What’s New With BrowZine?

browzineThird Iron’s BrowZine started out as an app designed for tablets and phones to enable users to browse, save, organize and read journal articles.  That was great but things are even better because BrowZine is now fully web-based so users have access to it at the office (desktop computer) as well as on the train (mobile platforms). BrowZine is for anyone who is serious about keeping abreast of their discipline in an disciplined fashion.

And I am told by local Annenberg users that Third Iron is very responsive to its community of users.  If they don’t carry a journal you are interested in, just write them and there is a good chance they will add it. 

To get started with the mobile version simply download it from the app store on your phone–it’s free. After that, look for University of Pennsylvania among the intitutions in the Library List.  You will then be prompted for credentials. Once you’ve cleared that hurdle you are free to roam the BrowZine Library which is divided into interlocking disciplines. For Communication folk most any can apply–besides the obvious Sociobehavioral Sciences, you may want to check into Arts and Humanities; History, Philosophy and Religion; Law and Legal Studies; or Biomedical and Health Sciences. Users can also search individual journal titles by typing in the search box at the top of the screen. When you come across a title you want alerts so simply add it to your “My Bookshelf.”  brow

When viewing a journal, the current issue is automatically displayed. There is also a tab to Available Issues which go back a various amount of years (not the full subscription range of the institution necessarily). Public Opinion Quarterly, for instance, loads issues as far back as 2005. Within any issue being viewed, users can select articles of interest to save in either “Saved Articles” (the storage facility within the app) or to email, Refworks, Zotero, Endnote, or Mendeley.  Links to articles can also be uploaded into Facebook or Twitter.

BrowZine shelf space is limited.  Once you’ve filled up four book shelves you’ve hit the limit, 64 journals to be exact.  I’m thinking Third Iron could be petitioned in the future to “build” another bookshelf or two but for most the current “shelf space” is sufficient.

Call me silly, but the colorful journal covers and book shelf furniture of BrowZine is mood enhancing!  If you want a little more info about this alerting/reading/storage service check out this Penn Libraries Guide which includes an informative video from Third Iron. Or go to the Annenberg Library homepage (center column) to see what your  Communication bookshelf might look like.

Enjoy keeping up with the literature in a most pleasant and empowering fashion!

A Bittersweet Communication Yearbook 40

The recent publication of Communication Yearbook 40, the flagship reference annual for the field since 1977, marks the final volume of this longstanding series. For four decades the cy40International Communication Association-sponsored annual has published state-of-the-discipline literature reviews and essays, as well as original research in  handsome monograph format. It has hosted fourteen different editors over the years and Elisia Cohen, editor since CY37, including the sunset Volume 40, does a nice job in CY40‘s Epilogue tracing the history of the publication via these fourteen “eras” which bear the individual stamps of their editors.  The evolution of the field in many ways mirrors that of CY as different editors over the years implemented changes in the peer review process and sought to internationalize representation of the field–including comparative perspectives and cross-cultural communication topics, as well as  reviews of research in languages other than English.

According to Cohen, the Yearbook will actually be morphing into a journal, mentioned here in the Epilogue’s summation:

“Communication Yearbook published in its book format (although it has also transitioned to full digital e-book available during my editorship) has found itself challenged to be relevant to scholars and authors in the new “digital” era. Put simply, in this era the ICA and its scholars place a premium on the ability of authors to be discoverable, internationally accessible, with its research published in a timely manner. Numerous editors examined these issues in their reports to the ICA Board, and to address this historical but growing challenge, Francois Heinderyckx (University libre de Bruxelles) led the publications committee and the ICA Board to prepare for a transition of the series to a journal.

Given the need for an electronic manuscript submission system to support the next editor, and the demand for Communication Yearbook to have a global access, reach and scope, the ICA Publication Committee’s discussions to transition Communication Yearbook to an online journal format, with an annual print compendium for libraries, will preserve its history while providing an audience for ICA as international in scope as its members. In 2015, David Ewoldsen was selected by the ICA Board to leave the development of Communication Yearbook‘s successor publication. Although when I assumed the editorship I did not do so intending to be the last editor of the Communication Yearbook series, David Ewoldsen’s vision for the re-branded “Annals” of the International Communication Association will include the best of Communication Yearbook‘s tradition while extending its reach and impact in service the ICA membership.” –p. 474 Epilogue, CY40

 

commyrbk1Communication Yearbook 40 (along with the rest of the set beginning with Volume 1) is available here in the Annenberg Library.  Pulling down old volumes is a good way to reminisce about the field or, for newbies, it’s a good way to bone up on how the field has emerged into its current state. As for the last volume, fifteen review pieces comprise its four thematic sections:                            commyrbk27

Part I: Media Framing, Structure, and Reception

Part II: Personal and Strategic Communication in Social Interactions

Part III: Place, Boundaries, and Exchange in Organizational Communication

Part IV: Emerging Issues in Communication Research

 

Cheers to Communication Yearbook and to what follows ahead of (not behind or inside of) its deep footprints!

 

 

 

 

Climate Change and Communication Overview Articles in WIREs

olbannerleftIt always feel a little more gratifying directing folks to articles that appear outside the more obvious communication journals from which many CommPilings readers may be already receiving alerts. Case in point: two overview articles in  Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change (Volume 7, Issue 3 May/June 2016) on climate change and communication.  The articles are:

Climate Change Communication: What Can We Learn From Communication Theory? by Anne Gammelgaard Ballantyne (pages 329–344).

ABSTRACT

The literature on climate change communication addresses a range of issues relevant to the communication of climate change and climate science to lay audiences or publics. In doing so, it approaches this particular challenge from a variety of different perspectives and theoretical frameworks. Analyzing the body of scholarly literature on climate change communication, this article critically reviews how communication is conceptualized in the literature and concludes that the field of climate change communication is characterized by diverging and incompatible understandings of communication as a theoretical construct. In some instances, communication theory appears reduced to an ‘ad hoc’ toolbox, from which theories are randomly picked to provide studies with a fitting framework. Inspired by the paradigm shift from transmission to interaction within communication theory, potential lessons from the field of communication theory are highlighted and discussed in the context of communicating climate change. Rooted in the interaction paradigm, the article proposes a meta-theoretical framework that conceptualizes communication as a constitutive process of producing and reproducing shared meanings. Rather than operating in separate ontological and epistemological perspectives, a meta-theoretical conceptualization of communication would ensure a common platform that advances multi-perspective argumentation and discussion of the role of climate change communication in society.

 
Reflections on Climate Change Communication Research and Practice in the Second Decade of the 21st Century: What More Is There to Say? by Susanne C. Moser (pp. 345-369).

ABSTRACT

Appreciable advances have been made in recent years in raising climate change awareness and enhancing support for climate and energy policies. There also has been considerable progress in understanding of how to effectively communicate climate change. This progress raises questions about the future directions of communication research and practice. What more is there to say? Through a selective literature review, focused on contributions since a similar stock-taking exercise in 2010, the article delineates significant advances, emerging trends and topics, and tries to chart critical needs and opportunities going forward. It describes the climate communication landscape midway through the second decade of the 21st century to contextualize the challenges faced by climate change communication as a scientific field. Despite the important progress made on key scientific challenges laid out in 2010, persistent challenges remain (superficial public understanding of climate change, transitioning from awareness and concern to action, communicating in deeply politicized and polarized environments,and dealing with the growing sense of overwhelm and hopelessness). In addition, new challenges and topics have emerged that communication researchers and practitioners now face. The study reflects on the crucial need to improve the interaction between climate communication research and practice, and calls for dedicated science-practice boundary work focused on climate change communication. A set of new charges to climate communicators and researchers are offered in hopes to move climate change communication to a new place—at once more humble yet also more ambitious than ever before, befitting to the crucial role it could play in the cultural work humanity faces with climate change.

 

May CommQuote

This month’s quote is brought to us by Abby Smith Rumsey‘s WE ARE NO MORE: HOW DIGITAL MEMORY IS SHAPING OUR FUTURE (Bloomsbury Press, 2016).  Notes Paul Saffo,9781620408025 Consulting Professor, Stanford University School of Engineering, “Rumsey takes us on a lucid and deeply thought-provoking journey into what makes the human species unique–the capacity to create external memory. This book will change how you think about our collective store of knowledge, and its future.”

“And so it is with our artificial memory. The more fragile the medium, the more redundancy we need. Nothing we have invented so far is as fragile as digital data. We began our attempt to cheat death by creating mighty artifacts of clay, stone, paper, and parchment that outperformed our memory by hundreds and thousands of years. Now we create storage media that maximize volume, not durability. The Sumerian scribes looking down on us from their imaginary perch in space-time would be surprised at how far we have gotten in documenting the world and its many transactions over time, how far beyond accounting, epics, and prayers we have extended the memory of humanity, and how many people can read, write, and circulate their ideas across the globe instantaneously. They would marvel at the trade-offs we so lightly make between volume and durability. But we may not have to make such trade-offs forever. We are entering now into an experiment with memory that was not even imaginable until a few decades ago–to take the first, most compact, and most enduring form of memory, the DNA molecule, and encode it with digital data…” –p. 162

LGBTQ Video Game Archive

It is my great pleasure to introduce LGBTQ Video Game Archive, a cool new resource on the scene as just tweeted yesterday by Adrienne Shaw @adrishaw: “Still a work in progress, but the first half of my digital archive of LGBTQ content in games is open to the public.” Ta-da!

Juhani_Force_persuade-620x352Dr. Shaw (Gr’10), is Assistant Professor at Temple University’s Department of Media Studies and Production and author of Gaming at the Edge: Sexuality and Gender at the Margins of Gamer Culture. She describes the archive as a “curated collection of information about LGBTQ and queerly read game content.” The archive is organized around lists of games by decade, characters, locations, actions, mentions, and themes such as Homophobia/Transphobia, to name a few. All categories are clearly defined so there’s no confusion (ex. “Mods: Game modifications (mods) are player-made additions to games that alters the visuals or operation of a game. In this archive that includes mods that allow for same-sex relationships, change gender presentation options, or enable other LGBTQ content”).

The site also includes a bibliography, an “ongoing collection of academic writing about LGBTQ video game content, designers, players, or related topics.” All over the site you will find invitations for any and all feedback–questions, suggestions for additions and corrections. Indeed, the description of whole enterprise in the About section leads with “A work in progress and a labor of love.” It will be fun to watch it grow!

 

Art Platforms and Cultural Production on the Internet

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Olga Goriunova gave a stunning presentation a few weeks ago at the PARGC 2016 Symposium, Convergence and Disjuncture in Global Digital Culture. It was called Idiot, Lurker, Troll: Conceptual Personae in Digital Media and it got me looking up her work. Art Platforms and Cultural Production on the Internet (2012) does not disappoint. In it Goriunova provides a new way of looking at how cultural forms on the Internet are developed. To this end she deploys the concept of “art platforms” which does a lot of heaving lifting throughout the book. I’ve pulled a few excerpts from the Introduction that tease out what she means by it. This book is part of the  Routledge Research in Cultural and Media Studies which has a lot of other great titles though, sadly, they all have the same cover designs (less work for artists).

from INTRODUCTION: Departing from an Art Platform

“…Everyday digital objects, gestures, and the assemblages, such as file uploads and downloads, form filling, data handling, searches and postings, protocols, scripts, software structures, and modification parameters are all plugged in to contemporary aesthetics and coconstruct the ways in which the individual, cultural, and social spheres are produced, organized, and disrupted. Art platforms both conform to and are part of this overall development, but they also stand out from it in very striking ways.

…an art platform can be a stand-alone website that, together with other actors, forms an ecology of aesthetic production, but might also take place as a subconnection of a large platform, or even as a space between a corporate service, artists’ work, hacking, collaborative engagement, and a moment of aesthetic fecundity. An art platform engages with a specific current of technosocial creative practices and aims at the amplification of its aesthetic force.

…As a process of emergence, an art platform is an assemblage of structures, notes, codes, ideas, emails, decisions, projects, databases, excitement, humour, mundane work, and conflict. Here an art platform is best understood through the metaphor of a railway platform, as an element that unfolds in its arriving and departing trains, in tracks that cover vast spaces, in the forests those rails run through and the lakes they pass by, in the hills and sunsets forming the landscape, in the rain on the train’s window, in the mechanics of an engine, logistics of rolling stock, semaphores, encounters, but it is a resonance, a movement, an operation. The capillaries of aesthetic emergence in art platforms draw from the technical materiality of networks, databases, and software; from grass-roots, folklore creativity; from forces of repetition and sociality; from conflictual border zones and disjuctures between normality, capitalism, politics, quotidian labour and despair, escape, and creation.”  –pp. 1, 2, 3

American Attitudes About Science from AAAS

apples2The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) released a 66-page report, AMERICANS’ ATTITUDES ABOUT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: THE SOCIAL CONTEXT FOR PUBLIC COMMUNICATION, prepared by Matthew C. Nisbet and Ezra Markowitz. Topics covered include the public’s use of media, the audience for science news, partisan publics and their news habits, science literacy, knowledge gaps, and public trust of government and scientific research.  After laying this foundation the authors look more specifically at public attitudes about some of the big science issues of the day–climate change, food biotechnology, infectious diseases and epidemics, and antibiotic resistance.

March CommQuote

Ethan Zuckerman’s blog, … My heart’s in Accra, features a fascinating little piece on Ben Franklin.  Zuckerman doesn’t claim to be an historian and gives full credit to Paul Starr’s The Creation of the Media for how profoundly interesting he knows this particular blog entry is!  Get this:

The Post Office Act established the right of the government to control postal routes and gave citizens rights to privacy of their mail – which was deeply undermined by the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798, but hey, who’s counting. But what may be most important about the Post Office Act is that it set up a very powerful cross subsidy. Rather than charging based on weight and distance, as they had before Franklin’s reforms, the US postal system offered tiered service based on the purpose of the speech being exchanged. Exchanging private letters was very costly, while sending newspapers was shockingly cheap: it cost a small fraction of the cost of a private letter to send a newspaper. As a result, newspapers represented 95% of the weight of the mails and 15% of the revenue in 1832. This pricing disparity led to the wonderful phenomenon of cheapskates purchasing newspapers, underlining or pricking holes with a pin under selected words and sending encoded letters home. BenFranklinStamp

The low cost of mailing newspapers as well as the absence of stamp taxes or caution money, which made it incredibly prohibitively expensive to operate a press in England, allowed half of all American households to have a newspaper subscription in 1820, a rate that was orders of magnitude higher than in England or France. But the really crazy subsidy was the “exchange copy”. Newspapers could send copies to each other for free, with carriage costs paid by the post office. By 1840, The average newspaper received 4300 exchange copies a year – they were swimming in content, and thanks to extremely loose enforcement of copyright laws, a huge percentage of what appeared in the average newspaper was cut and pasted from other newspapers. This giant exchange of content was subsidized by high rates on those who used the posts for personal and commercial purposes.

This system worked really well, creating a postal service that was fiscally sustainable, and which aspired to universal service. By 1831, three quarters of US government civilian jobs were with the postal service. In an almost literal sense, the early US state was a postal service with a small representative government attached to it. But the postal system was huge because it needed to be – there were 8700 post offices by 1830, including over 400 in Massachusetts alone, which is saying something, as there are only 351 towns in Massachusetts. 

–Ethan Zuckerman (February 2016)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Telemedicine Resources

telehealth_wordcloud_480x339My favorite regular feature in  ACRL’s  (Association of College and Research Libraries) College & Research Libraries News is Internet Resources, which I like to “repost” if at all communication-related.  This month’s focus is on telehealth:  Telemedicine: A Guide to Online Resources (C&RL News, Volume 77, Number 3, March, 2016) by Angela K. Gooden.  Ms. Gooden calls on the American Telemedicine Association for a definition of telemedicine, which is the “use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications to improve a patient’s clinical health status….includes a growing variety of applications and services using two-way video, email, smart phones, wireless tools and other forms of telecommunications technology.”

The Guide sorts the topic by History/Infographics, Government/Policy, Academic Resources, State Programs, Scholarly Journals, Telehealth/Telemedicine Providers, Organizations, and Blogs.

Incidentally, of the four titles rounded up in the Scholarly Journals section, three of the four can be accessed through Penn Libraries:

International Journal of Telemedicine and Applications

Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare

Telemedicine and e-Health

And Smart Homecare Technology and TeleHealth is an open access title. That’s batting a thousand I’d say.