To clear up confusion, I will use the term Open Notebook Science, which has not yet suffered meme mutation. By this I mean that there is a URL to a laboratory notebook ( that is freely available and indexed on common search engines. It does not necessarily have to look like a paper notebook but it is essential that all of the information available to the researchers to make their conclusions is equally available to the rest of the world. Basically, no insider information.

Between the most public and private forms of communication lies a wide range of channels and activities. Scholars communicate with each other not only through books and journals but also through manuscripts, preprints, articles, abstracts, reprints, seminars, and conference presentations. Over the course of the twentieth century, they interacted intensively in person, by telephone, and through the postal mail. Scholars in the twenty-first century continue to use those channels, while also communicating via e-mail, blogs, and chat. New dissemination channels for written work include personal Web sites, preprint archives, and institutional repositories. An information infrastructure to support scholarship must facilitate these myriad means of communication. (p.47)

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Most importantly, our weblogs became tools with which to think about our research, its values, connections and links to other aspects of the world. They altered the way in we approached online communication, and have influenced the writing of both dissertations. This is the motivation for this article: a need to look at what weblogs do to our academic thinking. (p.251)

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Now that it allows synchronization with their server and working with multiple installations, Zotero is officially the best thing since sliced bread. When I synchronized my collection with my work PC at the hbz this morning, I realized that a new collection had popped up in the Linguistics group that I joined a few days ago.

The Oxford Ecyclopedia of Language & Linguistics in Zotero

The Oxford Ecyclopedia of Language & Linguistics in Zotero

I’m assuming it was Mark Dingemanse, the group founder, who put the OELL into Zotero. No matter who did it, it’s immensely useful and I can see a ton of specialized bibliographies popping up in the topical groups in no time. We have a sizable bibliography on CMC at my department in Düsseldorf – I’d love to put that on Zotero.

Another itch that Zotero helps to effectively scratch is the question of where to point hyperlinks in a research article. Citing in the traditional way, i.e. without providing a clickable link and forcing the reader to scroll to the bibliography, is medieval in my opinion. Reproducing long URLs (or DOIs) either in parenthesis or footnotes is unacceptable and even in a bibliography long URLs look ugly and are prone to break across lines.

I think I’ve found the solution for me, both from a practical and a philosophical viewpoint.

I’ll just link to the cited item in my Zotero Library. Like this:  “balabla (Herring 1999)”.

The practical advantage is obvious. Zotero URLs are relatively short (though, guys, can you perhaps make them even shorter?) and can be assumed not to change over time*.

The ‘philosophical’ upside is even more important. I am not linking to the item itself, which may have moved, been taken off the Web, live behind a paywall or not even be a digital resource. I am linking to the metadata for the citation and I’m pointing to that metadata in my collection, not in some library catalog. Why would that be an advantage? Because you’re seeing exactly what sources I worked with. You’re seeing what I’m seeing and the record on Zotero is my record so I’m responsible for it. And since I’m keeping a bibliography on Zotero for each paper I write anyway (since I manage my full texts through it) it’s not even extra work. Neato.

I’m already putting the idea to use here by posting quotes that I might use at a later point, complete with tags for authors and years. We’ll see whether I’ll keep it up, but I already like it better than having to do that with paper and a marker.

Ah, free software.

* I am aware that they can still break, but  my main argument here is that they are less likely to do so than those of the many small ejournals out there that we cite. The idea DOI = permanent, URL = changing is simplistic and silly in my opinion. URLs can plausibly used as persistent and unique identifiers, if we choose to use them in that way. It all depends on the intention and reliability of the service provider.

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A genre comprises a class of communicative events, the members of which share some set of communicative purposes. These purposes are recognized by the expert members of the parent discourse community and thereby constitute the rationale for the genre. This rationale shapes the schematic structure of the discourse and influences and constrains choice of content and style. (p.58)

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Things that were formerly represented as the external raw materials of knowledge can now be represented and incorporated within the knowledge. And in contrast to linear, lock–step modes of dissemination of knowledge, we can see signs of possibility for scholarly knowledge in the more collaborative, dialogical and recursive forms of knowledge making already to be found in less formal digital media spaces such as wikis, blogs and other readily accessible Web site content self–management systems. Most journals are still making PDFs, still bound to the world of print-look–alike knowledge representation, but a reading of technological affordances tells us that we don’t have replicate traditional processes of knowledge representation — digital technologies allow us to do more than that.

Because our knowledge is so closely tied to our identity, it’s very important to each of us that our peers view us as knowledgeable and skillful. One of the major ways we demonstrate that to our peers is by sharing our knowledge with them. But sharing knowledge is risky, the other person may make a cutting remark about it or indicate that it’s not worth listening to. And sharing knowledge is time consuming, because to really respond to another’s question or problem takes the time to understand the issue and to explain in sufficient depth. So we rightly place conditions around sharing our in-depth knowledge. The relationships we build with others provide a needed level of confidence that our knowledge will be treated with respect. Knowledge sharing and relationship are coupled.

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Within, each individual text there is a similar process as earlier concrete reference is compacted and abstracted in the unfolding of the article’s argument, where events turn into phenomena into conceptualized processes. Thus each article also projects a conceptual landscape populated by nominal objects constructed in the course of the text. Moreover, both historically and in individual texts, these objects become arrayed in taxonomies dividing up the conceptual landscape into discrete technical objects, whose definitions are linked through their abstract relations. (p.20)

Scientific discourse is evolving and multiple, emerging in relation to the specialties, projects, methods, problems, social configurations, individual positionings and other dynamics that drive scientific activities. Further, as science studies have indicated, even all the sciences together form no essentially marked and bounded domain, although various enclosures (such as societies or journal readership or university departments) may partially direct the circulation of communication. These problems of identifying crisply bounded discourse domains become even more difficult if we extend our survey to technology, which itself is not clearly bounded from the sciences. (p.16)

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Perhaps the very success of scientific representations has suppressed awareness of language in the production of scientific knowledge, for scientific knowledge seems to be cast in naturally authoritative forms, unthinkable in any alternative representation. (p.15)