Tag Archives: social media

Citation milestone!

Do you know when you don’t look at your paper citations for a while, then you do, and think ‘wow I had no idea I had reached this huge milestone at some point this year?’

I hadn’t checked my Google Scholar profile for a few months, and during that time my citations shot up to over 100 (as of this writing, I’m cited in 104 places).

I’m cracking open a bottle of champagne (ok, sparkling wine) this evening to celebrate.

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Cats in Space!

The Cats in Space app is a part of the Earth as Art Space Apps Challenge. You can read more about what our plans were for the project at its start using the first link, but now that we’re drawing to a close we wanted to share what the completed project looks like!

The Cats in Space Project

Our project includes several components that we’re bringing together to promote engagement and offer a fun (and hopefully educational) experience to users:

Social media
We’ve got a subreddit and a Flickr group set up and have included example images we’ve located to give users a sense of the kind of things they might find and to generate interest in participation. The subreddit currently pulls from images we placed on Imgur (which hopefully will increase the reach of our project as well), but eventually may include links to other sites as more user submissions are added.
Our project has received a lot of attention on other social media channels (namely Facebook and Twitter) as well, and we’ve heard from a variety of users worldwide (including, but not limited to, other Space Apps participants). It’s been a lot of fun, and a good number of folks have responded to our updates, retweeted us, and told us what a cool project we’re doing. I even got a PM on Reddit from one person at NASA telling me that he and a few colleagues were hunting for cats, which made me pretty excited.

The interest we’ve generated will hopefully be sustained through gameplay and through additional interactions on Flickr, Imgur, and Reddit as more people use the app, and find and add photos to the groups. We chose both these platforms as they each have different user bases, allowing us to further extend our reach across multiple audiences.

Web App
Using the idea of gamification, our goal was to create an app that would get people to engage with satellite imagery created by NASA. The Cats in Space web app (link coming soon!) presents satellite images of earth and deep space images to users who upvote or downvote based on whether or not the image looks like a cat. If they find a cat, the can share the image on the subreddit or Flickr group. Now that we’ve generated interest in our hashtag and are increasing our following online, we can embed the link to the web app in our image descriptions for easy access and to encourage play the instant someone sees and image and becomes interested in the project. The fact that new images are added regularly to the NASA Flickr accounts we’ve identified means that ongoing game players are less likely to encounter only the same images during repeat play.

User submissions 
People can definitely submit things to the photo pools using the web app, but we also encourage users to submit images they find outside of the app as well. We’ve already begun to see this happen on Reddit, and hope it’s a trend that continues!

Why do this?

NASA has huge stores of amazing, publicly-available imagery, but the folks who are going to actively seek it out are probably the ones who are really interested in that stuff to begin with. Creating a fun activity out of these images has the potential to bring in viewers who might not normally engage with the images, and even teach people who already love NASA images some fun new information (I love looking at satellite images, and I learned a lot through sustained engagement with them while hunting for sample images!)

Using a game that’s simple, appropriate for all ages, and encourages imaginative engagement with imagery is a good way to bring the images to nearly any audience (except maybe people who really don’t like cats), so it could be great to use in schools or as a leisure activity. Since the interface is simple, users don’t have to have much technical expertise to interact with it, which makes even more accessible to a wide range of people. Since our project (like all the Space Apps projects) will have publicly-available code, we’re hoping it might also be a resource for other developers who are looking to create this type of game.
Using a fun game to highlight the images will hopefully be an enjoyable educational resource, but will also help make users more aware of some of the great work NASA is doing to document our beautiful planet and universe.

We learned a lot doing this project, and I’m sure we’ll be blogging about that soon, but for now, we hope you enjoy the app and the photos—be sure to tell us what you think on Twitter, Reddit and Flickr!

 

Our team includes:

Abby Philips (@abigailleigh)

Jeff Chatham (@khhaaannnn)

Julia Skinner (@BookishJulia)

 

 

 

 

 

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Some Quick Thoughts on iConference 2014

Now that I’m back in the states and have had a bit of time to settle in, I wanted to jot down some of the stuff that stood out to me during my time at the iConference.

Standing next to our poster. Photo credit to my co-presenter, Gary Burnett

Standing next to our poster. Photo credit to my co-presenter, Gary Burnett

Creativity and Arts-Based Work

As academics, we (myself included) often get stuck in the accepted modes of production and thinking in order to produce work that is taken seriously by our colleagues and that hopefully helps us advance in our careers. There is obviously a lot of value in the work that we do and the rigorous approaches we employ, but I’m happy to see the same rigor and critical thinking being encouraged in arts-based work that acknowledges the value of play, creativity, and multiple approaches to engagement with a topic. This is something I’ve seen and talked about with folks at ASIST, ALISE, and the iConference this year, and I’m looking forward to seeing more arts-based work being shared in our field. I’m also very interested in pursuing this kind of work and open to conversations and research collaborations for those also doing this kind of work!

At the iConference in particular, I was very excited to see a conference stream centered on creativity (organized by the inspirational Dr. Theresa Anderson). This included the Researchers as Makers conference workshop I was a part of (we made zines!) as well as the iPause space, which encouraged attendees to take a break from the usual conference activities to pause and play. That space offered a much-needed break, and made it ok to engage in play or to sit quietly and reflect. As a supporter of creative play and of having a healthy balance of work and play, this space really spoke to me. I was very pleased that the iConference is open to this kind of engagement, and it definitely makes me more likely to want to attend more conferences in the future!

Social Media

At both poster sessions, there were some amazing social media projects being shared. One of my favorites was a poster on political tweets by the students at the i3 iSchool Inclusion Institute, who were all undergrads  but who blew a lot of their more experienced colleagues out of the water with their work. There were many, many other amazing projects too, and as always I learned so much from everyone I talked to at the conference. I also learned a lot sharing my poster too (which is my favorite part of presenting). I was anticipating more questions about the theory we used, but we ended up getting a lot of questions about how we defined the contexts surrounding the groups we studied. I also enjoyed having the chance to talk about US political movements to an international audience–here, most people know the role of the Tea Party and Occupy movements within our political discourse, but it was fun to get to articulate those roles for people who operate in a variety of political structures.

There are so many things I learned, and so many wonderful people I got to meet, but those two themes were ones that I really wanted to talk about (and they are themes that I’ve noticed at other recent conferences too). The iConference left me energized, encouraged, and inspired, and I hope to attend again next year!

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Continuing Education Courses at Library Juice Academy

I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be teaching two courses for Library Juice Academy this August (August 1st-28th). If you’re not familiar with LJA, they provide continuing education courses for information professionals. There are a lot of great courses on there taught by some great folks, and I’m excited to work alongside them. The two classes I’ll be teaching are Social Media for Libraries and The Librarian as Scholar: Taking Part in Scholarly Communication.

If either of these are of interest to you, I would love to have you in my class, and I’d love to hear from you about what kinds of things you would like to learn. For those of you who have expertise in these areas, are there any must-read resources you always refer your students to? I have some already, but the more the merrier! I’m looking forward to teaching the class, and hope to see some of you there!

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