Citing Tweets in Academic Papers, or: The Odd Way of Citing Born-Digital Content

There is now an official Modern Language Association standard for referencing tweets: “How do I cite a tweet?“: Begin the entry in the works-cited list with the author’s real name and, in parentheses, user name, if both are known and they differ. If only the user name is known, give it alone. Next provide the entire text of the tweet in quotation marks, without changing the capitalization. Conclude the entry with the date and time of the message and the medium of publication (Tweet). For example: Athar, Sohaib (ReallyVirtual). “Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event).” 1 May 2011, 3:58 p.m. Tweet. What strikes me as absolutely odd is that the standard does not require a link to the tweet. While this is completely in line with their other standards, as citing blogs and websites also do not require a URL, both tweets and blogs, and most websites due to the increasing use of CMS-systems, use permalinks which makes them absolutely perfect for referencing. With born-digital material increasingly becoming citable material I hope the MLA is at least discussing the option of including the source of this born-digital material. And if we’re starting to consider to cite […]

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Track the Trackers and Watch the Watchers

During the Digital Methods Winterschool 2012 we worked on a project called Track the Trackers. Track the Trackers The cloud seems to be a buzz word; what it refers to could be difficult to grasp. This project aims to make (some parts) of the cloud tangible. The project focuses on devices that track users online and show their encounters with the cloud, both those that require active participation of the user (through widgets) and those encounters that are automated (through tags, web bugs, pixels and beacons). For this purpose we have re-purposed Ghostery, a browser plugin that informs users which companies are present on websites they visit to build a custom tool for tracker detection. We focus on automated tracking devices, that operate as default setting once a user requests a website and widgets, including social buttons, which require user action to set further data transmission in motion. We use a wide definition of “tracker”, including a number of devices that allow for user-data collection, such as internal tracking devices, bugs, widgets, external analytic services and further interfaces to the cloud. The newly developed tool also allows us to create connections among websites, defining relations based on their connection to […]

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Paper: Where do bloggers blog? Platform transitions within the historical Dutch blogosphere

My first co-authored article, with colleague Esther Weltevrede, has been published in First Monday, Volume 17, Number 2 – 6 February 2012. Where do bloggers blog? Platform transitions within the historical Dutch blogosphere Abstract The blogosphere has played an instrumental role in the transition and the evolution of linking technologies and practices. This research traces and maps historical changes in the Dutch blogosphere and the interconnections between blogs, which — traditionally considered — turn a set of blogs into a blogosphere. This paper will discuss the definition of the blogosphere by asking who the actors are which make up the blogosphere through its interconnections. This research aims to repurpose the Wayback Machine so as to trace and map transitions in linking technologies and practices in the blogosphere over time by means of digital methods and custom software. We are then able to create yearly network visualizations of the historical Dutch blogosphere (1999–2009). This approach allows us to study the emergence and decline of blog platforms and social media platforms within the blogosphere and it also allows us to investigate local blog cultures. For the full text, see First Monday or explore the data on our project page.

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Visualization: Amazon recommendation network for “Software Studies: A Lexicon”

I recently came across a post on O’Reilly that highlighted Christopher Warnow’s network visualization for the book A Thousand Milieus. Warnow created a tool using Processing, based on the Gephi API, that retrieves the Amazon recommendation network for a book. You can download the tool, input your own book and visualize the recommendation network. The tool allows you to export the network as a PDF which unfortunately was, in my case, absolutely unreadable so I took a few hours to adjust the readability in Illustrator. It would be even nicer if you could export the network as a Gephi file for direct manipulation. With the tool I created the Amazon recommendation network for “Software Studies: A Lexicon” (see also my review of the book). The network could not only serve as a “what to read next” within the field but it also shows a couple of interesting clusters aligned to different strands within Software Studies or fields aligned with Software Studies. Download hi-res PDFs to explore the full map: Amazon recommendation network for “Software Studies: A Lexicon” (PDF) & Color-coded clusters within the Amazon recommendation network for “Software Studies: A Lexicon” (PDF) Thanks to Christopher Warnow’s effort to create this wonderful tool!

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David Gelernter on the lifestream, time, pace and space.

Last year Erik Borra, Taina Bucher, Carolin Gerlitz, Esther Weltevrede and I worked on a project “One day on the internet is enough” which we have since referred to as “Pace Online.” The project aims to contribute to thinking about temporality or pace online by focusing on the notion of spheres and distinct media spaces. Pace isn’t the most important question, respect for the objects and the relation between objects and pace per sphere are also of interest in this study. Both in terms of how the engines and platforms handle freshness, as well as currency objects that are used by the engines and platforms to organize content. Moving beyond a more general conclusion that there are multiple presents or a multiplicity of time on the internet, we can try to start specifying how paces are different, and overlap, empirically. The aim is to specify paces and to investigate the relation between freshness and relevance per media space. The assumption is that freshness and relevance create different paces and that the pace within each sphere and plattform is internally different and multiple in itself. (continue reading on the project wiki page) I was reminded of the project when I read Rethinking […]

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