Digital Rendezvous – my ECAR research bulletin on social software in higher education

I’m happy to say that my ECAR Research Bulletin on social software, titled Digital Rendezvous: Social Software in Higher Education is now available to folks at ECAR member institutions. This bulletin grew out of a workshop on social software at the CSG meeting in Spring of 2006, and talks a bit about what features define social software and make its use interesting in higher education, and what the current state of adoption of some of the social software technologies was at the CSG institutions at that time.

It was fun to get to write this piece – the ECAR Research Bulletins are short (12 page) pieces aimed at executive management in higher education institutions. Toby Sitko at ECAR was great to work with on this project, helping me get the bulletin down to the allowable size from my original draft, which was twice as long. It did lose some detail in the process, so if any of you from ECAR institutions are interested in seeing the original draft I’d be happy to share it.

Those of you who are not from ECAR institutions can at least see the slides (pdf) from the CSG workshop presentation.

One thing I’m not happy about is the way that ECAR’s pdf publications don’t allow copying of text to the clipboard. If these publications hope to be influential (and I know they do), then making it easy for people to quote sections in other venues is essential – and having to retype text in order to quote a publication in this day and age is simply a barrier to reuse. Given that one of the most stirring sessions at the recent ECAR Symposium was given by UBC’s John Willinsky on Sustaining Access to Knowledge and Scholarly Publishing, the use of copy protection on ECAR publications seems antithetical to ECAR’s own aims. I know that I myself have been dissuaded from blogging about ECAR publications because of the extra effort involved in copying text into my blog. I urge those of you from ECAR member institutions to let Richard Katz and his crew know how you feel about this – I know I have and will continue to.

Anyway, if you have comments on the bulletin, feel free to leave them attached to this post or send them to me – I’d love to hear them!

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