Alternate formats of An Urgency of Teachers by Jesse Stommel and Sean Michael Morris

I’m gearing up my reading list for the holidays. I wanted to add An Urgency of Teachers: the Work of Critical Digital Pedagogy by Jesse Stommel and Sean Michael Morris. Seemingly I can only find .html, .azw3, and .pdf copies of the book, and I’d far prefer an .epub version. Fortunately the book has a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International license (CC BY-NC 4.0), so I’ve spent some time this morning to convert an original and made myself an .epub version for my Android devices.

I’m happy to share it if others are looking for the same and don’t have the ability (or frankly the time) to make the conversion. I also have a .mobi version (for Kindle) of the text as well since it didn’t require much additional work. These are exact replicas with no changes and come with the same CC BY-NC 4.0 license. If Jesse or Sean want copies to make available on their site, I’m happy to send them along. 

If you have the means, please be sure to make a donation to help support the book and Sean and Jesse’s work.

Book cover of An Urgency of Teachers

The Nieman Lab has an awesome and invaluable “Reading Page”

Usually I’m reading their content via a feed reader, but last night I visited their actual site and I noticed that the Nieman Lab has a reading page!

Since they’re unlikely to report on the mechanics of some of their own website and journalistic output, I’ll take a moment to highlight it on their behalf.

Reading pages or Linkblogs

Traditionally known as linkblogs back in the old blogosphere days, this sort of web pattern is probably better and more specifically called a “reading page” now. (Even Nieman titles the page “What We’re Reading” and uses /reading/ in the URL path to the page itself.) Many people still maintain linkblogs or bookmark pages (often on social silos like Pinboard, Pinterest, Twitter, Pocket, Instapaper, et al.), but generally the semantic name there implies articles or pages that were found to be of general interest or that one wanted to keep to read or consume later. On today’s more advanced web, there’s actually more value in naming it a reading page as it indicates a more proactive interest in the bookmarked content–namely having spent the time, effort, and energy to have actually read the thing being bookmarked. This additional indication of having more skin in the game provides a lot of additional value of a read post over a simpler bookmark post in my mind. It’s also part of the reason my website sends and receives read-specific webmentions.

This pattern of providing links of read material is pretty cool for a variety of reasons.

Discovery

First, if you’re following and reading the Nieman Lab, you’re very likely going to be interested in many of the things that they’re reading, researching, and covering. By providing a reading page they’re giving their readers a trove of useful data to discover articles and material in similar and tangential spaces that the lab may not be able to actively cover or engage in at the time. 

Context

By knowing what the Lab is reading, you’re provided with a broader perspective of the things they’re actively interested in. By reading those things yourself, you’ll have increased context into what they’re doing, what those areas look like, and what they are adding to the conversation in their research and work.

Added value to their site

Linkblogging has long been a thing, and, in part, is what a large number of Twitter users are typically doing. In Nieman Lab’s case, they’re just doing it on their own website, which adds tremendous value to it. By smartly hosting it on their own site they’re also guarding against the built value of their read archive disappearing if they were hosted on a social silo (remember Delicious? CiteULike?). Also by keeping it on their site, it has more long-tail value than if it were to all disappear into the new-content-wins attention machine that Twitter has become.

Of course I’d personally find it a lot more beneficial if they provided or advertised a linkblog feed for their reading page. Sadly they don’t. However, if you’re as interested as I am, you’ll dig under the hood a bit to discover that Nieman Lab’s site is built on WordPress and they’re using that page likely with a category, tag, or other taxonomy. So with a short bit of intuitive guessing about how WordPress is structured, we happily discover there is a feed of their reads at https://www.niemanlab.org/reading/feed/. (I suspect this feed exists as a design choice by WordPress than by the design or will of the Nieman Lab.) If you prefer a faster, one button subscribe option:

If Nieman would like their own universal follow button like this, take a peek at what SubToMe has to offer on this front.

Value to research

By accumulating a trove of links and summaries, which they’re hopefully keeping, they’re creating a huge relevant database for future research on the topics in which they have interest. The small pieces that may not make sense today may potentially be woven into future narratives and pieces of research later, but this sort of thing is vastly harder to do without reading and making note of it. In a sense, they’re creating a corporate or research lab-based commonplace book for their own use.

Other Examples

While I’ve seen many people (generally individuals and not magazines, companies, or other bigger outlets) regularly publish newsletters or weekly posts on what they’ve found on the web that is interesting, I haven’t seen as many who publish specific pages or archives of what they’re reading. Even fewer provide RSS or other feeds of this content.

The IndieWeb wiki read page has some useful and interesting examples of this behavior, but they’re almost all individuals. 

One other example I can think of in the journalism space, mostly because it’s getting to that end-of-the-year recap time is Bloomberg’s Jealousy List, which this year incidentally has some fun little drolleries that move as you scroll the page. This subset of reading lists is interesting as a group of articles Bloomberg wished they’d written and published themselves. This may indicate that they’re keeping a reading list internally, but just not publishing it regularly like Nieman is.

I can’t help thinking if Nieman Lab’s OpenFuego bot is a part of their workflow in creating their reading page as well?

And finally, since I also have a similar behavior, I’ll mention that you can find my reads on my reading page (sometimes with commentary) or follow it all via RSS if you like.

Are you aware of other people or organizations publishing lists of what they’re actively reading online? Do they provide feeds? How can we make this feature more prevalent on the open web?

Listened to Computers Judge What Makes The Perfect Radio Voice by Audie Cornish from All Things Considered | NPR

A few weeks ago, All Tech Considered asked the audience to send voice samples to analyze. Those samples were put through an algorithm to figure out what kind of voice would make an appealing radio host. NPR's Audie Cornish explains how this experiment turned out.

hat tip: What do authority and curiosity sound like on the radio? NPR has been expanding that palette from its founding | NiemanLab
Read What do authority and curiosity sound like on the radio? NPR has been expanding that palette from its founding by Jason Loviglio (Nieman Lab)
From nasal New York accents to vocal fry, NPR's anchors and reporters have long inflamed debates about whose voices should represent the nation — or just be heard by it.
WNYC Studios’ On The Media recently had a piece on the history, science, and engineering behind How Radio Makes Female Voices Sound “Shrill”.

This piece on NPR is a great example of how we’re still dealing with these engineering and social problems nearly a century on.

Bookmarked Institute for the Future of the Book (futureofthebook.org)
We're a small think-and-do tank investigating the evolution of intellectual discourse as it shifts from printed pages to networked screens. There are independent branches of Institute in New York, London and Brisbane. The New York branch is affiliated with the Libraries of New York University.
Read E-books at libraries are a huge hit, leading to long waits, reader hacks and worried publishers by Heather Kelly (Washington Post)
While some people are scrambling to collect log-ins for Netflix, HBO Go, Hulu and, now, Disney Plus, Sarah Jacobsson Purewal is working on a different kind of hustle. She signs up for any public library that will have her to find and reserve available e-books.
I’ve always had a dozen or so library cards at any one time, so I guess I’ve never really bothered to go out of my way to collect more for the digital games people are playing here with books. I have however very naturally checked several library systems for books in this way, however I find that many libraries just don’t have the titles I’m looking for anywhere.

I liked the tip about putting one’s e-reader into airplane mode to keep it from updating and removing overdue books. Of course there are some more technical methods of stripping DRM or even pirating books which I was a bit surprised they didn’t delve into, but which are frequently mentioned with respect to college textbook related articles.

🔖 Drag and Drop a document

Bookmarked Doc Drop: Drag and drop a document to annotate it. (docdrop.org)

Works with .pdf, .doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx, .epub and .csv files.
.doc and .docx are converted to .pdf.
.xls and .xlsx are converted to .csv.

You can also annotate PDFs inside Google Drive by authorizing Hypothes.is within your Google account. Hypothes.is PDF Annotator will be listed under the "Open with" option for PDF files upon authorization. (Uninstall).

Scanned PDFs will be OCR’d
(please ensure text is horizontal).

The OCR service uses Tesseract, an open source library.
You may have better results using a professional tool (tutorial). The annotation functionality is enabled by Hypothes.is.
The code for this site is open source.

This is a personal project to explore different ideas and is maintained by Dan Whaley. I’d be delighted to hear any feedback at @dwhly.

The intention is to keep the site up and running, but no guarantee around the preservation of documents is made.
As an aside, annotations against PDFs or EPUBs with your Hypothes.is account, are discoverable on that PDF or EPUB regardless of its location (Background). As long as you have the original PDF somewhere, you'll always be able to see your annotations on it with Hypothes.is.

👓 Days of Our Lives cast let go from contracts, as the show struggles with ratings | CNBC

Read Days of Our Lives cast let go from contracts, as the show struggles with ratings by Díamaris Martino (CNBC)
The entire cast has been released from their contracts, although the show has not bee canceled yet, according to an exclusive by TVLine.

👓 Werner Herzog on ‘The Mandlorian’ and Why He Hasn’t Seen ‘Star Wars’ | Variety

Read Werner Herzog on Why He Didn’t Need to See ‘Star Wars’ Films for ‘The Mandalorian’ Role (Variety)
At first sight, playing a vital character in Jon Favreau’s “The Mandalorian,” Disney’s live-action “Star Wars” series, which the studio is using to launch its ambitious streaming venture, might appear to be an odd move for Werner Herzog.

Do you watch any television?
I do, I watch the news from different sources. Sometimes I see things that are completely against my cultural nature. I was raised with Latin and Ancient Greek and poetry from Greek antiquity, but sometimes, just to see the world I live in, I watch “WrestleMania.”

WrestleMania! This has to be the quote of the year from Werner Hertzog.
November 12, 2019 at 10:35AM