Thursday, November 30, 2006

Curiosity or Vanity?

This blog exists at the fringe of cyberspace. Few explorers stumble across this particular hill and never leave a calling card. No comments are left but I still write.

I have no need for anyone to read my thoughts, in fact, I am content that hardly anyone does.

I suspect that my reluctance to write here stems from a worry that you might read it.
I find writing about my research for an audience difficult.
I don't want to share my thoughts just yet!

When I first started this blog I wanted to know who was here, so I installed a counter. The counter showed me that the blog was visited, that readers spent a little time, but never left a comment. Thats fine. I know they were here.

Now that intend to spend more time writing here I've installed Google Analytics. Far more detail than I need, but curiousity is a strange thing. It is interesting that the analysis presumes that I am selling something or that I want to sell something.
I'm not selling and I don't want to.

What I am doing is learning and that can't be bought or sold. If you were here, and left without leaving a comment at least I'll see your footprints and I'll learn a little about you.
I'd like to know who you are, where you are, and how you arrived here.

What the Google Analytics can't tell me is why you were here and whether you learnt anything here, only you can do that.

Just curiousity.


One of the joys of being a research student is the freedom one has to explore.
The Internet offers many distractions, links lead to strange and interesting places; following those links exploring the world world allow my mind to float free.

I have tried to explain to many of my friends how exciting a place the world wide web is, it reminds me of the time I spent as a student in libraries and bookshops. In a well laid out bookshop or library one should be encouraged to browse, your eye should be led from the book you have picked up or are about to pick up to the next book. Modern book marketing has drawn on this with the "Let us Recommend" shelves and displays, libraries use our curiosity with "recently returned" displays. Amazon uses the same feature to extra ordinary effect on their "Customers may also find this interesting' pages.

When working in the bookshop I always felt sorry for the reluctant shoppers, those poor unwilling souls dragged into the shop by their partner. I could never understand how they could stand there, so obviously bored while their companion browsed. How could they not feel the urge to pick up a book and turn its pages? Equally here in cyberspace one cannot help feeling sorry for those who never go further than the first click, those for whom the first line of a search query is enough.

As a child I was often tempted by the internal references to be found in Encyclopedia Britannica that would take you deeper and deeper into information stored in those mighty tomes. The Internet still does that for me, but even more so. Even the simplest of searches can take one on a journey of discovery. The urge to click the save to favourites button lies deep within me, which is why my favourites / bookmarks lists are such a mess.

This week for some reason I've stumbled across several links related to books that attracted my attention.

Andrew Marr writes "Once upon a time I used to like novels". He could be right. Right now I'm reading Imperium by Robert Harris, in which he combines successfully the craft of the novelist with the skill of the biographer in his telling of the rise of Cicero. It could be a novel it could be a biography.

In the Penguin blog is a wonderful description of "Books by the Greats, Covers by You". Penguin are to publish some of their books without covers, ready to be decorated / doodled on by the purchaser / owner. Its an interesting idea. Examples can be found here.

While tidying my favourites (more of that later) I came across this article from the Guardian offering guidance on the art of browsing, "Feel free to browse". I know its been written about elsewhere but I love the page 69 advice.

Rebecca pointed me in the direction of the Encyclopedia Britanicca blog.

The wheel turns full circle.
Will I ever be able to concentrate on my research?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Excuses (2)

After the success of yesterday's post I return not with excuses but with a posting method.

This should help anyone unable to post.

Visit Not All Who Wander Are Lost and use their Fill the Blog template.
Its just what reluctant bloggers like myself need.

Monday, November 27, 2006


As you can see its been a while since I last posted here.

I'm not going to make excuses, I have none, instead pick one of the excuses to be found here at The F Blog

I love to read blogs, I love to study them, I love to reflect upon them; but the writing of one is not something that comes naturally to me. Its time to work upon that. I need the practice in writing, I need the discipline, I need to embrace the medium I am studying.

My work at Treforest has moved from the world of theoretical thought to the real world of action research. Our project has been running eight weeks now and we have just over one hundred and twenty five students actively engaged in blogging their work. Nothing desperately new and original but we have learned much about the students and ourselves. Its good to be working on something concrete, exploring the gap between theory and practice.

It may be that we can describe the work in a paper...........lets hope.