Citizen Science

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


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

Citizen Science and Open Data

I spoke on a panel last week about citizen science and open data. The panel was one of the events put on by the University of Alberta library for Open Access week. I went first so my presentation didn’t reflect directly on the work of others, although there was much to think about. I started by describing the key dilemma faced by many scientists who have turned to citizen science methods: how to deal with the huge amounts of data which are needed to do or are used in science today?

Citizen Science, Libraries, and Public Access

I’ve been brainstorming some concerns about libraries and citizen science for a current writing project. On the face of it citizen science and libraries seem to be made for each other. Libraries want to provide access to as many patrons as possible, citizen scientists have research questions that may need the help of skilled information professionals. Perfection, right. But there are some flies in the ointment, as there always are. Reginald Smith wrote a blog post about the enclosure of libraries in August 2011.

Entrepreneurs, Labor, and Citizen Science

Venkatesh Rao, the blogger at ribbonfarm has written a three-part series “Entrepreneurs are the new labor” for Forbes. His basic argument is that entrepreneurs are becoming a new labor class. Twenty years ago technology entrepreurs, like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, were the Robber Barons of the current technology wave, riding the development of personal computres to massive individual fortunes. Today the entrepreurs in Silicon Valley are building upon the shoulders of these giants, many of their companies are small bore endeavors creating the latest social-this-social-that app for consumer smartphones.

Steve Kelling on citizen science - #asist2011

Steve Kelling from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the eBird project presented the second ASIST 2011 keynote on citizen science. Kelling began by describing the background of the ornithology lab and its long-term commitment to involving the public in science. The lab was founded in 1915 so the centennial is rapidly approaching. They have engaged over 200,000 citizen scientists in various projects, many of them in eBird for which Kelling serves as information science director.

Thin Crescent Moons and Amateur Astronomers

Sky and Telescope has an interesting article on observing thin crescent moons, shortly after they become visible. “Seeking Thin Crescent Moons” has a set of maps showing where some of this years early crescent moons can be observed in the Western Hemisphere. Unfortunately I already missed my opportunity in Peru a few days ago. There’s also a story about a newborn nebula that has been recently reobserved by an amateur astronomer in Phoenix.