Source: Simon Fraser University Library
Published: 17 December, 2018
This year’s President’s Dream Colloquium on Making Public Knowledge at SFU was all about the public aspects of knowledge production and dissemination at universities. Fittingly, I found myself reading and creating public annotations on the readings for the course using a tool called Hypothesis. I would like to introduce the two big questions that I chose to investigate: What do annotations say about their creators? While the benefits of social reading for the student was fairly obvious to me, I wanted to explore what kind of story the data would tell about the student. In an age of quantification and measurement, what does it mean to create public knowledge in the forms of online annotations? Can we use this data to evaluate students and their performance? Should we? What do annotations say about the original content? Academia is a world of competition. Publish or perish wonderfully summarises the environment that scientists and scholars are facing, as available job positions are scarce while their applications are assessed based on criteria such as publication volume or terrible indicators such as the h-index1 or Journal Impact Factor2 (JIF). Can we use annotation data to assess the articles? Does annotation behaviour reflect the engagement with the articles?