Aggregation and academic blogroll

by Henry Farrell on July 12, 2006

“Scott McLemee”: makes a modest proposal.

bq. With such difficulties in mind, then, I want to propose a kind of public-works project. The time has come to create a map. In fact, it is hard to imagine things can continue much longer without one. At very least, we need a Web site giving users some idea what landmarks already exist in the digital space of academe. … AggAcad 1.0 would resemble the phonebook for a very small town — with one column of business numbers and another of personal. It would provide a rather bare-bones set of links, in two broad categories. There would be an online directory of academic publishers, similar to the one now provided by the Association of American University Presses. But it would also have links to the Web sites of other scholarly imprints, whether from commercial publishers or professional organizations. The other component of the start-up site would be an academic blogroll – perhaps an updated version of the one now available at Crooked Timber, divided broadly by disciplines. …

bq. AggAcad 2.0 would provide not just directories but content from and about scholarly publishing. As academic presses make more material available online — sample chapters, interviews with authors, etc. — the site would point readers to it. (This aspect of the site might be run by RSS or similar feeds.) Likewise, visitors to the site would learn of the more substantial reviews in online publications, including symposia on new books held by academic bloggers.

bq. AggAcad 3.0 would incorporate elements of Digg — the Web site that allows readers in the site’s community to recommend links and vote on how interesting or useful they prove. … By this stage, AggAcad would provide something like a hub to the far-flung academic blogosphere (or whatever we are calling it within a few years). Individuals would still be able to generate and publish content as they see fit. The advantages of decentralization would continue. But the site might foster more connections than now seem possible. Information about new scholarly books could circulate in new ways. It would begin to have some influence on how the media covered academic issues. And — who knows? — the quality of public discussion might even rise a little bit.

This all seems to me to be great. First, it would create some sort of credentialling process, which might make it easier, say, to get tenure committees to take blogging seriously as a form of disciplinary or public service (and some of the more thoughtful blog symposia etc as a form of publishing). Secondly, on a more personal level, it would allow me to get out from under the academic blogroll. As a new-ish father, I’m finding it more nearly impossible than ever to keep up with the expansion of the academic blogosphere, and have gotten woefully bad at updating it (I will be updating it with various requests next week, _promise_). It’s just too big for one person to keep track of any more. As a first step towards Scott’s proposal, I may change the blogroll to a wiki format, and ask a few people to act as discipline specific editors (or alternatively just throw it out to the public as an open resource). Or, if anyone has any technically elegant alternative suggestions, feel free to throw them out in comments.

“Objectively terrorist” pizza

by Chris Bertram on July 12, 2006

The British “pro-war left” blog Harry’s Place, to which we still link in our sidebar, has recently expanded its roster of bloggers. One of the new crew, Brett Lock, has now posted “a lengthy diatribe”: about the sinister campaign that has led Palestinian schoolgirls to bake a Pizza in the shape of a Palestine that appears include Israel too. This on the basis of an article in a small circulation London local paper. I thought this kind of thing — objectively terrorist cake-blogging — was the preserve of Fafblog or The Onion, or of wingnuts like Malkin (remember the “crescent-shaped” UA93 memorial?). Whatever next?