Academic Digital

Academics, News & Technology

Encouraged by this story demonstrating that academics are taking hold of technology potential to influence the world’s news:

When news broke that Osama bin Laden had been killed by US special forces, who was best placed to assess the global political impact: a rushed general reporter in a short-staffed newsroom, or an academic expert on the Middle East, terrorism and international relations?

After bin Laden’s assassination, hundreds of ill-prepared reporters around the world must have hammered the phones searching for an academic expert in international relations to comment while simultaneously trying to swot up on the subject by scanning a jumble of press cuttings.

As they scrambled around, an Australia-based experiment in online journalism that had begun just months earlier came into its own.

Putting their faith in the university experts, the founders of The Conversation website created a virtual newsroom of academics and offered them the chance to communicate their research to the public without fear of misrepresentation.

When its editors heard the news about bin Laden, they contacted one of their writers, Mat Hardy, a lecturer in Middle East studies at Deakin University. Within two hours, his expert analysis of the event’s ramifications was online.

For Andrew Jaspan, editor and co-founder of the project, this is a powerful example of how the site can not only provide specialist analysis on almost any subject, but also do so within the 24/7 news cycle – and possibly even faster than traditional media.

Read full story.


This site is recommended…. #KCCO

See here for lots of other Second World War resources!


Keep Calm, I’m on the Front Page of Google!

It’s taken a long time, but finally I’m on the front page of in a search for “Keep Calm and Carry On” … although I have to say I think the traffic is dropping off still… you never know, only takes a couple of national newspapers and suddenly we’re back in the news!


Academics Online?

“Who is the online you – hand-coded pages of hobbies and family photos, terse departmental entries or slickly branded media portals? Zoe Corbyn surveys the world of academics’ personal websites

Like countless other academics, David Gauntlett has a perfectly functional departmental home page. Buried inside his university’s web presence, you can find the University of Westminster professor of media and communications’ biography, contact details and list of publications next to a semi-smiling headshot. His institution’s logo appears in the top left corner.

But go to his personal website , located firmly outside the university sphere, and he comes alive. Here you can peruse his current projects, check his Twitter feed and blog posts or view his latest drawings. If you happen to click on a mention of his son, you can even watch a video of the toddler interacting with a passing train.

“It seems only natural and rational that an active academic would want to have a website and to make it as full and as interesting as possible,” Gauntlett says.

He is part of a growing global band of academics who supplement their standard departmental online profiles with web presences outside the university domain. Despite the rise of Twitter, Facebook and blogs, such personal/professional websites are an important avenue for scholars to showcase their work and themselves in the digital world.

“It is not the case for everybody, but there certainly is a growing tranche of people who are actively making sure that they have their own domain name and complete control over their own digital identity,” says Melissa Terras, a senior lecturer in electronic communication at University College London who studies how academics use the web.”

See full story in Times Higher Ed.


Battle of Britain: Roll of Honour

“These pages catalogue the official reports of the most important event in Royal Air Force history, the Battle fought over Britain between the 10th July and 31st October 1940. For the first time, the complete Fighter Command Operational Diaries for the period have been published in full, day by day over the whole period the Battle. Supporting this official text are a series of pages detailing such facets of the Battle as the Commanders, the Aircraft and the changes in Tactics on both sides as the situation developed. Although some of the Fighter Command claims of the time (I.e. numbers of German aircraft shot down etc.) have since been provd to be greatly exagerated on some days, it nevertheless does give a unique insight into the RAF’s perspective of the Battle of Britain.” Visit site.