PhD or Die Trying: Blog research papers from AEJMC

WWDC Student Sunday
No, this isn’t AEJMC. It’s WWDC which happened about the same time, same city. Photo by x180

Now that the 89th Convention of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) is over, I’ve discovered a treasure trove of delightful blog-related research presented at the conference (held in San Francisco on August 2-5).

Thanks to PR blogger Constantin Basturea, we now have a neat list of blog-related research from the recent conference. Prolific blog researcher Kaye Trammell has also been referencing as many blog-related papers as she could, while emerging PR practices have been taking notes of such research papers on TheNewPR/Wiki.

Interestingly, for the same reason we got the “Social Media Conference” group going, Constantin suggests for PR companies to sponsor a dedicated web site which could act as a definitive institutional repository for published papers as well as thesis and dissertations.

All this reminds me how pretty inaccessible these scholarly work still is. From expensive communication journals in our libraries to conference papers on various web sites, amateur researchers might have a hard time getting a good grasp of this domain since existing knowledge is too dispersed. While this is likely the case for all disciplines actually, I think it’s only natural if we as social media researchers start some kind of knowledge base for our work…

Could we use Wikispaces to post abstracts we find (here’s me)?
How about forming a ma.gnolia group for sharing links (here’s me)?

I’d imagine this taking the collective form of a wiki, with the ability for users to communicate with one another to trade ideas. It’d be awesome if we could have direct links to article PDFs, but we’d have to worry about copyright issues. As with starting any collective effort, the problem lies with sustainability. It’s easy to start, but the trick is to make people come back for more, while putting up some information they’ve gathered from elsewhere.

For now I’m using CiteULike.com for keeping track of relevant papers I find (See my CiteULike library). It works like del.icio.us, but for research papers, and you can enter all kinds of format meta-data. In conversation with Jude Yew from the School of Information at UMich, I learnt about BibDesk, which is a pretty decent freeware that works like a lighter version of EndNote but outputs as HTML, Atom, RSS, Bibtex, and EndNote amongst other formats.