Nineteenth-Century Fiction Association might want to make available to its members.

This looks like a really interesting tool. You can watch a video tour of it here. It's a project supported by, among others, the Mellon Foundation, so you can trust its credentials in that sense.

At the moment I see two drawbacks:
  1. Firefox only
  2. It's based in the browser and NOT in an online account. What this means is that if I use a computer at Emory for my library, it won't be on my computer at home. Of course, it's very easy to export the files. But it would be nice if you could log in to your Zotero account on matter where you were on earth.
Still, this is a good sign of technology to come to help us become more effective researchers.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Adventures in ECIT

In case anyone here doesn't have enough exciting blogs to keep track of, let me cajole you to check out mine, which discusses what I'm learning and thinking about in my tenure as the ECIT fellow this year.

I can't promise good times or even good writing. But it will keep you from having to write that dissertation abstract.

But can you play frisbee on the quad?

Monday, September 17, 2007


The NY Times is ending TimesSelect and making all of its articles -- and much of its archives -- free on Sept. 19. This is the same day as the "roll-out" of the new graduate program wiki.


Sunday, September 16, 2007

Academic bodies

Horace, of "To Delight and Instruct," has written a pair of interesting posts of bodies (especially male ones) and dress in the academy. The initial post on "academic masculinity" is good, but this follow-up post -- in which he responds to a comment -- returns to the same questions in a way that I found more thought-provoking.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Academics and money

I debated about whether to link to this article on academics and money, but then I figured that everyone has been so cheerful lately that you all can stand it. The article focuses on academic salaries in high-cost housing markets; what I like about it is that it gives some examples (albeit some extreme ones) of real people making real choices. (The article is behind the CHoHE firewall, so you will need to access it on campus.) I also like the point that is made (briefly) in the article that what academics are experiencing regarding the purchasing power of their salaries is part of a larger middle-class phenomenon.

Meanwhile, the ever-sensible Mel over at In Favor of Thinking has this response to the article and her own finances.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Ideological bias, academic freedom

Mark Bauerlein on the ideological bias of the academy (and professors who write books for fewer than 50 people).

UPDATE: From a different perspective, Michael Bérubé on academic freedom.

My pairing of MB and MB, by the way, is a little accidental, but only a little. They have had a long and illuminating series of exchanges in different venues.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Knopf archive

I'm a sucker for articles about rejection letters, but what makes this one particularly interesting is its use of the Knopf archive at Texas's Ransom HRC.