Digitized Publishing: Scientific Blogging

This is the shortened presentation for the workshop I instructed together with my colleague Rebecca Renatus. Rebecca prepared part one and myself prepared part two.

You’ll find information on research about scientific blogging, but also practices and advices.

The workshop resulted in a lot of posts on this summer school blog from our participants and there will be more. Thank you all for your engagement! We are really happy, that you are joining our team!

Digitization – a Prediction of the Future I (The Summer School)

I am happy to present to you the first part of a new guest post, this time from Sven Guckes. Besides a lot more things he can be described as hacktivist. As participant of the summer school he wrote a quite detailed summary about this event on his website. He allowed me to publish his text here, too. If you are a fan of pure and simple layouts, his site will make you happy for sure.

== Misc ==
accomodation, travel, weather.

this is a summer school - so it is still
summer in germany, right?  well.. WRONG!

the temperatures range between
13C/55F and 0C/32F at night. eek!

so dont forget to bring a sweater and a coat
and extra underpants and a scarf and gloves.
alright.. prepare for WINTER!

accomodation for me was both in
a hotel and at friends' places.

visiting friends is almost always a part
of my travels to events. that's always great.
staying with them also gives the possibility
for some "nerding" at the computers on the net.
always great fun.. and usually
ends with a lack of sleep..

the hotel is very near the main station,
so it is easy to reach. just a walk away.

the room had a double bed (space! :-)
with super-white sheets and a nice
view onto the main station's roof.

there were four sockets labeled with
"DSL" (hey!), ISDN (wot?), and Modem (wtf??).
as it turns out, they're all dead.
there supposedly is wifi - for 5euros
per *half* hour. thanks - but, no, thanks.

most hostels will give you wifi for free.
no wonder they have no money
to buy a real hotel, right?

and the bottle of water cost 4,50 euros. o_O
maybe i should have crossed over the 30m
to the McD and bought myself a happy meal. ;)

others were staying at the guest house...
how was that?
== Languages ==
EN, de

the main language is definitely English.
however, as it takes part in Germany,
there are many german words involved.
but i also heard Italian, Spanish,
and Hebrew - and Saxonian. ;-)

okay.. the real language is *pidgin* english.
expect everyone to apply the intonation and
pronunciation from his/her mother tongue
as well adding some made-up
grammar and spelling, too.

then again, this is no course on english.
and everyone is fine to forgive
the mistakes of others.
so dont worry if your
english is not perfect.
join the school, anyway! :)
== Locations ==

the site of the event is a part of the
technical university of dresden,
in the south of the main station,
within the part of Räcknitz, more
specifically in nöthnitzerstrasse.

on the first day we met at the
military history museum which
is definitely special in itself.
we got a fast tour of the museum.
i didnt know i'd be interested that much,
but i found it really interesting after all.

for all the other days there has been
three main buildings we changed between:
the computer science department
and the Max Plank Institute (MPI)
in nöthnitzerstrasse - 
(about 300m away from each other),
and the refectory at mommsenstrasse
(two blocks away from the CS department).

the entry hall at the CS department contains
some art in the form of green slinky blobs.
i'd call them "spaghetti", but, hey..
at least there's something to talk about
once you enter this rather technical building.

at the CS department we obtained access to the wifi
with a user+pass - distinct from each other.
at the MPI there was exactly *one*
user+pass for all participants.
== Extras ==
tour at museum, tour of the town. blogger meetup.

tour at museum:
wow - this museum is interesting after all!
and i thought it would all be icky stuff.
the tour we got was quick (an hour) - and good.
i was drawn into the exhibition after it..
i almost immediately lost my command of time.
Joachim had to drag me out of it towards
the talks - otherwise i'd missed them.
i'm not into military stuff at all,
but i've taken note of this museum
and will likely visit it again.

tour of the town:
two hours in the chill - and informative all the way.
the guide woman was born in Dresden
and obviously is fond of this town.

bloggers meetup:
Katrin Etzrodt, Lisa Merten..
it's hard to get anything started.
a lot of opinions were given,
and both Katrin and Lisa
took them all in, sorted them,
put them into clear objective.
but now all the bloggers must
give their data to make it happen.
we'll see where this goes.
hopefully, this blog will still be
active for the next summer school.
it could be really helpful to
the following participants.
== Media ==
blog, chat, email, facebook, homepage, pads, pics, twitter, wiki.

good idea to have a blog accompany an event.
just like every other medium. ;-)
thinking about it now, maybe we
should have asked all participants
to write an entry *before* the event:

"please introduce yourself.
what is it you are doing?
have you been here before?
why do you participate at all?
what do you expect of the event?
do you have any open questions?"

the events i normally attend usually have a mailing list
and some chat (mostly IRC and jabber) in the background.
however, this kind of synchronous medium is
usually missing with events on media.  weird.
or has this been replaced by twitter now?
am i getting old?

email has been around since the 1970s.
but it's mostly a 1-to-N communication.
a maillist usually would allow N-to-N communication.
then again, noone seems to have learnt anything
about this at school. as it fails at so many levels.
while i have been using this for 25 years now,
i find that most people cannot make effective use of it.
like other media, i'm sure.

"are you on facebook?" "'course i am!"
funny enough, people who are not on facebook
seem to be weirdos who do not even
own an ID or do not exist at all.
"can you even trust these people?"
at some conferences it seems that way.
then again, on some other conferences
you get an response like
"fuckbook? hand over all of my data
directly to the NSA? are you kidding?"
think about it, media people.

a homepage definitely has become a business card.
got your own domain for it, too? sure.
firstname@lastname.{com,name,org}? yep.
connects you too all other stuff like
blog, social media, and the like? check.

we used textpads for some talks (see list).
the goal was to list a summary of the talk,
list all questions, and some comments and links.
as a textpad also allows chatting to each other,
participants had some fun around it.

some people have taken pics.
while they appear on instagram and twitter,
why - isnt anyone using flickr any more?

by the way, you can find my pics on dropbox+flayvr:

it's a must. don't you get it?
how else can you communicate to others
while you are sitting in a boring talk?
whaddaya mean, email, facebook, chat?

dead. killed by pads.
== Orga ==
catering+lunch. finance. schedule.

there had been several updates on the schedule.
was good to see a preview. thanks for that!

we always had beverages like water, juices (apple+orange), 
and (at MPI) also some coffee. that was great! 
thanks, orga people!

the orga folks also took care about the financial stuff,
like hotel reservations, reimbursments, vouchers for lunch.
as far as i can tell, all this went very smoothly. well done!:)

at lunchtime we went to the refectory for food.
it's just a 5min walk to an adjacent block.
they offer three main dishes, various salads,
and desserts (eg cake, pudding).
(not sure about the offers for vegetarians
and vegans. can somebody comment on that?)

we even received some vouchers for a
main dish, a beverage, and a dessert. yay :)

there is also a cafeteria within the building
which offer beverages, cake, and some snacks.

sitting outside in the sun was oh-kay..
but in the shadow it certainly was chilly.
in the end we sat inside within the
cafeteria for some coffe and club-mate
(you don't know this? check it out!)

the only thing we didn't really do is to
communicate where we would sit to eat.
so we kinda broke up in little groups.
but maybe this is how it must be.
groups over six people usually break
up in smaller communication groups, anyway.

did you know that for every group of six people
there are three who know each other or do NOT
know each other?  why?  well.. ask wikipedia!
== People ==

although the event was organized by the linguist department,
the participants were economists, lawyers, linguists, and
media people. and this one bloke with math+CS (nerd).

people came from quite some countries:
Germany (obviously), Austria (not so obvious),
Switzerland (disguising, too), but also
from Egypt, Italy, Israel, and India. (more?)
== Events ==
keynotes, presentations, talks, workshops.

there were events like talks and workshops,
as well as presentations of PhD projects.
some breaks in between; lunch
in the afternoon (12:30-14:00).

the presentations contained three projects each,
lasting 15min, and up to 10min more for Q&A.

the talk+workshops took place at the CS department,
the keynotes at the MPI.

when you present your Ph.D. thesis,
please, please, puh-leeze -
do not make it look like your
first talk since high school.

things to avoid:
* do not start reading off a paper.
* do not read the complete overview.
* do not look at and read off the slides.
* do not use fillers like "and my claim is"..
* do not give the audience the feeling someone
  told you to do this because you should.
* you are on stage. perform! do not be boring.

* speak freely.  speak slowly.  speak UP!
* who are you? what is your background?
* what exactly will you be looking at?
* why is this subject important to *you*?
* why should *we* care about the results?

get us interested, so we will think:
i gotta follow this and see how work on this progresses.
i must follow this person on all social and non-social media,
so i will know about these results before i die!

to be continued …

Digitization and its Impact on Journalism

Today I am glad to present to you a guest post by Dr. André Haller. He is a researcher and lecturer at the Institute of Communication Science at University of Bamberg (Germany). His fields of research are: Political Communication, Scandals and Media, Litigation PR and New Developments in Journalism. At the Summer School Haller and his colleague Holger Müller (who is also researching and teaching in Bamberg) gave a lecture with the title “Big Data – The last resort for local newspapers?”.  

Much has been written on the issue of digitization and its consequences on journalism. Most works deal with the internet and the transformation of classic journalism into new forms of online communication. Adrian Holovaty identified and described two steps in the old fashioned journalism: The collection of information and the production of newspaper stories for newspaper websites (cf. Holovaty 2006). But as he reasoned in 2006 on his website: “The problem is […], for many types of news and information, newspaper stories don’t cut anymore” (ibid.).

Holger Müller and I presented a possible chance for classic journalism to persist and succeed in the era of digitization: Data Journalism or Data Driven Journalism. The title of our presentation was “Big Data – The last resort for local newspapers?”. We showed a cooperation project of the Institute of Communication Science at University of Bamberg and the local media organization “Fränkischer Tag” which publishes several newspapers in the area of Upper Franconia in the German Bundesland Bavaria.

Our lecture was based on the theoretical assumptions by Paul Bradshaw who introduced the “inverted pyramid of data journalism” (Bradshaw 2011a). The pyramid consists of five steps which describe the collection and editing of data which can be used for a journalist’s work:

Facebook-App for the “Raider of the Dead Spot” (Haller / Müller 2013)

(1) Compile (cf. ibid.): That means, a journalist either “have a question that needs data or a dataset that needs questioning” (ibid.). In our data journalism project we want to find dead spots in mobile reception in the area of Bamberg. The project is named “Raider of the Dead Spot” and aims mainly on younger recipients. The question is therefore: “How good is your mobile phone reception?”. We therefore use a Facebook-App in which the users can report a deadspot by clicking on a few items (see figure).

(2) Clean (cf. ibid.): In this step the journalist’s task is to question the gathered data. We’ll have to check the plausibility of the data set and also compare the data which is provided by the phone provider.

(3) Context (cf. ibid.): We then have to look for stories which arise from the data. Possible contexts in the debate on mobile dead spots in Germany could be: Protests against mobile phone masts and the development of the population in rural areas.

(4) Combine (cf. ibid.): In the last step of the data research the journalists have to combine further data with the data set from the Facebook-App. The first task is to merge the statistics with geodata to see where the most dead spots are located.

(5) Communicate (cf. ibid / Bradshaw 2011b): When the work on the data is mostly finished, journalists have to communicate to the audience. Bradshaw therefore defines the following steps: Visualize, narrate, socialize, humanize, personalize and utilize (cf. Bradshaw 2011b).

The visualization will be made by charts, tables and maps. It is planned to produce maps for the printed edition of the newspaper, for its website and for the Facebook-App. In the narration, journalists want to explain the data set to the readers of the newspaper “Fränkischer Tag”. Data Journalism needs also to be responsive so the makers have to socialize the collected information. That means, users should have the chance to take part in the journalistic work. In the step of humanization, we want to show how the problem of dead spots is connected to some citizens of Bamberg, for example rescue teams. This is connected to the personalization of our story: The journalist’s task is to show each reader why the project has some importance for his or her everyday life. “Utilize” means that the Facebook-App is user friendly and that the infrastructure could be used for further Data Journalism projects.

The project starts in the end of 2013. As we stated in our lecture, it is some kind of an experiment for Data Driven Journalism in the local news. In Germany, mainly bigger media organizations use Data Journalism as an instrument to combine multiple forms of communication. Hence, we are curious about the outcomes of the “Raiders of the Dead Spots”-project and are going to present the main results of the cooperation when the work is done.



Bradshaw, Paul (2011a): The inverted pyramid of data journalism. Hg. v. Online Journalism Blog, last update on 07.07.2011, last checked on 08.05.2013.

Bradshaw, Paul (2011b): 6 ways of communicating data journalism (The inverted pyramid of data journalism part 2). Hg. v. Online Journalism Blog, last update on 13.07.2013, last checked on 08.05.2013.

Holovaty, Adrian (2006): A fundamental way newspaper sites need to change, last update on 06.09.2006, last checked on 03.06.2013.

About filter bubbles, silent nuns and spam. The first day of presentations.

I had the honor of chairing the first participant presentations today. Since this is a interdisciplinary summer school, there is a wide variety in backgrounds, which exposes everybody to perspectives and topics they would probably not have approached on their own.

The first presentation was given by Ana Jobin, PhD student at the University of Lausanne. She’s looking at the filter bubble, that search engines like Google create, not from the perspective of the user, as it is usually done, but from the perspective of advertisers. Her presentation sparked a lively debate about algorithms and perspectives on filter bubbles.

Michele Infante presented his research on nuns in the last cloistered convent in Naples. He looked at how they are using the internet and what impact it has on life within the convent. As a social scientist he is no stranger to field work, but there are certain challenges when it comes to researching the life of nuns who have sworn a vow of silence.

The last presentation of the day was given by Elinor Carmi, a PhD student at Goldsmiths College, University of London. She talked about spam on modern online platforms, something that is not usually in the focus of research. There was an intense discussion following the presentation. Shannon and Weaver still have that effect on people who talk about communication and communication methods.

The interdisciplinary approach led to lots of interesting and intense discussions, with feedback from different perspectives and angles. It definitely payed off, even just as a participant, but I’m very much looking forward to the discussion on my presentation on Wednesday.

Challenges of cross disciplinary events

After a full day of workshops and presentations I noticed a re-occurring thing: talking about such a heated topic such as digitization, or shall we say – digitalization – summons debates and clashes between different disciplines, approaches and methods. In the current academic climate, that tries to encourage cross-disciplinary approaches, one cannot help but wonder how this hybridization process will manage to dissolve years of disciplinary divisions and traditions.

This is particularly interesting in such a diverse group of people, who come from different traditions even within a specific discipline. In this respect, this summer school is a test lab that beautifully shows the academic atmosphere many of us find ourselves in at the moment, and therefore, provide a great opportunity to be exposed and receive feedbacks from people who might have not encounter your work otherwise.

I am very curious to hear, learn and debate in the following days, will be diginteresenting for sure!