Skuldrudgery

Things are shaping up quite well as I head into the semester. I am working hard on my final field statements, have mostly finished (to my surprise!) my dissertation prospectus, and have been cooking up a Wenner Gren. On top of all of this, I finally got together the journal article that I want to submit to Archaeological Method & Theory, but I’m not sure it shouldn’t actually be two slightly different articles. Sorry to be opaque–I’ll post it all when it comes closer to actually happening.

I met with Ruth and the other GSIs on Tuesday to discuss the upcoming semester. It should be pretty interesting–heavy on the media literacy, light on mid-terms, which is nice, but can be difficult for the more rigid students who want to be lectured at, take notes, and regurgitate periodically.

I’ve been dealing with some Catalhoyuk material again though, which always makes me dream about the place. Browns and yellows and stressful politics, oh my!

More interesting than my academic dealings–the Library of Congress has partnered with Flickr to get public tagging for their archived photographs. I love it–academic/public institutions have long been building web-islands of information, and getting some of this primary data out into a more public sphere gives life to the database, ensures that it will be used and therefore valued. There’s already been a massive effort to tag these photos and I wonder if folksonomies would solve some of the problems that archaeologists have been having with assigning conceptual terminology we need for generating comparative data. Archaeologists should create their own archives, but should also update to social networking sites like Flickr not only in the public interest, but to get more perspectives on their data.

But, back to the LOC project, you can find the main page here:

http://flickr.com/commons

And the photos are completely gorgeous:

I wonder, as time goes on and I travel even more, if my love for the American West and its people and history will only deepen.

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4 responses to “Skuldrudgery

  1. Thanks for posting that link. I know what I’ll be doing for the next couple of hours now.

  2. I miss Ruth. No, really, you will too, someday.

    Let me know if you want another set of eyes for the article.

  3. Joolie, no problem! I had to tear myself away from the photos earlier. Favorite the ones you like so I can stalk them later.

    Sara, Ruth is my hero. I’m serious. I couldn’t ask for a more amazing and inspiring advisor. Beware of volunteering eyes, I might take you up on that!

  4. Tags and folksonomies are a waste of time. They take considerable effort and still have to be redone later. No one speaks in noun phrases, because you need verbs to relate how things fit together and who does what. In addition, they dont form hierarchies. (I use them on Gmail myself, but that’s why I know how useless they are.)

    Take a look at your own tags for this article. Are you talking about the archeology of the library of Congress? Academic photography? Teaching someone how to use flickr? Tags are seriously underspecified.

    And geographical information is a special pain. Search for “Turkey” and you wont find it. Search for Asia Minor and nada. Where’s the structure if there is no subsumption (spatial or otherwise)?

    And then the lexical variations. You have to tag the article with “photography” because you wrote about “photographs” and “photos”, and with “archaeology” because you wrote about “archaeologists” and “archaeological method”.

    What I find most depressing is how often tags duplicate keywords verbatim (I do this all the time on GMail, I wish they had a warning). “library of congress”, “flickr” and “Catalhoyuk” all occur in the text; any keyword search would have pulled those.

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