Archive for the 'blogging' Category


Biomedicine on Display is moving to

After almost seven years it’s time for change! This blog was aired on 22 December 2004, and now we’re moving to Medical Museion’s new integrated site:

In many respects, Biomedicine on Display has been a pioneer blog. It was the first medical museum blog, actually one of the first museum blogs altogether, and one of the first scholarly blogs dealing with medical history, history of science and medical science studies. In addition, it was one of first scholarly blogs in Denmark and probably the first blog at the University of Copenhagen.

We’ve posted on a regular basis, almost every day. Altogether 1,635 posts in the last seven years. And we’ve reached quite a few readers. According to Google Analytics we’ve had 345,381 visits and 528,648 pageviews between 4 March 2007 and 17 October 2011. The maximum number of visitors on a single day was 1,179 (on 17 December 2010).

They have come from all over the world. One single visitor from Burundi, five from the Seychelles, 41,499 from Denmark, and 103,692 from the United States. Altogether, people from 208 countries and territories have visited Biomedicine on Display.

On average, each visitor spent 1 minute and 17 seconds on 1.53 pages. That’s not as bad as it sounds since it’s an average; many have spent a few seconds only, other have apparently been sitting there for hours. There are also national differences: our Danish compatriots have spent 3 minutes on average, while the 102 visitors from Oman have spent only 15 seconds each.

As expected, 80 percent of our visitors have been occasional one-timers. But — and this is more important — 6.5 percent have visited the site more than 100 times (i.e., about once a month). In other words, Biomedicine on Display has had more than 22,000 regular visitors since we signed up for Google Analytics four and a half years ago.

In the good old days before social media that would have corresponded to a news and comments magazine with 22,000 monthly subscribers! What an organisation we would have needed; just imagine the mailing costs!

Anyway, all this is history now. Biomedicine on Display moves to See us there and follow us on this new feed.


The fascinating world of blog spam

We all hate blog spam. Spam filters are a blessing — and I’m amazed how efficient they are: I rarely need to weed out the comment folder.

Sometimes, however, my Akismet filter is too efficient, and therefore I use to go through the spam folder once in a while to see if there are any nuggets hidden in the trash. It only takes a few minutes to rapidly browse the spam and I actually rescue a comment (and a potential colleague!) now and then. And it’s also quite interesting to see how the spam content has its own logic over time. A couple of years ago, it was a lot of ads for acai berry juices, last winter it was genital torture that filled the folder, followed by offers for cheap mortage loans. Now it’s back to a classic theme: animal sex.

It’s also fun to see how people try to seduce me into clicking on their damn links. It’s not difficult for me to resist clicking on a comment that wants me to look at images of ball torture with chopsticks. But somtimes I’m tempted by comments which seem to have read the post and write something flattering, like:

Hello there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and found that it’s really informative. I’m going to watch out for Brussels. I will be grateful if you continue this in future. A lot of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

(from a site seelling warfare games; sneaky trick, that reference to Brussels 🙂


Please let me know if you’re looking for a writer for your blog. You have some really good articles and I think I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d really like to write some articles for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please shoot me an email if interested. Thanks!

(from a company selling new car and truck tires).

The history of spam content is a distorted mirror of the history of commercial culture in the 2000s. I really hope some giant database somewhere gathers a representative sample of spam for future historians.


Public health science communication through social media

Public Health Science Communication 2.0Just want to spread the word that Nina Bjerglund Andersen, who’s working on a project on public health science communication through social media here at Medical Museion, has just started a blog titled Public Health Science Communication 2.0. Looking forward to see how it develops! And we’ll sure hear more about Nina’s project here.

blogging, history of science, Twitter

History of science blogs and Twitter accounts

Last year Michael D. Barton published a list of blogs and twitter accounts that “focus on or dabble in the history of science, science and technology studies, etc.” that he was aware of. He’s just posted a link to it on his FB wall, so this must be the latest updated version.

Great work! But did he miss any? Seems like the list below doesn’t include much history of medical science (after all much of medicine is medical science), so hopefully someone with good link collecting instincts could make a similar list for HoMS.

Advances in the History of Psychology (@AHPblog)
Adventures of a Post-Doc
Alfred Russel Wallace Correspondence Project
Alfred Russel Wallace News & Views (@ARWallace)
AmericanScience: A Team Blog (@henrycowles, @danbouk)
Anita Guerrini
Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Centraal
Archy (& Mammoth Tales, @archymck)
Biomedicine on Display (@museionist)
Boffins and Cold Warriors
BSHS Travel Guide (@BSHSNews)
The Bubble Chamber: Where history and philosophy of science meet society and public policy (@BblChamber)
Chris Renwick’s Blog (@ChrisRenwick)
Collect and Connect: Nineteenth Century Natural History
Contagions (@hefenfelth)
cryology and co.
Dan Cohen’s Digital Humanities Blog (@dancohen)
Darwin and Gender: The Blog (@DarwinWomen)
Darwin and Human Nature: The Blog (@DarwinHuman)
Decoding the Heavens
The Dispersal of Darwin (@darwinsbulldog)
Einstein’s Apple (old)
entangled bank
Ether Wave Propaganda
Evolving Thoughts (@john_s_wilkins)
False vacuum: a weblog by Aaron Sidney Wright (Notes on the History and Philosophy of Science) (@aaronswright)
Floating in a web of inter-textuality
Foundations of Science Sydney
From the Hands of Quacks: The Official Weblog of Jaipreet Virdi (@jaivirdi)
The Giant’s Shoulders (blog carnival)
Heterodoxology (@easprem)
History of Economics Playground
History of geology (@David_Bressan)
The History of Psychology
History of Science (from the Royal Society, see @NotesRecordsRS)
History of Science
History of Science (@emmajacobs) Blog
History of Science in America
History of Science at Oregon State University
History of Science for the Science Classroom/Ron Gray – science educator (@grayron)
The History of Vaccines Blog
hpb etc. (@Darwiniana)
HSS Graduate & Early Career Caucus
HSTM at the University of Minnesota (old)
The Inverse Square Blog (@TomLevenson)
IT History Society Blog (@ithistoryorg)
Jacob Darwin Hamblin (@jdhamblin)
Kele’s Science Blog (@KeleCable)
Laelaps (@laelaps)
The Lippard Blog (@lippard)
Logan Lounge (old)
Longitude Project Blog (@beckyfh)
media to explore hsci / med / tech @ ou
Meteorite Manuscripts (@MetManuscripts)
The Missing Link (old)
Morbid Anatomy (@morbidanatomy)
Mz Skeptica (@MzSkeptica)
Neuron Culture (@david_dobbs)
The Neuro Times (@TheNeuroTimes)
Non-Consensual Science
Not by Needs nor Nature (@jessephiltz)
Occam’s Trowel (old)
PACHSmörgåsbord (@pachsnet, @dhayton)
The Pauling Blog
The Perfect Vacuum, Imaginary Magnitude (@GustavHolmberg)
petri dish
The Primate Diaries (formerly The Primate Diaries in Exile and TPD, @ericmjohnson)
Productive (Adj)
Oral Histories of Science (British Library)
OU History of Science Collections
Periodic Tabloid (@chemheritage)
Ptak Science Books (@ptak)
Public Historian (@publichistorian)
ragesoss (@ragesoss)
Rationally Speaking
Reciprocal Space (@Stephen_Curry)
Relevant History (@askpang)
The Renaissance Mathematicus (@rmathematicus)
In Retrospect
Roger Launius’s Blog
Science in Society
Science, Values, and Democracy
Scientia Curiosa (@history_geek)
Seiler on Science
A Simple Prop (@jmlynch)
Skulls in the Stars (@drskyskull)
Somatosphere: Science, Medicine, and Anthropology (@somatosphere)
Songs from the History of Science
Stories from the Stores
STS Observatory
Textbook History (@textbooktweets)
think deviant – philosophy of science
Thoughts in a Haystack
through the looking glass (@alicebell)
Time to Eat the Dogs (@ExplorationBlog)
Transcribing Tyndall (@JohnTyndallCP)
University of Toronto Science Instrument Collections (@UTSIC)
Until Darwin: Science & the Origins of Race
UCSD Science Studies Program
Vintage Space (@astVintageSpace)
A Voice of Reason
Walking History (@wilkohardenberg)
Wellcome Library Blog (@wellcomelibrary)
Whewell’s Ghost (@beckyfh, @thonyc, @john_s_wilkins, @jmlynch)
Whipple Library Blog (@hpslib)
William Eamon (@williameamon)
Wonders & Marvels (@history_geek)
The World’s Fair (@dnghub)
Zoonomian (@physicus)

And updated by commentators (added by me):

History of Geology Blog:
Cryology & co.:
Fossils and other living things: http://fossilsandotherlivingthings.blogspot.coPALAEOBLOG:

History of science on Twitter solely:
Ann, @transfermium
Dominic Berry, @Rusgerkins
Keynyn Brysse, @Paleo_Girl
Gary Butt, @gbutt
Joe Cain, @drjoecain
Lizzy Campbell, @LizzyCampbell
Margaret Cavendish, @ScientificLady
Natalia Cecire, @ncecire
Brendan Clarke, @philmedman
Nathaniel Comfort @nccomfort
Bill Cronon (@wcronon)
Ralph Drayton, @rdrayton
Randi Hutter Epstein @rhutterepstein
Graham Farmelo, @grahamfarmelo
Mike Finn, @theselflessmeme
Kieron Flanagan, @kieronflanagan
Delia Gavrus, @DeliaElena
Gregory A. Good, @HistoryPhysics
Neil Gussman, @sgtguss
Piers Hale, @piershale
Deborah Harkness, @DebHarkness
Vanessa Heggie, @HPS_Vanessa
Jan Helldén, @jhellden
Ian Hesketh, @ianhesketh
HPS Museum Leeds, @hpsmuseumleeds
HPS, University of Cambridge, @CambridgeHPS
Home of Darwin, @HomeofDarwin
Claire Jones, @Claire_L_Jones
Finn Arne Jørgensen, @finnarne
Seong-Jun Kim, @SeongJun
David Kohn, @DARBASE
Oliver Lagueux, @olilag
Sienna Latham, @clerestories
Linnean Society, @LinneanSociety
Marri Lynn, @Marri
Pamela Mack, @pammack
Amy-Elizabeth Manlapas, @mrsmanlapas
Museum of the History of Science, @MHSOxford
Satoshi Nozawa, @st_nozawa
Rebecca Pohancenik, @rpohancenik
James Poskett, @jamesposkett
Rebecca Priestley, @RKPriestley
Isaac Record, @hoobiewan
Royal Institution, @rigb_science
Pedro Ruiz-Castell, @P_RuizCastell
Science Museum Archives, @GalilieosBalls
Society for the Study of Astronomy, @SocHistAst
Society for the Study of Natural History, @SHNHSocNatHist
struthious, @struthious
STS, York Univ., @STS_YorkU
Andrew Stuhl, @andrewstuhl
Carsten Timmermann, @ctimmermann
Alexander Vka, @Alex_Vka
Jakob Whitfield, @thrustvector
Grant Yamashita, @gyamashita

Links about HoS Blogging:

Gustav Holmberg, Blogging the history of science, Imaginary Magnitude (March 1, 2011)
Jai Virdi, Conversing in a Cyberspace Community: The Growth of HPS Blogging, From the Hands of Quacks (October 6, 2010)
Jai Virdi, Survey Says… and Survey Results, From the Hands of Quacks (Sept. 17, 2010)
Jai Virdi, Navigating the History of Science Blogosphere, From the Hands of Quacks (August 30, 2010)
Jai Virdi, On the Blogosphere: History of Science Blogs, From the Hands of Quacks (June 12, 2010)
Michael D. Barton, History of Science Society 2009: “Your Daily History of Science,” The Dispersal of Darwin (Nov. 25, 2010)
Will Thomas, “Blogging as Scholarship,” Ether Wave Propaganda (October 24, 2008)
Michael Robinson, “A Blog of One’s Own,” Time to Eat the Dogs, (October 27, 2008)
Loïc Charles, “Blogging for what? Blogging for whom?” History of Economics Playground (November 14, 2008)
Benjamin Cohen, “Why Blog the History of Science?” Newsletter of the History of Science Society (October 2008)
Benjamin Cohen, “Why Blog the History of Science?” The World’s Fair (October 14, 2008)
Benjamin Cohen, “What difference does the history of science make?” The World’s Fair (August 4, 2008)
John Lynch, “Blogging and history of science,” Stranger Fruit (August 4, 2008) [John now blogs at A Simple Prop]

blogging, history of medicine, history of science

Blog on the history of neurology and the neurosciences

Cannot understand why I haven’t come across The Neuro Times blog — a historical blog dedicated to neurology and the neurosciences — before. Full of good stuff and a good example to follow.


2010 Medical Blog Awards goes mainly to earlier winners

Unless you’ve alrady seen it, here are the winners of the 2010 Medical Blog Awards:

Not surprisingly, several of this year’s winners have been awarded before. What’s good, continues to be good.

blogging, history of medicine, history of science

Blogging about history of science and medicine

If you write or read blogs that include history of science and medicine, you may be interested in filling in this short online survey posted by Jaipreet Virdi, a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto — it only takes a minute or two. Jaipreet explains the background for the survey here.

(Thanks, Rebekah, for the tip. Rebekah also recommends this link to a good list of blogs and twitter accounts with history of science content).

blogging, material studies, science communication studies

The academic benefits of blogging

Writing on a blog about the benefits of blogging might seem a bit superfluous, but here is a nice reminder of the possibilities that the social web can open.

The philosopher Levi Bryant, one of the central figures in Object-Oriented Ontology (OOO), recently wrote this blogpost on chance encounters and why blogging can be a vital tool in generating new spaces for new philosophical movements.

Speculative realism (SR), the new philosophical umbrella which Bryant’s work falls under, is an almost entirely internet-born phenomenon. In the post, Bryant wonders about the randomness of new connections and raises a central issue about why blogging and participating in discussions on the internet can generate new energy:

The internet, and blogosphere in particular, created a common place that allowed these strange entities of SR and OOO to become a little more real, a little more substantial, a little more existent. Through these discussions and the medium that’s allowed these discussions to take place, new lines of thought, new problematics, new questions, and new positions have emerged.

Bryant raises the very real issue that most of the time, the articles we spend most of our time writing generates almost no response at all. Only a handful of people read them and more often than not, they sink to the bottom like stones, serving little purpose aside from filling up ones CV and as statistical evidence to the administrators that something is actually being done. But blogs can help build contacts and networks in a much more immediate way. And open for new opportunities as well.

These [relationships with other researchers on the web] lead to collaborative projects, intellectual growth and enrichment, further articles, opportunities for conference presentations, and so on. Participation in electronic media increases your likelihood of being read and allows you to meet other researchers that you would never otherwise meet. All of this is a way of encouraging readers to participate, to explore ideas even when they end up going nowhere, and to avoid seeing participation here as something secondary to your academic work.

What exactly will come of these new forms of life being generated by the new media is still blurry. But taking ones ideas and research into the public domain and seeing what new connections it sparks is surely worthwhile.


On bloggership and blogademia — is scholarly blogging scholarship?

I’m often thinking about how my presence on social web media platforms — mainly blogging and some occasional twittering — enhances or weakens my other scholarly activities, like writing books and papers for traditional history of science journals.

Personally, I believe writing on social web media is a significant source of inspiration for more traditional scholarly writing. Or rather: It’s not a question of either-or, but both-and.

But I have many colleagues who believe the opposite (mainly those who’ve never tried it seriously 🙂 So it’s good that someone tries to dig up some empirical evidence for and against spending one’s precious scholarly time on the social web.

Carolyn Hank, a phd candidate in the School of Information and Library Science at UNC Chapel Hill, is currently making a survey in support of her research study, ‘Scholars and their Blogs: Characteristics, Preferences and Perceptions Impacting Digital Preservation’.

Inspired by notions like ‘bloggership’ and ‘blogademia’, she’s asking questions about the publishing behaviour of blogging scholars, our perceptions of the blog vs. our scholarly activities, and our thoughts on how our writings can be preserved, i.e., questions like: 

Are blogs scholarship? Where do they fit in relation to one’s cumulative scholarly record? […] Will the scholar blogs of today be available into the future?

I’ll be happy to answer Carolyn’s thoughtful questions (received by email yesterday). If somebody else wants to participate, you can perhaps pursuade her to send you the questionnaire.


Does the hyperlink destroy our ability to focus on the text?

The social web is almost by definition centered around the hyperlink. One of the attractions with blogging is the possibility to sprinkle hyperlinks all over the text. Is there a drawback? Oh yes, says Nicholas Carr:

Sometimes, they’re big distractions — we click on a link, then another, then another, and pretty soon we’ve forgotten what we’d started out to do or to read. Other times, they’re tiny distractions, little textual gnats buzzing around your head. Even if you don’t click on a link, your eyes notice it, and your frontal cortex has to fire up a bunch of neurons to decide whether to click or not. You may not notice the little extra cognitive load placed on your brain, but it’s there and it matters. People who read hypertext comprehend and learn less, studies show, than those who read the same material in printed form. The more links in a piece of writing, the bigger the hit on comprehension.

I don’t know which studies Carr is referring to, because he doesn’t hyperlink — but intuitively I think he’s right.

He adds that one of the remedies may be to put the links at the end of the text (like end notes in an article).

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