Writing by Design

becoming a professional writer

Archive for Productivity

Mindmapping tools and visualization

I’ve been thinking lots lately about encouraging students to use mindmapping both for their writing and for their reading.  And since mindmapping is closely related to visualization, I was intrigued by Audrey Watters’s news that WorldCat, the world’s largest library catalogue, has launched a new interactive tool that lets users visually explore the catalog.

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The semantic web II (and why you should care)

As a follow-up to my get-your-feet-wet posting last week, introducing you to the semantic web, an excellent introduction from one of my favorite blogs, ReadWriteWeb, to the semantic web.

…we’ll analyze the trends and technologies that power the Semantic Web. We’ll identify patterns that are beginning to emerge, classify the different trends, and peek into what the future holds.

And a tip of my hat to the Digital Campus podcast from the Center for History and New Media at Geoge Mason University for highlighting this blog. If you don’t already listen to the Digital Campus monthly podcast, you’re missing the best podcast I know for digital humanists.

Read the full blog from ReadWriteWeb

Check out the Digital Campus podcast

Digital games for real life

If Wii Fit can get me off the couch, if the Weight Watcher’s web tool can cut down on between-meal grazing, and if Chore Wars motivates me and my family to finish the vacuuming, water the garden, and clean out the fridge, why aren’t there more digital games that harness this love of play to encourage us to address issues in everyday life?

That’s the question Alternate Reality Game Designer Designer Jane McGonigal addresses in a Wired interview you can read at http://www.wired.com/gaming/virtualworlds/magazine/15-06/st_arg2

Games can be more than simple entertainment suggests Jane McGonigal. They have the power to fuel scientific research and crowd source real-world problems. A veteran alternate reality game designer and researcher, McGonigal studies the networked communities and how they display collaboration and collective intelligence.

Read the full interview…

Academic cheating, digitally

From Liz Losh, digital rhetorician at Berkeley, a look at the latest ingenious wave of student cheating, using YouTube to spread the word:

I’m interested in how YouTube videos combine cheating advice with a DIY aesthetic in videos like the one above, which also contains advice about using the software program Photoshop.

Read Losh’s blog entry.

Txtng: The Gr8 Db8

Texting is “bleak, bald, sad shorthand. Drab shrinktalk … Linguistically it’s all pig’s ear … it masks dyslexia, poor spelling and mental laziness. Texting is penmanship for illiterates.”

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Weekend treat: Joyeux anniversaire, Quebec, US, Canada

To friends in the US, Happy Independence Day!
To friends in Quebec City, Joyeux anniversaire 400, Québec!
And to Canadians, who’ve just celebrated Canada Day (July 1), Way to go, Canada!

A delightful Op/Ed piece in yesterday’s New York Times celebrates all three:

What we might remember today is that Quebec City and Canada grew from another great idea, different from that of the United States, but just as expansive and important, and it too will challenge us for a thousand years.

Read the original

Who owns your online documents?

From the WebWorkerDaily blog, a sobering reminder of the limitations of web-based office applications.