Selected Publications

Yale science professor Denison Olmsted used crowdsourcing to gather observations from across the United States of the unexpected deluge of meteors on 13 November 1833 – more than 72,000/h. He used these observations (and newspaper accounts and correspondence from scientists) to make a commendably accurate interpretation of the meteor storm, overturning 2100 years of erroneous teachings about shooting stars and establishing meteor science as a new branch of astronomy. Olmsted's success was substantially based on his use of newspapers and their practice of news pooling to solicit observations from throughout the country by lay and expert observers professionally unaffiliated with Yale College and him. In today's parlance, Olmsted was a remarkably successful early practitioner of scientific crowdsourcing, also known as citizen science. He may have been the first to use mass media for crowdsourcing in science. He pioneered many of the citizen-science crowdsourcing practices that are still in use today: an open call for citizen participation, a clearly defined task, a large geographical distribution for gathering data and a rapid response to opportunistic events. Olmsted's achievement is not just that he used crowdsourcing in 1833 but that crowdsourcing helped him to advance science significantly.
In Endeavour

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I wrote this as an initial attempt to think through how one should approach life on social media in an age of political polarization. So how should you react to the triumph Trump? One of the major dilemmas to consider is what to do with and on social media in response. Let’s begin by considering the criticisms: Twitter is, in many ways, a cesspool, and it has been for a long time.


President Trump. I could feel my stomach dropping at about 9pm on Tuesday night when I read that Trump was winning the rural counties in the Florida panhandle by margins larger than 2012. My emotions told me it was a bad sign, and my cognition was soon proved correct. I turned off the TV stream, tweet, and my web browser and went to bed for a few hours. I woke around 3am and by then the election was over.


Political correctness is hot once again. Donald Trump is beating the drum against political correctness in his speeches and I suddenly feel like I was back in college. I was a freshman at Yale university in 1990 when Donald Kagan delivered an “infamous” public speech against political correctness and in favor of Western civilization during the freshman assembly. The speech was a bit of a bombshell in the 1990s culture wars and created a firestorm of controversy on campus.


I want to continue some of my thoughts on psychotherapy and politics that I started to discuss in Tuesday’s post. I’m following the Politicopsychopathology essay by Benjamin Kunkel a bit more closely. The idea of political dream-work is very intriguing. Kunkel describes the persistent sense of deception that now pervades most political debate and discussion in America. The constant praise for ‘job-creators’ by Republicans like Mitt Romney comes in for some close analysis.


So I have been thinking in psychiatric terms about a number of topics over the past few weeks, in relation to my own work in data management and the contemporary news of the day, which is inescapably about Donald Trump and the American political world in 2016. As the prospect of Trump becoming the Republican nominee for president in 2016 becomes increasingly certain, I’ve started to see a few characteristic stories published.



  • Data (Management)

    I'm interested in all the ways data intersects with the research process across disciplines and institutions.

  • Citizen Science

    I'm interested in the communication processes within citizen science projects and their framing in the larger world of scientific research.

  • Web Archives

    How are we preserving the web of the past, present, and future?

  • Dissertation


I am not currently teaching.

Past teaching

  • Information Architecture
  • Introduction to Information Science
  • Web Design