Intellectual Property

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Deadlines! Formatting! And other dissertation-related minutiae

Lately I've been freaking out about time. Am I going to be able to finish this thing? Will I have enough done to apply for jobs this fall? (A professor last fall told me to allow at least a month for writing job letters, assembling a dossier, and other attendant job-search tasks.) A couple of people I talk to daily are readying their defense copies, and they're finding the editing and formatting to their Graduate Schools' specifications far more time-consuming than they thought. I've already been advised by both parties to find out about and adhere to the formatting requirements and write even early drafts of chapters in compliance with them.

Okay, will do. I'm also researching all required forms and deadlines leading up to graduation. So let's say I want to defend on Tuesday, 2 May 2006. That means I have to submit my Final Oral Exam Scheduling Form and my Reviewers' Report Form by 25 April 2006. The Reviewers' Report Form is something all committee members have to sign; they rate the thesis "Acceptable for Defense," "Acceptable for Defense with Minor Revisions," or "Not Acceptable for Defense," and the candidate isn't allowed to defend if one or more readers check "Not Acceptable for Defense." Then the Graduate School specifies that the readers must be given at least two weeks to read the thesis.

That means I have to be, in effect, finished by 4 April 2006! And the anxiety rises again.

As an aside, I noticed a funny thing on the graduation checklist. One of the requirements is "The microfilm fee of $75 (check or money order only, payable to the University of Minnesota). If you wish to copyright the thesis, there is an additional fee of $45 (use one combined check for $120)." I wonder how many people don't know you don't have to register with the Copyright Office to have copyright? I bet there are a few. I remember when I chose to submit my master's thesis electronically. The electronic theses and dissertations are stored in a publicly-available collection, and several people advised me against submitting electronically because of this, suggesting that the copyright implications were dubious in some way. Some of these people might have wondered if the university would try to say they had copyright, but I'm pretty sure the old assumption that everything on the internet is public domain was in play too. My point is, a lot of people don't understand that as soon as you put content into a fixed medium (save a file, for example), it's copyright You for the rest of your life plus 70 years, unless you explicitly sign it over to some other party, or you do it as work for hire (hence a lot of confusion about professors' creating teaching materials for online courses. Is it work for hire? Or does it belong to the author?).

Anyway, part of me thinks it would be fun to pay the $30 (I guess UMN tacks the extra $15 on as...what: a finder's fee? Labor?), but try to get my dissertation licensed with the U.S. Copyright Office under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license. Has anyone you know tried to do it before?

Computers and Writing Online 2005: Announcement and Conference Program

I know I've blogged about this before, but I'm on the organizing committee of this conference, and I'm going to promote it; that's just the way it is. This is the big announcement, with the long version of the conference program below the fold (I copied and pasted all the abstracts here, which the Attribution-NoDerivs-Noncommercial Creative Commons license encourages me to do, I might add).

Computers and Writing Online 2005
When Content Is No Longer King: Social Networking, Community, and Collaboration

The 2005 Computers and Writing Online Conference begins on Tuesday,
May 31, and runs through Monday, June 13. This is the first-ever
online conference in our field to be open-access, Creative
Commons-licensed, and hosted on a weblog, and it promises to be
innovative and insightful. We set out to perform the concepts and values of the conference theme -- networking, community, and collaboration -- in our review process, which was open to the public and emphasized group
interaction and helpful, supportive feedback. The responders have done
an excellent job engaging the authors' ideas, and the authors'
responses to the feedback they received have really demonstrated how
enriching this public, collaborative model can be for scholarly work.
The conference organizers would like to extend a big "Thank you!" to
the authors and the responders. Included with each abstract in this
announcement is the link to the original; we strongly encourage you to
read the comments.

As with the abstracts, the presentations are accessible to anyone with
an internet connection, and anyone with an account at Kairosnews
(registration is free) can leave comments. For more information, visit
the CW Online 2005 weblog:

Drawing upon the conference's theme of exploring the increasing value
of the network and collaborative practices within it, presenters
examine the role(s) played by social networking applications and other
technologies that are intended to foster social interaction,
community, and collaboration. Alongside studying the technologies
themselves, presenters will observe and describe the ways that
writers and users are engaging the technologies and how such
engagement is changing our ideas about writing and teaching writing,
and, more broadly, the concepts of rhetoric and composition
themselves. We very much hope you'll get involved by leaving your
comments, or, if you prefer, respond on your own weblog and leave a
trackback! Or write a response on your wiki! Or tag presentations on
your or list! You get the idea. This
conference is meant to be networked.



May 31: Charlie Lowe and Dries Buytaert: It's about the Community
Plumbing: The Social Aspects of Content Management Systems

June 2: Cathy Ma: What's so special about the Wikipedia?

June 4: Olin Bjork and John Pedro Schwartz: E-service Learning

June 6: Bob Stein, Kim White, Ben Vershbow, and Dan Visel: Sorting the
Pile: Making Sense of A Networked Archive

June 7: Traci Gardner: From Danny Dunn and the Homework Machine to The
Secret Blog of Raisin Rodriguez

June 8: Lennie Irvin: MOO-the Second Decade? 7:00-8:30 p.m. CDT ProNoun MOO

June 9: John Spartz: Web Accessibility and Its Impact on Student
Learning: A Qualitative Study

June 10: Matt Payne: Digital Divides, Video Games, and New Media

June 11: Marina Meza & Susanna Turci: Desiging an Electronic Bilingual
Dictionary for International Trade

June 12: Collin Brooke: Weblogs as Deictic Systems

June 13: Erika Menchen: Feedback, Motivation and Collectivity on

Democratizing Innovation

I'm embarrassed to be blogging this now, seeing as I found it on the Creative Commons blog posted on 4 April, but oh well. Eric Von Hippel's book Democratizing Innovation is available for download under a CC license. It's Attribution-NoDerivs-Noncommercial, which is basically fair use 100% instead of 10%, but hey, it's open! Cool.

Computers & Writing Online 2005

I'm excited. For the first time ever in our field, the online version of the Computers and Writing Conference is going to be held in public, on a blog (Kairosnews). Instead of having a review process with designated reviewers, we're having a public feedback process (I say "we" because I'm on the organizing committee), which will have designated respondents but will allow anyone registered on Kairosnews or another Drupal site to offer comments as well (collaboration, baby!). Here's the call for proposals:

CFP: Computers and Writing Online 2005

When Content Is No Longer King: Social Networking, Community, and Collaboration

David Reed explains that in the early stages of a network's formation and growth, that “content is king,” that there are a “a small number of sources (publishers or makers) of content that every user selects from" (qtd in Rheingold Smart Mobs 61). As the network scales, “group-forming networks” occur, and the value of the network increases exponentially in relationship of the number of users, otherwise known as Reed's Law, privileging the social interaction over content.

We can see this change in network valuation in today's Internet. The increased valuing of social interaction in large scale networks is reflected in the new technologies that place emphasis on social communication and community over content. These technologies, often dubbed “social software” are applications that, as Clay Shirky explains, “support group interaction.”

We invite proposals from scholars, graduate students and others who have an interest in computers and writing and social interactions and are working on projects in gestation, in progress, near completion, or at any stage in between, whether a thesis or dissertation, article, book project, or just want to preview and fine-tune your conference presentation for Computers and Writing Conference hosted by Stanford University. This is a unique opportunity for extended discussion of your ideas before heading to Palo Alto. Conference organizers are particularly interested in presentations that address, but are not limited to, the following concerns:

  • Internet “social software” technologies such as blogs, wikis, RSS, social networks (orkut and friendster), and social bookmarking (
  • Mobile technologies such as wi-fi and smart phones.
  • More traditional social, community communication spaces of email, discussion forums, newsgroups, listservs, and MOO's.

As an acknowledgment of the value of social networks in creating discourse of and about scholarly work, CWOnline 2005 will follow a submission process using weblogs whereby participants will submit abstract proposals for public review and feedback within the Kairosnews site. Final versions of presentations will be made available online on Kairosnews.

Interested presenters should present a 150-250 word abstract by midnight April 30. Abstracts must be submitted to CW Online 2005 at Not only will presentations receive feedback from conference organizers, but presenters are encouraged to invite colleagues to provide feedback and to expect feedback from people who are responding out of the goodness of their hearts. Presenters are expected to respond to the feedback provided by organizers and "informal" reviewers as a condition of being accepted as presenters. Final presentations should either be posted to the CW Online blog space, or a link to the presentation should be posted in the blog with a brief explanation of what the materials covers.

More specific information about the abstract and presentation submission process is available at

Formal registration for the conference will occur when participants sign on to the conference listserv,, at


  • Proposal abstracts accepted until midnight, May 2
  • Reviews completed by midnight May 8
  • Acceptance email sent no later than May 10
  • Presenters will begin posting their presentations on an assigned date, beginning May 31 and ending June 13.
  • Discussion on each submission continues as long as interest warrants.

For support and more information about conference technologies, visit

LinuxChix Africa

Guess I'm out of the loop, but this is the first I've heard of LinuxChix Africa, launched on 25 February 2005. I'll definitely be back there. What a cool logo, and it's a Drupal site.

Via Black Looks.

Wikimedia Commons and

I'm a slowpoke...I'm finally getting one of those social bookmarking sites.

In looking through the Wikimedia Commons, I found a couple of cool collections of images: 18th Century Fashion (might use that image on the left as my new CultureCat image when I do the upgrade to Drupal 4.6 and accompanying redesign, do the whole thing in black and white), the collection of Louis Riel's family photographs, and the Edward S. Curtis collection. All these images are either copyleft or public domain.

Publication, the Public University, and the Public Interest

I'm really excited about -- and plan to blog -- this conference, the Daily's announcement of which one of my students pointed out to me (thanks, if you're reading this!).

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