Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Brighten up your Event Planning with EventBrite

Have you got a workshop, conference or other event, but haven't got the time to register everyone with the relevant details? Does it need a professional website announcement with a map, plus all the necessary information? Well, there's a website that will quickly and painlessly do all of that for you - and much, much more. And all for FREE!!

Eventbrite was recommended by our friendly librarians in Dubai Women's College, and we have both used it for the ReadingRoadshows in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Here's what the Abu Dhabi one looks like. It took me about 15 minutes to set up - from scratch, for the first time! With an Eventbrite URL of my choice!!!

When someone registers, the attender and the organiser get an email message with a pdf attachment which is the ticket. On the ticket (which can be of any category and any number of categories that you decide) there is all the information required, including an Eventbrite-generated map of the venue, and there is a bar-code and a QR-code. With a free app, this means you can check in your attendees with an android or apple device, with a barcode scanner, or by hand on any number of devices simultaneously.

And that's not all. You can set up the registration form to ask for and/or require other information, such as phone numbers, address, position at work etc., or you can add any question you wish. This data can then be exported, and may also be collated and compared across events. I haven't even told you about the billing facilities it offers, because I haven't used them, but they can take care of everything there as long as you provide your account details.

Perhaps I am very easily impressed, but I am REALLY impressed with Eventbrite.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Your PhD - A Haiku

This website ( asks for people to submit their PhD research as succinctly as possible, or more exactly, in 17 syllables over 3 lines of 5,7 and 5 syllables. Why would you do that? Here's the explanation:
Dissertations are long and boring. By contrast, everybody likes haiku. So why not write your dissertation as a haiku? Please email yours (along with your name, institution, a 1-2 sentence text description of your work, and any URL you'd like your name linked to) to
Maybe you'd like a go. Here are a few examples to get you thinking:
Cells in between cells,
make the retina’s magic
and keep its secrets.
Tiny neutrinos ….
How do we catch the damn things?
Computers can help.
Right of copyright
Depends on nature of works
Otherwise: chaos.
Most haiku's are accompanied by some very brief information.

Knowledge that is tacit
Still needs capture and sharing
How do we do that?
Dissertation title: e-Learning 2.0: Emergence, social networks and the creation of shared knowledge
As learners in the workplace turn toward just-in-time answers, knowledge and support networks, it becomes more pressing to understand how knowledge can be harnessed in a new, anytime digital environment. This dissertation explored knowledge design via new emerging technologies that allow for better finding, creating and sharing of information.
By: Colleen Carmean

Welfare for elders
But nothing for our children.
Who are we kidding?
Dissertation title: The Age of Welfare: Citizens, Clients and Generations in the Development of the Modern Welfare State (UC Berkeley, 2001)
My dissertation examined why some countries allocate the lion’s share of their social welfare resources to the elderly, while others have a more balanced profile of spending on working-aged adults and children. Italy, Japan, and the United States are examples of the former; Canada, the Netherlands, and Sweden are examples of the latter.
By: Julia Lynch
Here's my contribution:

Intonation shows
New information. In text?
It’s punctuation
Dissertation title: “Structuring Information in Written English”
This dissertation in applied linguistics used discourse analysis to identify the role and realization of Information Structure in a corpus of written technical English. It revealed historical, psychological and neurological evidence for why punctuation has replaced intonation in written English in order to provide Information Structure, as defined in systemic functional linguistics.
By: Nick Moore
It has not yet been accepted. I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Calais: Not just cross-channel ferries!

Open Calais employs semantic web technology to identify key elements on your webpages. It is sponsored by the Thompson/Reuters news agency who are committed to keeping Calais open - as in open source. Here's a brief intro

The basic idea is that if we want the web to 'read' our pages so it can help us connect ideas, then we have to give it something to work with.Semantic proxy takes the text, identifies proper nouns, category areas and syntactic relationships.

For example, my blog entry for the book review for Hunston's "Corpus Approaches to Evaluation" produces this table for the semantic content areas. Interestingly, when I tried it just yesterday, the last 4 entries here were first and had 3 stars.

The semantic proxy version gives almost the same results, but is not as pretty. They are a little clearer on what they do. This one does what it says on the tin:

Perhaps more telling is the chart for people, companies, and events, below. Here there is an attempt to tag all names, presumably to make the dream of a semantic web (see here and here) just a little closer.

On close inspection, however, we can notice a number of errors here. John McH Sinclair loses his surname. The term Modal-Like Expressions in the review is abbreviated to MLEs, which is recognised here as a company. Again, yesterday's results also included Bernstein (as in Basil) as a company. None of the books or articles in the references is recognised as a publication.

The final set of results is probably the set that is likely to include the most errors. Here there is an attempt to match semantic relations between the entities in the text, using simple predication, see left. Subjects, objects and verbs are tied together under the misleading title of generic relations. For instance 'Nick Moore' is identified as a subject where the object is 'a reviewer for a number of journals' and the verb is identified as 'be.' The only other subject-agent listed here is Susan Hunston, who 'very similar patterns' (object) 'produce' (verb) or 'the methodology of the chapter' (object) 'apply' (verb). Susan Hunston (subject) also does intransitive things such as 'investigate' (verb). The Quotations are not such in the original article, but real quotations such as “one function of evaluation is to reify texts and propositions by assigning them an epistemic status.” is not recognised as such (unless they mean something else by quotation).

Overall Grade: C+. Keep trying!!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Reading Roadshow

The "Power of One" campaign continues.

Tom Le Seelleur (yes, him again) & the gang (yes, that includes me again) are organising a series of workshops for teachers called the "Reading Roadshow." We will provide free workshops (and lots of prizes) on a Wednesday afternoon in a different Emirate every month as part of the campaign to encourage the country to read for pleasure.

Our first event in Sharjah was well attended and we were fortunate to be supported by Pearson the publishers, the British Council, International House - DubaiAl Mutannabi bookshop and the Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature. The speakers were Julia Johnson - an children's author whose books celebrate Arabic culture - and Catherine Namoor & Alicia Salaz who talked about developing READ posters with local relevance. We will provide workshops in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, before travelling to the other Emirates.

Further details are on the Reading Roadshow website.