Archive for May, 2012

Google Docs ‘research’ tab

May 19th, 2012

Increasingly, I’m using Google Docs with collaborators. Yesterday, one of them pointed out the new “Research” search tab within Google Docs. (Tools->Research). I’m a bit surprised that your searches don’t show up on your collaborators’ screen. I’m particularly surprised that sharing searches doesn’t seem possible.

Google Docs' new 'Research' tab promotes search within Google Docs.

Apparently, it is pretty new. More at the Google Docs blog.

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Error reporting: it’s easier in Kindle

May 9th, 2012

One thing I can say about Kindle: error reporting is easier.

You report problems in context, by selecting the offending text. No need to explain where - just what the problem is.

Feedback receipt is confirmed, along with the next steps for how it will be used.

By contrast, to report problems to academic publishers, you often must fill out an elaborate form (e.g. Springer or Elsevier). Digging up contact information often requires going to another page (e.g. ACM.). Some make you *both* go to another page to leave feedback and then fill out a form (e.g. EBSCO). Do any academic publishers keep the context of what journal article or book chapter you’re reporting a problem with? (If so, I’ve never noticed!)

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May 7th, 2012

I noticed that GMail is warning about missing attachments and heard that Thunderbird does this, too, from Arber Borix, who also responded to a request for a screenshot (below). Thanks, Arber!

Thunderbird: Found an attachment keyword: attached. Add Attachment... Remind Me Later

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Missing rhetorical connectives

May 7th, 2012

There may be an implied relationship between tweets (as between sentences) which is not made explicit.

Androgyny is a key trait of the most successful performers.
A person’s fame depends on fans of the opposite sex who wish to be that person.

(via the twitterfunding list from the twitterfunding experiment).

See also: my favorite example argument on Twitter.

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Commercial Altmetric Explorer aimed at publishers

May 7th, 2012

Altmetrics is hitting its stride: 30 months after the Altmetrics manifesto1, there are 6 tools listed. This is great news!

I tried out the beta of a new commercial tool, The Altmetric Explorer, from They are building on the success and ideas of the academic and non-profit community (but not formally associated with The Altmetric Explorer gives overviews of articles and journals by the social media mentions. You can filter by publisher, journal, subject, source, etc. Altmetric Explore has a closed beta, but you can try the basic functionality on articles with their open tool, the PLoS Impact explorer.

"The default view shows the articles mentioned most frequently in all sources, from all journals. Various filters are available.

Rolling over the donut shows which sources (Twitter, blogs, ...) an article was mentioned in.

Sparklines can be used to compare journals.

A 'people' tab lets you look at individual messages. Rolling over the photo or avatar shows the poster's profile. seems largely aimed at publishers2. This may add promotional noise, not unlike coercive citation, if it is used as an evaluation metric as they suggest:3

Want to see which journals have improved their profile in social media or with a particular news outlet?

Their API is currently free for non-commercial use. are crawling Twitter since July 2011 and focusing on papers with PubMed, arXiv, and DOI identifiers. They also get data from Facebook, Google+, and blogs, but they don’t disclose how. (I assume that blogs using ResearchBlogging code are crawled, for instance.)

  1. J. Priem, D. Taraborelli, P. Groth, C. Neylon (2010), Altmetrics: A manifesto, (v.1.0), 26 October 2010. []
  2. “Altmetric sustains itself by selling more detailed data and analysis tools to publishers, institutions and academic societies.”, says the bookmarklet page, to explain why that is free []
  3. ‘This quote from an editor as a condition for publication highlights the problem: “you cite Leukemia [once in 42 references]. Consequently, we kindly ask you to add references of articles published in Leukemia to your present article”’-from the abstract of Science. 2012 Feb 3;335(6068):542-3. Scientific publications. Coercive citation in academic publishing. Wilhite AW, Fong EA. summary on Science Daily. []

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A Narration Negotiation and Reconciliation Table and the role of narrative in reconciliation

May 6th, 2012

A tabletop storytelling interface called a Narration Negotiation and Reconciliation Table allows disagreements to be visually represented:

Points of Disagreement… can be dragged onto any part of a story to explicitly denote disagreement without preventing the story from continuing.

From A Reflection on Using Technology for Reconciliation through Co-Narration (PDF) by Oliviero Stock, Massimo Zancanaro of FBK-irst, Italy and Chaya Koren, Zvi Eisikovitz, Patrice L. (Tamar) Weiss of University of Haifa, Israel. In the CHI2012 HCI for Peace workshop.
The mutltitouch table interface was tested for peace reconciliation work with Israeli-Jewish and Palestinian-Arab teen boys.

I’d love a screenshot. Quick searching turned up a project description and an (unrelated) discussion of the role of narrative in reconciliation. I excerpt:

The textbooks juxtaposed both historical narratives on the same page: on the right side of the page, the Israeli narrative began with the birth of Zionism in the 19th century; on the left, the Palestinian narrative commenced with Napolean’s plans to establish a Jewish state in Palestine. Historical events faced off like soldiers in trenches; and while students were scrutinizing their positions, they were simultaneously recongnizing their own involvement in the conflict. This, of course, was an intended pedagogical tool carefully thought out by the authors of the book.

From Political Reconciliation and Narrative Negotiation (PDF): by Nadim Khoury of the Department of Politics at the University of Virginia.

This points out the obvious: reconciliation first requires understanding and externally representing the disagreements. Rooting out the disagreement in mundane situations discussed online, and providing representations for them, are a big part of my current work.

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