Leslie Madsen-Brooks has a great post about the new online encyclopedia project, Citizendium. The idea behind Citizendium is to basically add some editorial oversight to a wikipedia-like project. In order to do so, Sanger recruited editors from the academic community. Bryan Alexander wrote about the launch of the site, which included a manifesto from Sanger.

Bryan’s post discusses some of the issues he has with Sanger’s evocation of a more traditional model of knowledge creation that a project like Wikipedia has attempted to disrupt. Leslie’s post does much the same, focusing on how Citizendium’s collection of editors seems to have very few women in it. She suggests a history of knowledge creation in which women are often left out:

Across time and cultures, women have been deemed, sometimes subtly and frequently explicitly, to be less reliable sources of information. Today in the U.S., women are more populous than men in undergraduate education, but they are yet to be as well represented in graduate programs in the sciences as are men.

In a system where people with Ph.D.s may be favored over those without, and where the accuracy of scientific information is a priority (Sanger cites several scientific examples in his essay, and the major scientific journal Nature published an oft-cited report on the accuracy of scientific information on Wikipedia), it’s likely that women’s participation in the project may not be as valued or welcomed.

She cites others who are concerned about squeezing out women’s voices as well as other groups on the margins.

One of her commenters made the point that we academics often discredit Web 2.0 projects without ever participating ourselves and notices a tendency for those who decry the projects most loudly to be those with the most to lose:

I don’t see why experts shouldn’t just involve themselves in wikipedia. Encourage their students to involve themselves in wikipedia. A wiki is only as good as the people who contribute. So contribute. For once. Instead of taking our collective academic ball home in a huff, let’s play the game.

I think it’s an especially promising opportunity to challenge the structures of the academy. I find the fact that men who are academically established are the ones trying to start an expert alternative that will be authoritative rather telling.

While Wikipedia and Citizendium are not appropriate academic sources, they do serve as authoritative sources for a great many people and they certainly are “The World Book” of the 21st century. Back when I was a kid, family debates were resolved with a check in our encyclopedia set. Now, we turn to Wikipedia. These new Web 2.0 sources represent to many people the way knowledge and information is created. Do we really want to recreate the hierarchal structures that prevented the exploration and discussion of topics outside the mainstream? Whether Citizendium is on that path or not is hard to tell at this early date, but we certainly shouldn’t necessarily take it as a completely “better” Wikipedia.


Mark flies solo and breaks down the latest salvo from Michael Gorman, noted library curmudgeon, with guest Jon Mark Bolthouse of the University of Wisconsin Colleges.

References include Scott McLemee’s article summarizing the Gorman post on Inside Higher Ed, Steven Bell, and of course Michael Gorman


Episode 18 (approx. 33 min., 35 Mb)

This week, Mark and I talked to Tim Burke from Swarthmore College and Collin Brooke from Syracuse University about various issues related to Academic Publishing in the web 2.0 world. They’ve both written in their blogs about these issues. Here are some of the posts that inspired the show:

Fun with Intellectual Property Issues
If Tuesday Began with the letters CSH
Is it really so complicated?

We covered a lot of ground, from the economics of publishing to tenure and promotion to tagging. I think the words of the day were “distribution” and “circulation.”


Episode 17
(mp3; approx. 40 mb)

This week, while Mark was basking at the beach, I talked to Lindsay Gold and Liz Newbury, two former Bryn Mawr students who are also gamers. We talked extensively about issues we see surrounding women getting involved in gaming. They did a presentation for our department on the Wii, WoW, and Second Life. I recorded that presentation and will post it later. In the meantime, take a listen to my interview with them.

Episode 16 (mp3, approx. 24 mb)

In this episode, we cover several bibliography tools and issues surrounding their use.

Episode 15 (mp3, about 16mb)

Links we covered:

My EndNote

Want us to cover something in a podcast? Email us at lblanken [at] brynmawr [dot] edu or mcolvson [at] brynmawr [dot] edu or tag it in del.icio.us with bmcpodcast. Or leave us a comment here. We’ll take feedback and suggestions in any form!

At the beginning of a workshop today, I explained that it’s a common misconception that today’s students live and breathe technology and therefore, we, as educators should pile on the technology to appeal to them. Many college students have Facebook accounts, use IM, frequent YouTube and can manage multiple email accounts, but not all, and those that do are not usually accustomed to using those tools as a way to learn or to engage in critical inquiry.

An article in Innovate, Questioning Assumptions about Students Expectations of Technology Use in College Classrooms, is an ethnographic study of students and their use of technology both in and out of the classroom. It found that students prefer more traditional methods of teaching in the classroom and resist using computers in a classroom setting. The study focused, it seemed, on laptop use specifically and did not discuss other technology that faculty might have used to enhance the classroom experience, such as social software, course management systems, or 3D modeling.

The researchers claimed at the beginning that they “sought to understand the ways in which liberal arts college students use technology to make meaning of their college experience in both academic and non-academic spaces on campus.” However, it seems they mainly discovered how students used laptops, which seems a very limited view of student technology use. They conclude that “we may not be at the point of changing the classroom practices of either professors or students, contrary to common assumptions.” But they never really question why. All they really showed was that neither group was ready for laptops in the classroom. I’d like to see a further exploration of students’ resistance to other forms of technology in the classroom, a resistance I think is real in many cases and one I think it’s worth investigating further. My own assumptions are that technology isn’t even introduced in the learning experience in the first place and when it is, it may not be well planned, so that students don’t understand why it’s being used and therefore resist it.

Some of the references in the paper may answer my questions, so that’s my next immediate exploration.

This week I talked to our new Summer Multimedia Interns. They talk about what they’re looking forward to this summer, how they use technology, social networking and more.

Episode 14 (about 14 mins.)