Drupal

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Upgrade more or less complete

It went without too many hitches, but I've decided to hold off a while on a new site design. As you can see, you can now browse my archives by date, and you can see a tagcloud generated from my categories. You can get a printer-friendly version of every post, and those are COOL; it keeps track of where the links are and where they go. The things I haven't been able to get going yet are:

The pathauto module. On Kairosnews, for example, the URL of each post is generated from the title, like so: http://www.kairosnews.org/microsoft-forces-changes-to-higher-ed-report I've installed the module that is supposed to do this, but I don't have permission to change the settings on the module to enable it. Which leads me to my next, bigger problem...

Access control. The access control part of my admin panel is nowhere to be found. I have no idea what to do about that one, or how it happened.

I also would like to get freetagging going, like on Kairosnews where you see under each post, "tags: cccc, higher education, ncte, open source" and you can just type in words as categories when you're posting instead of selecting categories from a menu. I'm not sure which module makes that happen.

Then there's the taxonomy_image module, which, if I understand it accurately, will let me categorize posts under both words and images. But I haven't been able to get it working either; when doing test posts, I don't see categorizing the post under an image as an option.

Finally, I haven't been able to get the service_links module to work. This is the one that will enable anyone to bookmark links to any of my posts on del.icio.us and the like. I guess most people use the bookmarklets for that anyway, though.

Edited to add: Anyone notice how my posting dropped off around October 2005 and hasn't been the same since? That is, I believe, directly attributable to the job search and the mad dash to finish my dissertation. Things are going to pick back up again, however.

Upgrade in progress, hopefully

Jonathan is supervising the upgrade of my site to the latest version of Drupal. So when my site is switched over to a plain, default theme, and when a bunch of the stuff on my sidebars disappears, you'll know why. We'll try to get it all back, and with a new design!

Somehow they've done it

Now Fantastico can install Drupal with one click. Here's proof. I was even able to download a bunch of Drupal themes and install them easily. If only upgrading were that easy.

Finding this out is a lifesaver -- just in time for my fall classes (two sections of first-year composition and one section of advanced composition).

Please Stand By (Drupal Problem)

So it seems that my blog got changed all of a sudden to display my entries in chronological rather than reverse chronological order, BUT ONLY WHEN I'M LOGGED IN. If I'm logged out, everything's fine. I'll get to the bottom of this, but until then, I'm leaving this post sticky on the front page. I've poked around and poked around, but I can't find how to change this setting. How is it looking to you when you're logged in versus when you're logged out? Drupal folks, do you know how I can fix this?

Update: Seems this only affects admins, so other logged in users should see the content in the right order.

Digital Scholarly Publishing: Beyond the Crisis

I might as well start my MLA panel-blogging with a report on my own session. It was titled "Digital Scholarly Publishing: Beyond the Crisis," and the other presenters were David Blakesley and Kristine Blair. Mary Hocks was also scheduled to present, but unfortunately she couldn't make it.

After Kris introduced us, I did my presentation. If you read my planning post, then you didn't miss anything. Still, I've attached my slides in .ppt format and in .sxi format for OpenOffice. I'd publish the whole thing here, but I generally don't present from scripts, and at the time I didn't think to open up Audacity and record the talk. Oh well. One point I think I made more clearly in the Q&A after my talk than in my post is that the MLA, CCCC, and several individual universities all have statements with guidelines for reviewing work with technology in the hiring, tenure, and promotion process. In every case, these documents support the scholars who work with technology and generally favor the legitimacy, or legitimation, of electronic publishing. Why, then, is it still so risky to do this work?

Dave talked about his work with The Writing Instructor, a print journal that has made the transition to electronic publishing. He had a handout, which I've copied in its entirety:

The Writing Instructor
Publishing since 1981 and now in its THIRD WAVE, TWI will feature...

  • Interactive and distributed peer review
    Peer review is conducted Slashdot style, with scholarly review teams and multi-tiered response and feedback
  • Born digital projects and printed archives
    Fostering hypertext and multimedia projects authored for the Web, TWI also remembers its heritage with print archives
  • Print-ready and distributable, with stable URLs, ready for dossiers and classrooms
    TWI articles can be made into elegant off-prints on the fly, by any user
  • Creative Commons licensing for easy dissemination
    New articles are published under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 license
  • Open source and open access via Drupal and the DrupalJournal Project
    Taking open access to the next level, with no author subventions or fees, using open source content management; interested journals and editors may collaboratively develop a DrupalJournal release, customized for most journal functions
  • Community driven and authored content
    Wiki-style functionality, with version tracking, facilitates distributed editorial management and production
  • Integrated blogging and commenting, with RSS feeds, news aggregator, and daily notifications
    Content stays fresh and is distributed across the Web, inviting readers back and reaching out to new ones
  • Automated feeds to indexing services like ERIC
    Simplifies the process of submitting content to major indexing services, like ERIC
  • Web-based management of all editorial processes
    All editorial management, including author notifications, review tracking, and production are Web-based and accessible

This handout represents the bulk of his talk, but he also discussed some of the problems with electronic publication. What really caught my interest was his explanation of the prejudice that e-journals aren't peer reviewed at all or aren't referreed as rigorously as print journals. You might have noticed that most electronic journals have on their main page a link to a "Review Process" page which gives a detailed explanation of their peer review process (e.g. this one from Into the Blogosphere -- though, it should be said, ITB is an edited collection, not a journal. Everyone gets confused about that. It's a one-time thing -- an anthology.), intended for tenure files. Do assistant professors who are up for tenure have to give this kind of apologia for print publications? Anyway, Dave emphasized the importance of publishing not only a description of the review process, but also the acceptance rate. I agree.

Dave also talked about a new distribution of Drupal called DrupalJournal, which would offer features that would be desirable for journal editors. In the Q&A, John Holbo asked with great interest when DrupalJournal would be available. It must be a very new idea, because I combed the Drupal main page and didn't see any mention of it, though if you're curious to see what's in the works for Drupal in the coming year (or could be in the works), check out Dries' predictions and the ones at Drupal.org.

Finally, Dave mentioned the efforts of the people who run the WAC Clearinghouse. It's a great resource which all of you should look through if you get a chance. Parlor Press, which Dave runs, releases books online (whole books!) at the WAC Clearinghouse site.

Kris was the respondent, and she had a lot to say about multimodal literacy and how our publication models aren't connected well with our students' literate practices. She also spoke about her experience as the editor of Computers and Composition Online, mentioning that multimodal scholarly compositions still have some problems. Some of them, she said, are much flash, little substance, or much substance, little flash in the way of engagement with the media. Achieving a balance is still a problem.

After the presentation, there were some great questions posed by Amardeep, Scott, and others. Maybe they'll reiterate those here. Or maybe I will, a little later. Overall, I think the session went well.

Problems with Drupal's Distributed Authentication?

For those of you who've created accounts at other Drupal sites, like Kairosnews or Love from the Sun, would you mind trying to login here with those usernames (Example -- user: yourkairosnewsname@kairosnews.org password: yourpasswordatKnews)? I've been trying to login here using my Kairosnews username, and it WILL NOT work. It doesn't recognize my name and password, and I get "Error -32700 : parse error. not well formed."

If you're able to login successfully, will you leave a comment here? If you can't login, will you email me? I'd appreciate it.

UPDATE: The post above is a test of Drupal's quote module.

UPDATE: Well, the quote module is pretty underwhelming. The only difference between it and a regular node is that it has a special field for the author of the quote's name, and then it automatically puts a blank line between the end of the quotation and the author's name and puts a dash right before the author's name. Plus, maybe I didn't install it correctly, because it altered the formatting of the whole page. Eh, no big deal. No reason you should miss out on the quote, though! It's a good one:

8. You meet the perfect person. Romantically, this person is ideal: You find them physically attractive, intellectually stimulating, consistently funny, and deeply compassionate. However, they have one quirk: This individual is obsessed with Jim Henson's gothic puppet fantasy The Dark Crystal. Beyond watching it on DVD at least once a month, he/she peppers casual conversations with Dark Crystal references, uses Dark Crystal analogies to explain everyday events, and occasionally likes to talk intensely about the film's "deeper philosophy."

Would this be enough to stop you from marrying this individual?

--Chuck Klosterman, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs.

Gender and Open Source

What follows is one of the articles I wrote for The Encyclopedia of Gender and Information Technology. It was accepted pending revision, but I decided to withdraw it. The deadline was just about to pass, and I suppose I could have asked for an extension, but the changes the reviewer requested ended up requiring more research on the history of women in computing than I have time to do, unfortunately (must spend time on dissertation only!). Plus, this is much more of a nonacademic position paper than an objective, informative academic encyclopedia article. I wrote two other articles for the encyclopedia anyway, which is probably enough. So, enjoy. Maybe you'll learn something you didn't know before; I hope so. Not being a software developer myself, I'm sure I'm wrong about some of the technical matters I discuss here, and I'd appreciate any corrections.

UPDATE: See also the playlist I created on this topic. It contains a few sources I found since writing this.

UPDATE: There's a thread at Linux Weekly News about an article in NewsForge titled "Getting in touch with the feminine side of open source."

UPDATE: Máirín has a thoughtful response you should read.

Introduction: Proprietary and Open Source Software

The software most people use every day – common applications like Microsoft® Word®, Adobe® PhotoShop®, and the like – is proprietary. That is to say, we pay for the use of it, and suppliers pay programmers to write the source code. Consumers purchase the software, install it, and use it. While consumers can use the software applications, because they are only sold the executable files, they cannot view or alter the source code. This means they cannot write new modules or tinker with existing features; for example, consumers can't make changes to a proprietary word processing program's bulleted list feature to add a new style of bullet or write a module that would make the program recognize a given file format it does not currently recognize. In proprietary software applications, the code is under traditional copyright, and because the corporations only sell the executable program file(s), the user cannot view or build upon the source code. Instead, the user must wait for the next version of the program, hope the company has added the features she wants, and pay for the upgrade. Programmers who work for software corporations must sign confidentiality documents agreeing not to share the source code with any unauthorized personnel.

Drupal'll be right back

Drupal.org is down for the time being for some maintenance work. From Charlie's Kairosnews post:

Note: At the moment, drupal.org is down due to maintenance issues at the computer center where the drupal.org server is hosted. In the meantime, those looking for information about download mirrors and more information about the recent security issues should visit webschuur.com.

For my part, I can't wait to upgrade to a newer version (I'm running 4.5); that will give me a good excuse to do a redesign!

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