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Shouting into the void


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for carleton's annual academic retreat

for carleton's annual academic retreat

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  • 1. Shouting into the Void? Social Media and the Construction of Cultural Heritage Knowledge Online S Graham, Carleton U @electricarchaeo
  • 2. Ack! Blogs!
  • 3. Ack! Twitters!
  • 4. And Let’s Not Talk About Facebook.
  • 5. Nobody ever asks: what’s the context of all this?
  • 6. internet-big-data-opt-out/
  • 7. Data Serfs – see Jeremy Antley, ‘Data Serfdom in the Modern Age’ Repin, Volga Boatmen, 1873
  • 8. So. Let’s look at the context of some cultural heritage on the web • Archaeologists who blog. • Folks who’d be interested in finding out about archaeology.
  • 9. This is what ‘Roman Archaeology’ looked like on the web, in 2011
  • 10. And this is what it looks like in 2014.
  • 11. ça va faire une maudite poutine To push a metaphor far too far, how can we extract any nutrition from this?
  • 12. First observation. There’s a lot more tracking going on in 2014 than in 2011 At right: ghostery plugin for firefox alerting me to 54 web trackers on a particular website.
  • 13. Network analysis • Filter that cruft out • Find communities • Find pages that an ideal user might browse to, given this structure • Find pages that most users will traverse during that browse
  • 14. Result? The WikiBrain
  • 15. Zoom in on the way Wikipedia constructs cultural heritage knowledge Betweeness centrality (a measure of the pages one might most often click through), we find • ‘anthropology’, • ‘evolution’, • ‘ethnomusicology’, • ‘list_of_archaeologists’, • ‘post-structuralism’ as the top five. • The article on the Colosseum turns up at rank 11.
  • 16. Overall Structure: Eigenvector Centrality Top five: • ‘Iron_Age’, • ‘Margaret_Conkey’, • ‘Marija_Gimbutas’, • ‘Janet_D.Spector’, ‘Nautical_Archaeology_Society’, • Amazon product page for ‘Cross-Cultural Scientific Exchanges in the Eastern Mediterranean, 1560-1660’ by Avner Ben-Zaken (2010).
  • 17. PageRank: most likely destination? • Top nineteen pages are all category pages – Eg, • category:history_books_about_ancient_Rome • category_talk pages (indicating that there a number of articles where the content is being actively debated) • and pages that flag the quality of the article like ‘Wikipedia:Stub’ and ‘help:Disambiguation’. – In twentieth spot we have ‘Cambirdge_University’, and in twenty-first, ‘Ure_Museum_of_Greek_Archaeology’ at Reading University
  • 18. So what? 1. Blogging is platform, not content 2. Academic bloggers talk with other academic bloggers 3. Academic content of blogs has impact on citations 4. Tracking, advertising ecosystems, walled gardens mean that the wider world will never discover us, for the most part 5. The wider world off-loads ‘factual’ knowledge to Wikipedia 6. As far as ‘roman archaeology’ goes, the Wikipedia pages are problematic (as the structure itself demonstrates) 7. We should use this to our advantage.
  • 19. How? • Surface our best work to take advantage of the trackers & walled gardens • Become the links to valid sources • Become the source pages themselves
  • 20. DHNow & JDH
  • 21. Don’t Shout into the Void. Shout at Wikipedia instead.
  • 22. Tim Etchells the future will be confusing Mousonturm, Frankfurt cc Crosa, man’s face screaming/shouting cc ian.jpg Harris Matrix Composer, screen grab from Jonathunder, poutine cc Fred Ewanuick, Mary Walsh