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Roundtable 3: Reading as a Social Practice

Saturday, June 18th, 11:00-12:30 (6020 HSSB)

Moderator: Bruce Bimber. Discussants: Kevin Almeroth, John Seely Brown, Judith Green, Cynthia Lewis, Peter Lyman, John Mohr, Christopher Newfield, Schoenerwissen (Marcus Hauer & Anne Pascual), Brigitte Steinheider

  1. “Who reads online? Do different people read online than offline? Is this good?”

  2. How do reading practices create or define community? Does this work better or worse online than off?”

  3. “Is reading becoming more (or less) social, collective, or collaborative than in the past?”

  4. “What do transitions from traditional computers to wireless technology mean for reading as a community or society?”

  5. “Do teams read? Do CEO’s read? What is the current state of reading in the workplace?”

  6. ”’Is there a text in this classroom?’: How can a group in a single location read online together?”

  7. “How can reading online be improved? And what do we have to do to get there?”

Online Audience Experiment: During this Roundtable, conference participants and members of the audience who have wireless-enabled laptops with them are invited to participate in an experiment in the social practice of conference-going by using the “comments” section of this page to post reflections, questions, or reactions in real time during the roundtable conversation. While these comments will not be displayed on the screen simultaneously with the roundtable conversation (because it would be distracting), they will be shown during the question-and-answer period. They will also remain on the conference site as a record of the audience’s engagement with the roundtable. If you wish to participate in this experiment, please ask the conference organizers during the conference for instructions on logging on to the conference wireless network and add your comments during Roundtable 3 to the current page.

(Discussion Map)

  tl, 04.06.05

196 Responses to Roundtable 3: Reading as a Social Practice

  1. SueThomas says:

    I’m disappointed – I was looking forward to hearing everyone answer the last seed question.

  2. jhodge says:

    best online material i’ve found have been websites by collectors of pre-cinematic materials. since this material (scopes, oramas, etc.) is so diffuse and difficult to display in a museum, and international, it’s been very cool to see animations and photos of these objects

  3. Jeremy Douglass says:

    Concept: Panel with Comment Thread, Mark II

    What if we could somehow speech-to-text the audio stream and interweave it (marked) with this comment thread? This would become a very different document. Perhaps a two-column layout, indicating the synergy and competition of the two channels….

  4. abalsamo says:

    best? most engaging? funny? Showing my low-brow sensibilities here: StrongBad

  5. Infosopher says:

    To: cboggs,
    re: #138

    cae·su·ra also ce·su·ra Audio pronunciation of “cesura” ( P ) Pronunciation Key (s-zhr, -zr)
    n. pl. cae·su·ras or cae·su·rae (-zhr, -zr)

    1. A pause in a line of verse dictated by sense or natural speech rhythm rather than by metrics.
    2. A pause or interruption, as in conversation: After another weighty caesura the senator resumed speaking.
    3. In Latin and Greek prosody, a break in a line caused by the ending of a word within a foot, especially when this coincides with a sense division.
    4. Music. A pause or breathing at a point of rhythmic division in a melody.

    My note: used to allow time for meaning

  6. Kevin says:

    Sue (Re: #151): my answer is practice, practice, practice… and educating everyone how to read better.

  7. laparks says:

    I wanted to mention a good website i came across recently called http://www.CiteULike.org which allows you to share your reading lists with others and it’s connected to journal databases and amazon. It relates to a comment Ron Rice made during the first roundtable about wanting to know what other people are reading.

  8. abalsamo says:

    and second best thing I’ve read on-line

    the first email my 78-year-old mom sent to me from her recently-acquired “web-tv” email:

    Annie—-Guess what I THINK Igot this licked, I got your message,
    Ireally like playing this game!!! Dad says HI111 HE would like some
    info on trains to SAN, FRANCISCO// Would you like some company/// I
    HOPE you have heard some goo d news, E-MAIL me OK MOM


    third best thing: Her second email:

    Do you think ill be able to master this machine, Im at my wits end,
    Ill try again this evenning OKK E-MMMAIL ME1


  9. Jeremy Douglass says:

    Q. ‘Best’ thing you’ve read online

    A. Wikipedia is my best answer, and The Postmodernism Generator is my more interesting answer, and Google News is the real answer,

  10. Kevin says:

    Without a vocabulary, it is nearly impossible to communicate, without typing skills, it is hard to be involved in this interactive dialouge.

  11. Kevin says:

    Re: #153. The speech-to-text conversion is far too inaccurate to do this well. However, we could give it a shot.

  12. cboggs says:

    Thanks, Infosopher.

    If we are living in a mediated world, with constant input, where’s the space for reflection? What happens to children who grow up in this hypermediated world without space for personal reflection? It seems they would be more rather than less susceptible to manipulation by outside authority. If you don’t have time to process the information and you are being asked to respond to it, you are more likely to go along to get along than to challenge what you are asked to do, or to question the validity of the request.

  13. Kevin says:

    Keep in mind that if this dialogue had been on the screen the whole time, the behavior would have been MUCH different.

  14. jhodge says:

    re: 162. cboggs has a good point. has does reflection take place? did anyone reread these posts during the chat? or log out and log back in?

  15. Infosopher says:

    I don’t disagree with the need for time to reflect—but developing short attention span skills will also be vital for “getting along” in the new online world—-much to the disconcernation (sp?) of anti-TV activists

  16. Kevin says:

    Re: 164, 162: as difficult as WE would find it… the younger generation is forced to do it… a question is whether they’ve got their act together enough to have time for reflection or whether they just don’t reflect. Of course, at that age, how much has any generation reflected?

    VERY important questions to ask and answer.

  17. Jeremy Douglass says:

    #153, #162

    To: Kevin

    Re: Impracticality of speech-to-text

    Oh yes, it is totally impractical – this kind of speech being quickly parsed by person into separate posts may not even be a tractable problem in the near future. How about we reframe the problem…

    The panelists have to post like everyone else – but their text gets queued in the text-to-speech filter, and read in order… =D

  18. tmcpherson says:

    given allen’s comments, maybe the conference should have been focused on ‘online text’ or ‘online books’ : the slippage to reading seems, well, a slip

  19. Kevin says:

    The hardest time to continue this exercise was when I was trying to gather my thoughts to say something. I found it nearly impossible to type and keep the organization of my thoughts-to-be-spoken.

    I notice that much of the audience discussion has died down now that everyone is gathering their thoughts to participate in the discussion.

    Except for Alan, has anyone spoken who has also posted here.

  20. Infosopher says:

    regarding John Brown’s point about the mighty pen as an annotatino tool—I would agree as it stands now…but I am disappointed that this conference didn’t touch at all on knowledge management and knowledge engineering.

    One useful tool exists at cmap.ihmc.us (Institute for Human and Machine Cognition) it is a free knowledge mapping tool that allows one to link sites, thoughts, documents, images, etc. into w personalised web of annotated knowledge

  21. Jeremy Douglass says:

    Not yet :)

  22. SueThomas says:

    it’s a shame the panel can’t see the screen – they are somehow excluded from the dialogue, which seems strange since they are meant to be leading it

  23. Kevin says:

    I didn’t have a problem with the definition of reading before this, but ignorance was bliss…

  24. Infosopher says:

    Agreed Sue #172

  25. Kevin says:

    A great take-away of all of this is the blind spots we are all discovering in this activity.

    Another important take-away is recognition of just how much this conference didn’t cover! Especially with panels that are hard to control, the whole content of this “system” is really ad hoc and on-demand!

  26. Infosopher says:

    Everyone is talking about reading, no one is talking about knowledge—no one is talking about wisdom—isn’t this what we are trying to gain by reading?

  27. yhuang says:

    Re: JSB’s comment on “future”

    Like George Carlin would say, the future is no longer what it used to be.

  28. jhodge says:

    instead of using words like “text,” maybe “practice” would be a useful term. it sidesteps logocentrism and concentrates on how things are done by people, thereby localizing the instance in question.

  29. laparks says:

    I think it would be important to historicize reading more as part of post 911 Bush regime culture. What are people reading? Are they learning Arabic? no! they’re reading the bible more than ever! Machine translation interfaces were used during the war in Yugoslavia, yet now the US military is hire foreign-born Arabic speakers as US soldiers and putting them on the frontlines in Iraq as sitting ducks. I am craving a more politicized discussion of reading that addresses the moment we are living in.

  30. Kevin says:

    “infocipher” is a word that results in 0 responses from google.

  31. Infosopher says:

    it’s like we’re talking about driving without mentioning the destination

  32. cboggs says:

    Infosopher #176—excellent point. Of course, those terms now need definition as well, because they can’t be taken for granted any more than “reading” can

  33. Kevin says:

    I meant “Infosopher”... google says infocipher was the closest finding.

  34. yhuang says:

    to answer Lisa’s question regarding Arabic. after 9-11, i actually tried (but failed) to learn Arabic just so that i could “read” news from the other side.

  35. Infosopher says:

    It’s my own creation (of course) “soph” is the Greek root for wisdom

    I is a reference to my consulting firm’s (Infosoph.com-but not currently online) main agenda which is to help people generate wisdom from their information and data.

  36. jhodge says:

    re: 179 and the political: i’m with you. perhaps a political discussion might be launched by talking about the network as a disciplinary space, in all the institutional and foucauldian senses of that word. the prevalence of dataveillance (corporations and parents using netnanny) seems an avenue to explore in counterbalancing the rhetoric of “possibility” so endemic to new media. what’s cut off by the internet?

  37. Infosopher says:

    cboggs, #182—
    these terms have been well defined by the knowledge management (KM) community already

  38. Kevin says:

    If everyone posts a “goodbye”, we’ll hit 200 messages!

    (Interpret even the attempt as you will!)

  39. laparks says:


  40. SueThomas says:


  41. yhuang says:


  42. cboggs says:

    Infosurfer #187: that may be true for the knowledge management community. But what about other communities?

  43. jhodge says:


  44. cboggs says:

    au revoir!

  45. Jeremy Douglass says:


  46. wsack says:

    Here is a link to a visualization of the above discussion: http://hybrid.ucsc.edu/Agonistics/Transliteracies/Interface/agon1.html

    -Warren (wsack@ucsc.edu)