Hat Tips (↬) and Vias (ᔥ): The Subtler Side of Citation on the Web

March 26, 2012

Curator’s Code On The Media

The Curator’s Code suggests symbols to help give credit for things on the web.

  • Vias () go to the link where you actually found the information you’re using,
  • Hat tips () credit the sites that pointed you in the right direction.

For example, I found out about the Curator’s Code on the On The Media program, so I should give them a hat tip like this:

I got the actual symbols off the Curator’s Code website so I could say the symbols come via them:

My standard form will be to stick these reference types at the bottom of each post or citation when they’re applicable. Like so:

Curator’s Code On The Media

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2012. Hat Tips (↬) and Vias (ᔥ): The Subtler Side of Citation on the Web, Retrieved April 26th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Interning at the Muddle

April 4, 2011

One of my students, Ms. Piper Ziebarth, had the audacity to agree with me, enthusiastically, when I mentioned that my writing could do with a little editing. She also had the temerity to call one of my more artistically designed paragraphs, “boring.”

So I offered her the chance to intern at the Muddle as an editor and reviewer.

This week, most of my students are off seeing a little of what it’s like to have a real job. Apart from getting them out of my hair for a week, the internships are intended to allow them to build some self-esteem by contributing to society (internships must be unpaid), practice speaking and acting in formal situations, and exercise the most interesting and challenging aspect of learning by applying their knowledge in new areas.

Piper's hand at the wheel.

I offered Piper the chance to work with me because she’s a gifted writer, from whom I would do well to learn. Unlike my own, her writing is clear and concise, with strong emotional subtexts that draw the reader in. She’s also internalized the lesson that the revision process is essential, so her work benefits from a strong, critical eye.

Piper’s also one of my more prolific student bloggers.

I’ve not worked at a newspaper or magazine, so I’m only vaguely familiar with their traditional editing process. I have seen both sides of the scientific peer-review process, but there, the focus is more on making sure the end result is scientifically accurate. There, the use of scientific jargon is essential for clarity when communicating among scientists working in a specialized field. While I greatly enjoy the freedom of blogging, I often find myself being pulled into that careful style of scientific writing.

Hopefully, Ms. Ziebarth can help pull me out of it.

Over the next week, my challenge will be to not mention schoolwork, and all the other things we have going on in the classroom, and let Ms. Ziebarth focus on editing and revising.

Ultimately, what shows up on the blog is my responsibility, and I can be quite stubborn. But, hopefully, I’m old enough to learn how to use a good editor and reviewer well.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2011. Interning at the Muddle, Retrieved April 26th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Editing and Reviewing

March 26, 2011

Even if seven editors and seven reviewers, marked it up for half a year, I doubt they’d be able to completely clean up the mess I post to this blog every day (and they’d be full of bitter tears). However, in case they were willing to try, I thought it would be useful to be clear about what I mean by editing and reviewing.

Editing is catching all the grammatical errors, loose spelling, punctuation and so on that the author is liable to miss. Usually it is because he or she is reading what they thought they wrote, not what they actually typed. It might also involve checking citations to make sure they are right. In this case, it does not involve extensive fact checking, though at a real newspaper it would. Partly that’s because facts can be so malleable, but mostly it’s because I believe that making sure the facts are right are the responsibility of the author.

Reviewing is a lot harder, largely because, since it primarily deals with style, it is extremely subjective. I will admit that an awful lot of people are likely to consider my writing boring and atrocious, but I will often disagree. Good review is a process of negotiation. The reviewer tells the author what they like, and why, and what they don’t like, and why. Then, instead of yelling, the author carefully considers the comments and adjusts their piece accordingly. The reviewer then looks it over again and gives the same type of feedback as before. Ultimately, what’s published remains the responsibility of the author; they make the final choice about which comments to accommodate and which to ignore, but good reviewers are invaluable if used well.

So, if you see a tag at the bottom of a post saying “Reviewed by So and So”, or “Edited by So and So”, or even, “Reviewed and edited by So and So”, please spare them a moment’s thought because they’re not an easy or trivial jobs. This is especially true for a blog where the author sets themself the task of posting something every day, and finds it hard to stop writing once they’ve started. Even when they know they should. Like now.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2011. Editing and Reviewing, Retrieved April 26th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Geography of data

March 18, 2011

OK. For someone like me this map is just ridiculously addictive. Produced by Revolver Maps, it shows the locations of everyone who’s visited the Muddle since March 5th (2011). If you click on the map it will take you to their page where you can find out more about the locations of all those dots.

The points on the map are a fascinating result of a combination of population distribution, language, technologic infrastructure (and wealth), and the miscellaneous topics on which I post.

Hits on the Muddle (blue circles) after two days, overlayed on a population density map of the U.S.. (Population density map from the USDA).

Overlaying at the location of hits after two days, on a population density map of the U.S. shows the obvious: the more people there are, the more likely it is that someone would stumble upon my blog. The eastern half of the U.S. with its higher populations are well represented, as is the west coast, while the hits in between come from the major population centers.

The pattern of hits from Australia shows very precisely that the major population centers are along the coast and not in the arid interior.

Map showing the hits on the Muddle (March 5-7) from Africa versus population density.

Africa, however, tells a much different story. The large population centers are along the equatorial belt of sub-Saharan Africa. But even now, there are very few if any hits from that region. I suspect that’s largely because of language and lack of access to the internet. The Muddle is not exactly the most popular on the internet, so it probably takes a lot of people on computers for a few to find their way to it. Contrast sub-Saharan Africa to South Africa, which is relatively wealthy, uses English as its lingua franca (working language), and has seen at least a few people hit the Muddle.

Members of the Commonwealth of Nations. Most of these countries were once part of the British Empire. (Image from Wikimedia Commons User:Applysense.)

Language also plays in big role in the pattern of hits from Europe and Asia. There are many English speakers in western Europe, a very high population density, and so a lot of hits, but the British Isles, as might be expected, are particularly well represented. Similarly in Asia, the members of the Commonwealth are show up disproportionately.

From the middle east, there have been a several hits from the wealthy small states like Bahrain and Qatar, but also a number from Egypt. The Egyptian interest in particular seems to stem from my posts on the recent revolution. No-one from that part of the world has commented on any of it so far, so I have no idea if they find the posts positive, negative, indifferent or whatever. I’d be curious to find out, since even negative feedback is important.

On the note of current events, my post on the plate tectonics of the earthquake in Japan has engendered quite a number of hits, and some positive feedback in the comments section and via email (one from a Japanese reader). In the week since the earthquake more than half the hits to the Muddle have been to that post, largely because it’s been popping up on the front page of the Google search for “plate tectonics earthquake Japan”.

Recent visitors to the Muddle on March 15th, 5:00 AM.

It has been fascinating seeing people from so many different countries hitting my blog. Since most don’t comment, or drop me a note, blogging often feels quite lonely, like I’m just talking to myself. Self-reflection was the original purpose for this blog, and I find that combining writing and graphics really works for me as a way of expressing myself.

Yet, this blog would not be public if I did not have an insatiable urge to share. So thanks for reading, and don’t be afraid to comment. I am a Montessori middle school teacher after all, so I tend not to bite. Although, if you do try to post a comment and it doesn’t show up it may be because it got caught in my spam filter; there is a 1000:1 ratio of spam to legitimate comments so it’s hard for me to catch any mistakes. Sending me an email should fix that though.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2011. Geography of data, Retrieved April 26th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

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