Google scholar

I’m off to Somerset this week and the Convergence Conferece, both to attend and present. I hope to see some of you there!

 In the meantime, I’ve been looking at Google Scholar, which I’ve managed to overlook until now. If you haven’t given it a test drive, it’s at http://scholar.google.com/, and it provides a search of scholarly literature. Here’s a little more information about how it returns results: http://scholar.google.com/intl/en/scholar/help.html. I’d be interested in knowing what you think about it.

UK on the Research Channel

The University of Kentucky’s Center for Visualization and Virtual Environments has done some great work featuring UK research in video. You can find the results on The Research Channel, which is shown on UKTV Cable Channel 16 (Insight Cable on campus and throughout Fayette County), and on The Research Channel Web site at http://www.researchchannel.org/ (type University of Kentucky in the search line or click here to browse some featured videos in the partner highlights section).

A few choice titles (but of course they are all choice): Arts & Media, the intersection between fine arts and technology; Flying on Air, the Big Blue project of inflatable-wing technologies for flight over Mars; and Surveillance Privacy Protection, addressing concerns of privacy in the act of surveillance.

Let’s go crazy?

I usually don’t post on the weekends, but considering yesterday’s post, I thought this article on ABCNews.com was really interesting: http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/story?id=3777651&page=1. It’s about YouTube and copyright infringement.

a memory at my fingertips

A few days ago I heard a song on the radio that I hadn’t heard or thought of in years: Peter Gabriel’s “Solsbury Hill.”  By the time I got home, I wanted to hear it and really listen to it – to remember what it was about – and maybe see it performed. You know what I did. Yep, I found it on YouTube. I’m it playing it now in the background as I write. (Good grief, the things pop stars wore in the late 70s and into the 80s.) The next step for me is to purchase and download the tune for my mp3 player, because it was like rediscovering a forgotten gem among my jewelry. And just like that, it’s accessible to me again; and this time I don’t have to wait for it to make it into the radio station’s rotation.

Music, lectureswritten workseducational and public service programs, entertainment, and more are now at the fingertips of those who have access to the networks that provide them (and that access grows every day). So are bogus articles, potential copyright infringement, and somebody’s imagination masquerading as fact (there are plenty of those; I won’t link to any to give them wider circulation). What’s my point? Well, it’s Friday Fluff, so just enjoy. But maybe also you can think about your own collection of trusted sources on the Web, and how to help your students think about theirs. The Web didn’t invent entertainment or information dissemination. It didn’t invent poor source material or copyright infringement. But, boy-oh-boy, does it ever make it accessible. How does the person who posted the “Solsbury Hill” video get away with sharing an original recording mashed up with video of multiple concerts? Official fan club prez with record label blessing? Maybe. Or maybe, as in a number of cases, it’s not that at all, but the artist or label or agent or whomever decides it’s worth the attention. Hey, I’m going to pay for it; maybe that’s reason enough. Food for thought. Find a dry spot and enjoy your weekend.

Getting a life (a second one, that is)

Have you tried it? Second Life, I mean. If you are not someone terribly interested in virtual environments, then the whole idea may seem a little creepy to you. I’ll ‘fess up: it creeped me out. I’ve always been interested in new technologies and discovering for myself how they work as well as if and how they might be supportive in the classroom and/or lifelong learning situations. But I’ve never been a “gamer” as it’s currently defined. Gaming for me was Space Invaders and Galaga (did I spell that right?). PacMan if I was feeling lucky. But I got myself an avatar, yes I did. And now I’ve found myself designee to purchase University of KY Island in Second Life.

And so I got a life. A Second Life. I won’t pretend it doesn’t feel a little strange; however, it is growing on me, and I am beginning to see connections for instruction and lifelong learning. The educators listserv, SLED, is especially helpful (although I recommend the daily digest rather than getting each message as posted). If you are interested in getting your own avatar so that you can explore University of KY Island when it is ready, then here’s how: First, go to http://secondlife.com/ and click on the Sign Up Now button. You will be walked through account setup (a free account will get you an avatar and a Second Life) and avatar selection. You’ll also be prompted to download the software. Once you log in the first time, you will be placed on an Orientation Island, where you will learn to move and find out more about SL. Once you are finished with your tasks you can “teleport” to a Help Island, where your avatar will get a good start in SL. After that, you kind of have to know where to go. In a future entry, I’ll give you some destinations, like Paris 1900, museum sites and others. And of course, University of KY Island when it is ready.

Gutenberg’s top 100

If you’ve never visited Project Gutenberg, “the first producer of free electronic books (ebooks),” now is a great time to do so. The top 100 list contains such works as “The Raven,” Pride & Prejudice, Manual of Surgery Volume First, Illustrated History of Furniture, and Encyclopaedia Brittanica 11th Edition Volume 4 (I kid you not). If it is in the public domain in the U.S. (in other words, if its copyright has expired), you’re likely to find it there. It can be a great help to students (and instructors) in need of quick access to anything from a quote to a full text. See some ways that people have made use of the material at http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Reusing_Project_Gutenberg_texts (scroll down to Pedagogical Use and others).

Humanities Research Network

Check out the Humanities Research Network: The HRN, a world-wide online community for research in all areas of Humanities, following the model of the Social Science Research Network. See the announcement at http://www.ssrn.com/update/crn/crnann/annA001.html.