Saturday, January 15, 2005

Questions about blogs and submitting assignments

I've received a few questions about blogs and submitting assignments. The questions and answers are here and also in the blog at

Question: "dr. ackermann,
i just have a quick question about our blog posts for the internet class. its casual writing isnt it? i mean we don't have to write in formal fashion right?"
Answer: It is informal writing, but we still need to take care with it. Take a look at "Ten Tips For A Better Weblog" by Rebecca Blood, and also take a look at "Writing Styles and Blogs,"

Question: "Dr. Ackermann,
Can I just email our hmwk assignment (exercises 2,3,4) to you, or would you prefer me to print it out?"
Answer: It is easier for me to annotate your work if it's on paper, but there are other concerns. Putting something on paper uses up more natural resources than many other things we do with computer systems. So please either email your HW to me or submit via the digital drop box in blackboard. Here are some statistics on paper use in the US:
  • "The U.S. EPA estimates that paper and paperboard account for almost 40 percent of our garbage.
  • Office paper is highly recyclable, but a lot gets wasted. Waste reduction is more cost-effective than recycling because it reduces the amount of material that needs to be collected, transported and processed. Waste reduction can save money for businesses and institutions of any size.
  • Nearly 3.7 million tons of copy paper are used annually in the United States alone. That's over 700 trillion sheets." -
(Yes, I did confirm these figures at other sites as well. While I didn't always find agreement with the stats quoted here, other reputable sources gave figures that were the same as these or higher.)

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

tips for creating text hyperlinks

We had a brief discussion about using "click here" as a hyperlink in my Internet course yesterday. The following annotated list provides guidance in creating hyperlinks:

Hyperlink Issues and Design. A brief guide to creating effective hyperlinks.

Writing Links That Your Readers Will Click On, Web Writing: Good Links are Crucial to Have Clear Powerful Web Prose. Part of the work by Jennifer Kyrin dealing with writing for the Web at Includes links to other pages about creating hyperlinks.

What is good hypertext writing?. Jutta Degener's comments on writing for the Web. "There is more to writing than putting words next to each other, and there is more to writing hypertext than throwing together a bunch of links. "

Don't say "click here"; not everyone will be clicking - Quality Web Tips. Tips and links to more tips, Quality Tips for Webmasters, about creating meaningful text links from the Quality Assurance Activity at the World Wide Web Consortium.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Links for scholars/academics

Talking with some friends at lunch the other day I was *shocked* ( as in the case of Capt. Louis Renault in Casablanca) to hear that they were still using IE for browsing and hadn't even heard about Firefox. What follows are some links to tools/sites useful to an academic/scholar using the Web.

Firefox - This is the best browser available - great features, robust, no charge, and open source.

Google Scholar. - A new search tool, released by Google, that focuses on scholarly resources. it's more suited to research than the Google's general tool at (Try searching using the expression "ernest ackermann" in both to see the difference.) The Chronicle of Higher Education carried a story about Google Scholar on November 19, 2004,

Academic Resources entry in the Wikipedia - Take a look at this for two reasons. One is the list of resources, and the other is to get some exposure to the Wikipedia, a resource built by its readers. Hey, maybe you'd like to edit the page!

Technorati - Use this to search for the Web for information being posted to blogs -- up to the minute opinion and commentary. You do need to know about blogs. To find out about them take a look at How Blogs Work, to get your own blog go to or Bloglines, to read about scholars who use them read Scholars Who Blog, and to browse a good example (IMO) of a blog take a look at Lessig Blog, by Lawrence Lessig.

Here is a collection of annotated links about writing for the Web.

Net Tips for Writers and Designers
Tips about writing and design from a writer, type designer, and typographer.
Schnell - Writing for the Web: A Primer for Librarians
A comprehensive resource covering HTML, XHTML, XML, CGI, and various other technical issues for an audience that may not think of themselves as being technically oriented, but find themselves faced with such tasks.
WDVL: Writing for the Web
Covers "proper style, linking etiquette, and the various ways in which writing for the Web differs from writing for print publication."
Web Teaching Articles: Writing for the Web
Web Teaching Articles Writing dartmouth
Web Writing Basics
Good straight-forward tips about writing style and presentation issues.
Writing for effective web pages
Good one page guide to effective writing for the Web.
Writing for the Web
A general purpose guide including detailed technical information and some tips related to readability. Consult this after you've done your first or second draft.
Writing for the Web: An Information Paper from the NOF Advisory Service
Good resource for writing for people with varying abilities. Topics include "Audiences experiencing barriers to the web, Assessing readability, Disabled people, Writing for disabled people"
Writing Web Pages
Some good advice for beginners in terms of downloading files and other nuts-and-bolts issues. Some links are no longer active or point to information that's out of date.
Writing Well for the Web -
"Quick and easy tips for non-writers." Good to use to help you with style and grammar issues.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Evaluating Web Sites

Evaluating Web sites is an interesting issue because it is sometimes hard to separate personal preferences and opinions from the evaluations.

Be that as it may, there are several sites on the Web that contain information about ways to evaluate Web sites. Some people evaluate a site for accuracy and objectivity, some for design, style, and usefulness, and others for the content's value and originality.

Several of the students in CPSC 104 Section 03, Fall 2004 at Mary Washington College of the University of Mary Washington have described Web sites that deal with evaluation. Here is a list:
Here are just a few others:

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Plagiarism links

Plagiarism is an issue for faculty and students on virtually every campus.

One site at MWC (or UMW if you wanna) that defines plagiarism is "Understanding Plagiarism," by Jeffrey W. McClurken, Assistant Professor, Dept. of History and American Studies.

Today, I came across the site "Plagiarism" by Sharon Stoerger MLS, MBA. ( Thanks to Neat New Stuff) Stoerger's work contains over one hundred links to items arranged into categories that include articles, case studies, information for instructors and students, as well as additional resources.

Definitely worth checking out.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Writing Styles in Blogs

I've been thinking about writing styles after reading blogs written by my students in the CPSC 104 class I'm teaching this semester.

When the writing is public, as in a blog, it's really worth it to try to write well. The writing is how we get to know and have an opinion of the author.

Looking around the Web and the blogosphere I found several articles on the topic. One I particularly liked was Writing Style and blogging on Joi Ito's Web.

Monday, September 06, 2004

pumpkin Posted by Hello

This one was added by the BloggerBot.

Adding images to a blog entry

Adding images to a blog entry isn't too difficult. You need
  1. An image in digital format. If you want one or more to practice with, there are several avaialble at Right click on any of them and you can choose to save the image or you can choose to copy the URL. Some are also on drive S: of the Mary Washington network. They are in S\ALL\cpsc10403. Feel free to copy them.
  2. A Web host where you can store the image or, equivalently, the URL of the image.
If you have the URL of the image then you can add an image by
  • including ‹img src="put URL here" /> in the HTML of the post, or
  • by clicking on th image icon in the compose panel - where you ususally compose your blogs, download Hello BloggerBot and follow the directions.