From Cohen (2007) which I ran across in Passi & Jackson (2017):

Cohen, M. D. (2007). Reading Dewey: Reflections on the study of routine. Organization Studies, 28(5), 773–786.

Passi, S., & Jackson, S. (2017). Data vision: Learning to see through algorithmic abstraction. In Proceedings of the 2017 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (pp. 2436–2447). ACM.

Humans in Loops

This is just a quick note about another excellent piece from Nick Seaver on why it’s useful, and necessary, to study algorithms ethnographically or anthropologically.

#HistorianSignBunny: Top 50

Over the weekend I happened to notice several witty and insightful tweets floating by in my timeline with the #HistorianSignBunny hashtag. Each tweet containined a little ASCII art bunny holding a sign, which itself contained a short statement about history. For example:

Thanks EDGI!

TLDR; I created a small command line utility waybackprov to help try to understand who is doing all the work of deciding what needs to get archived from the web … like Pruitt’s (now deleted) Twitter timeline.

Omeka Staticify with 👜🕸

If you have some old Omeka sites that are still valuable resources, but are no longer being actively maintained, you might want to consider converting them to a static site and archiving the PHP code and database. This means that the site can stay online in much the form that it’s in now, at the same URLs, and you still have the code and database to bring it back if you want to. From a maintenance perspective this is a big win since you no longer have the problem of keeping the PHP, Omeka and MySQL code up to date and backed up. The big trade off is that the site becomes truly static. Making any changes across the static assets would be quite tedious. So only consider this if you really anticipate that the project is no longer being actively curated.


Peasantries with long experience of on-the-ground statecraft have always understood that the state is a recording, registering, and measuring machine. So when a government surveyor arrives with a plane table, or census takers come with their clipboards and questionnaires to register households, the subjects understand that trouble in the form of conscription, forced labor, land seizures, head taxes, or new taxes on croplands cannot be far behind. They understand implicitly that behind the coercive machinery lie piles of paperwork: lists, documents, tax rolls, population registers, regulations, requisitions, orders—paperwork that is for the most part mystifying and beyond their ken. The firm identification in their minds between paper documents and the source of their oppressions has meant that the first act of many peasant rebellions has been to burn down the local records office where these documents are housed. Grasping the fact that the state saw its land and subjects through record keeping, the peasantry implicitly assumed that blinding the state might end their woes.

Scott (2017), p. 120

Scott, J. C. (2017). Against the grain: A deep history of the earliest states. Yale University Press.

Memory Sites

I recently got around to reading Pierre Nora’s classic paper about history and memory, which archivists like to cite because of his claim that modern memory is archival (Nora, 1989). The paper is actually an English translation of the introduction to his massive three volume work Les Lieux de Mémoire. I thought I’d include the full quote here to make a few comments:

Nora, P. (1989). Between memory and history: Les lieux de mémoire. Representations, 7–24.

True Fictions

I want to suggest as well that sociologists no longer should maintain, in good faith or in willful ignorance, a division between fiction and social science data. Fiction does not mean falsehood, or something opposed to truth, and good ethnographies are true fictions.

Denzin (1990) p. 201

Denzin, N. K. (1990). Harold and Agnes: A feminist narrative undoing. Sociological Theory, 8(2), 198–216.

Save Page, Now!

To support some thinking about the role of web archives in social practices that I’ve been doing with Jess Ogden and Shawn Walker I thought it could be interesting to look at the rate of ingest in the Internet Archive’s Save-Page-Now (SPN) functionality. SPN allows anyone with a web browser to go to the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine and add a webpage to the archive. According to Brewster Kahle (Internet Archive’s Director) SPN is currently seeing up to 100 URLs being added every second:


As one of several summer projects I’m slowly reading Capital Volume 1 while listening to David Harvey’s lectures on my commute. So if you are wondering why there are random notes about Marx littered on the blog, that’s why.