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On building knowledge networks – The Creative Independent
"Over a year ago, I wrote a small reflection on building networks of meaning within my mind. This written reflection, “Reading Networks,” [ ] captured a mindset I’ve brought to nearly everything I’ve wanted to understand in the world: “Nothing exists in isolation.”

I’d like to revisit a few passages from my original text here:

… While texts often build and maintain an internal and pre-set collection of references in the form of footnotes, prior foundational texts, or subtle cultural “calls” to “events or people or tropes of the time and place the text was written,” it’s a far more personal practice to form one’s own links in an inter-textual manner.

I’d like to think that building your own reading networks can foster a method of building personal abstractions, building personal relevance to any given topic, and improving the methods by which you consume others’ ideas and structures.

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Gardening techniques
Learning and memory are by default automatic processes; their efficacy is proportional to the relevance that the thing to be learned has to your life (frequency, neurons firing together, synaptic pruning, interconnections, etc.). You could say that this relevance acts as filter for incoming information.

There are reasons why you might want to sneak information past this filter (“artificial learning”):

To learn abstract knowledge that is far removed from daily life (e.g. math). This is done using analogies, mnemonics, examples, anthropomorphism, etc.

To interfere with the process of “natural learning” with the goal of improving learning mechanisms, for example when learning a skill like playing the piano. This is done using deliberate practice, analysis, etc.

See these methods as gardening techniques. We either let the garden of the mind grow naturally or we sculpt it deliberately.

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I believe conceptual isolation creates the death of meaning. For as long as I can remember, I’ve felt discomfort towards the feeling of being cognitively hemmed in or “led along” in a linear manner. In my experience, compartmentalizing and segmenting our stories and observations of the world builds walls that are hard to tear down. When ideas and the concepts they form are isolated (within an individual, amongst a small group of people, or even within a larger group), they converge into singular modes of thinking, preventing exploration and divergence from happening.

My methods for avoiding this type of linear constriction have been simple: Read two or more books at the same time, always. Reject the closed-universe-on-rails nature of every single film ever made, and when possible, use the Wikipedia-while-watching technique to keep connecting the dots as I go. Always encourage myself to follow footnotes into rabbit-hole oblivion. Surf—don’t search—the web. Avoid listening to music simply to listen to music. Instead, intentionally mix and match sounds and styles as one might mix ingredients within a recipe.

In forming this methodology of immediately and intentionally interrelating the cultural input my mind receives, I’ve nurtured the ability to form very distinct pockets of personal meaning across time and space. While I believe all peoples’ “meaning-making” function operates in an ever-connecting manner, very few tools exist to support and nurture this reflex. While the nature of the web has normalized network-based thought/exploration patterns through the sprinkling of hyperlinks throughout text, most learners have yet to experience radical departures from the linear narrative. Platforms like and Genius and Hypothesis help us along, but we have a ways to go.

How can we teach people to draw in the margins of their books? To communicate with authors hundreds of years dead? At what point might conspiracy-theory mapping with push pins and thread become a more common learning technique for students, to encourage them to make their own connections and find their own lines of meaning?

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It took me many years to develop and find pleasure in the habit of co-reading books. As I’ve continued this practice, “personal abstraction(s)” has become my preferred term to describe the ideas and artifact(s) gained from taking a networked approach to reading. Most people are likely to call this stuff “knowledge,” since humans obviously need to come to some sort of agreement on our shared definition of reality to get anything done. But before they were melded into our collective consciousness, all abstractions and pieces of knowledge were once personal—woven within the mind of an individual, or a set of individuals in parallel—and only then distributed across time and space to be shared.

For the Library of Practical and Conceptual Resources, I am assembling a revisitation of how one might learn to construct their own knowledge networks [ ]. Additionally, my channels dedicated to networks of knowledge around books [ ], essays [ ], and movies [ ] are examples of how one might begin to assemble and intertwine small, personal, and intimate networks around established forms of knowledge.

While my own methods for learning new things is constantly evolving, developing “personal abstractions via personal knowledge networks” has never failed to keep me wandering."
communities  community  networks  howwelearn  reading  howweread  genius  rapgenius  édouardurcades  unschooling  deschooling  learning  conversation  film  form  cv  internet  web  online 
august 2018 by robertogreco
More Thoughts on Annotations
"It’s been well over a month since I blocked annotations (Hypothesis and Genius) on my websites. I’m a little taken aback that some folks are still muttering about it. Perhaps I need to restate a couple of things:

• You can still annotate my work. Just not on my websites.

• My work here and on Hack Education is openly licensed. As long as you follow that license – CC BY NC SA – you can copy and redistribute my articles without my permission.

• The CC license on my work also means you can post my articles in another file format or medium – that is, they needn’t stay in HTML. You can publish my articles as PDFs. You can hit “print.”

Jon Udell, who now works for Hypothesis and who I finally met face-to-face at NMC last week, has suggested the possibility of using an HTML meta tag to identify annotation preferences. Rather than simply blocking annotations as I’ve done with a bit of Javascript, his idea would allow an author to point to another URL where annotation can (or should, even) happen.

It makes sense, but I think I’m much less committed to having one canonical “place” for annotations than Hypothesis is. (I have quotations there because its annotations are overlays that appear to be in “place.”)

Udell recently announced that Hypothesis supports DOIs (digital object identifiers) so that a “robust connection between articles and annotations” can be maintained. That is to say, Hypothesis annotations of a PDF can be centralized, no matter where the article is hosted or whether it’s a local copy.

I’m not sure I care much about federated or centralized annotations – as a researcher or as an author. Actually, as an author, I do not care at all. Funnily enough, one of the accusations lobbed against me when I blocked annotations here was that I was attempting to exert some sort of “authorial control” over my work. Wrong. I was exerting control over my website.

We seem to have telescoped authorship and scholarship into the digital in ways that are remarkably unhelpful. People become “content,” and calls for easier, more “permission-less sharing” seem to encourage folks to make demands on writers online (even in their own personal spaces), thinking they’re simply querying texts."
annotation  blocking  audreywaters  creativecommons  hackeducation  ownership  control  authorship  scholarship  online  web  internet  rapgenius  licensing 
june 2017 by robertogreco
Genius and the Sharing Economy — Medium
"At this point, I became probably overly obsessed with the fact that Jeremy and Rap Genius were featured front and center in that Times article about the declining interested in the Humanities, and then with the use of that Times piece as a “hiring” strategy of sorts. Whatever their deal was, it seemed clear that The Times gave Genius the credibility to claim that [1] the humanities needing saving and [2] that increased traffic and content on their site was the way to do it. I’m not sure what Genius gave The Times in return, but I’ll just add here that the Genius guy giving the talk said the New York Times wasn’t going to be around in 5 years anyway.

In a room full of bright-eyed future businesspeople, I felt like a alien interloper and began to fashion my own tinfoil hat theories even though I suppose this sort of deal is how the marriage of journalism and commerce always works. More selfishly, I began to suspect that the job ad I had read was not actually a real job ad. (I know, kind of rich given my last post here [ ]).

I suppose anything I say from here on out could easily be dismissed as elitist or turf warring, or maybe just naive and overly-sensitive; it’s quite possibly true that my reaction to the Stern talk was rooted in my own vested interest in universities keeping Humanities programs funded. I generally have a very weak stomach for any kind of pro-capitalist language in academic and educational contexts, and in the winter of 2013, I was emotionally drained from trying to finish a book and find another job, and spiritually-speaking, I was running on fumes."

"The opportunity to go to Brooklyn is indeed a good thing; I live in Queens, but I know how good it is across the bridge where many of my friends live. Really, I shouldn’t be so glib: it’s cool to be part of something devoted to teaching and a bonus to have your travel expenses paid. I think it is also, as I was saying at the beginning of this long-ass post, a great example of the fucking sharing economy and what’s wrong with it. Be grateful to people who use a small fraction of their VC money to fly you somewhere — but also think about the value of what you give them in return.

I’m using swears there in the hopes that I sound like a Genius when I say things I’m not totally sure about; I’m a bit out of my comfort zone talking about how a start-up makes and uses money. I’m really good with my own financial affairs and budget, but my academic expertise is in 16th and 17th century drama and history so I worry I don’t really know what I’m talking about. But perhaps you are somebody who knows a lot more about these things and perhaps you know where to look to answer some of the questions I’ve tried to raise here.

I have no doubt that Genius has content and a viable business model without content from educators. But I still want to know more about the role and real worth of our labor in an economy that asks the precariously employed to share while its founders and investors make money. Humanities scholars can see all the tensions of our professional choices in this economy: the fact that we do our work for pleasure, that others find pleasure in our work, and that the work we love is only lucrative for some."
vimalapasupathi  annotation  labor  sharingeconomy  work  2016  technology  humanities  scholarship  gigeconomy  mahbodmoghadam  precarity  unemployment  rapgenius  business  adjuncts  hiring  2015  jeremydean  stanfordlitlab  evankindley  disclosure  tamarlewin  nytimes 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Creating Groups – Hypothesis
"If you want to annotate privately with a group of users, then our groups feature is what you”ll want to use. Once you create a group, you can invite others to join it by sharing a special link. That link will also serve as the group home page with a list of members and texts annotated by the group. You can also link to a stream of annotations created by group members from the group home page.

NOTE: after linking to documents to be annotated form the group home page, users must 1) activate and 2) toggle the scope selector in the sidebar to the appropriate group from “public.”"  annotation  groups  onlinetoolkit  howto  tutorials  via:tealtan 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Annotating PDFs Without URLs – Hypothesis
"For sometime now, you’ve been able to annotate PDFs using, both on the web and locally, with hosted PDFs syncing with local instances and various local instances syncing with each other. Jon Udell wrote about this magical feature here over a year go.


For those that tried it out, however, there was one annoying snag, especially if you were trying to lead a large group (of students, say) through the process: users had to create an annotation on a local PDF before they would be able to view any pre-existing annotations created elsewhere–in other local instances or where originally hosted. (The same would happen for identical PDFs hosted at two distinct URLs.)

So it was possible to be sent a PDF that had supposedly been annotated, open it, activate and not see any annotations. Even if you knew about the need to create an annotation to view annotations, you were entering that conversation blindly or else creating a dummy annotation to be deleted later. This added step admittedly took away some of the “mind-blowingness” of annotating PDFs across multiple locations using

Now that step is no longer necessary.

What’s changed?

We used to use the URL as the primary identifier of PDFs. That’s what the client would search for in the database to anchor annotations on a page. Now we use the digital fingerprint that is baked into PDFs from their generation as part of the spec for the format. We did use this fingerprint previously as a secondary identifier to map local PDFs to hosted ones or PDFs hosted at different URLs to each other, which is what caused the lag between new annotation creation and appearance of pre-existing annotations. This shift from URL to PDF fingerprint will truly enhance the portability of annotations on the format across the web.

For example, if the same scholarly journal article is housed at two different repositories, annotations created at either location will show up at the other (assuming both PDFs have the same fingerprint, an assumption that is not always the case). Public annotations created on a local version of the same PDF will also be immediately viewable. If I annotate an essay at a permanent URL on JSTOR, then download the article and share it via email, or host it on my own WordPress site, my annotations will anchor through all incarnations of that PDF."
via:tealtan  pdfs  annotation  howto  tutorials  pdf 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Introducing for Education | Hypothesis
"As a non-profit dedicated to open standards, I think we are poised at to bring annotation to scale in the education space. The school teacher in me remains most focused on classroom applications for this kind of technology, whether that be establishing collaborative digital annotation as a key tool for the implementation of the Common Core Standards in US public schools (see the standards here, annotated and aligned with, or integrating social reading into online and hybrid learning environments as both a close reading and a community building tool (in fact, thanks to Jesse Stommel, we already had a MOOC on Shakespeare experiment with But I also believe that annotation functionality is key to updating our textbooks for the 21st century, making them rich with multimedia elements and editorial notes, but also with the potential for teacher and peer commentary. And I’ll be working to ship annotation along with the Content and Learning Management Systems (C/LMSs) used by so many teachers today as well. With both textbooks and C/LMSs. my vision is to bring the intimacy and vibrancy of a good classroom environment to the digital technologies that supplement IRL teaching moments asynchronously.

If anyone here is interested in the educational uses of annotation technology, please reach out to me. Here are some tutorials that I’ve created for students and teachers on how to get started using the application. Right now, I’m talking to a lot of former colleagues and current contacts in education about what they think are the most important features of a social reading tool for the classroom. Currently my top three product priorities are: private groups, enhanced notifications, and profile pages. What are yours? I want to know what you and your students need! Reach out anytime for support or discussion: And follow me on Twitter for live updates and random thoughts about collaborative digital annotation!"
jeremydean  annotation  education  collaboration  marginalia  2015  via:lukeneff  rapgenius  onlinetoolkit 
june 2015 by robertogreco
Journalism + Annotation = ❤️️ - FOLD
"With pen and paper, it's easy to annotate. You can highlight text, circle relevant parts of an image, add comments, and doodle in the margins. Digital annotation is a bit trickier, but these annotations have the potential to be shared with a much wider audience. Because journalism increasingly presents us with a deluge of information in all forms, has an archival nature, and offers us a way to understand the world around us, journalism and annotation are natural BFFs.

Annotation has a long history as part of the original conception of the web. Today, the most common form of annotation we see online is commenting, which has a complex culture. Typically comments are buried at the bottom of the page, hard to sort through, and challenging to moderate. Location-specific annotations, when they exist, are often platform-specific (for now, that's the case here on FOLD, too).

This Wednesday, I attended the Annotation Summit hosted by the Poynter Foundation at the New York Times building to talk about some of these issues. The purpose of this event was to bring together people working on annotation from different angles (academics, makers of publishing platforms, members of standards groups, and media companies) to discuss how annotation can help reimagine journalism and strengthen democracy."

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annotation  2015  digital  alexishope  highlighting  journalism  commenting  moderation  coralproject  johnunsworth  dougschepers  basseyetim  andycarvin  firstlookmedia  amyhollyfield  livefyre  benjamingoering  sidenotes  footnotes  hypertext  briandonohue  speedreading  notes  notetaking  gregbarber  trolls  andrewlosowsky  rapgenius  chrisglazek  medium  stevenlevy  responses  danwhaley  mirandamulligan  sound  data  gistory 
june 2015 by robertogreco | The Internet, peer reviewed.
"An open-source, community-moderated, distributed platform for sentence-level annotation of the Web."

" will be a distributed, open-source platform for the collaborative evaluation of information. It will enable sentence-level critique of written words combined with a sophisticated yet easy-to-use model of community peer-review. It will work as an overlay on top of any stable content, including news, blogs, scientific articles, books, terms of service, ballot initiatives, legislation and regulations, software code and more-without requiring participation of the underlying site."  annotation  peerreview  truth  journalism  policy  feednack  politics  transparency  danwhaley  johnperrybarlow  philbourne  garrettcamp  stevehazel  kaliyahamlin  brewsterkahle  stacyjackson  jonathannelson  andrealunsford  mikealrogers  paulresnick  rufuspollock  samzaid  marksurman  nateoostendorp  jaredkopf  thedeloder  darianrodriguezheyman  salimismail  johndubois  adamchristian  charlesbazerman 
october 2011 by robertogreco

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