Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Challenges of Misattribution

Attribution of quotes is an important part of all academic work. Academic integrity is essential to us as scholars to be able to do our work and for it to have some meaning. Nowadays, there are numerous stories in the news about the academic world where misconduct and lack of citation results in problems, see this story in the New York Times. This is a distinct challenge to our credibility and place within society. This isn't limited solely to academia though, see a recent article about controversy regarding a Quote Linked to Orwell.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Power Of Hashtags

One of my work tasks is to reach out via social media and try to engage with the public in the study of our topic. While this is often interesting work (finding quotes and presenting them in an engaging way), we struggle at times to get our voice heard.

I have always been hesitant to use #hashtags because of their connection to poor speech and a lack of well reasoned thought on the part of a writer. I have always been taught that text language and similar methods are less than academic and should be avoided. I forgot however one key lesson of anything you are presenting, consider your audience.

By incorporating hashtags to the end of our tweets and posts, we reached a significantly bigger audience than our previous attempts. For example, on average about 20 people would read a post on Facebook and about 1-2 would retweet or add us relative to any one post. By including hashtags as a change, we received 4 retweets, 2 favorites, and 5 new followers on Twitter. This is a dramatic increased our success rate. On Facebook, our post was explored by over 60 people within a matter of a couple of hours.

Who cares? Well the reality is that we are becoming more successful in our outreach and helping to generate interest in our topic. By incorporating hashtags, we've made our postings easier to find, access, and less daunting to a reader. With such a simple change a historian is capable of, in a military term, force multiplying, or making their efforts exponentially more successful by reaching more people.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Emendation, Referencing, and Databases

I write now in the throws of covering a lot of new realms. I am working in an academic critical editing project which has challenged and created new opportunities for learning. As a part of that work I've begun emending (yes, that's different from amending), reference researching, and editing a scholarly database. More posts I'm sure will follow to help those who aren't in the discipline help to understand these processes. I'm also the point man for the social media presence of the Edition, and will be blogging about the work we do at a later time (most likely this will be in an official format, but I'll try to provide what examples of this that I can). Also, I've begun working on my Thesis, and will try to share what I can without compromising my research. More will soon come. Stay tuned.