Updating Textpattern and Solving a Rewrite Problem

Just updated my CMS (Textpattern) to the latest version (6.4.2). I had to because the University just updated the PHP on the server and this broke the old install.

Everything worked great except for one thing: I could get it to work if I put the full URL to the index page in (i.e. http://people.uleth.ca/~daniel. Read the rest of this entry »

Galbraith on why Universities should be contentious places [1]

Good universities have always been places of contention and dispute… And the best universities in their greatest phase have always been places of the most energetic and uninhibited contention. That is because, in great universities, ideas are important and issues are taken seriously and scholars are not cowards—and no one is so silly as to suppose there is such a think as orderly, well-regulated debate which, in the manner of a motion picture script, can be carefully tailored in advance to the taste of the audience and the prejudices of the censors.

Poor universities composed of craven men are inevitably very orderly places and bad universities have the silence and tranquility of the desert.

University of California. 1967. “Warren Joins Others in Urging Greater Understanding of UC, Academic Freedom.” University Bulletin: A Weekly Bulletin for the Staff of the University of California, May 8. 161

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The Real Crisis and the U of L… and why the Board must Act [1]

Full disclosure. I am a professor of English at the University of Lethbridge and a member of the University of Lethbridge Faculty Association (ULFA) Executive. ULFA is a party to a labour dispute associated with the events discussed in this piece.

The opinions presented here concern the wisdom of the Board’s current actions and are mine alone. They are published under my contractual right as a Faculty Member to “participate in public life, to criticize University or other administrations, to champion unpopular positions, to engage in frank discussion of controversial matters, and to raise questions and challenges which may be viewed as counter to the beliefs of society” under Handbook Article 11.01.1. They do not advocate any specific remedy under the Association’s contract, beyond following well-established, previously negotiated procedures.

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Learning Curve: Results from working with Zenodo

Working on the Visionary Cross project never ceases to amaze and provide more learning opportunities for me and at the same time testing the limits for systems designed and made available to research community.  If last year was dedicated to figuring it out as to how data and research outputs will be disseminated so that […]

Let’s get nekkid! Stripping the user experience to the bare essentials (CSDH/SCHN Abstract)

The Visionary Cross project is an extensible, multi-object, multi-media edition of a Cultural Matrix in Anglo-Saxon England. It is built around mediated representations of sculpture, buildings, and text. It employs XML transcriptions, high resolution 2D photography, 3D laser scans, 3D photogrammetry, and a socially focussed game engine. The project is about both the objects it […]

Year End Report

This is supposed to be done before the new year begins but past year did not end as well as I expected due to some serious sickness. But still we got quiet a lot done at the Visionary Cross. For me as researcher and project manager, year 2016 has been quiet good. We were finally able […]

2016 Update: A lot of work (and some stresses) behind the scenes

I see with horror that it’s been a year since we last posted something to the Visionary Cross site! This is not due to lack of work, as there has been plenty going on behind the scenes. Rather it has been the result of a series of unfortunate circumstances (especially a series of student sick-leaves) […]

English 1900g: Introduction to English Language and Literature (Spring 2017)

Note: This is a draft syllabus based on Fall 2014, which I am providing for planning purposes. The readings will be the same in Spring 2017. Assessment and precise scheduling are subject to change before the last day of add/drop.

About this course

English 1900 is the introductory course in our department. It is a prerequisite for all higher level courses.

The purpose of English 1900 is to introduce students to the study of literature and to provide opportunity to practice analytical reading, thinking, and writing about texts.

This section of English 1900 will focus particularly on discovery and communication: uncovering our (often unrealised) critical responses to texts and developing these into compelling and interesting arguments. Read the rest of this entry »

English 3450a: Old English (Spring 2017)

Note: This is draft syllabus based on the Fall 2015 offering. It is subject to revision before the last day of the add/drop period. The reading order and pace is subject to change throughout the semester.

Some tips on getting answers to email

Email is the bane of academic life. All of us hate it; most of us are very bad at answering it. If you edit a journal, it is even worse, since you need people to answer their email in a timely fashion.

At the Centre for the Study of Scholarly Communication Journal Incubator, getting people to answer email is what we do. Here are some tips we’ve found useful.

How to make a table wider in Google Docs

I’ve spent a frustrating couple of days trying to squeeze things into a Google Docs table that was too narrow for its content.

The problem was that while I could move individual columns within a table, I simply couldn’t find the way of widening the outer boundaries of the table—i.e. moving the leftmost border to the left or the rightmost border to the right. Making things worse, I had been able to do it a couple of weeks ago. But nothing I was doing seemed to work now.

The trick turned out to be remarkably easy, though it points to a UI problem in Google Docs. Basically, Google Docs allows you to adjust column width in two different ways: by reaching up into the measurement ribbon at the top of the document and moving columns there (when you do this, you see a left-right arrow cursor [⇔] that has not been captured in the screenshot):

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How to accept an invitation to a SSHRC application

This is a quick guide for my non-Canadian partners on how to accept an invitation to participate in a SSHRC application.

  1. Look for invitation from SSHRC in your inbox
    1. You will need the highlighted invitation number later.
    2. First click on the login/register link and set up your account with SSHRC or log in (if you already have one).
    3. If you are setting up a new account, keep the password memorable: it is difficult to get a reminder if you forget.
  2. After you have registered and confirmed your registration (SSHRC sends an email to confirm), you need to sign in using your SSHRC user name and password (i. Read the rest of this entry »

Soup to nuts: A recent piece of my writing that technology allows you to follow from idea to completion.

I was discussing writing and editing with a student the other day, and somehow the question of how I worked came up. As it turns out, I have a very recent example where you can pretty much follow the entire process from start to finish.

In showing all my work like this, I’m not making any claims about the quality of my own writing or the efficacy of my method. It is just the case that in this case, modern technology allows me to show the entire process I happened to use in writing a specific piece that people can read in its final form. For some students, I suspect that’s useful.

If you are interested, here are the relevant links to my recent Globe and Mail Op-Ed on “preferred pronouns” and the entire history of its drafting (because I wrote it in Google Docs, you can follow the whole history from start to finish). If you want to follow the revision history, you can find it under “File>See revision history” or by using alt-ctl-shift-h.

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Customized pronouns: A good idea that makes no sense (Globe and Mail)

Originally published as O’Donnell, Daniel Paul. 2016. “Customized Pronouns: A Good Idea That Makes No Sense.” The Globe and Mail, October 15. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/customized-pronouns-a-good-idea-that-makes-no-sense/article32373933/.

The latest thing on campus is to introduce yourself by name and “preferred pronoun.” “Hello, my name is Dan and I prefer he/him. Read the rest of this entry »

The bird in hand: Humanities research in the age of open data (Digital Science Report)

Originally published as Daniel Paul O’Donnell. 2016. “The Bird in Hand: Humanities Research in the Age of Open Data.” In The State of Open Data: A Selection of Analyses and Articles about Open Data, Edited by Figshare, 34–35. Digital Science Report. London: Digital Science.

Traditionally, humanities scholars have resisted describing their raw material as
“data” 10.

Instead, they speak of “sources” and “readings. Read the rest of this entry »


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