Tuesday, 6 June 2017

A most welcome birthday present

Clare's present for my 60th birthday was to commission a musical setting of one of my poems from Kathryn Rose.  Clare pointed Kathryn in the direction of this Blurtmetry blog, and gave her a free hand in choosing.  The poem Kathryn picked was 'Apology' from 2010.

I blogged 'Apology' after Sue Butler kindly accepted it for her 'Walking with poets' blog at the Benmore Botanic Gardens near Edinburgh.  Thanks to Sue for encouragement in connection with the present post.

The song comes with a CC-BY-SA (Attribution-ShareAlike) Creative Commons licence.  You may photocopy it, share it, perform it, record it, do pretty well anything you like with it provided that

(i) you attribute its authorship correctly

(ii) you impose no copyright restrictions of your own on anything you make of it.

Here's the sco.

And here's Kathryn's recording.

It was quite a thing, opening that on the day.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Bonus thing 24: Behind the scenes

A couple of other participants blogged their own response to Bonus Thing 24.  Not a lot for me to say except that my next learning adventure will be in software skills for librarians.  I'll be following that at home, and I fear the learning curve will be very, very steep.  Wish me luck.

And I will be pushing 'Moore methods' -- the long-term incarnation of the '23 things for research' videos -- to everyone who will listen.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Thing 23: The ultimate research tool

Reflect on and blog about the Ultimate Research Tool. Do you agree with our choice and what role does the tool play in your life? Will you use it differently in the future now you’ve taken this programme and watched the video above?

Absolutely agreed with the choice of the library as the ultimate research tool, though very conscious of falling short myself in the delivery of the service described in Georgina's post.

Also, take some time to reflect and blog about the overall 23 Research Things programme. What were the top things you learned? What Things were you not so convinced by? What tools and concepts will you take forward with you as you move on through your life and career?

The top things I learned -- the ones I will take forward -- will have been the sources of good pictures in Thing 14, Qualtrics as a survey tool from Thing 17, and Zotero for references from Thing 21.  I had better also say, having presented Clare Sansom as the scientist in my life in my blog post for Thing 16, that I was delighted by the pleasure Clare took in Altmetrics as demonstrated by me after Thing 22.

Thing 16 was about citizen science and the democratisation of science.  My post on that point could be described as hopeful but anxious.  Democracy's way of turning itself inside out has been hard not to notice in 2017.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Thing 22: Tracking success

Explore the analytics section of your Twitter account. What sort of things did you find out?

Good question.  I've been at the Twitter Analytics addictively since it appeared, and Georgina's post is valuable for urging me to explore the section more comprehensively.  I can confirm the report by 'Librarian at heart' that tweets generally get more seen and more responded to if they have hashtags and pictures in them.  And, in a subjective impression I haven't statistically confirmed, Twitter Analytics' list of my top tweets seems to have a lot of those other blue things in it -- links and Twitter handles.

The blue/popularity correlation reflects the experience of 'A waterfall of consciousness', that tweets did well when they reworked other tweets or combined subjects. I fear I cannot replicate that post's experience of success by a tweet "that tackled a controversial subject with a negative bent".

But it's gratifying to see that my own top tweets include this one:

Tnx Retford pharmacist, who didn't have my medication in stock so rang Retford's other pharmacists till one had it. Is this standard?

No blue text in that one; the tweet was presumably popular by the pharmacist's merit alone.  Quite right.

Track a URL using TweetReach. Try experimenting using a URL from an existing tweet

I have signed up to TweetReach.  I tracked the fortunes of a couple of hashtags I have tweeted about in the last week, but I can see I would need to be using Twitter more seriously before my use of this service became illuminating.

Add the Altmetric bookmarklet to your browser and test it out on some academic articles (either your own or from someone you know).

Use of this tool requires greater seriousness still.  True, it will tell you how often things have been tweeted, but the things in question have to be, as noted the comment of 'Librarian at heart', of a kind to have a Digital Object Identifier before Altmetric will work.  I got that, but I was slower to twig was that you had to have the article itself on the screen first -- the presence of a DOI wouldn't magically make an abstract or ResearchGate post Altmetricable.

For me, Altmetric would be a thing to recommend to researchers, not one that I'm likely to apply often to publications I have seen.  Like the other tools surveyed in this post, Altmetric will tell you where a publication has been.  It says less about what the publication did when it got there.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

This is the night

This is the night

Later the weight of wood, the darkened sky,

those who will see strange things, those who deride him.

We do not see Jesus enthroned on high.

The picture's clustered soldiers almost hide him.

Blindfold, he singles out no captor's fist.

The childhood-nasty blares from the horn

deafen Jesus. Worn, he does not resist.

This is the night. We must pray for dawn.

'This is the night' is my response to Albrecht Dürer's print The mocking of Christ.  It's my contribution to the '26 prints' project organised jointly by the writers' group 26 Characters and the Eames Fine Art Gallery. The Dürer and my poem are on display in the gallery, along with 25 other prints and 25 other writers' responses to them, until 16 April, and all the works are reproduced in the exhibition guide.

Fuller information about the print is on the site of American dealer Masterworks Fine Art and in the book Albrecht Dürer: woodcuts and woodblocks by Walter L. Strauss (New York: Abaris, 1980), p. 360.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Thing 21: Managing citations

The post behind this assignment sends us to Zotero, ORCID, and Google Scholar.


This round of 23things has taken me further with Zotero than I've been before. In my 2010 post, I wrote that I had attempted to use Zotero a couple of years previously, but been deterred by the facts that "I had to download Zotero machine by machine, and could use it only with Firefox".  For this '23 research things' assignment, done on my home laptop, I've succeeded in embarking on a Zotero library via Chrome, and ventured an in-text citation in Open Office Writer.  By the time you read this, I may have seen how I get on using my workplace computer's Firefox and MS Word.

I expect that my two principal uses of Zotero will be these: 

(i) to keep track of material used in Alumni Festival presentations, as in my abortive experiment of 2008 

(ii) to help any library users in their own explorations of referencing software.


I have set up an ORCID account for myself in the same spirit as Librarian at heart, who signed up for ORCID even "while I may not be publishing papers any time soon", and with similar motivation (cf. (ii) above): "it’s useful to know how ORCID works as the University is trying to persuade everyone to get one, and it’s good to be able to offer advice based on experience when people ask".  And, like ResearchGate, Academi.edu, LinkedIn and some less serious sites, ORCID will be a way of tracking down visitors, donors, and other library users we might lose sight of.

Google Scholar

I have set up a Google Scholar account for myself, again with no prospect of papers any time soon.  I don't intend making it public.  I was glad to find that Google Scholar offered one publication of mine (amongst those by several other people with similar names) for inclusion in my citations list, a gratifying discovery even though the number of its citations stands at zero. 

Monday, 13 March 2017

Thing 20: Presenting data

I must admit I've never had a favourite chart of choice, nor can I immediately recall a data presentation either bad or good enough to stick in my memory.  But I have tried out one of the data visualisation tools mentioned in Georgina's post. I went for easel.ly, the one that had been used by the other participants, following their praise for its ease of use.  It took me a certain amount of trial and error to use it, especially as I didn't see a 'Help' page.  However, I hope you agree I have succeeded in making a Venn diagram of data from my blog post of January 2011, on poetry competitions.

The data concerns my poetic output from 1977 to 2011, as recorded in the card index I've kept since 1994.  Of a total 218 indexed poems, I counted 95 that had been specially written for competitions, 67 that had been published, and 25 that had been both written for competitions and published. Making the Venn diagram required some revisiting of 'O'-level maths, to determine whether the radii of the smaller circles should measure against the large circle in the ratios 95/218 and 67/218, or in ratios of the squares of 95/218 and 67/218, or in the ratios of the square roots of 95/218 and 67/218.  But I think I got there.

I have not used Microsoft Excel's SmartArt facility, but I suppose I had better try it some day, if I'm going to make a habit of Venn diagrams.