Courting Amsterdam

A journal of internal and external experience as I attempt to enfold Amsterdam into my world as best I can with the time I have.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Daily Dairy

This is from my notes on the weekend of August 11th - 13th...

Friday:

Other folks took off to the nine winds but there was precious little to note for me today. I took the opportunity to sleep in... eventually floating up to the waking world about 10am. Pretty much spent the day working on transcribing interviews and trying to parse out some trends. I’d thought of taking the afternoon to go cycling around but wanted to get ahead on my work, sadly this was one of the last sunny days we were to have for a while. Rounded out the day by watching the sun set and chatting off and on with m’love back home.


Saturday:

Cats, dogs, squirrels, elephants and the odd dromedary came pouring out of the sky today. Ye gods and little fishes, but I haven’t seen a deluge like this in years. Trent had borrowed my waterproof jacket to go cycling and had left his talismanic leather jacket behind in case I needed to step out for something. Well, something came up and I grabbed Trent’s leathers and stepped out into the storm... Oh how I needed that! The feeling of world hammering at my body, reminding me at once of both how fragile the body is and how strong. My adrenaline kicked in and the dominance of thinking was subsumed into the primacy of being. Pants were soaked and plastered to my skin faster than Ronnie Reagan could say “I can’t quite recall...”. But Trent's Leather Jacket kept my shoulders drier than a Colorado Summer. I muttered the incantation that is the due to any and all Huskies and the storm raged still harder and my laughter matched the fury.

I returned in time for dinner with Trent but no one else had shown. Alas, we'd planned to feast on stewed documents... er, Antelope... at the Kilimanjaro restaurant nearby but we decided to forgo that in hopes that more folks would show up tomorrow night, returning from their jaunts across Europe. Had a marvelous dinner though at Koffiehuis v/d Volksbond and had a very nice lamb dish with a Palm (a gloriously rich and not-bitter stout beer).

Sunday:

Worked on my research most of the day, which was unfortunate given the amazing beauty of a sun-filled Amsterdam (first sunny day in a week). I wasn't completely crazy as I managed to get out for an extended walk. Sadly I didn't make it to dinner with Trent but I did enjoy a lovely sunset and wished Trent well when I saw him later on.

Daily Dairy

This is from my notes on the weekend of August 11th - 13th...

Friday:

Other folks took off to the nine winds but there was precious little to note for me today. I took the opportunity to sleep in... eventually floating up to the waking world about 10am. Pretty much spent the day working on transcribing interviews and trying to parse out some trends. I’d thought of taking the afternoon to go cycling around but wanted to get ahead on my work, sadly this was one of the last sunny days we were to have for a while. Rounded out the day by watching the sun set and chatting off and on with m’love back home.


Saturday:

Cats, dogs, squirrels, elephants and the odd dromedary came pouring out of the sky today. Ye gods and little fishes, but I haven’t seen a deluge like this in years. Trent had borrowed my waterproof jacket to go cycling and had left his talismanic leather jacket behind in case I needed to step out for something. Well, something came up and I grabbed Trent’s leathers and stepped out into the storm... Oh how I needed that! The feeling of world hammering at my body, reminding me at once of both how fragile the body is and how strong. My adrenaline kicked in and the dominance of thinking was subsumed into the primacy of being. Pants were soaked and plastered to my skin faster than Ronnie Reagan could say “I can’t quite recall...”. But Trent's Leather Jacket kept my shoulders drier than a Colorado Summer. I muttered the incantation that is the due to any and all Huskies and the storm raged still harder and my laughter matched the fury.

I returned in time for dinner with Trent but no one else had shown. Alas, we'd planned to feast on stewed documents... er, Antelope... at the Kilimanjaro restaurant nearby but we decided to forgo that in hopes that more folks would show up tomorrow night, returning from their jaunts across Europe. Had a marvelous dinner though at Koffiehuis v/d Volksbond and had a very nice lamb dish with a Palm (a gloriously rich and not-bitter stout beer).

Sunday:

Worked on my research most of the day, which was unfortunate given the amazing beauty of a sun-filled Amsterdam (first sunny day in a week). I wasn't completely crazy as I managed to get out for an extended walk. Sadly I didn't make it to dinner with Trent but I did enjoy a lovely sunset and wished Trent well when I saw him later on.

Daily Dairy

This is from my notes on the weekend of August 11th - 13th...

Friday:

Other folks took off to the nine winds but there was precious little to note for me today. I took the opportunity to sleep in... eventually floating up to the waking world about 10am. Pretty much spent the day working on transcribing interviews and trying to parse out some trends. I’d thought of taking the afternoon to go cycling around but wanted to get ahead on my work, sadly this was one of the last sunny days we were to have for a while. Rounded out the day by watching the sun set and chatting off and on with m’love back home.


Saturday:

Cats, dogs, squirrels, elephants and the odd dromedary came pouring out of the sky today. Ye gods and little fishes, but I haven’t seen a deluge like this in years. Trent had borrowed my waterproof jacket to go cycling and had left his talismanic leather jacket behind in case I needed to step out for something. Well, something came up and I grabbed Trent’s leathers and stepped out into the storm... Oh how I needed that! The feeling of world hammering at my body, reminding me at once of both how fragile the body is and how strong. My adrenaline kicked in and the dominance of thinking was subsumed into the primacy of being. Pants were soaked and plastered to my skin faster than Ronnie Reagan could say “I can’t quite recall...”. But Trent's Leather Jacket kept my shoulders drier than a Colorado Summer. I muttered the incantation that is the due to any and all Huskies and the storm raged still harder and my laughter matched the fury.

I returned in time for dinner with Trent but no one else had shown. Alas, we'd planned to feast on stewed documents... er, Antelope... at the Kilimanjaro restaurant nearby but we decided to forgo that in hopes that more folks would show up tomorrow night, returning from their jaunts across Europe. Had a marvelous dinner though at Koffiehuis v/d Volksbond and had a very nice lamb dish with a Palm (a gloriously rich and not-bitter stout beer).

Sunday:

Worked on my research most of the day, which was unfortunate given the amazing beauty of a sun-filled Amsterdam (first sunny day in a week). I wasn't completely crazy as I managed to get out for an extended walk.


Sadly I didn't make it to dinner with Trent but I did enjoy a lovely sunset and wished Trent well when I saw him later on.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Defamiliarizing Questions

1) Are online collaborative technologies the best solution humanity has ever found for groups working together?

2) What are the reasons for people turning to online collaborative technologies during the course of their research.?

Monday, April 24, 2006

Oy Vey! The beauty of Googling during a "lonely impulse of delight". Googling may not fit the classic definition of serendipity but it *is* an algorithm sufficiently complex and advanced as to seem like magic some days.

So my number one site is ICTlogy.net. This is an amazing (and current) website replete with Wiki, blogs, articles (with archives), coursework, rss feeds and sweet sweet metadata. All of this material focuses around Information and Communication Technologies as applied to social uses . Ismael Peña is the delightful human being who set this site up and currently is faculty at the Open University of Catalonia (Spain). If I read Spanish there'd be that much more info available to me. As it is, I'm going to spend a bit of time going through the archives as well as try to get ahold of Mr. Pena to see if he has any specific ideas to chew on or resources to point me towards. Oh, and a couple hyper-hops off the website I found this lovely little blog by Bruce Sterling (Sci-fi author) about blobjects... think about it as if the word was "blog"jects. :)

Librarian.net is a great website by former iSchool graduate, Jessamyn West. It's mostly a blog about her interactions as a librarian but her informaiton lens of the world has a very shiny technology facet and she's given talks all over the country about information, technology, and social consequences. I think she'd be quite capable in offering an interesting perspective on the issues of collaborative technologies and the politics that can surround them.

Sigchi.org rounds out my list as a large and relatively well-known society for professional folks interested in the interplay between humans and computer-based technologies. This site contains a lot of information in various guises: conferences, publications, email discussion groups, and such. This may be the 800 lb hammer that's needed at times to crack the adamantine nut that none of my other tools can help with. With thousands of members I'm likely to find quite a few that will have interesting and useful insights but I'll likely have to spend some time wading through the information I don't need.

Friday, April 07, 2006

"Virtual 3rd Place" - Final

Title: Virtual 3rd Place -Final

Threads: e-research, social networks, online learning communities

Author 1Name and Institution: Aaron Kemp, University of Washington
Author 2Name and Institution: Kathleen Walsh, University of Washington

Abstract:The World Wide Web’s relationship to information and learning continues to evolve in the burgeoning 21st century, with many new tools being developed for merging face-to-face classrooms with asynchronous learning networks (ALNs). The work in “Virtual 3rd Place” focused on the overall impacts of ALN technologies upon the practices and results of interdisciplinary research communities across physical domains. We explored such ALN and e-Research techniques as collaborative software (blogs, wikis, tagging), interactive online learning communities and social software. The use of ALNs is increasing for both residence and distance academic instruction, fueled by “evidence that ALNs generate high levels of cognitive activity” (Heckman, R., and Annabi, H. (2005). “A content analytic comparison of learning processes in online and face-to-face case study discussions.” Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 10(2), article 7, http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol10/issue2/heckman.html). Yet, current understanding about the impact of ALNs on learning is relatively limited given their recent emergence, underpinning a lack of certainty about overall ALN effectiveness and consequence, especially across disciplines and physical locations.

We focused on the representatives for the University of Washington’s Amsterdam Honor’s Program. Our methods included observations, interviews, and statistical analysis in studying their patterns of research and learning, both in Seattle and in Amsterdam. The research questions we answered are:
1) How do researchers interact with their studies and each other through various ALN technologies including: web logs (blogging), folksonomies (tagging), wikis, and other social software?
2) How do these technologies impact research and knowledge development,especially across disciplines and physical locales?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Research Abstract (Virtual 3rd Place)

Since the “Dot Com Bomb” of the early 21st Century, the uses of the Internet and World Wide Web (Web) have radically changed. The infancy of the Web saw domain name speculation, content management systems, and static directories as the dominant paradigms. The “Dot Com Bomb” forced everyone to reassess the functionality of the most powerful tool in information communication. This reassessment, coupled with the huge growth spurt of bandwidth access found in DSL and digital-cable technologies has led to the Web being cultivated for search engine optimization, wiki groups, folksonomies (tagging) and other collaborative and social software technologies. These are the innovations currently driving the global development of new online, or virtual, communities where information is being organized and shared through increasingly dynamic methods.

This new age of the Web, what some call Web 2.0, fosters many new opportunities for information gathering and sharing which are only just being realized. Our research is inspired by these opportunities which need to be explored to ascertain the benefits, costs, and overall impact that are inherent to their usages. The “Virtual 3rd Place” research project will be explicitly exploring the new research practices available in this Web 2.0 environment especially focused on the collaborative aspect of the technologies. Specifically, we will focus on researching the electronic information gathering, dissemination and collaborative practices of the researchers in the University of Washington Honors Program. Our main methods of research will be interview, observation and survey. Our primary questions are as follows:

1) How do researchers interact with their studies and each other through various collaborative technologies including: web logs (blogging), folksonomies(tagging), wikis, and other social software?

2) How do these technologies impact research and knowledge development?

Monday, March 27, 2006


C'est Moi Posted by Picasa

Sunday, March 26, 2006

A Precis on Me

Greetings One and All,

Let's see, the shortest description about me would be, "the charming young man with shorn head, a ready laugh, and wearing a wondering smile that hasn't left since hearing he was, in fact, going to Amsterdam after all". Beyond that it's all debatable, really. However, my current, and most readily verifiable personal myth is as follows...

I started persuing my Mastery of Library and Information Science this past Autumn in 2005 and am excitedly looking forward to joining you all in engaging with the storied city of Amsterdam this Summer. The passions that brought me to this point in my life include myths, pattern-recognition, tickling the pillars of academia, dancing in Italian thunderstorms, systemic evaluation through cognitive work analysis (CWA), philosophical discourse at 3am, supporting people with technology (not the converse), introspective self-dialogue with my fears, and midwifing people (especially myself) into new paradigms. Some of the events that guided my feet here were...

- Growing up in Seattle...
- Attending The Evergreen State College (started out persuing astrophysics and left with an abiding appreciation for the mad beauty of James Joyce)...
- Finding the "Best Job Ever" (tm) as a Systems Administrator for the Portland, OR animation house: Will Vinton Studios (now Laika)...
- Losing "Best Job Ever"(tm) to faltering business and decided to got to Ireland volunteering to look after a 19 year old autistic boy named Keith...
- Returning eight months later to find economy under fallout of the "dot-com bomb" and found many character building opportunities in the service industry...
- Returning to Seattle and finding that I could learn how to tell stories as part of a graduate program (LIS 561) that will train me in one of the most crucial (and comfortably shod) professions for the modern age: the Librarian...

And that's just what I'm willing to tell you where Alberto Gonzales can hear me.

As to my research interests regarding Amsterdam, I can say that the Information Architecture Summit in Vancouver, B.C. has had a huge influence. Kathleen and I both attended a presentation there called Architecting Self-Organizing Learning Communities with Bud Faison (see Kathleen's post). Nifty work and very inspiring. I'm currently thinking that it would be lovely to add to this kind of research in online collaborative learning environments. Web 2.o tools and practices have been around for a while now (Wikipedia, Flickr, or even good ol' Blogspot) but academia is just starting to sniff around their edges. Personally, I'm hoping to help entice academia into full-on nuzzling... but we'll see how this quarter goes first.

From my nice and dry hotel room in Vancouver, B.C., I wish you much mirth and merriment in tomorrow's class and I'm looking forward to meeting you all on Wednesday.