Tag Archives: software

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

Mapping Projects, poeple, and orgs: Software to map square and bimodal networks

Sent to Socnet.

I sketched on a napkin the other day a “map” of social innovaiton at my campus.
On it I had as “nodes”
  • – Projects
  • – Actors (like students, faculty, centers)
  • – Amorphous constituencies like “faculty” from which actors could come, or whcih projects could serve or interest.
I drew some ties for relations like
  • – created
  • – fund
  • – are interested in
I was thinking, I could make a “figure” of this, but any new data would involve manual additions.
Is there a software tool anyone recommends?
In mu ind, it is like a hybrid of a square matrix, like all the actors to the actors, and a bimodal network, actors or constituencies to projects.
Plus, I was thinking of differing relations which could be visualized.  So, maybe behind the visualization are different matrices that can be added or removed from the visualization.
Finally, I was thinking of this evolving over time.
I realize some of this relationships may not theoretically make sense with some kinds of lay out algorithims.  For example, I am not sure what it would mean to try to find the most central node when there are both actor-actor and actor-object (bimodal) relations, but at the moment, I was more looking for a tool to visualize these relations and dynamically update data to create newer visualizations.
I added a picture if that helps…


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Filed under Orgs Stuff (theory, science, studies), Social Networks

Solution to QDA Needs, Alpha

As I posted here, I was looking for a way to do some basic Qualitative Data Analysis with a colleague who is not co-located (very not!  Ted is in Singapore.)

Thanks to Debra Sarlin, of Bucknell, and this ethnographer’s blog, I isolated some possibilities.

Part of my search led me to Nvivo, an off the shelf product that looks like it has some great properties.  Bucknell has a license, but not the server version.  Without the server version, I am back in square one of needing a way to share data, protect data, and dynamically code data.  Hence, for now, I am proceeding with my Alpha solution.  In a nutshell, this has two parts.

  1. Use Google sites as a private site to create files of our own data like transcripts, chat logs, field notes.
  2. Use Zotero to cite and share third party data like blogs, news articles and so on.

The key to this is that Ted and I develop our  list of tags to identify relevant themes and then find those data points later.  Standard QDA methodology and our own experience tells us that this is an iterative, dynamic process.  There is no one best solution for the tagging piece.  I think our best bet is to keep a “master file” of tags in google sites.  We can each print it up and also access anytime we are on line to jar our memory and cue ourselves as to what is significant or salient in raw data.

Ted and I had a trial run last week and I think we both realized quickly that ideally we could have some sort of a floating box on top of all applications that would allow us to tag almost anything, and tag within documents or files.  This would be linked to the more powerful kinds of QDA tools.  Well, like a platonic ideal, that floats out there as something we are aiming towards in our little jerry-rigged solution.

Our solution has some side benefits

  • Google sites can also be used as a wiki-like creation to share our concepts or coordinate other research.
  • I _think_ if we ever want to turn on part of google sites as a public portal/URL we can.
  • We can use Zotero to share scholarly citations also.

I made the following graphic as a flow chart for this alpha solution.

Comments welcome, of course…

How to use a hybrid of google sites and Zotero to do collabroative QDA

I am not sure if this is legible…

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Filed under higher education, Research, Scholars, Uncategorized

Qualitative Data Analysis- What I Want

For some time now, I have been itching to get a good solution for qualitative data collection and analysis.  I and my collaborators have tried in fits and starts to use versions of google sites, wet paint (a wiki tool that seems to have been over run with Glee and Hanna Montana fansites), and wordpress.  Nothing quite stuck.

I have found some really engaging discussions of this from Dr. Michael Wesch’s blog about teaching ethnography.

Here is what I need:

  • STORAGE: Web-based server/ storage for a range of files: text; captured web pages, audio files, images, and possibly video captured form virtual worlds with a browser or some other screen-capture tool.
    • Can you record the video and sound from a VW interaction?  Surely…
  • PRIVACY: We need to be able to wall this material off from general web-browsing hordes and allow access only to a smaller subset.
  • SEARCHABILITY: Most options out there seem to have tags.  But these apply to the whole “object” (text file, web page, and so on).  Such tags are necessary.
    • In addition, I need a way to tag pieces or fragments of a file.  When I encounter a conversation or some other data point, I need to be able to tag or annotate it an then find those.
      • For example, let’s say I put a transcript of a chat in the archive.  It has some metadata: world, date, researcher.  This could include tags for that page.  In this new data “object,” I want to highlight one piece of text and annotate it as “play, conflict, business model.”  A different piece of text would be annotated “profit, corporate policy, emergent.”
        • Later, I want to search for “profit.”  Then I want a list of all the places WITHIN data objects where I annotated “profit.”
    • The goal is to be able to search within files/objects for relevant fragments to avoid having to do tedious scans of multiple objects.
  • Dynamic tagging: Let’s assume above is possible.  Now, I want to dynamically edit tags.  Let’s say I decide that all instances of “profit” should be re-named as “monopoly.”  Can a set or bundle of tags be combined or rename?  I know I can do this in delicious.
    • Also, it would be nice to have some hierarchy in the tags, or bundling.  So, if I realize two go together, I can combine them.
    • Also, I would like to access the list of tags when I need to tag or annotate.  So, for example, I have highlighted some text.  Now I want to add some tags.  To have a list or drop down box of previous tags will help jar my memory and also build a more cohesive set of tags.
    • Finally, I would like all the tags, be they for whole pages or for fragments, to be one list.  In other words, I don’t want two tag lists to maintain.
  • COLLABORATION: I noticed when looking at Diigo that it has a feature in which multiple users can comment on a sticky note.  Basically, this would allow me and collaborator to have a discussion about what a particular fragment of a file or page means.  That is a very attractive feature.

So far, options to explore include:

Google Wave.  Except it is no longer going to be actively supported.  So, nope.


  1. I like the sticky notes where multiple people can comment on a piece of text.
  2. It has a search feature which implies you can search tags and annotations which is the same as their sticky notes (I think). This would get at all my searchability needs.
  3. I think I could combine Diigo with a private-type wiki.  We would put our own field notes in the wiki and then tag and annotate public web stuff.


This is an interessitng tidbit from the site:

Everything you capture is automatically processed, indexed, and made searchable. If you like, you can add tags or organize notes into different notebooks.

How made searchable?  Will this get at my tagging needs?

Ikiwiki: Seems geeky…

A friend of mine who does a lot with IT suggested simply keeping a database of google doc files.  A separate file could have the tags for each file.  I think this is what he suggested.  Had the advantage of simplicity, but I am not sure it has enough of the features I was imagining.

Finally, it seems that perhaps some sort of wiki software could do all of this.  But which one? (one tool to compare.)

UPDATE: I used the wikimatrix tool and tried to get the right set of options.  I ended up with 40 (!yes!) to compare.



Filed under Research, technology

These jokers run the world?

I found this article under the NYT’s most emailed (or blogged) articles.  I don’t follow the twists and turns of the software business very carefully, and it is easy to beat up on Microsoft.  like shooting a barnside.

The basics seems to be that Microsoft tried to weasel around the hardware/software incompatibility of its new Vista OS by labeling machines Vista capable instead of VIsta ready.  The capable label was supposed to mean Vista might work.  Sort of.  Eventually.  Maybe.  Caveat emptor and all.

A class action suit in Seattle is proceeding.

95% of my students,  faced with a product that does not work as advertised, would now that a world of headache is coming down  the pike.  But, the sagacity of the young is transmogrified into the idiocy of the powerful by money and organizational culture.

They Criticized Vista. And They Should Know. – New York Times
In February 2006, after Microsoft abandoned its plan to reserve the Vista Capable label for only the more powerful PCs, its own staff tried to avert the coming deluge of customer complaints about underpowered machines. “It would be a lot less costly to do the right thing for the customer now,” said Robin Leonard, a Microsoft sales manager, in an e-mail message sent to her superiors, “than to spend dollars on the back end trying to fix the problem.”

Exactly.  Big DUH.

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Filed under Business, organization studies, technology