If Tuesday began with the letters CSH...

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Then I could tell you that those letters stand for "crushing seasonal headache." The news round these parts is that the temperature reached into the low 60s today, which has been good for The Melt, but bad for My Head. When seasons change, the corresponding shift in pressure typically renders me unable to focus for 2-3 days at a time, bringing with it dull, throbbing headaches of the sort that quite literally make my eyeballs sore. Needless to say, sleep becomes something of a chore, rivaled only by the effort that goes into being awake. Not the happiest of times.

I've been giving some thought to the presentation I'll be giving at CCCC this year. Inspired in part by last week's snarky little entry, which itself prompted me to add "snark alert" to my categories, I've been dialing back my expectations for what I'll accomplish in this presentation. It's hard, having been working on CCCOA for two-plus years now, to imagine that there aren't folks in our field who remain unfamiliar with it, and yet, my guess is that this is actually a fair description of most folks in our field. The speed of change in the 'sphere--and on the net more generally--outpaces that of the run-of-the-mill discipline, perhaps exponentially. And so, what I think I need to do in my talk is to actually introduce the site and what it contributes.

Right now, I'm thinking of an unofficial subtitle for my talk that would be something like "13 Ways of Looking at a Journal." Mostly it would be an introduction to the site, running from the most basic and obvious features to some of the trickier stuff we've built into it, and finally to a couple of disciplinary questions that a site like this can provide us the evidence to work on.

I've been thinking about this a little harder after seeing Tim Burke's post about what he describes as "search as alchemy." To wit,

But there are other times where I want search to be alchemy, to turn the lead of an inquiry into unexpected gold. I’m hoping that the rush to simplify, speed up, demystify and digitize search doesn’t leave that alchemy behind.

It seems like such an obvious point to me, that academic search functions in much different ways than "regular" search, but what's come clear to us over the past couple of years is that we need to figure out better ways of getting the word out, to make the case that CCCOA is a site for search, yes, but also a site of invention. I think that message is both clear and obvious to many of you, my fair readers, but to the field-at-large, it still needs saying.

So I think that's part of what I'll be saying next week.


I think you're very smart to remember that not everyone is as up-to-date as you are in cyberspace. Tell us what the site can do that makes things easier for us and then show us the possibilities that we've never imagined.

You're right, J. It's not so much a matter of being up-to-date as it is the fact that I've been working on this site for so long that so much of it feels like old hat to me. So I put pressure on myself to "say something original" when what I need to do, for a while longer at least, is to communicate the sense of excitement that the site has generated for me over that time.


I'm really looking forward to your talk. Also, as a suffer of "CSH" as well, I can certainly empathize with what you're going through. My head's been pounding for the past week or so...

How about "13 ways of looking at a headache"? Yeah, they suck.

Ah, yes -- the CSH. I am a fellow sufferer. And I find that the only thing that works -- short of a syringe of morphine shot directly into the eyeball -- are those little red pills (combined with a heafty dose of excedrin) that are kept behind the pharm counter now that the meth-makers covet the active ingredient.

My god, is there actually such a thing? Because I definitely get them. People will say, "allergies", but it's not. There's no pollen out there right now, but boy howdy, I have a headache and it definitely feels like it has something to do with the change in the weather.

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This page contains a single entry by cgbrooke published on March 13, 2007 7:27 PM.

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