By Stephen Downes
May 29, 2003

Read Before You Cite!
This is pretty funny. From the abstract: "We report a method of estimating what percentage of people who cited a paper had actually read it. The method is based on a stochastic modeling of the citation process that explains empirical studies of misprint distributions in citations (which we show follows a Zipf law). Our estimate is only about 20% of citers read the original." Though I can't claim to have followed the mathematics, I did read this paper before listing it here. By M.V. Simkin and V.P. Roychowdhury, December 3, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Universitas 21 Global - World-Class E-University Opens for Student Registration
It has been a long time coming, but Universitas 21 Global has finally opened its doors to its first student registratrions. For those of you who may have forgotten, Universitas 21 Global is a joint venture between Thomson Learning and a consortium of 16 universities (click on the [Research] button and follow the links for years of OLDaily coverage of Universitas 21 and Thomson Corporation). "Universitas 21 Global expects to enroll 800 students at this initial registration (an MBA program) and projects to grow six-fold to about 5,000 students by 2004. Most of these registrations are expected to be from the Asia Pacific region." By Press Release, Business Wire, May 28, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Drafting COL's next Three-year Plan
The Commonwealth of Learning has a new three year plan and would like your input. The plan, in a nutshell, involves a shift in focus from projects to programmes, or in other words, a shift from specific works to capacity building. The plan includes four major areas of emphasis: the facilitation of policies for distance learning, the development of distance learning systems, the application of distance learning, and responding to members' requests. By Various Authors, Commonwealth of Learning, May, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Major Internet Standards Group Working On Fast Plan To Can Spam
This brief article describes the Anti-Spam Research Group's plans to combat the growing nuisance. The plan is significant because, as the article points out, "The ASRG has the prestige to get its proposals put in place." One major initiative: enabling technology that makes it diffocult to send emails with false email addresses. This alone would be a major boon, since it would allow countermeasures to be taken against known spammers. Other rpoposals include trusted sender technology, reputation systems, spam reporting systems, and more. By Mitch Wagner, Internet Week, May 25, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Safety Patrol Readied for Dot-Kids
As the .kids.us domain is set up, establishing a 'safe zone' for kids - "designed to be free of pornography, hate speech, gambling, discount tobacco sales and other content deemed inappropriate for young audiences" - it becomes appropriate to ask about what kids should be protected from. I have long maintained that some of the content most harmful to kids never falls under the usual hit lists such as the one above. McDonald's commercials, cartoons featuring toys or products, commercial Christmas buy-me advertising, pro-war and militaristic content - all of these I consider more dangerous to children than the usual suspects. Creating a safe zone is a very political act, and a failure to recognize the value statements inherent in such an act is to allow, under the guise of 'protection,' the creation of a kids-only propaganda zone. By David McGuire, Washington Post, May 28, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Now I have touted this plan several times in different offices: get businesses to adopt a metadata format describing themselves. Have each business maintain such a file just as it maintains a web site. Generate up to date business information and statistics merely by harvesting these files. The advantage to business is that they need update their information only once, and it is then available to any government agency or potential customer: no more forms to fill. The advantage on the other side is dynamic and current information. For some reason my suggestion never really resonated with listeners, who continue to do it the old data-input way. Well. Some people get it. The author of this document, for example, which describes small business metadata and provides tools to help business create their own files. By Dan Bricklin, Interland, May, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2003 Stephen Downes
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