Friday Varia and Quick Hits

Varia from my wanderings on the web:

  • The Olympic opening ceremonies are happening even as I write this.  Ohio State’s History Departments eHistory publication Origins features an interesting article on political controversies and the Olympic games: “Playing Politics: Olympic Controversies Past and Present“.   Origins provides a podcast as well!
  • For some fantastic and though provoking work on archaeological ethnography, check out the work of Yannis Hamilakis, Aris Anagnostopoulos, and Fotis Ifantidis at The Kalaureia Research Program on Poros.  They maintain an interesting photoblog: Kalauria in the Present.  They also hosted a workshop on Archaeological Ethnographies which featured a series of very interesting papers, at least judging by the abstracts.  It would be great if some of these papers were made available on the web! 
  • The ubiquitous and always interesting Troels Myrup Kristensen of the University of Aarhus (and the iconic blog Iconoclasm) is co-organizing a panel at the Theoretical Archaeology Group conference in December on “Archaeologies of destruction“.  Quite interesting!
  • Chuck Jones called our attention (but it’s worth repeating) that the Brooklyn Museum’s collection has gone online.  The most interesting thing about it is that they built “tagging” into their interface allowing visitors to tag images in their collection. They’ve even created an ingenious game out of it modeled on Google’s Image Labeler.  This will help them not only to sort and organize their collection in a way that is meaningful to the public, but will also give their collection a social, interactive aspect that, in effect, makes the community a key component in creating meaning from the wide ranging material available online.  This ingenious use of “Web 2.0” practices highlights how web communities can work together to structure content and make the internet a more useful and socially engaged environment.
  • More, Chuck Jones: He posted an interesting comment on my Monday Metadata post asking whether the tools I use to monitor readers on this blog (primarily TypePad’s Statistics page and Google Analytics) record viewers who read the blog via aggregators like Bloglines or Google Reader.  I clearly record hits from Bloglines and perhaps from Google Reader, but the person has to click through to my blog’s actual URL.  The issue here is more than the vain desire for statistically observable traffic.  If readers don’t click through to the actual blog page and only view it via an aggregator, then it undermines a key feature that bloggers use to create community: namely their blog rolls — those lists of blogs that most bloggers keep to show their readers what they are reading.  These blog rolls — which date to the earliest days of blogging — do not come through on the typical RSS feed.  Of course, most RSS aggregators do have some social function — the most sophisticated, for example, show you how many other people subscribe to a particular blog’s feed and some can even recommend feeds that are common among other individuals who subscribe to the same feeds as you.  This, of course, is another example of the acephalus (or radically democratic) nature of internet communities as the interests of the community replaces the opinion of an individual blogger who offers up his or her carefully tended (ha!!) blog rolls!  One can detect similar tension in the post offered on the Brooklyn Museum’s blog piece “Collection Preview and Re-thinking Tagging” : At the same time that they use tagging to allow for a kind of community curration, “The curatorial staff felt is was important to only release works with vetted data. While there are all kinds of arguments both for and against this kind of thinking, we felt it was important to honor their wishes. Records will move out more slowly, but it also means the data will be in good shape when it does and that’s a good thing.” 
  • The UND Office of University Relations circulated a gently tweaked (and improved) version of the press release for the 2008 season of the Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project.  
  • Finally, if you are in North Dakota watch the opening ceremonies to see UND’s new television advertising.  My sources tell me that this is a key step in re-branding the University and making sure that the wider community understands what the flagship university in the state system has to offer!

Have a good weekend!

  1. September 2, 2008 at 2:38 am

    Thank you very much for the Kalaureia link! FYI, the workshop papers are going to be published as a special issue of ‘Public Archaeology’ in 2009.

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