Introducing Genre Across Borders (GXB)

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Two weeks ago at the Genre 2012 Conference at Carleton University, our research team officially launched a website that has been under development for over two years: Genre Across Borders [link opens in a new tab]. The goal of our site is to help the wide range of scholars whose work falls under the umbrella of “genre studies” to have an ongoing conversation about work in genre, to maintain connections across disciplinary and international borders. Genre studies does not have an official conference, nor a journal venue, so work tends to be scattered across disciplines and presented at various conferences, but we don’t often get a chance to talk to other genre scholars about our work. Thus, Genre Across Borders (also known as GXB) was born.

The site features a variety of research resources, including overviews of research on genre in variety of disciplines, a bibliography, and a glossary. We’re also collecting web resources on genre and developing a pedagogical section that folks can come to for teaching materials related to genre. The site is open to any and all genre scholars across the world. All content is Creative Commons licensed.

Do you do work in genre studies? Sign up now! 
If you’d like to be a part of the GXB community, it’s pretty easy. Head over to our website, create a user account, and start using the site!  While the development team has initially populated the site with content, and continues to be responsible for handling technical issues, the growth of the website and community moving forward will be user-based. We think the content should be driven by what the user base is looking for, rather than what our development team thinks up.

What can you do on the site?
There are a few parts of the site that you can begin to contribute to immediately.  Check out our Bibliography, with over 450 current items, and add citations that we don’t currently have. If you’re a published author, and we already have your work listed there, you can make our database even better by linking to a pre-print version (if your text is copyrighted, you might host a pre-print version on your own site) or a link to the published version (if it’s open access, perhaps to the journal’s website) for users to go to if they’d like to be able to read your work immediately.

We’re also developing a glossary of genre-related terms, but we need your help to make it a more robust glossary. Don’t see a term there that you think belongs there? Add it! To create a new glossary term, just click on “Add Term” (you must be registered and sign in to do so), and then include the definition, a citation for that definition, and an example of the term’s use. That’s it! And be sure to give yourself credit for doing so in the “Contributed by” field. You can also edit a current term, for example, if you know the original use of a term that’s already been defined.

You can also use the forums to network with other users on the site. Hosting an upcoming conference that genre folks should know about? Post the CFP! Have a general question for any and all genre scholars? Post it!

Our newest feature is site-wide tagging! These will be completely crowdsourced, so as you’re using the site, be sure to tag entries that you’re familiar with to help us develop a base and to help others as they come to the site better use the resources that we’ve got there. You could start by tagging your own publications, or perhaps works you’ve read for your comprehensive exams, or the glossary term that you’ve added.

Forthcoming features
GXB is so much more than these few features here, and we’re working on getting everything going for users. We’re currently testing a submission system that will allow users to upload sample teaching materials and browse through what other users have uploaded — just in time for class prep for the fall semester! Watch our twitter feed (@gxbproject) for announcements about when features go live and other general news about the site.

Get the word out! 
We are excited about the possibilities that GXB has for the genre research community. Please feel free to share the site with others doing work in genre, encourage them to sign up, and feel free to provide the development team feedback on the site so that we can better serve our research community.  To keep the conversation going on Twitter, follow us (@gxbproject) and use the hashtagh #gxb for any and all genre-related discussions (not just about the website). We look forward to connecting with you!

Live blog: Managing your online identity professional development workshop

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I’m live-blogging the second professional development workshop of the fall semester for CRDM, “Maintaining Your Online Identity.” Special thanks to CRDM faculty member David Rieder and CRDM-affiliated faculty member Brad Mehlenbacher for sharing their insights and websites with us today.
David starts by indicating he has a static website for a reason: that maintaining a dynamic site requiring constant updating can be quite time consuming. Message: use your time wisely.
Brad features a new page he created his website about online identity management for academics. He offers that the website has come to serve as his vita and/or portfolio. It’s a fairly comprehensive record of his work as an academic.
Dave shows his website and offers several ideas: 1) He maintains a simple, static site to keep it manageable; 2) He used an open-source template; 3) He codes by hand (hey, another old schooler like me!). He emphasizes that for those in the humanities, “flashy” isn’t a standard, and that sites should be usable on a variety of platforms and possibly printable. He also recommends using a hit tracker to identify your audience (he has used Reinvigorate; Brad, ClustrMap) and to better tailor your materials based on where your hits are and the heat map information that is generated.
Brad emphasizes not having a personal section on a website when you’re on the job market – and Dave heartily agrees – to avoid inviting unwanted biases about you as a candidate. Post-job market, Dave offers that the amount of personal information you include on a website depends on how comfortable you are with doing so, but that it’s certainly not necessary.
Brad also uses his site as a resource for teaching, giving talks, etc. He aggregates information as he comes across it and can easily use for his own preparation or to give to students.
Dave remarks that our websites should be a key marketing tool for us on the job market, and we should see it as an opportunity to self-market and become more visible. Search committee members may not all be on Twitter or Academia.edu, but they will certainly Google you – so control the material that appears when they find your site.
Wendi asks a question: “To what extent should your website replicate your CV?” Dave warns: the more information you put out there, the more you offer yourself to be critiqued on, so select the information you put online carefully. Put out enough to support the ethos you present for yourself in your job applications.
Dave and Brad both recommend including brief descriptions of the teaching experience you’ve had: titles of courses, semester taught, and a brief blurb (potentially the catalog description, if it’s not too clunky).
We end with a discussion of really putting yourself out there vs. displaying limited information about yourself, such as only your most recent work. Some academics have earned great recognition based on their open web presence (Cheryl Ball, for instance) and that this is something that each of us will have to negotiate individually as we decide what kinds of jobs we’ll be applying for.
Of course, the workshop was further reaching and with more of the nitty-gritty details than I’ve offered here. We had a great time with lively discussion – if you’re in CRDM, be sure to come to the next workshops in the spring to be a part of the conversation!

Web portfolio updated!

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After realizing that my CV was out of date (read: still listed my Master’s degree “in progress”), I spent some time today updating my web portfolio. It now includes a section on my newest research focus, environmental communication (though I’ve haven’t posted any research products, yet).

Take a peek!