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Archive for January, 2009

Why Book Reviews?

Posted in Research on January 30th, 2009 by darcusb – 3 Comments

As I’m wrapping up another book review to submit to a publisher, I’m left wondering: why do we still do this? Consider that traditional academic book reviews:

  1. are not valued in promotion and tenure
  2. are limited in volume by the constraints of traditional publishing, and so many books do not get reviewed (I won a book award for my first book, but I’ve still yet to see it reviewed in a journal)
  3. have a limited potential readership (as an example, I don’t have access to the journal that I am submitting this latest review to!)
  4. assume authoritative expert opinion, but really just reflect one reader’s partial opinion, and leave no room for a broader conversation (except in rare cases)

In all kinds of ways, then, the practice of academic book review is profoundly limited. So why do we bother? What might be the implications if we all decided to boycott the practice, and instead encouraged a culture of blogging our thoughts on new books?

hs-bibutils

Posted in Technology on January 10th, 2009 by darcusb – Comments Off

Andrea Rossatto has released hs-bibutils, which is a wrapper around Chris Putnam’s bibutils. This means you can use bibtex (or RIS, or anything else bibutils supports) data while authoring your documents in pandoc. Nice!

Apple Adds Endnote-Only Citation Support to Pages

Posted in Technology on January 9th, 2009 by darcusb – 5 Comments

More dumb decisions from Apple.

They add code and interface to their new version of Pages to add citations and generate bibliographies, but they tie it exclusively to Endnote. It would have been feasible for them to add generic support and an API so that other application developers (say Zotero, or Bookends) could provide the same functionality, but they instead privilege a single vendor with a substandard product, and a tendency towards suing their competitors and customers.

No thanks Apple. I have Pages 08, but never use it. I don’t expect that to change with 09.

The more I watch Apple, the less and less I am interested in their products, whether it is all the restrictions around iPhone, or this kind of thing with their desktop software offerings.