Monthly Archives: March 2014

Bibliographic Software- what do you use?

I did this quick review for my Academic Ladder group.
I USED to use Endnote.  Got too cumbersome and tricky.  I stopped more than five years ago, so I can’t even recall details.

My U switched to refworks.  This was very nice at first.  It is an online database.  So, you have an account.  With most search databases and our catalog, it was one click importing.  It supports “descriptors” you edit, like tags.  Like, all known biblio outputs for every style.  Your database lives in the cloud, so you can be at ANY COMPUTER with internet and get to your library.  You can have folders, lists and stuff.  It ALSO has a plug-in for word that allows you to add citations as you write.  So you write, you think “oh, smith 1987 here.”  You then search in word your library, find smith,and stick it in.  It adds some code to your paper. At the end you push a button and all code becomes correct citation and a bibliography is made.

Issues.  1) My library has gotten so big, it is a bit sluggish at times.  2) It does not capture web-based metadata as nicely as Zotero.  3) The word plug in was buggy for awhile, like 2 years, which irked me.

I am romantically a sucker for open-source stuff.  I started using Zotero ALSO.  Very similar to refworks except it is free, designed by academics for academics.  Your library lives in a cloud.  You can sync it to a local program, zotero standalone, for when you are NOT on the web (I think refworks can too).

Pluses for zotero: it is VERY GOOD at getting metadata.  So, say I need a book that is not in my refworks library.  Rather than got to catalog, search, export, etc, I go to amazon, or catalog, and in firefox, there is an add-on such that with one click Zotero grabs the citation.  Also, it can make citations of webpages, blogposts and so on.  Plus in firefox, you can open a window and edit the citation or ADD NOTES easily.
2) It seems to support networks or communities of schoalrs more readily to share libraries.  I have not done this a lot, but could imagine so.

Me today: hybrid refworks and zotero user.  If I were starting over, I’d be all Zotero.  I haven’t switched all the way as it looks like a lot of work and so far my patchwork approach works.

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Filed under Information and Communication Technology, life, writing

Desktop

Desktop by jordi sunshine comas
Desktop, a photo by jordi sunshine comas on Flickr.

Trying some new behavior modification…

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IS ADD medicine over-prescribed in adults?

Or kids?

That is the $20,000 question.

This sort-of article in the NY times (maybe a blog post) does not really answer it.

First, if adults are now taking ADD meds, it can be because there is a real population of the needy who were not diagnosed or medicated. Is that over-prescribing?  Well, only if we can find that the people taking it are not fitting the diagnosis of ADD.

That is a valid question, but as the article points out, this report does not really nor can it, really answer that question.  So, instead, we tend to look at the question and answer it based on our own ideas.  If you think ADD is not a real or wide-spread problem, then, yes, it is over-prescribed.  If you think meds are a valid part of treating problematic problems, then this is progress.  If you think that perhaps people exhibit ADD symptoms due to their context, such as more stimulus, too little exercise, too little positive work structure, too many boring jobs, and so on, then we can medicate people to help them conform to context, but we are avoiding a full-spectrum approach.

I tend to be in the latter two camps.  Meds can help.  But it is worth asking if we have the best contexts for learning (kids) or working (bigger kids) for ADD people to be productive and resilient.

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Filed under psychology, sociology, Uncategorized

Is Sociology Too-Leftist?

” Sociology, for example, should be central to so many national issues, but it is so dominated by the left that it is instinctively dismissed by the right.”

So says Nicholas Kristof….

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/16/opinion/sunday/kristof-professors-we-need-you.html?_r=1

As a half-sociologist, I have some insight on this. Conservatives would rarely find themselves intellectually in accord with sociology. Modern conservative thought is deeply enamored of a naive economics that assumes that humans always maximize narrow economic interest and that therefore markets will deliver the best outcomes in all cases.

Sociologists, mostly, assume that humans are partly economic, and partly social. In other words, we are motivated by other forces, including family, identity, religion, or ideology. In fact, we cannot understand humans as only individuals, but must always see them as embedded in larger social forces and structures. My point: you can’t really do sociology as a field of inquiry if you agree with modern conservative thought.

So, with all due respect Mr. Kristof, it is a self-selection away from sociology more than any strategic decision to chase off conservatives.

I wish sociology did figure into more discussions of policy, but blaming us for not being sufficiently beholden to conservative thought is misplaced.

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