Archive for the 'Twitter' Category

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]


Journal clubs on Twitter

There has been some noise around the new medical Twitter Journal Club in the last couple of days.

This specific virtual journal club (via #TwitJC) is a Twitter-based chat forum for doctors, medical students and others who are interested in research and clinical practice.

In spite of the recent noise about it, it’s not the first one. I fell over a blog post claiming that the first medical journal club on Twitter (or any specialty) was launched back in 2008. And there has been journal club chat rooms on other platforms, e.g., one through the The Stack Exchange Network and the Science and Society Journal Club organised by the Duke Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy (IGSP). There may have been several others (historians of contemporary social media: please fill in the details!)

In retrospect it’s astonishing that so few have found out to use Twitter as a virtual journal club medium. You miss the tea and cakes, of course (which is part of the charm of the traditional journal club), but on the other hand Twitter very efficiently forces participants to shut up after 140 keystrokes. Not a bad idea at all.

Facebook, social web media, Twitter

Museums on Facebook — making friends, making fans or simply broadcasting?

Many museums struggle with how to integrate Facebook (and other social media) in their collections, exhibitions and physical venues.

Therefore it was interesting to read Benjamin Thompson’s report from a Eureka Live event, ‘Facebook: bad for friendship?’, held at the Wellcome Collection in London, some time ago.

One of the discussion topics was whether you can have too many friends on FB. Spreading yourself ‘too thin’ means you can’t invest as much time into each ‘friend’.

Agree! And, by the way, what does the word ‘friend’ really mean? Frankly I just hate the word ‘friend’ in this context. Facebook is actually more an ‘acquaintancebook’ than a ‘friendbook’. And when people have more than 150-200 ‘friends’ (Dunbar’s number), these aren’t even ‘acquaintances’ anymore, they’re reduced to fans. In fact, institutions, including museums, mainly use FB as a broadcasting platform.

Accordingly, there seems to be a trend that people are purging their Facebook accounts, leaving only close real friends and family, using Twitter instead for the broadcasting of their thoughts. Maybe that’s why our museum recently has put more emphasis on being present on Twitter?

So whereas Facebook is about branding and broadcasting under the disguise of ‘friend-making’, Twitter is a least honest — it’s openly broadcasting, period.

aesthetics, collections, displays/exhibits, knowledge production, museum studies, Twitter

Yesterday was WhyILoveMuseums day

These are some of the reasons to love museums found on twitter yesterday:

  • Museums help you ask new questions. You get a little knowledge and crave more.
  • Because they make me feel excited, like a child. They open up the world and expose the tiny little bubble we all live in.
  • Museums are for EVERYONE. They are somewhere to shed our skin and set free the inquisitive child in each of us.
  • They promote creativity, freedom of choice, questioning, reason, understanding and identity!
  • Because they’re a conversation between what has happened, what could happen, and what will happen.
  • Who says I love museums? Sometimes they get me so frustrated I guess only love would be reason for staying.
  • Museums attract passionate, clever and interesting folks with many a story to tell.
  • Because I love looking at beautiful / interesting / entertaining things that exist in the real world not just cyberspace.
  • Museums help people learn how to learn, are not just about teaching facts but experiencing life, feelings and emotions.
  • Sometimes you go so often, you get to know things so well they become part of your life.
  • A killer combo of wonderment and escapism.
  • I love museums because they represent a door to the past and a gateway to the future.
  • They’re time machines anyone can use- just walk in and they start.
  • Because real objects connect us to the past in ways that narrative alone (including mine) can never match.
  • I love ’em for serving as windows to worlds I won’t otherwise get to explore.
  • Because you can learn without being preached at.

Read all of the twitter people’s reasons to love museums here.

museum and knowledge politics, social web media, Twitter, visualization, web resources

Kitchen twitter — the tweet machine

Last week we put up a computer in the staff kitchen with Twitter as the only application and main page.

I call it a Tweet Machine. Over the computer I hung a small sign, urging all staff members to write about everything from philosophical reflections to descriptions of what their packed lunch contained that day:

The computer is placed so that every staff member cannot avoid passing it on their daily routine oscillating between coffee machine and office.

Our hope is that the natural curiosity, so stimulated, will help us lure the more shy species of museum staff out on the web.


The experiment has already lead to promising results, as this twitter excerpt shows:


Follow the everyday life of Medical Museion; the museological object-apotheosis’, the indoor decorating debates, meteorological pocket philosophy, coffee drama and cake:

conferences, social web media, Twitter

Conference-tweeting — pros and cons

Taking our Twitter session at the EAMHMS conference two weeks ago (“a qualified kind of success”) as his point of departure, Danny Birchall (Museum Cultures) summarizes his view of the pros and cons of conference-tweeting:

On the negative side conference-tweeting tends to be personally distracting (and possibly insulting to a speaker forced to regard an audience gazing deep into their phones and laptops); susceptible to triteness and glib summation rather than reflective thought; and elitist: it excludes from a conversation those without the appropriate technology or ability to cope with distraction.

On the positive side, it provides a kind of collective note-taking, accessible even to those not involved; it provides for an additional, multiplicitous and open conversation, not directed through a chair; and sometimes allows for people not present at the conference but connected to its participants, to join in the conversation and bring new information and perspectives to it.

Despite the fact that only four of us tweeted throughout the conference, and that for half of it there was no wifi available, we did a not not bad job, and towards the end of the conference did indeed begin to get others chipping in, asking what ‘the problem of the medical museum’ was, and questioning our assertions about the situatedness of art.

With reference to one of the last tweets I wrote during the EAMHMS-conference (while we were discussing Thomas Schnalke’s presentation),

I would like to add to Danny’s pros and cons:

Tweeting during a conference allows you to make much more succinct statements than you will usually make in the oral discussion. I don’t think I would have said this so sharply in the oral discussion; but in the tweet format it looks more acceptable.

Conference-tweeting gives rise to two interconnected levels of discourse. On the one hand, the usual oral, polite, verbose, slow, performative (and often somewhat self-aggrandizing) conference discussion mode; and, on the other hand, a more direct, written, snappy, and less self-oriented networking kind of discourse (twittering) in the background.

What’s most interesting about this, I think, is how these two levels of discourse are connected in real time; and how they actually invert the traditional relation between a slow, polite and formal written discourse, and a faster and less formal oral discourse.

PS: Danny has generously compiled a transcript of all the tweets on #EAMHMS over the course of the three conference days, which he believes gives “an interesting, if inconsistent, overview” of the proceedings.

museum and knowledge politics, social networking, Twitter, web resources

Do museums need big web sites to be visible?

We have a old and pretty dysfunctional website. Shall we rebuild it (using the university’s system) or not?

All other great museums have fancy, big websites with lots of rich media functionalities. They cost hundreds of hours and enormous sums of money to build and maintain. Are they worth it? Or are the days of big websites numbered?

Mitch Joel (TwistImage) believes so (March 6), and I think he has a good argument.  If you think about how people find and connect to brands, they don’t necessarily do so through Google or other search engines anymore: “In fact, more and more people are having their first brand interaction on their mobile device. There are many people who are also connecting to brands for the first time in spaces like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.”

This doesn’t necessarily mean that website is about to become extinct. But it means that institutional branding is much more than one, big and centralized website:  “it is more than likely that we’re going to see more and more brands create multiple spaces and platforms to ensure that they’re connecting with the right people in the right communities”. And even if institutions use microblogging and other platforms, they usually think about them as instruments to drive people back to their own, controlled, website: “The truth is that the more vibrant community for a brand may be happening more through a mobile app or online social network platform… or something else or something in addition to it”.

Worth some thought.

blogging, Twitter

Twue them!

A “team of pretty cool people” in Chicago are twittering and blogging under the name ‘Museumist’. “Putting the Museum World on Display” is their motto. We’ll twue them for infringing our precious trade marks (Museionist on Twitter and Biomedicine on Display) 🙂

acquisition, archives, collections, curation, displays/exhibits, museum and knowledge politics, public outreach, social networking, Twitter, web resources

Medical Museion puts all of its collections on Twitter

The Director’s office of Medical Museion at the University of Copenhagen announced today that the museum will put all its collections on Twitter.

Hundreds of thousands of material artefacts (from electron microscopes to conjoined twins in pickles), tens of thousands of medical historical images, and hundreds of shelf meters of archival documents will be compressed, catalogued and publicly communicated in the Twitter format.

“This is a revolution in museum collection management”, says the Director of Medical Museion, Thomas Söderqvist. “We have considered a number of systems for putting our rich medical historical collections online — but they were either too complicated, or too expensive. Twitter solves all our problems”. 

Putting collections on Twitter is simple. Every morning, the Head of Collections, Ion Meyer, will distribute boxes full of artefacts — of all sizes, material composition and age — among the members of staff. After logging into their Twitter accounts, staff will then spend the day ploughing through the boxes and curating the objects in whatever order they are picked up. “We call this stream-of-consciousness-curating”, says Thomas Söderqvist: “It gives the necessary subjective and personal touch to the curatorial work”.

Each item will be described in 140 characters, no more, no less. “This gives an enormous advantage to conventional online cataloguing systems”, explains senior curator Søren Bak-Jensen, who is responsible for new acquisitions. “A lancet gets 140 characters, and so does a PET scanner. In this way all instruments are made equal. This is huge step towards a more democratic acquisition policy”:

Outreach officer Bente Vinge Pedersen sees enormous future possibilities for public engagement with medicine: “The lack of indexing and tagging systems will make a search in our Twitter catalogue so much more exciting”, she says. “It will enhance the surprise effect that all museums want to give their online visitors. When you follow the stream of one of our staff twitters, you will come across the most unexpected items. First a gene chip from 2005, then a syphilitic skull from the 18th century”.

Twittering the collections is a major contribution to Medical Museion’s ambition to foster a sense of immediacy and presence in the public’s relation to the museum collections. Postdoc Jan Eric Olsén sees the decision to go on Twitter as a fantastic opportunity to develop the visual and haptic dimensions of the museum experience: “We all want to touch and gently caress museum objects”, he explains: “Twitter could be turned into a medium for enhancing that special IRL feeling: the smell and the taste of medical objects and especially the tactile experience of being in immediate touch with the physical world around us”.

At today’s staff meeting there was widespread enthusiasm over the initiative. “This is an alternative to old-fashioned crowdsourcing and other outdated museum 2.0 social technologies”, said Monica Lambert, who is responsible for organizing the visitor flow to the museum. “We expect the Multitude to tweet back”, she added: “All visitors will have to show a tweet on their iPhone to prove that they have made a contribution to our collection management”.

Administrator Carsten Holt was enthusiastic too. He is now contemplating to put the budget for 2009 on Twitter, thereby reducing the need for too many numbers. “140 characters is a great opportunity to reduce our budget to the essentials”, he tweeted back.

Head of Exhibitions, Camilla Mordhorst, who will soon leave Medical Museion for a new position as Head of Public Outreach in the Copenhagen City Museum, says she too intends to implement Twitter as a core museum technology, and thereby turn the venerable old city museum into a global village gossip park.

On Thursday 1 April, 2010, Medical Museion’s new Twitter-based collection outreach system will be evaluated by the museum’s international Advisory Board (on Twitter of course).

blogging, museum and knowledge politics, museum studies, Twitter

Museum blogger defects to Twitter — please come back!

The number of interesting (read: thoughtful and reflecting) museum blogs is growing steadily. One of my newfound favourites is Bridget McKenzie’s cultural interpretation & creative education, started in 2006. Bridget was, among other things, responsible for learning at the British Library before she became director of a consultancy firm that helps ‘cultural bodies’ engage with audiences, use digital technologies and build capacity. Accordingly, her blog is — or rather was — full of useful experience and comments on major trends in the museum world.

Was — because it looks like Bridget has defected to Twitter. Here’s her excuse for not writing a single blog post in the last six weeks:

[Twitter]’s the place where I get feeds from the media tailored to me … It’s where I find out about the latest cultural and digital initiatives … It’s where you can get blog feeds and ideas from people you admire or support, individuals or organisations. My delicious links are growing much faster with the links I’m being fed. … Also, my mind is boggling much more about big issues to do with the environment, science, religion and society. I feel more immersed in the world (or in the web?!) than I ever did before. It’s like being in a giant library where you’re dipping into everything, skipping between the humour, crime, philosophy and art sections, as fast as you can, whilst chatting with other people and sharing what you find.

The argument is pro-Twitter contra Facebook, but that aside Bridget’s Twitter-activity has nevertheless kept her off her fine blog. Reluctantly, she admits there is a downside to Twitter, viz., that she’s “spending a good deal more time online and have spent less time doing personal writing and blogging”. Well, to me that seems like a major loss! Please, come back!