- provides a space devoted to the conceptual framework known as Hodges' model. Read about this tool that can help integrate HEALTH, SOCIAL CARE, INFORMATICS and EDUCATION. The model can facilitate PERSON-CENTREDNESS, CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT, HOLISTIC CARE and REFLECTION. Follow the development of a new website using Drupal - one day). See our bibliography, posts since 2006 and if interested please get in touch [@h2cm OR h2cmng AT yahoo.co.uk]. Welcome.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Book review: Gary Hall's "Digitize This Book!" (DTB)

Book cover imageFollowing reviews of two IT books Gary Hall's "DIGITIZE THIS BOOK!: The Politics of New Media, or Why We Need Open Access Now" (DTB) has proved a change and a challenge. While I am familiar with new media - growing up with it as a webmaster and blogger, (as a community mental health nurse) I am not exactly well read in this subject; hence my inability to summarise and the length of this review. I have read Lessig's The Future of Ideas and related texts which prompted my requesting the book from the publisher. In this review I make several references to Hodges model. I make no apologies for the same as this is my nascent open access project of the past decade and experiences there have informed this review.

There is an irony here in that Hall for me is acting as an introductory reader; in the introduction Hall bemoans the state of academic publishing, amid the internal market, increased student numbers, students as customers (where have I heard that before?), the rise of corporatization in academic publishing with its emphasis on introductory texts and regurgitated works.

The effects of change over the past few decades means short term employment for many staff, changes in disciplinary emphasis, the concentration of research. As a result Hall states there is a lack of original and challenging ideas and thinking, fewer avenues for researchers starting out on their careers. The advent of open access also highlights the cost of books and journals, which in turn affects the range and number of copies acquired by academic libraries for faculty and students.

Hall poses several questions beginning with: what kind of university is desirable, or even possible in the age of digital reproduction? A thorough set of notes permeate the text, with for example, Hall qualifying his use of university, or universities and much more. Hall believes that universities are places worth defending - as places of dissent: an ongoing consequence of the centrality of knowledge, information and communication in political struggle. I have an additional interest in what Hall has to say as (what I believe is) an independent scholar.

Hall's initial question and his own career in the humanities prompts discussion throughout the book on the status of cultural studies. From the factory as the site of struggle, to the university as a key space of conflict around the ownership of knowledge p.5. Hall backs up his concerns with references and figures, (one book across eight campuses) which given the pace of change might well benefit from being in digital form themselves. Flexibility is a much sought quality, and in publishing the ability to publish chapters and full books helps nourish new academic careers, creativity and innovation. Citations and academic tenure go pen-in-hand so this particular market is a delicate one; intellectual impoverishment is a high price to pay.

Papercentric publishing is contrasted by Hall with developments in music publishing, peer-to-peer networks; the impact of Google's Book Search and the fact that a book must be published before it becomes part of Google's project. Hall explains the rise of existing open access archives and limits his book to open access and archives. Hall shakes up the paper format a little by alternating his five chapters with four servings of metadata. These provide keywords, web links, and very helpful bridging discussion.

The open access debate has been ongoing for quite sometime, and not just regarding books and journals but data, especially geographic data - as per The Guardian's 'free our data' campaign. Hall's focus is clear (and repeated) throughout the book with the key questions:

  1. Knowledge and its authority and legitimacy and how it is affected by digitization.
  2. There has been little research on the potential impact of digital reproduction, publication and archiving; either on, or by cultural studies as distinct from digital culture. p.12-13.
For newcomers to cultural studies and new media the book is not exactly light reading, as already suggested above. Hall explores the basis for current and future theory and how the debate rests with recourse to:
  1. The intersection of philosophy and literature, key thinkers Husserl, Levinas, Derrida and the importance of ethics and "other".
  2. Deconstruction and what politics is and is not.
  3. Derrida and the need to think about the university, notably the authority and legitimacy of the contemporary institution.
  4. Analysis of ethics and politics.
Hall points to a crisis of confidence within cultural studies and it is the word within that is significant here. There is cultural studies as a discipline within the university and hegemonic links to social movements, struggles, forces, and scope for radicalism. There's a sense of cultural studies finding a minima, tantamount to a comfort zone where key targets worthy of research - including - cultural studies within the university - are passed over. I also pick up a sense of embarrassment (or at least a negative association), since being political is to be left wing. (I wondered about this when I added an 'Activism' listing to the 'Political' links page on Hodges model - as if activism is tainted.) Hall repeatedly states that the last question in discussions on politics - is politics.

In Metadata I discussion turns to capitalism, including hypercapitalism citing Graham (2002) and how the boundaries between production, consumption and circulation have become dissolved as new media pervades day-to-day existence on conceptual, physical and temporal levels p.21. Amongst several authors Hall relies upon are Poster, Hardt and Negri and their thought on biopolitical production involving ideas, images, affects and relationships with consumers as units of production themselves p.24. A point I must follow up.

The next aspect that Hall addresses I am familiar with at least within health and informatics contexts (including and especially the combined form): this is dichotomy - theory vs. practice. Accounts of digital media are discussed by Hall insofar as 215 pages plus copious notes allows. Included then is the digital dialectic Lunenfeld (2001) real-ideal; body-machine; medium-message; world-screen; the central dialectic being theory and practice. Readers conversant with cultural studies will get much more from Hall as with Lovinck's, practice-driven internet theory and his Dark Fibre (2003). Derrida is referenced unsurprisingly throughout DTB. A recurring theme is the philosopher's focus on the general and the cultural analyst's attending to the particular. Hall states the book is not a "case study". (In light of the issues at hand the question of what constitutes a case study might be an interesting debate?)

So, there are many conundrums here. In many respects cultural media tied so inextricably to technology is dynamic - constantly variable - with its white heat, bleeding and leading edges. ... Strange then, that as Hall observes it seems the use of new media prevents something from really happening in terms of our understanding of theory and practice p.30. Hall returns to his agenda since there are many other forms of engaging in new media; we need to be able to "do" both theory and practice and to what extent Hall asks - can we create a political institution using Homesite, PhotoShop, VBScript and Javascript?

For me there is quite a chasm between open access archive and political institutions - especially the institution as per the university. There is a whole minutia of detail behind Hall's argument here that begs further reading and is ably teased by Hall in the references and metadata sections. I struggle with seeing an open access service or archive as a new institution, but Hall's point (and his referents) is that these OA resources can act as agents of change.

Hall touches on the indications borne from Napster, the change in the CD-music industry and the rise of mp3. Can there be an academic Napster? One key point I learned c/o Gary Hall is the Harnard / Oppenheim pre-print corrigenda strategy, (this must be in Lessig) which enables authors to both publish in the standard (paid for) journals and books, but also post their work without penalty in open access repositories. Whilst reading DTB I contacted a global publisher and without addressing the copyright agreement I enquired about my submitting a published book chapter to an OAA such as Hall and Green's Culture Machine? I am pursuing this, with another chapter to be published this spring: so Hall for me is a mix of theory and practice no less.

For chapter 2 in my notes I read "letting go". For Hall there is a need to move beyond the pre-digital preoccupations and re-evaluate how publishing research is valued and accorded worthiness. Hall describes the change in the notion of 'professional' in media as paper takes on, or tries to synchronize with the web for publishing. How is the production of words changed? The editing process and editorial boards p. 63? What can we learn from Lev Manovich now that the database is the new symbolic form of the computer age? The rise of blogs and their status - influence debated as with wikis, anonymous contributions 'academic blogs'. Again this was of personal relevance as I blog and as the French philosopher Michel Serres has highlighted the Internet will provide opportunities for many outside of conventional 'academia'. Perhaps, I am therefore as an independent scholar - an academic of our times?

The previous stability - as evinced in place and time - in publishing has been thrown into chaos (quite explicitly in that non-linear sense). Hall reveals many examples such as text being replaced by Flash and how computer code has become art. The destabalizing effect of all this is to raise the question of quality control. In order to measure something though language is critical and so the need for a new grammar, a new language is needed. This discussion (p.67) reminded me of Michel Serres use of the Parasite as a trope. An uninvited guest at the table who can nonetheless contribute to positive change. This is new media. There is no escape from the need to 'sort, reject, eject or exclude.' New forms of peer review exist - Psycoloquy (archives on the web) and others are emerging; new approaches have also been tried by long established and venerable paper publications - Nature - no less p.67.

Derrida continues to frame the discussion on authority (Foucault is here too) to the extent that we have always been digital. Judgement and decision making (a binary - dichotomous operation) cannot be evaded in publishing. The problem is the mode of performance from rules, procedures, standards and criteria from the paper world to the digital. Here are two key quotes for me:
It is not a matter of electronic publishing simply being different from paper publishing, in a manner akin to the way that many people have pointed out that to teach online you need to do more than merely put your course materials on the Web, experiment with "course casting" - using webcasting and podcasting to record lectures as audio or video files and then make them available to students to download on to their computers or iPods - or hold seminars in Second Life. page 70.
Digital mode of reproduction raises fundamental questions for what scholarly publishing (and teaching) actually is .... page 7o.
For Hall - academic authority (the power to 'sort, reject, eject or exclude') is already digitized; that is in a sense always already in a similar condition to that which is brought about by digitization.

A seminal influence for Hall (and others judgeing from a brief literature review) is Samuel Weber. Amongst his texts is Institution and Interpretation (1987). If I am reading this correctly Weber's forte is the process and hence permanence of the institution. Institutionalization is taken for granted as something we have to describe, rather than as a process to be understood p.71. Weber is a key source for Hall for re-thinking the university. The institution has differentiated itself from what lies outside p.73. A knowledge of academic speak and the cultural studies dialect in particular helps here. I was looking up some of these terms - a problem (elsewhere) frequently being the consistency in their application. As a would-be pantologist, I appreciated Hall's moving to disciplinarity. A discipline cannot found itself. Enter then the politics of the university, the curriculum, accreditation and the power of university departments. Key to the university is the professionalist paradigm of knowledge - the absolute autonomy of the individual discipline and absolute economy. How does finance, culture and effort equate to paper publishing and e-forms of publishing? p. 78. I have followed the World Social Forum for many years maintaining links to the conferences on the political links resource. Hall purposefully plays on the title with the adage 'Another Cultural Studies is Possible'. P.78

In metadata II 'Print This!' Hall calls upon Benjamin (1973), Readings (1994) and Derrida (1996) since research is needed not only in the process of access, communication, exchanging, classification, storing and retrieving - but change in the very content and nature of that knowledge. Existing disciplines (digital media studies!) fall short. Something else beyond the recognised, legitimate, pre-constructed and disciplinary forms of knowledge is needed. Hall argues (more than once) that new conceptual frameworks are needed. Given that Hodges' model is a conceptual framework, this is a debate I wish I could pick up and wholly pursue.

Chapter 3 takes us to how to build an ethical institution with mention of existing projects: OSI, SHERPA, SPARC, DOAR. Another concept is introduced here 'iterability' - Weber's "it" and Derrida through significance, event, and context. In short, writing is iterable. We must be able to recognise something in order to work with unknowns p.88. There is a quote from Weber (page 93) that prompts me to re-join the library. Misunderstanding, hallucination and illusion are important in the transformation from familiar to unfamiliar p.94. Hall acts as his own critic. He asks - is this a proper analysis? He reflects on whether he really has built an open access archive? In a section entitled 'apprehension and anxiety' we are reminded that apprehend also means 'stop' and the presence of danger - the exception p.98.
For in even asking contributors to identify themselves and their research by title, author, publication date, subject area, abstract, keywords, and so forth we are not being open to the other but are asking them, demanding of them, that they conform to certain pre-established rules, laws, and criteria. page 101.
One of the excuses I have called upon in delaying the creation of a new - more dynamic - website, is that I am not sure about what content types to provide in the first instance and how much information to expect of the ''user' community'. I do realise that without structure there is no order.

In chapter 4 Derridean ethics is referred to but not in the moral philosopher's sense, but:
as an obligation towards the incalculable alterity of the other who renders me responsible and who calls me to question. page 105.
Here, ethics is political and Hall explores three approaches to open access:
  1. The liberal democratizing approach; (CODATA)
  2. The renewed public sphere approach - overcoming passivity;
  3. The gift economy - supplemental or rival to capitalism.
One important concept mentioned by Hall that I know of through Lessig is non-rivalrous. Hall refers to Richard Barbrook and the academic gift economy. These three approaches frame discussion of what it is to be political on the Internet and politicality - the need to remediate politics p.113. Again Hall brings in the fact that critics and researchers of new media are using pre-established frameworks of knowledge and methods of analysis. I must check on the 'transcendental' aspects of this. Once again Hall refers to Derrida in this past - future dichotomised debate; the future being understood in terms of frameworks of the old.

There are some key issues here around socio-techno-politics, in which several commentators feature: Douglas Kellner and Richard Kohn (techno-politics), Dean (2005) and politics as the circulation of content on the Internet and as the activity of officials. The Internet is described as a technical fetish - a screen projector. Much of what is assumed of the Internet as fertile ground for citizenry - a World Parliament - is illusory p.123. Hall asks - how do we frame the debate? Four perspectives are recounted:
  1. Democracy
  2. Dichotomy
  3. Dichotomy (take II)
  4. Digital dialectic
Tactical media looms large, suitably placed in the latter half of the book. Garcia and Lovink provide a seminal definition. Hall is interested in employing new media tactically p.126-127.

I arrived at the operational, tactical and strategic dialogue through information systems and readings in health care management. I have championed Hodges' model as an excellent tool because it can readily frame these and other aspects of the socio-technical debate. The incorporation into the model of a political domain makes it a tool well suited for Hall's purposes too. Once again on p.134 there is a call for conceptual frameworks. Granularity appears to be a difficulty as there is talk of strategy and the tactical, but not operations? For me tactics are intermediate. No doubt I need to read more, but is research not needed on how the miniaturized, technical, personalised, tools that people are adopting, customising, and using are 'operationalised'? How has the mobilization of new media in form and person (individualised, integrated, ubiquitous) affected the operational and hence tactical potential of new media? Amongst these applications and purposes that are deployed onto the market which are 'political' - directly or indirectly?

There is an abundance of theories to follow - the hegemonic and counterhegemonic struggle, neo-Gramscian theory, anti-political moralism (Wendy Brown) plus questions about moralism and what that may say about politics - by way of analytic impotence and political aimlessness p.144. The political terrain is mentioned, comforting as I like to try to think topographically. This part of the political domain is rather uncertain territory - which made Hall's book a challenging and enjoyable read. The rise of New Labour, Conservatism, social democracy, neoliberalism and the Iraq war protest help to reassure, illuminating the landscape. Hall highlights the need to explore politics as official policy and as the communications interactions of the public sphere.

A key argument here is that despite the protests and use of the Internet to mobilise the public, the technology fetish also functions as a means to disavow and conceal this political disempowerment or castration - Dean (2005). So, Internet politics comes out unfavourably when contrasted with other counterhegemonic forms of political struggle p.147. The tussle here is framed as between Dean and Grossberg. A further handhold for me is provided with Dean stressing the importance of context, temporal frames of reference p.148. Hodges' model can function in this way, recording conceptual snapshots across four domains of knowledge that includes the political (and collectively the 'spiritual'). Right on queue the problem of old frameworks of knowledge rears its head yet again. The concept of 'politics' creates a problem, in that there are no true 'exemplars'. One exception is raised: Marc Poster (1997) versus the work of Sherry Turkle 'Life On the Screen' (1996). Poster focuses on the Internet as a form of public sphere of which more is to follow.

Metadata III reminds us that (throughout the book) Hall stresses the need to act tactically. National statistics have been superceded by data that is complex, and yet fluid. The turn to 'power' brings in Foucault and 'heterotopia'; old and new forms of media and the differences and specificity of those new forms. I read DTB through the news of terrorism in Mumbai and became aware of government's ability to control the media - new and old - by essentially 'pulling the plug'. In this respect the Internet is posited as being (positively) 'subversive' bringing about political change and yet it can be subverted itself.

'Reward' is a key external motivator for (the) many and for Hall open access publishing differs from music and copyright in that it can work. The 'market' is different. We are told that the open access movement is neither unified or self-identical. This is a fascinating discussion as there are various performances of digital media and each has a potentiality to transform. Two important concepts lie in the singular and the 'singularity' and evident in the comprehensive index. For me a call to read further and extend. How will a new regime of digital culture emerge? (Is this to say that in being recognizable, it will be predictable; or will it emerge and as it emerges - be revealed?) p.157.

As already noted, Hall views an archive as an institution. On page 160 "an archive is not a neutral institution...". I wonder how the archiving of things 'digital' itself affects digital media? It has been stressed since the late 1970s and earlier that a great deal of digital heritage (yesterdays 'new' media) stands in danger of being lost, often but for the initial work of individuals and now agencies set to preserve the hardware and the media formats they support. The blue-ray discs of today will be the jaded drinks mats of tomorrow, as solid-state and holographic storage media take over.

Hall recounts briefly (but effectively) the history of books and how the early history was plagued with problems, until conventions emerged such as author, mass printing techniques, multiple copy editions, copyright, publishers, proof readers. Eventually books were "fixed". Digital media are still 'suspect' in terms of their authority and legitimacy (WikiPedia is a case in point). What is included? What is excluded? Who decides? I have experienced the politics of WikiPedia myself. What is fascinating for the future and current status of open access is how long it has taken the (until recently) papercentric publishing of medicine and health care to formulate and achieve 'gold' standards in publishing. Here the currency of our time is evidence-based medicine (health, nursing...) and open access aspirations are not lost in this global (health) politico-scientific world. Is there as Hall suggests a green standard of open access self-archiving and a gold standard of open access journal?

Hall seeks clarity in existing definitions of journal and archive, and what are considered the properties of digital archives (positive and negative) p.164. New forms of media are described as 'fragmented'. I'm struck by this thinking of holograms and how when shattered the pieces can still represent the whole. There is undoubtedly much more to follow from this seam of thought and discourse. Hall also writes on how cultural studies prides itself on its interdisciplinary approach and yet (the notion) of interdisciplinarity sustains the identity and limits of disciplines. Ultimately, Hall explains disciplines are more or less violently excluded, paper-world rules are applied and render disciplines (theory and practice) as legitimate or non-legitimate.

Chapter 5: hypercyberdemocracy focuses on Poster's essay 'Cyberdemocracy' with Hall advocating Poster as a means to proceed p.167. Discussion is also informed by reference to technopolitics and the work of Kahn and Kellner; who want to make technopolitics as a major instrument of political action. Garcia and Lovink seek a qualified form of humanism; a useful antidote to both the unopposed rule of money over human beings ... also all forms of technological determinism should be condemned. Technology is designed: it can be criticised, altered, undermined, mutated and, at times ignored p.169. The critical - 'user' perspectives on technology are familiar in the health care setting, with several generations of clinical (nursing) information systems that have now variously evolved into the personal health record and summary care record and seen the creation of a 'common user interface'. Suppliers know now they cannot afford to ignore usability and 'human-factors'.

The next point that spoke for me concerned a shift from emphasis on representation in there own right, and the uses of representations. This made me want to consider the discussion from within cognitive science - a very heavy user of computer based representations. We return to tactics with the question of our use of texts and artefacts as consumers. There is an interesting and illustrative analogy employed to shed light on what the Internet is. We learn that there is no simple distinction between technology and its users. Mention is made of herds, swarms and flocks, but I felt this deserved more detail possibly benefiting from references to the non-linear in cultural studies. Perhaps this is as yet limited? This seems worthy of a further book seeking sources beyond the usual cadre of commentators?

Poster's essay matters for Hall as the Internet raises questions about our traditional notions of 1) Politics; 2) Citizenship; and 3) the Public sphere. Figures on CCTV in the UK loom large here, and how the home - the most private of spaces - is the most connected. The Internet is often thought of as a heterogeneous environment, but for most users it has its mega sites with nether regions that are visited rarely even though (qualitatively) deserving of attention. Habermas writes of the Internet as a political domain p.174. For the unfamiliar, there are other intriguing angles to pursue that include - Stiegler's originary technicity and Derrida's techno-logical condition.

Following several 'World Parliament' and 'global citizenry' websites and mail lists, I identified quite readily with Poster's idea that we need to be open to the possibility of a form of politics that is something other than democracy p.179. This refers back to Hall's choice of subtitle in 'Another University is Possible', a play on the slogan of the World Social Forum. This particular debate is even more relevant as the question now one of 'new' economics not just politics (or in combination their collective governance).

Hall closes with 'hypercyberdemocracy' and states that the search for a politics that is absolutely new is of course a lost cause. Hall demonstrates this through the work of Derrida and Weber. Key though is the need to challenge the old definitions of politics, customarily associated with the state, society, power, the common good. Poster claims that there is no adequate post-modern theory of politics. Is this the case? Hall believes there are theories based on Heideggerian flavoured deconstruction of Phillip Laccouse-Labarthe and Jean-Luc Nancy, Ernst Laclau. Poster's idea of politics is of something raised to a transcendent position, where what it means to be political is already given and agreed upon a priori p.183.

In summary, the Capital vs. the Commons is revisited. The commons is 'abstract labour' as per Paul Virno and Antonio Negri: capitalism is needed to create the commons. Hall lists conditions that allow for the creation of a commons p.192. For Terranova, Barbrook is too optomistic about the hi-tech gift economy; seeing the Internet as both a gift economy and an advanced capitalist economy. As per health and education: how do you measure? Hall reviews the political potential of several thinkers. This for me is complex reading: Does Terranova repeat the dialectic as per Lovink and tactical media? Or does it enable her to think the relation is a more subtle Foucault / Deleuze and Guattari inspired non-dialectic fashion? There are other possible ways forward including Laclau and Mouffe's neo-Gramscian theory of hegemony; the philosophy of Foucault, Deleuze and Guattari or Derrida, or the Italian Autonomist Marxism of Negri, Lazzarato and Virno p.195.

While Hall regards Poster's work as significant and a signpost - in the end (my reading at least) he feels Poster is asking the wrong question. Wrong because of 1) what are identified by Poster as modern understanding of politics; 2) this modern understanding of politics may be what the Internet resists and reinvents; and 3) the wrong question because any such new framework may only be intelligible if a framework is adopted that does not limit the discipline from the outset to modern perspectives of interpretation. I am surprised in reading Hall that there are no more 'recent' commentators directing thought in this field. Can cultural studies be hung by its own petard so to speak? It has the ability (prides itself on its ability) to criticise everything, perhaps this is why there is a crisis regards the politics and for me the temporal metrics - the pace of change. The surprise is acute when you consider the temporal differences that are said muted (the 'Internet Year') to operate in this field, or is this a myth? Perhaps this is yet another variable that must be factored in?

Hall has made me hungry to read more and browse less. I've learned a lot and am still learning. He's forced me to think and re-view and that is a very good thing. I realised some ten years ago that 'democracy' is a very loose term - there are many forms - and with that perhaps a new word is needed? OA may be a key ingredient of a gift economy, but as Hall states it does not follow that OA is democratic always and everywhere. For Hall there is a vacancy that calls for a philosophy of open access. I am not sure of the status and credentials of Harnod, Guedon, Suber and Willinsky et. al., but I would really like to think that there is a role here for independent scholars too?

There is a really strange paradox in the West at present and it concerns our fixation on that point called the individual. Governments and government departments are obsessed with personalisation, the need to engage the citizen by making budgets available to individuals in health, social care and education. Services in the UK have changed greatly in the past twenty years, NHS Direct, mobile phones, the (global) 'Internet population', e-Gov. How does 'politics' keep up and how does cultural studies follow the changes: which 'cohort' are they part of?

Hall asks for a philosophical basis for how cultural studies engages with the university. Quite a different question from those ongoing throughout the book and yet behind them is the question of ethics. Hall insists to the end that the open access archive enables us to conceive of a different future for the university. Hall raises questions about the knowledge economy, new forms of exchange. How (for Negri) can the commons be taken away from exploitation? In economics new ways and means have emerged. I cannot vouch for their distance from 'capitalism', but there are examples such as the Nobel Peace Prize 2006. Alternate economies may indeed be a pre-requisite for what Hall and his peers seek?

In the final metadata IV Hall writes about the singularity of new media, referring to his activity in the field. Checking the index and reading the text the 'singularity' (and singular for that matter) is a pivotal concept that I must investigate. Amid the 'hypered' goings on in technology and this literature there is a need for 'hyperanalysis'. What politics is and what it means to act politically cannot be left completely open and undecided.

For the past 2-3 years I have been creating a new website. I've settled on Drupal as my tool. I'm convinced there is community for Hodges' model out there; there is a rationale for it: and it is global. There is a potential audience of inhabitants, a community of users for this new website. I have to make decisions to get the site out of the door (Tracey Kidder, The Soul of a New Machine). Poster says build the archive. For Hall (and this reader given my position) CSeARCH is the example; an emergent project constantly in the process of becoming.

It really is fascinating to think that with the right content types* AND users I could be helping to create an 'institution' - an archive built in accordance with an open access ethos, its politics AND ethics.

If the length of this review does indeed highlight my inability to be concise, I trust that it also shows how much I enjoyed reading DTB plus the thinking and many threads it stimulated...

215 pages, 53 pages notes, bibliography 20 pages.

*+ themes, modules, styles, code - enthusiasm, energy, engagement ...

Acknowledgement: My thanks to the University of Minnesota Press for the book copy.

My footnotes:

There was an interesting letter in The Guardian 16 October 2008, the week that the research assessment exercise (RAE) results were due to be published. This highlighted the experience of many academics, and the problems faced by some in research posts as to their ability to gain longer term security. Plus the need of established staff to ensure they have their name attached to papers in order to meet their (RAE) tally.

Mandated online RAE CVs linked to university eprint archives: Enhancing UK research impact and assessment Stevan Harnad, Les Carr, Tim Brody and Charles Oppenheim make a compelling case for optimising the UK's pre-eminence in Research Assessment.

Power Struggle: Then in January 6, 2009 Education Guardian highlighted how students are not apathetic, they have found new ways to protest and new targets for their ire p.10. Paul Redmond.

Serres on this blog: http://hodges-model.blogspot.com/search/label/Serres

Source: Michel Serres, The Internet and Learning Opportunities:
Join-Lambert, L., Klein, P., & Serres, M. (1997). Interview. Superhighways for All: Knowledge’s Redemption. Revue Quart Monde. http://www.nettime.org/Lists-Archives/nettime-l-9810/msg00137.html

(I have a paper that combines aspects of Serres and Hodges).

Tracey Caldwell, Open access citation effect illusory: First randomised trial suggests OA boosts readership but not citations, Information World Review, 03 Sep 2008.

Earth image source: http://www.geos.ed.ac.uk/homes/tcrowley

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Friday, January 23, 2009

2nd Int. Workshop on Socio-Technical Congruence May 19th, 2009 at ICSE 2009 Vancouver, Canada

2nd International Workshop on Socio-Technical Congruence

ICSE 2009, May 19, Vancouver, Canada

Following up on last year's success, the second instance of the STC workshop will be held in conjunction with ICSE 2009.


Past research has argued that modular product structures provide the basic mechanisms for managing technical dependencies in software development [1, 7]. However, recent work has shown project coordination is increasingly difficult because of factors such as global distribution of projects, increasing scale as well as the dynamic nature of technical dependencies in software development [c.f. 3].

New and more effective methods to technical coordination are required and socio-technical congruence represents one of the most promising approaches. The intensity of coordination required among teams varies substantially, driven not only the degree of module coupling, but also by factors such as architectural change and nonfunctional requirements. On the other hand, geographic distribution, domain expertise, cultural and language barriers, and many other factors impact teams' ability to coordinate their technical decisions. Congruence is achieved when coordination capabilities match or exceed coordination required. The 2009 instance of the STC workshop will continue fostering a research community in this area as well as focus increased attention on critical topics for advancing our understanding on how to measure socio-technical congruence and assess its implications in software development projects.

Read more... (with references)

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hodges' model - "Here, There and Everywhere...."

Before you ask: What is Hodges' model?

Ask yourself: Where am I (we)?

What tool do we need?

Who do I need to help me (us) engage and collaborate?

So, what song do you want to sing?

As you can see Hodges' model has the potential to cover quite a repertoire, hence the need for study / research and development...

Hodges model, definitions, what is Hodges' model

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

First NHS Constitution Launched


An historic signing ceremony to mark the launch of the NHS Constitution for England took place at Downing Street today. The Constitution, the first of its kind in the world, was signed by Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Health Secretary Alan Johnson and NHS Chief Executive David Nicholson.

The Constitution will give power to patients and the public by bringing their existing rights together in one place so they know what they are legally entitled to – and how they can exercise their rights as well as understanding their responsibilities. It also contains a range of pledges to patients, public and staff, which the NHS is committed to achieving. For NHS staff, the Constitution will mean an NHS-wide commitment to equipping them with the tools, training and support they need to deliver high quality care for patients.

Lord Darzi’s review of the NHS, High Quality Care for All concluded last summer that there was a case for an NHS Constitution to enshrine the principles and values of the NHS in England. The landmark document will put in one place what patients, staff and the public can expect of the health service. It is designed to safeguard the future of the NHS and renew its core values, making sure it continues to be relevant to the needs of patients, the public and staff in the 21st century.

Health Secretary, Alan Johnson said:

“This is a momentous point in the history of the NHS. Following on from Lord Darzi’s Next Stage Review, the launch of the NHS Constitution shows how its founding principles still endure today and have resonance for staff, patients and public alike. It will ensure that we protect the NHS for generations to come.

“The content of the Constitution is based on discussions with thousands of NHS staff and patients across the country and will form the basis of a new relationship between staff and patients – a relationship based on partnership, respect and shared commitment where everyone knows what they can expect from the NHS and what is expected from them.”

The Constitution is the result of extensive consultation with staff and patients, which was led by strategic health authorities and overseen by independent experts on the Constitutional Advisory Forum (CAF). In response to the consultation and report published by the CAF, the final Constitution includes:

  • A right to makes choices about your care and to information to help exercise that choice;
  • A new legal right to receive the vaccinations that the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation recommends that you should receive under an NHS-provided national immunisation programme;
  • A right making explicit your entitlement to drugs and treatments that have been recommended by NICE for use in the NHS, if your doctor says they are clinically appropriate for you;
  • A right to expect local decisions on funding of other drugs and treatments to be made rationally following a proper consideration of the evidence;
  • Clear and comprehensive rights to complaint and redress.

David Nicholson, NHS Chief Executive said:

“Ara Darzi asked me in his interim report to lead a work programme exploring the merits of a Constitution for the NHS. This has been a fantastic opportunity to listen to what matters most to our patients, public and staff and to use this to set out clearly the values and purpose of the NHS system.

“It also pulls together in one place what the patients who use the NHS, the public who fund it and the staff who provide it, can expect to receive from the NHS, and the contribution they can make themselves.

“I’m proud to sign off the Constitution today and am sure that it will be a powerful driver of change in the system, and help us to deliver care fit for the 21st century.”

Professor Steve Field, Chairman of the Royal College of [General] Practitioners, said:

"By stating that patients have a responsibility to register with a GP practice, the NHS Constitution reinforces the central role of the GP and the importance of continuity of care in the NHS today and in the future.

"We become GPs because we want to help people improve the quality of their lives through better healthcare. GPs want to provide the solutions and lead improvements and innovations. Having the Constitution in place will help us improve standards and care for all our patients, whoever and wherever they are.

"The new NHS Constitution is something which all GPs, their practice teams and NHS staff can commit to and have confidence in. I'm convinced that it will be an important, defining point in the development of our NHS."

Sally Brearley, Chair of the Patients Forum said:

“The NHS Constitution is a very valuable re-affirmation of the principles and values of the NHS. I was delighted to be involved in the process of drawing it up. It demonstrates the commitment of Government to the NHS, and of the NHS to its patients. We know that the public supports the NHS. The Constitution provides an important opportunity for patients, public and NHS staff to focus on giving our best to the NHS, and getting the best out of it.”

Also published today are the Handbook to the NHS Constitution; a Statement of NHS Accountability; regulations, directions and guidance to support the new rights around choice, vaccines and the funding of drugs and treatments; and our response to the consultation and the CAF’s recommendations.

The Health Bill, published last week, will underpin the new Constitution by creating new legislation to ensure that the Constitution will be reviewed every 10 years and a duty on NHS bodies, as well as independent sector and third sector providers of NHS services, to have regard to the Constitution.


My source: COI’s News Distribution Service is the public sector leader in the electronic delivery of news releases and information direct from Whitehall departments, and more than 100 agencies and non-departmental public bodies, to the national, regional and specialist media. COI’s News Distribution Service is the public sector leader in the electronic delivery of news releases and information direct from Whitehall departments, and more than 100 agencies and non-departmental public bodies, to the national, regional and specialist media.

Additional links: Patients, Carers and Citizenry resources:

Patients Forum
Hodges' model:
SOCIOLOGY Knowledge Domain - Patients and Carers ...
POLITICAL knowledge Domain - Citizenry, Activism ...

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Pain assessment in older people & My Home Life Wales

I received the following through several individuals via the Open University in Wales, My Home Life Wales and the Practitioner Network on Ageing - please forward on:

We have developed national guidelines for pain assessment in older adults - a joint project with the British Pain Society / British Geriatric Society:

We are currently working on the national guidelines for the management of pain as well; but I am concerned that these things do not always get out to the right people.

Centre for Advanced Studies in Nursing (CASN)
Centre of Academic Primary Care
University of Aberdeen
Foresterhill Health Centre
Westburn Road
Aberdeen AB25 2AY

British Pain Society Special Interest Group (Pain in Older Adults)

International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP): Special Interest Group - Pain in Older Adults

PAIN [ the 5th vital sign ]

Sign up now at http://www.paincoalition.org.uk/
Subject: My Home Life Wales (MHLW)

Have you looked at the MHL website?


It has a shared space site where people post lots of information etc.

myhomelifewales @ helptheaged.org.uk

Change a life overseas by sponsoring a grandparent today.
Visit http://www.sponsoragrandparent.org.uk to find out more.

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine invites applications for bursary places 15th Oxford Workshop on Teaching Evidence-Based Health Care

CEBMHThe Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine invites applications for bursary places on the 15th Oxford Workshop on Teaching Evidence-Based Health Care.

This workshop will take place
7th - 11th September 2009
St. Hugh's College, Oxford, UK.

Applications for bursary places should enclose a CV plus a letter detailing their current involvement in evidence-based practice and outlining what they would do with the knowledge gained on the workshop.

The workshop is aimed at clinicians and other health care professionals, including those involved in mental health, who already have some knowledge of critical appraisal and experience in the practice of evidence-based health care and who want to explore issues around teaching evidence-based medicine. The workshop is NOT intended to serve as an introduction to evidence-based medicine itself.

There will be two main themes running throughout the workshop:

Teaching will be addressed through the exploration of difference educational models for teaching evidence-based practice and identification and discussion of issues of pedagogy, curriculum design development and maintenance. The aim will be to promote the teaching of evidence-based health care at your home institution.

Personal Development will be addressed by offering guidance and help in extending and advancing participants’ existing critical appraisal and teaching skills.

All bursary applications will be considered at the end of March.

The bursary will cover the complete workshop fees, but applicants will need to obtain their own funding for accommodation and travel.

All good wishes,


CEBMH bannerOlive Goddard
Centre and Editorial Manager
Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine
Department of Primary Health Care
Old Road Campus, Headington
Oxford, OX3 7LF
Tel: +44 (0)1865 289337 email: olive.goddard @ dphpc.ox.ac.uk
Fax: +44 (0)1865 289336 web: www.cebm.net/
web: www.cebmh.com ( http://www.cebmh.com )

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Monday, January 12, 2009

News! The 2008 Medical Weblog Awards Nominees

award logoI've just learned that
Welcome to the QUAD
was nominated for an award - great news!
(goodnight indeed)...

The 2008 Medical Weblog Awards Nominees

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

1st Contact: ET and care on the front line

ET as in 'extraterrestrial' may seem remote from nursing and health care, but where there's a will....

Health and social care appears to become ever more specialised with each turn of the policy machine. People's lives are experienced as being ever more complex. Health care is filled with uncertainty and the public present with multi-diagnostic, person-centred, choice bearing, (usually) recovery directed problems, needs and strengths.

Pity then the care workers on the front line, at the point of 1st contact. Like the baseball catcher it helps if they can field the knowledge and skills required to cover physical, mental health and possibly learning disabled clients. You have to hope that coaches recognise that Hodges' model can help the team be aware and fully prepared to cope with 1st contact supporting and facilitating what follows. So, how does your team get to grips with complex care?

Additional links:

Baileff, A. (2004) Developing high quality first contact nursing in Southampton NHS Walk-in Centres. At, Innovations in Partnership, Practice and Education, 3rd Annual Scholarship Conference, Portsmouth UK, 2 Jul 2004. Southampton, UK, University of Southampton. http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/9197/

Declaration of Principles Concerning Activities Following the Detection of Extraterrestrial Intelligence http://www.setileague.org/general/protocol.htm

Image and source: Louisville Slugger OXFB Omaha Pro Series 13 Inch First Base Baseball Mitt from http://www.anacondasports.com/

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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Pervasive Health Workshops Announcement: inc. Technologies to Counter Cognitive Decline (TCCD)


Pervasive Health Workshops Announcement

You are invited to submit papers to the following Workshops:

1 - Technologies to Counter Cognitive Decline (TCCD) : http://www.tccdw.org/
Paper Submission Deadline: January 31, 2009

2 - Wireless Pervasive Healthcare (WiPH): http://www.wiph-workshop.org/
Paper Submission Deadline: January 31, 2009

3 - PervaSense09: Situation Recognition and Medical Data Analysis in Pervasive Health Environments: http://www.pervasense.org/
Paper Submission Deadline: February 10, 2009

4 - Connectivity, Mobility and Patients' Comfort (CMPC): http://www.cmpc.eu/
Paper Submission Deadline: January 31, 2009

5 - DwC09: Designing with Care: http://www.designingwithcare09.org/
Paper Submission Deadline: February 10, 2009

All accepted submissions will be published in IEEE Xplore digital library.
For more information you can visit Pervasive Health Conference website at:


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Sunday, January 04, 2009

State of Mind "Total Institution" 07 Jan 2009, 21:00 BBC Radio 4

State of Mind "Total Institution" 07 Jan 2009, 21:00 on BBC Radio 4

Synopsis: Claudia Hammond tells the story of mental health care in the UK from the 1950s to the present day and explores, with the help of listeners' testimonies, how treatment and understanding of mental illness has changed over the past 50 years. The 1950s promised a new deal for the mentally ill, with new drugs and radical legislation. Psychiatrists believed they had the answers, yet seclusion in asylums continued.

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Friday, January 02, 2009

Road safety vs Patient safety

For effective road and rail safety the advice is....

Sometimes though looking "both ways" isn't good enough...

In health and social care and other situations in
addition to utilising holistic frameworks like Hodges' model,

we also need to look inside and outside of ourselves
- the 5th 'spiritual' domain.

Have a safe and happy 2009!!

Photo used with permission (and thanks): Portland Ground

Crossroads sign from commons.wikimedia.org.

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Thursday, January 01, 2009

"EU: 50 years of rights and opportunities" a sort of "Encyclopaedia of European programmes"

Happy New Year to one and all....

How time flies! 2007 was a 50th anniversary for the EU, here are details about a valuable free resource about EU programmes....

If printed it would be like a book of 5,000 pages...

eu together logoIt is the multimedia Guide "50 years of rights and opportunities" a sort of "Encyclopaedia of European programmes" published by a network of social organization, as part of a project run in the frame of the Europe for citizens programme of the European Union.

The guide, available online at www.together50years.eu and also on a Cd-rom distributed for free, contains information on initiative and programmes in the fields of citizenship, culture, training, participation and job opportunities promoted by European institutions (not only the European Union but also the Council of Europe).

In the guide there's also a list of about 150 international institutions and offices offering training, internship and job opportunities to young people, graduated or not.

A NON-EXHAUSTIVE list of the programmes, initiatives and services included in the Guide, contains:

- Youth in Action
- Longlife learning (Leonardo da Vinci, Socrates, Comenius, etc)
- Culture 2007
- Tempus III
- Media
- Progress
- Executive Training Programme
- European Social Fund
- Junior Professional Officer
- UE-Canada Co-operation
- UE-USA Co-operation
- UE-Australia Co-operation
- Ue-Japan Co-operation
- Erasmus Mundus
- Aschberg-Unesco Bursaries
- Atlantis
- Eures
- Cedefop
- Epso
- Eqf
- Europass
- Eurodesk

...and many more...

On the website you'll also find how to acquire the Cd-Rom.

For further information do not hesitate to contact us at info@together50years.eu

My source: received from together50years.eu

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