cccc: March 2007 Archives

4 Cs, 4 days, 16 panels

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Inspired in part by Donna's theme review of CCCC:

CCCC 07 summed up in 16 panels

There was more to it than that, to be sure, but as far as my presentation went, at the risk of sounding like I'm fishing for sympathy, having a featured presentation on Saturday afternoon was a lot like being called up to the big leagues the day after one's team is knocked out of competing for the playoffs. Hard to know when or if I'll be back.

I continue to be grateful to Cheryl Glenn for the opportunity, grateful to those good people who did come, and grateful to Derek and Deb, whose presentations were excellent. And I'll go ahead and screencast my talk this week, for all of those who couldn't make it.

I may post a little more about the conference over the next couple of days as well. What won't I post about? The squawking that Alex references that's going on right now over whether or not it's better to read or speak.

That's all, except to note that I did this with Stripgenerator 1.0.1)

Update: You can find both my slides and Derek's at We'll both have screencasts soon as well.

All aboard!

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Today finds me headed to NYC for the annual Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC). Originally, I'd planned on participating either in the Research Network Forum or the ATTW conference, two of the all-day Wednesday events, which goes some distance to explaining why I'm going down there on Tuesday when my presentation is on Saturday.

Maybe it's just a matter of who I'm aggregating, but it's felt awfully quiet this year leading up to CCCC. I haven't seen much complaining about reading (don't do it!), the program (where's the X?), and actually very little about the costs (which are disproportionately high this year, it feels like). It just seems like there hasn't been much posting, period.

In the last year or two, the conference has changed the way it handles the program, which is a softcover, 400-500 page document. This year, unless you want to pay extra, you have to wait until the conference to pick up the program, and even though it was only postage, I just figured I'd wait. I've looked through the program, thanks to Derek, but I haven't really had it handy for mulling over. I wonder if that hasn't had an effect on folks' ability to marshall their annual indignation (and I'm not exempting myself here) for the relative absence of their favorite topics and the relative fetishization of the conference theme.

So you'll have to wait until afterwards to hear those complaints out of me. It'll give me something to do on the train ride home.

That is all. Next stop, NYC.

Another CCCC Cloud

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You may recall that, last fall, I put together a couple of tagclouds based upon the abstracts from different cluster areas found in the searchable program for CCCC.

Unfortunately, no one took me up on the process I developed (along with the pre-fab redlist that I built for it). I still believe that it would be interesting to compare tagclouds of various area clusters, not only from area to area in a single conference, but for the same area from year to year. Right now, the searchable program doesn't exactly make it easy, but if that data's still around, it is probably our single best source of evidence for what actually goes on at our annual conference.

Not that I have the time to take it up myself. But I did go ahead and put together a cloud for Cluster Area 103, aka "Theory." Click on it to go to the much more legible version I've stored at Flickr:

What's this year's theme again?

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.



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This page is a archive of entries in the cccc category from March 2007.

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