Stephen's Web

By Stephen Downes
October 18, 2002

NAWeb 2002 Blog This is a bit of an experiment, but the conference has wireless access, and it only took a half hour to set this up, so it's worth a try. I have created a blog, linked to here, for the NAWeb 2002 conference. Anybody at the conference will be able to post updates to the blog (I'll post the information or if I'm lucky Rik will announce it). I am also bringing my webcam and will be sending live pics to the blog every 30 seconds or so from my computer. If it works we should have a great running commentary of the conference. If it doesn't work, I'm sure I'll learn some lessons (and you'll still get my blogs, so it's not a total wash). What will be really interesting is blogging (and webcamming) my own presentation Sunday as I give the presentation. The preconference starts Saturday and the conference itself runs Monday and Tuesday; I will start the blog Saturday evening or so. By Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, October 19, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Wrap-Up Notes from 'Email Newsletter Publishers' Profit Workshop' Great honest advice about how to create successful email newsletters and even (*gasp*) how to make money from them. This article doesn't pull any punches: it is written from a marketing point of view, and the advice is therefore directed specifically toward generating revenue. Not that the advice is therefore misdirected. Many of the elements overlap with the criteria for creating a successful non-profit newsletter. Required reading if you are writing email newsletters. By Anne Holland, Alexis Gutzman and Jon Lowder, ContentBiz, October 16, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

A Taxonomy Primer George Siemens trolled this useful introductory article describing the nature (and nurture) of taxonomies. A taxonomy is, of course, a controlled vocabulary, and thus taxonomies have a special role to play in classification systems and metadata repositories. The article offers useful advice on how to proceed should you wish to create your own taxonomy for creating learning content or cooking zucchini. By Amy J. Warner, Lexonomy, October, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

"SCORM is Not For Everyone"- ADL Responds ADL's Mark Oehlert offers a response to the recent CETIS article, SCORM is not for everyone, a response that is, in my view, unsatisfying. For example, where the original article says that SCORM 2.0 will have a completely new architecture, the response asserts that "What SCORM 2.0 will end up being is not exactly clear at this point." This, in my view, doesn't help. Also related is Don Johnson's response to the original article. By Wilbert Kraan, CETIS, October 17, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Comparing Library and User Related Costs of Print and Electronic Journal Collections It is almost a cliche to point out how much more people would prefer to read a print journal than an electronic version. Now it may be wrong as well. Check out the first table in this article that shows a clear migration to electronic journals. Also worth noting that even at today's scandalous prices for electronic subscriptions, the cost per use is significantly lower for the electronic format. This is only a single case study, but I suspect that results from other libraries will be the same. By Carol Hansen Montgomery and Donald W. King, D-Lib Magazine, October, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Philly’s Tough Lessons Overview article describing the decline and fall of the failed initiative in Philadelphia that saw a private contractor, Edison Schools, obtain and then mishandle a contract to manage 20 schools in the city. Running a school like a corporation looks a lot less attractive today than it did a year ago as administrators ask the questions they should have listened to a year ago: what happens if the initiative fails? By Peg Tyre and Barbara Kantrowitz, MSNBC, October 21, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Middle School Diaries It has been running since 1998 but I discovered it today. The net is like that. I entered the site through a link on the Public Education Network to an article by a Grade 8 teacher who has "lost her passion." The site consists of diaries posted by five middle school teachers in different circumstances, including Ann Bianchetti, whose entry I read today, and Chris Toy, a principle working in the Maine laptop initiative. By Various Authors, Middleweb, October, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Beyond the Spider: The Accidental Thesaurus A very interesting article that comes a bit out of left field. The authors observe that "for any given Web presence, whether intranet or global, the top 500 unique search phrases entered by users represent at least 40 percent of the total searches performed." Thus, the best way to handle such searches is to designate a list of keywords representing these searches and conduct a tailored results page accordingly. Interesting comments near the end about the capacity of metadata to do the same thing: "It's very difficult to enforce metadata standards across a large enterprise... There is not even a consistent way to determine the last time a given Web page was modified." By Richard Wiggins, Information Today, October, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

X for Teachers Apple is giving a free copy of OS X to every teacher in the United States. Of course, you have to have one of their computers for this to be of any use to you. By Various Authors, Apple Computer, October, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright © 2002 Stephen Downes