hello world

:-) The editor is breaking my emojis! :-( Oh well… 

This paper is a working document for jotting down some thoughts I have on digital tools and learning, and related stuff I might be interested in doing/making. I could eventually organize this and turn it into an actual paper, or I could keep it casual and use it like a whiteboard or something. So I really don’t have an idea of what this will be, yet. 

Personal interest

I heard about Social Paper at a time when I was thinking of two options regarding my ITP project. One option was to look at STEM ed, in NY and elsewhere, and try to articulate recent trends in a way that will help me frame my thoughts about the mutual shaping of technology and society—which I guess is my major research topic during my master’s program. At this point it’s highly probable I will go with this topic.

The other option was to consider tools or methods that will help me archive, organize and revisit all the readings and discussions I went through this semester. Because a) I didn’t go through all that was assigned, even when it was an interesting topic and b) I usually fail to revisit past coursework. Anyway, I was trying to grasp something around the idea of the syllabus as the narrative of a course, and how some annotations to the syllabus could maybe help future me to be reminded of the general theme of each week—so that future me could easily locate what would be beneficial for me to reengage at that point.

Poking around my Zotero plugin for Firefox brought good news and bad news. The good news is, pretty much everything seems to be accessible by interacting with the Zotero JS object, so I could definitely do something if I wanted to use Zotero to store a syllabus, organize it based on weeks and append memos to it. The bad news is that not many things seem to have been done to use Zotero to build a sequence of readings, annotated with memos and course descriptions ands such; this could mean that I might have to build something from scratch, or that Zotero is just not the best tool for this end, or both.

Anyway, I was happy to learn that other people at GC are working in somewhat similar interests. 

On Social Paper

I really like the idea of providing:

  • a safe space to try out ideas, and having control over who the audience is
  • a collective repository which will not be fragmented across terms / courses / etc

Features that may benefit the platform, or that I just think is cool; some of these ideas were also brought up at the demo by other people.

  • Support of citation management / zotero integration
  • Data analytics. Because data!
  • Co-authoring
    • This is almost the first thing that came to mind as soon as I saw Social Paper. There are possibilities that are brought up when multiple people have access to the same thing, but personally I was thinking more of:
    • Real-time collaborative writing. I really like hackpad and find it very useful when working with someone to draft or outline some ideas. It’s also great for collaborative note-taking, as long as the servers don’t go nuts (which does happen sometimes). I was happy to see the etherpad reference from Erin’s tweets and paper, and learn about the original tool hackpad is based on. This is probably tricky to think in terms of a feature of Social Paper, but it is something I will probably keep thinking about. Social Draft?
  • Highlights. Some of the nicer examples of taking reader highlights into account that I know of include medium and Debates in DH
  • Course syllabus. Although one should consider if posting a syllabus on a commons blog vs as a paper really makes a difference.

Other stuff and thoughts

One thing I find myself doing after entering graduate school is trying to forge a very specific frame with which to look at my area of interest. Which is great, btw; afaiu it is called academic rigor. But then it would also be great to be able to unlearn some of the thoughts I trained myself into, and be open to other perspectives. Could digital tools help achieving that?

Somewhat unrelated: encryption workshop in 2016 might be cool.


(to be edited)


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