Oct 30, 2012

Ciclo de Seminários sobre Estudos de Informação
Ciclo de Seminários sobre Estudos de Informação (June 14, 2009), exINETI, Lumiar. 
The "social life of information": displays of information artefacts in a small event. From personal workspace to event workspace and back. «Memory of the event» created and shared between participants: web object with embedded information used in the event, meta data about used information, summary of talk, and visual memory.

Oct 3, 2012

search for meaning

"If you don't recognize a young man's will to meaning, a men's search for meaning, you'll make him worse, you'll make him doll, you'll make him frustrated." (video below)


"Freedom, however, is not the last word. Freedom is only part of the story and half of the truth. Freedom is but the negative aspect of the whole phenomenon whose positive aspect is responsibleness. In fact, freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness. That is why I recommend that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast." (wishlist)

"Viktor Emil Frankl, M.D., PhD (26 March 1905, Leopoldstadt, Vienna – 2 September 1997, Vienna) was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor. Frankl was the founder of logotherapy, which is a form of existential Analysis, the "Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy". His best-selling book, Man's Search for Meaning (published under a different title in 1959: From Death-Camp to Existentialism, and originally published in 1946 as Trotzdem Ja Zum Leben Sagen: Ein Psychologe erlebt das Konzentrationslager), chronicles his experiences as a concentration camp inmate which led him to discover the importance of finding meaning in all forms of existence, even the most sordid ones, and thus a reason to continue living. Frankl became one of the key figures in existential therapy and a prominent source of inspiration for humanistic psychologists." (link)

Jun 15, 2012

plain paper artefact

Scrapings by a participant to register important temporary information as an auxiliary to perform a future task. Different types of registered information include: words, numbers, drawings, ideas, standards, to-buy-list and instruction details and measures for performing the future task.
Junho2011 001
Registering in plain paper artefact, June 2011

Apr 5, 2012

traces of change

"A brand new pro account for keeping all the conversations. Hurrai :-) Thank you, i can't wait to explore all the new stuff" (WC / 2006 / social networks / keeping / exclusiveness / social ties / explorations / novelty / use / trial / ICT / social layers / technology in making traces visible).

Mar 21, 2012

fronteiras nos espaços de transição

"Toda a mobilidade reverencia uma mesma ordem, para onde convergem (porque nela vivem) os desequilíbrios, as desigualdades, a suposta desordem, a insalubridade, a pobreza. (...) A fronteira é o sinal da mobilidade. A fronteira, zona de contacto, é o espaço da instabilidade, do desassossego, do que se acostumou chamar de crise, de transição." in:
 

Jan 16, 2012

Beyond borders

European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS), ECIS 2013, June 5-8, Utrecht University, Utrecht Science Park 'de Uithof': 

"The transition to a more inter-dependent and connected world is ongoing, and offers up a range of new complex research challenges. A further challenge is that the way research is conducted is changing and requires greater collaboration between researchers, as well as between researchers and industry, to integrate capabilities to face today’s challenges.
(...)
 “Beyond Borders”. It suggests having an open mind towards new ways of doing research and establishing novel partnerships for conducting research. It also refers to the multi-disciplinary nature of the field of Information Systems where we often work outside IS and collaborate with researchers in diverse disciplines."

Nov 21, 2011

infrastructure of experience

P. Dourish & G. Bell (2007). The infrastructure of experience and the experience of infrastructure: meaning and structure in everyday encounters with space. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, vol. 34(3), pp.414-430:
"By 'the experience of infrastructure', we point to the ways in which infrastructure, rather than being hidden from view, becomes visible through our increasing dependence upon it for the practice of everyday life. By 'the infrastructure of experience', we want to draw attention to the ways in which, in turn, the embedding of a range of infrastructures into everyday space shapes our experience of that space and provides a framework through which our encounters with space take on meaning. (...) The first, and most fundamental, conclusion is that space is organized not just physically but culturally; cultural understandings provide a frame for encountering space as meaningful and coherent, and for relating it to human activities. (...) The second conclusion is that architecture is all about boundaries and transitions, and their intersection with human and social practice. (...) The third conclusion is that new technologies inherently cause people to reencounter spaces. This is not a question of mediation, but rather one of simultaneous layering. (...) Finally, there is already a complex interaction between space, infrastructure, culture, and experience. The spaces into which new technologies are deployed are not stable, not uniform, and not given."

Nov 17, 2011

silence

Star, S. L., Bowker, G., (2007). Enacting silence: Residual categories as a challenge for ethics, information systems, and communication. Ethics and Information Technology, vol.9, pp. 273-280:
"Experience doesn't come raw, but it comes in real time, in wildness, and not in anyone s direct control. Responding to experience means letting generalization and specificity be in dialectic in our writings and in our biographies. And this in turn means resistance – to pressures for conformity and towards the uniform voice (although there are sometimes ethical reasons for presenting a united front )."

Nov 9, 2011

Harmonia

Há dias mais pesados,
but in the middle,
I'm allowed to laugh.

MonicaP
2011/Nov/9

Oct 25, 2011

timelapse(s)

While watching the video shared by a friend, which shows motion trough stillness [timelapse using pixelization], recalled the work of Kakihara's, and his conceptualization of mobility...


Back to writing, thinking on the duality of the mobility concept [fluidity needs stability, Pica & Kakihara (2003)], and going trough the visual timelines of information collected from participants since 2007. Building an argument for showing the relation between transitions and the dance of artefacts used by the actors for articulation work [Star], in situated actions [Suchman] across time, and persistent myths/asumptions about the information society. Unfolding layers of slow methods [methods assemblage / ethnography of infrastructure] across time [images/descriptions/fieldnotes/reflexivity], and confronting with accessible and available encountered research work... and all things that come to me and that are dificult to ignore [serendipity, Merton & Barber].

[Note to self: discuss interoperability and information mobility; connecting layers of IS, IT, ICT, artefacts' use and the social life of information]

Oct 17, 2011

Distance (still) matters! a)

Follow up on the related myth that «distance is dead», in a paper by Petra Sonderegger (2009) in R&D working context across disperse teams in project work. Creating Shared Understanding in Research Across Distance: Distance Collaboratiion across Cultures in R&D. In e-Research: Transformation in Scholarly Practice:
"In summary, shared understanding and the flow of tacit knowledge are key elements of innovative collaboration; and trust, shared context, and frequent interactions (both formal and informal) are central to establishing these elements. Despite proclamations of the “death of distance” (Cairncross, 1997), physical presence and shared space are still important in today’s world, especially for people who are highly interdependent and faced with ambiguous situations. This study was designed to explore the potential and the limitations of distance collaboration in R&D, given the communication tools available. (...) For the researchers in this study, in-person meetings led to a higher level of comfort in collaboration. They trusted their counterparts more and moved the relationship from a purely professional level to a more personal level; they made fewer negative attributions in situations of uncertainty. An increase in spontaneity and a decrease in formality helped overcome some difficulties in distance communication."
a) Note to self: see another post with same title, and follow tag «distance».

Sep 29, 2011

About «completion suggestions»

Trying out the new feature «completion suggestions» from blogger. Strange feeling of having a ghost shadow trying to guess what I'm going to type next. Don't know what's behind this feature but some thoughts on using it come to mind.

What if I was to choose not a word editor to write down the narrative of my thesis, but instead choose to use blogger compose? Would the shadow adapt to my writing style? Wouldn't it be great if it could also relate to all the stuff I've previously wrote/mention/annotate in here? Things like suggesting to cite a paper that I've read back in 2003 and somehow left it buried in my cite.u.like/librarything/post?

All in all it's quicker to write cause, since english is not my mother tongue, it becames easier to get the next word in place. Think a lot of people might be using this already but : ) It can even improve my writing skills. For once, I can have the write spelling before I finnish the word, instead of writing the word to realize that the red line beneath it means I have to go back to click on it, see suggestions and then choose the one I think I want, and then click again enter or go back and re-write the word in : )

Yes, think I'll be using it a little more to see how I feel.

Aug 8, 2011

[Notes to self] past seen in present

This image was taken on January 30, 2006. It depicts 2 notebooks, still unwritten at that time. The larger one (on the bottom) was to be my research «Notebook 1» that was used between March 24, 2006 and July 30, 2007. The smaller one (closed and on top of the other) came to be my «Notebook 2.1» and it was used between October 2007 and June 2008.

The first notebook was my choice and followed my requisites of notebooks (plain pages where I can make scrapnotes, anywhere). The second was a gift from someone who knew I used notebooks. At the time I took the picture, besides loving the gift, I taught it was to small to take my notes. Also it had lines, instead of plain white pages like the one's all my notebooks previously had.

At that same time, I was not able to understand how it was going to play a part in a future that was yet to came. By the time I start using it, I was going through a life disruption. Being so small allowed me to have it among the few things I carried in a time where I had no permanent place to settle. During that time, this small notebook was mainly used as a «place» to collect housing possibilities, names of people and phone numbers, notes of houses for sale, notes of visits to houses, to-do lists, on going negotiations with lawyer, job searches, notes of contacts with banks, and a few notes on trying to get back to research work amidst a faulty infrastructure for working on the move [relate stability for mobility from the work of Kakihara]. 

Notebook 2_1 - artefacts crossing spaces - Mobility
The small notebook details pieces with clues to find «infrastructure» needed for getting a shelter and doing work. Rare exceptions in this notebook describe research design, like the entry on November 5, 2007, where I found the sketch drawing attention to the need of finding information artefacts crossing information spaces, by describing my own practices and behaviours, aka bias. This would call for slow methods. The kind of methods that would allow «seeing» what's not present [absent artefacts]. And that requires time. A long time collecting and long time going through it over and over again, «listening» to what the recordings tell us. 

Jul 27, 2011

Paper demand response

For long I've been a subscriber of alerts from the Social Sciences Research Network (SSRN). Today I've received an email informing me of another service they are offering resulting from requests from both authors and readers:
"In response to requests from authors and readers to purchase printed and bound hard copies of papers on SSRN, we provide a 'Purchase Bound Hard Copy' service for most free PDF files in SSRN's eLibrary.FAQ
Clearly an(other) argument to build upon the affordances of paper beyond all the digital offerings available and being built that shows market demand for paper products. 

Just yesterday another argument crossed my information spaces. In short, Paula Simões compared the consumer costs associate with buying a paper Book versus buying an eBook with DRM (Digital Rights Management). Albeit the immediate cost of acquisition favouring the eBook, after the purchase the costs are much higher for the eBook then for the paper Book. Those costs, besides the need to have additional artefacts to actually decode and read the product (eReader, computer, etc), concern social factors and even use factors. While we can lend books to our friends, sell them in second hand markets, and even leave them to our family or donate them to libraries, eBooks with DRM do not allow such affordances. And this is no minor issue. The original post as receive a lot of other comments that are adding layers of costs associated with DRM (you can use the google translate if Portuguese is a barrier).

Thing is, most of us do not have the required time to undergo an exhaustive study of all our artefacts restrictions so things like DRM might go unnoticed for quiet a long time... until the day we realize by self experience or by reading about others' experiences, that DRM restricts the social behaviour of sharing information by restricting the product to a specific artefact and only for the person who acquire it.

Am I missing something or this is one more point in favour of good old paper? Since people are talking way beyond their geographic limitations, will people keep on paying for eBooks with DRM? Seems that in Portugal, two large national editors are going to have to rethink their product restrictions policies.

Jul 22, 2011

assembling Talk to Me

Image: notebooks with fieldnotes (taken by self).
Assembling narratives in research work are quiet extraordinary. A monumental task that very often is dismissed from the final thesis object. Encountering research work which accommodates the assembling stage of work is no easy task, yet we are surrounded by work-in-progress, messy processes, until we crystallize our deliverable products (aka, thesis). But like the fading boundaries between work and leisure, so are multidisciplinary boundaries. The interwoven net of objects and people gives the canvas for the playground where different actors' establish their agency, across time and (dis)place, allowing us to (de)construct (new) affordances for artefacts in interdependent layers of infrastructure.
"Talk to Me is an exhibition on the communication between people and objects that will open at The Museum of Modern Art [MoMa] on July 24th 2011. It will feature a wide range of objects from all over the world, from interfaces and products to diagrams, visualizations, perhaps even vehicles and furniture, by bona-fide designers, students, scientists, all designed in the past few years or currently under development. As you can tell, our net is cast very wide and the exhibition happens at the end of a long hunting and gathering exercise. This online journal will document the process and progress of Talk to MeThis is where we will share our findings, considerations, and explorations as we research, investigate, travel and hear from our networks of designers, artists, scientists and scholars."
Depending on one's own ability to read the surroundings, as much as to communicate a coherent chain of arguments, the thesis appears as a final product made to convince peers that we are ready for the passage. All the travelling reduced to words that account for a flow that's still moving beyond those words. A reality in motion which, as researchers, we have to accept we will no longer follow. At some point we freeze the arguments and the sequence of events becomes the ability to narrate the choosen facts in a discretionary way (structure), as long as we follow the rules. This rules are the methods, codes of conduct and trust agreements in use among the scientific community. 
"Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?", oath taken by witnesses [jurados] in USA court rooms.
But the rules do not account for what is left unsaid. If you look again to Talk to Me, journalling (or documenting, if you prefer), give a richer account of the journey that can better elucidate how we came from point A to point 2 and are an example of the need to document the process in as much as inscribing it in the account of the process, so as to admit debate, collection and reflection before closure [people shifting from observed objects, to participants, to actors in the research work].

Are we not to give such an account that other researchers can re-construct our journey so they in turn can de-construct the argument? Methods become an accepted legitimizing tool in which one as to frame convincing arguments that can be trusted in order to evaluate the merit of the narrative. If so, why is it so hard to find thesis describing all the dead ends, the failed routes, the bad choices, the fear, the anguish, the whereabouts of everything that did not work? Isn't that the correct and exempt description that would allow verifiability? Was it not the (after) journey (immersion) that one followed that led us to those conclusions? Had we taken a different turn (choice), would we still reach the same conclusions?

Photo slides of notebooks across research: what are they Talk(ing) to Me?

Hard time deciding on colliding rules that govern science... let alone my English skills (un) improvements [note to self: write narrative in language not native to self - translation/meaning/nuance errors; write in one's language - barriers to feedback/localization]! Any actions/ideas of what cold help me stick to writing my argument (aka thesis) bringing the spiral to an halt?

Apr 7, 2011

maravilhosa inquietude

Atenta ao que se vai passando, não querendo saber mais sobre a pensão de alimentos que há 3 anos está em falta, é maravilhoso e inquietante ao mesmo tempo, ouvir uma filha falar em arranjar trabalho para poder prosseguir os seus estudos. Maravilhoso, porque escolheu ficar com quem lhe explicou que detinha menores rendimentos para lhe permitir algo mais que o básico. Inquietante, porque me revisito e sei a disciplina que é necessária para abarcar a vida profissional e os estudos ao mesmo tempo. Não tinha que ser assim mas a vida tem que ser construída, a cada dia, com o que se tem e não com o que se devia ter.

Mar 24, 2011

quote

"Yet there are moments when the walls of the mind grow thin; when nothing is unabsorbed, and I could fancy that we might blow so vast a bubble that the sun might set and rise in it and we might take the blue of midday and the black of midnight and be cast off and escape from here and now." V. Woolf

Mar 16, 2011

Role of paper in disruptions

"People check a posted list of survivors at an evacuation center in Miyagi prefecture's Natori city on Monday, March 14." from CNN

We are well aware of the great uses that information technologies and social networks supported by internet connections have been playing in the last years. Yet, we tend to minimize the role played by paper in times of great disruptions, like the one Japan is going through.

Mar 3, 2011

Visions of single information space

Tom Heath and Christian Bizer (2011) Linked Data: Evolving the Web into a Global Data Space (HTML edition). Synthesis Lectures on the Semantic Web: Theory and Technology, 1:1, 1-136. Morgan & Claypool:
"The World Wide Web has enabled the creation of a global information space comprising linked documents. (...) Linked Data provides a publishing paradigm in which not only documents, but also data, can be a first class citizen of the Web, thereby enabling the extension of the Web with a global data space based on open standards - the Web of Data."

"Just as hyperlinks in the classic Web connect documents into a single global information space, Linked Data enables links to be set between items in different data sources and therefore connect these sources into a single global data space."

Mar 2, 2011

Indústria do Papel

from CEPI

Na Europa, CEPI (Confederation of European Paper Industries) nas Preliminary Stats for 2010 registam aumentos, comparativamente a 2009, apesar da situação macroeconómica. Para estatísticas específicas de papel destinado a impressão, ver CEPIPRINT (Association of European Publication Paper Producers) e CEPIFINE (Confederation of European Fine Paper Industries).

Em portugal, CELPA (Associação da Indústria Papeleira) Boletim Estatístico 2009 (Setembro, 2010) os dados reportados a 2009, registaram aumento da produção em Portugal:
"Em 2009 a produção europeia de pastas para papel desceu 13,5%, sendo Portugal o 4º maior produtor europeu de pasta – com 7,1% do total – e o 3º maior produtor de pastas químicas – com 8,9% de produção. Relativamente à produção de papel, também a Europa viu a sua produção baixar 10,4%, sendo Portugal o 11º maior produtor europeu de papel e cartão – com 1,8% do total - e o 2º maior produtor de papel fino não revestido (UWF) – com 11,6% da produção total." (p.18)
"Neste contexto, em 2009 as empresas portuguesas produtoras de pasta e de papel conseguiram registar um aumento da produção de pastas virgens de 7,9%. (...) Apesar das quebras sentidas, com impacte directo na Rendibilidade das Vendas, que diminuiu de 10,2%, em 2008, para 7,0%, em 2009, o sector está a adaptar-se às mudanças dos mercados e acredita no seu potencial de crescimento a médio/longo prazo." (p.18-19)
Pena que na PORDATA não tenham dados sobre a produção de papel. Faltam-me também aqui estatísticas em termos globais que permitam ter uma noção do consumo de papel ao longo dos anos.

Feb 28, 2011

Opening the source(s) with blogs in research practices

By the time I've started my PhD, I had already used blogs as a research tool for conducting research work, since 2003 [master's degree in Information Studies] not so much as a fieldwork tool, but as a way of registering trails of the research (ongoing information, readings, questions, doubts, ...) that allowed others to  find me and, in turn, due to explicit (comments in blog) or implicit (link back, web bookmarks, citations) conversations allowed me to find them.

Lorenz antropologi.info blog, for long, as been a way for me to feel connected to anthropology developments. Yesterday, while re-reading a recent post about using Comics to present research findings, I've recalled an older post that offered the link to the issues of Opening the source in fieldwork:
"When you do anthropological fieldwork, your main tool is yourself. You participate, you observe and you ask incredible amounts of questions."
I would think this would apply equally well for everyone conducting social science research, either for qualitative or quantitative studies. If for the qualitative paradigm one might not find hard to extend the above citation, it might not be so straight forward for the quantitative research. But it might become clear if one thinks that in quantitative survey instruments, the questions are framed by the researcher, hence the researcher becomes part of the design tool.

Come to think in this terms, all of science is done this way. One of the big differences might be that in anthropological fieldwork the researcher explicitly exposes the self as part of the study (reflexivity) and in other paradigms the researcher is concealed from the reports/narratives of the research, but nevertheless, they are embedded in the research work... and I recall the work of Latour and Wolgar on Laboratory Life: the construction of scientific facts:
"The construction of scientific facts, in particular, is a process of generating texts whose fate (status, value, utility, facticity) depends on their subsequent interpretation."

Feb 16, 2011

Communication history in stamps

Image from Kees Graaff post
Historical narratives of information artefacts, in a collection curated by Kees de Graaff, Communication: a history in stamps.

Feb 14, 2011

Information as thing

In accordance with the view of information as thing by Buckland (1999), the article by Jones, W. (2010, No knowledge but through informationFirst Monday, vol. 15 (9-6), September) brings back the arguments of the need to operate/manage information items and not knowledge: "Knowledge is not a thing to be managed directly. Knowledge is managed only indirectly through information". His view is directed to show that Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) should be viewed as a subset o Personal Information Management (PIM) and not as a higher level approach. 
"The ways in which an item is manipulated will vary depending upon its form and the tools available for this form. The tools used for interaction with paper–based information items include, for example, paper clips, staplers, filing cabinets and the flat surfaces of a desktop. In interactions with digital information items, we depend upon the support of various computer–based tools and applications such as e–mail applications, file managers, Web browsers, and so on. (...) Knowledge as ‘no thing’ cannot be managed directly. If we think we have knowledge ‘at our fingertips’ we are most likely touching information in some form instead. This is not to say that knowledge management is not possible. But we do so through its expression in information. There is no management of knowledge except through the management of information."


In his paper he also evokes a pictorial representation of "[i]nformation management activities viewed as an effort to establish, use and maintain a mapping between needs and information. ["illustration was done by Elizabeth Boling and is a variation of a figure that first appeared in Jones (2008)."]

Could not help myself recalling the nonsense of 'knowledge management' by Tom Wilson (2002), which as always provoked great discussions and food for thought in my journey.

Feb 8, 2011

Common charger

Common charger for mobile phones in Europe:
"Europe's major mobile phone manufacturers have now agreed to adopt a universal charger for data-enabled mobile phones sold in the EU and as of 2011 you will only need one charger for all."
Now just imagine the even bigger relief (individuals, environment, and industry), if for all the technological artefacts that we have (and carry) there was an Universal Common Charger and what it would mean for personal information management (PIM)!

[Note to self: connect to cases accounts of recharging and electric power needs]

Feb 1, 2011

Technology interference in data collection, transcription and analysis

Another number of the Forum Qualitative Social Research is out, and although just gave a superficial reading to the table of contents and one of the contributions, the article by Jeanine Evers seem to answer some of my questions and issues when dealing with the huge amount of visual data (mainly photos) that I've collected for my research:
Evers, Jeanine C. (2011). From the Past into the Future. How Technological Developments Change Our Ways of Data Collection, Transcription and Analysis [94 paragraphs]. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12(1), Art. 38.
The whole issue is dedicated to «Discussions on Qualitative Data Analysis Software by Developers and Users», which should be of interest for many people doing qualitative research and/or developing technological tools for qualitative analysis, reporting «The KWALON Experiment»:
"The KWALON Experiment consisted of five developers of Qualitative Data Analysis (QDA) software analysing a dataset regarding the financial crisis in the time period 2008-2009, provided by the conference organisers. Besides this experiment, researchers were invited to present their reflective papers on the use of QDA software. This introduction gives a description of the experiment, the "rules", research questions and reflective points, as well as a full description of the dataset and search rules used, and our reflection on the lessons learned."

Jan 11, 2011

Europe Digital Agenda - The New Renaissance

"The report urges EU Member States to step up their efforts to put online the collections held in all their libraries, archives and museums. It stresses the benefits of making Europe's culture and knowledge more easily accessible. It also points to the potential economic benefits of digitisation (...) The report's recommendations will feed into the Commission's broader strategy, under the Digital Agenda for Europe, to help cultural institutions make the transition towards the digital age."
"Today europeana.eu already offers access to more than 15 million digitised books, maps, photographs, film clips, paintings and musical extracts, but this is only a fraction of works held by Europe's cultural institutions (see IP/10/1524). Most digitised materials are older works in the public domain, to avoid potential litigation for works covered by copyright."
Elisabeth Niggemann, Jacques De Decker & Maurice Lévy (2011). The New Renaissance. Brussels: Report of the 'Comité des Sages’, Europe.[PDF]

Jan 10, 2011

Access hindrances

In Right to Research Coalition entry (Access Around the World: Portugal) comes a piece of an interview made to a medical student, that elicits difficulties of access to scientific publications:
"While my colleagues and I face a variety of challenges in conducting research, the one I hear complaints about most often is lack of access to the scientific articles we need for our work. Indeed, our institutions have paid for access to the majority of the “relevant” publications, but that gives rise to questions such as, what if I need to work from home where I don’t have access? Or what if other colleagues are using the several school computers, which often happens? Or what if I need to use an article published by a “not so relevant” journal (according to the university), which the school doesn’t pay for? We face these problems and many others when trying to access research."
In the above account of a medical research student, and contrary to common beliefs about b-on, different places allow for different access to scientific papers. The papers that allow us to build on the shoulders of giants (OTSOG). If you are in a University campus like ISCTE, or in a State Laboratory like LNEG or in  University of Minho campus, the access you have to full papers differs (paid subscriptions by each institution are not the same, hence the differences in what one has access). And, if you work on the move (while commuting, travelling, etc.) or outside the campus (home, friends house, public internet spot, etc.) you wont be able to access the full papers, unless you find strategies to «go around» this hindrances. This strategies can be quiet simple or more complex: asking someone on the campus to retrieve the papers for you, search in advance and save/print/email, install a VPN (of course you will need more access passwords, local software installed in your computer/mobile/etc, and even security certificates)... or hack the system, are some of this strategies. All of this consumes (a lot of) time and affects personal information management and related tasks.

This entry was motivated by a Google Alert that I just received about open archives that was linked to the above entry. This in turn stimulated me to write about one of the many invisibilities that I've been researching in the past 4 years, and that are still to see the light of day.

Dec 17, 2010

simple recipe for a Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas...

Christmas is not about decorations, nor about status, money, cars, pearls, technologies or the latest fashion like they try to tell you over and over again in radio, TV or Web advertisements... neither stress (a lot of it consumerism related!). 

Independently from religious views, Christmas is all about reunions, gatherings. It's a psychological time that allows us  meeting together with family and friends. It's about sharing time together. The light motive can be a meal, a late supper (consoada), a xmas lunch, tea or dinner. But it does not matter what you do-not-have. It's all about what you-have, and what you have is what it matters! Use your heart, your availability and your creativity to be together with family and friends. The rest? The rest are inventions of organizations that get rich by exploring your feelings through fabricated ideals of happiness and success. You are smarter than them. Feelings come from the inside. They can not be bought. And you know that.

So keep your heart together and let aside the trivial. If you want decorations, bring out those memory objects that have made up who you are, add your own personal touch with recycled things, invite someone to your house or go to someone else's house. Don't wait to be invited if you think you are alone. Make your own cookies, jam, a bread loaf or your special sauce, and go knock on a neighbor's house, a long time friend, a family member you do not visit for a while, a group of relief workers. Give the gift of time with your heart right open, and have a merry Christmas!

Dec 16, 2010

EIF for EU

European Interoperability Framework for European Public Services (2010). In the annex of the report, they define interoperability as "(...) the ability of disparate and diverse organisations to interact towards mutually beneficial and agreed common goals, involving the sharing of information and knowledge between the organisations, through the business processes they support, by means of the exchange of data between their respective ICT systems."


Further ahead in the report, a reference to paper and face-to-face in the multichannel mix, caught my attention: "Inclusion and accessibility usually involve multichannel delivery. Traditional paper-based or face-to-face service delivery may need to co-exist with electronic delivery, giving citizens a choice of access."
Interoperability EU Timeline Initiatives (2010)

Sep 28, 2010

Resoluções que extinguem

Vai fazer 4 anos que por Resolução do Conselho de Ministros n.º 124/2006 [Diário da República, Série I, de 2006-10-03] se anunciava a reviravolta do sistema dos laboratórios do Estado. Entre muitos outras, lia-se no ponto 5, do anexo:
"É extinto o Instituto Nacional de Engenharia, Tecnologia e Inovação (INETI), sendo os seus recursos científicos e tecnológicos, humanos e materiais reorganizados e integrados noutros laboratórios, centros tecnológicos, instituições de ensino superior e consórcios a criar. Em particular, as infra-estruturas do INETI transformam-se em parque de ciência e tecnologia com a participação e gestão de universidades, laboratórios associados e laboratórios do Estado e alargam-se a parcerias com empresas, no quadro de projectos definidos, organizando-se ainda como espaço de acolhimento de programas europeus de I&D."
  • Para onde foram os «seus recursos científicos»?
  • E os «recursos tecnológicos»?
  • E os «recursos humanos»?
  • Onde está o «parque de ciência e tecnologia com a participação e gestão de universidades, laboratórios associados e laboratórios do Estado»?

Claro está que estas questões não interessam a ninguém. O que interessa não é cuidar das infra-estruturas e da estabilidade necessárias para que se faça ciência, mas sim ficar bem na fotografia e inscrever nas palavras as intenções de actos que nunca irão ver a luz do dia, tornando irreversíveis os danos causados.

Pelo meio, no decurso de 4 longos anos, foram-se perdendo unidades, recursos científicos e tecnológicos. As cerca de 1000 pessoas na altura? Umas foram resistindo, outras cedendo, depois sucumbindo, caindo ou tombando... reconvertendo horizontes científicos em reformas antecipadas, em trabalho administrativo, em fragmentos profissionais, em alternativas à ciência.  Foram-se esvaziando as competências, as capacidades e as equipas que outrora alimentavam e captavam recursos. Os que resistem são menos de 500. Sem novas admissões ou valorização dos que ficam.

O que se ganhou com estas perdas para se sentir que valeu (vale?) a pena: para o país, para a IeD, para o Laboratório, para as unidades, para as equipas e para os reflexos que se fizeram (fazem) sentir na vida de tantos colegas? Quatro anos de transição e a tal «reorganização» ainda por acabar...

[link para o post de 3 de Outubro de 2006, no B2OB: Não basta estar extinto!]

PS [2010, 11 de Outubro]: Recebi (através de um amigo atento) a indicação da publicação em Diário da República da "Lista de Reafectação do Pessoal do INETI ao LNEG". Afinal passámos de cerca de 1000  para 404 efectivos. Ou seja, em 3 anos uma redução de 60% no quadro de pessoal!

Sep 10, 2010

Distance (still) matters!

Olson, Gary M. and Olson, Judith S.(2000). Distance Matters. Human-Computer Interaction, vol. 15(2), pp.139-178.

Contradicting the idea that «Distance is Dead», and supporting with substantive theory in their study, Olson and Olson (2000) clearly show that technological mediated interactions will not completely substitute presence and co-located interactions, even with sophisticated technological use for work: "Distance is not only alive and well, it is in several essential respect immortal" ["(...) synthesized into four key concepts: common ground, coupling of work, collaboration readiness, and collaboration technology readiness"]

Sep 2, 2010

Generability in positivism and interpretivism

Como as questões da generalização continuam na ordem do dia (à mais de 100 anos!), esta entrada pode ser útil para mais pessoas dos sistemas de informação (SI), ou não ;)

Lee, A. S. and Baskerville, R. L. (2003). Generalizing generalizability in information systems research. Information Systems Research, 14(3), pp. 221-243:
"Although Yin’s case research method is considered to be positivist, his concept of analytical generalization has received attention and approval from a prominent interpretive IS researcher,Walsham (1995b). Walsham accepts Yin’s notion of generalizing to theory and extends it to four types of generalization. Walsham explains (pp. 70–80) that, beginning with the facts or the rich description of a case, the researcher can generalize to concepts, to a theory, to specific implications, or to rich insight. All four of Walsham’s examples involve generalizing from empirical statements (reflecting the observations made in a case study) to theoretical statements (concepts, theory ,specific implications,and rich insight).
Klein and Myers (1999) also recognize the process of generalizing from empirical statements to theoretical statements. Whereas they acknowledge that “interpretive research values the documentation of unique circumstances,” they also emphasize, “it is important that theoretical abstractions and generalizations should be carefully related to the case study details as they were experienced and/or collected by the researcher” They add: “The key point here is that theory plays a crucial role in interpretive research,and clearly distinguishes it from just anecdotes” (p. 75). For them,generalizing from idiographic details to theory is so important that they elevate it to one of their seven principles for assessing interpretive field work: The principle of abstraction and generalization." (p. 234)
Yin, R. K. (2009). Case Study Research: Design and Methods (Applied Social Research Methods). Sage Publications, Inc, 4th edition.

Klein, H. K. and Myers, M. D. (1999). A set of principles for conducting and evaluating interpretive field studies in information systems. MIS Quarterly, 23(1), pp.67-93.

Eisenhardt, K. M. (1989). Building theories from case study research. The Academy of Management Review, 14(4), pp.532-550.

Walsham, G. (2006). Doing interpretive research. European Journal of Information Systems, 15(3), pp.320-330. [have no full access to the mentioned paper of Walsham, but this 2006 paper, by the same author, expands on the 1995 paper mentioned above]

Aug 16, 2010

semantics to pragmatics

Olsen et al (1998). Full Text Searching and Information Overload. The International Information & Library Review, vol. 30(2), pp. 105-122:
"While the tools for writing, storing, disseminating and retrieving documents have undergone a revolution in the last few decades, reading is still a very slow process. For practical reasons, we are forced to determine a working set size, i.e., the number of documents that we can handle."
(...) 
"By combining metadata and subject terms in a vector-based information space, visualization may give us the opportunity to handle larger document collections and to help the user to find the documents that are most likely to satisfy an information need defined on a pragmatic level."

Aug 11, 2010

faraway nearness

Kenneth J. Gergen (2000). Technology, Self and the Moral Project. in Identity and Social Change, p.146:
"Two virtual places may be "separated" by only a keystroke, but their inhabitants will never meet."

Aug 6, 2010

work transitions

"One of the barriers to making sense of current workplace* trends is simply coming to terms with the terminology." (WORKS site, 2008)

The transformation of work in a global knowledge economy: towards a conceptual framework is the .pdf edited version of the need for "a glossary of key terms and concepts", made collaboratively in an European project, WORKS - Changes in Work.
"In the transitional labour market perspective, it is argued that there is a new labour market in which, ‘individuals are more and more confronted with so-called transitions-shifts from work to care, to other work, to education, that might occur sequentially, but also simultaneously’ (Schmid, 2000; see also Bannick, Trommel & Hoogenboom, 2005)." (p.34)
[Note to self]: see Gunther Schmid (2005), Transitional labour markets: a new European employment strategy, pointing out the "four main pathways between standard employment and other statuses. These are: the education-to-work transition; the transition between unemployment and work; the transition between unpaid work and paid work; and the transition to retirement." that are explained in another background paper by Ziguras, Stephen; Considine, Mark; Hancock, Linda; Howe, Brian (2004), From risk to opportunity: labour markets in transition: background paper.


* My stroke in the original word workplace to stress that this problem concerns many other trends.

Jul 7, 2010

mobilities open data collection

Reading Timothy Cresswell (2006), On the Move, and continuing with visual data collection of information artefacts that people carry (including mine) over time.

Not all data collected for my study is open (following participants will) but the ones that are open keep me wondering why they attract so many visitors. Always thought that only me and the people that are participating in the study would have any interest in the photos. Curiosity? An opportunity to look inside private places?

Implications for the study still need to be fully understood, namely the ones that deal with the agents awareness of wider visibility and interest in the photos, beyond research purposes.

Jun 23, 2010

will you?

Metcalfe, Mike (2003). Author(ity): The Literature Review as Expert Witnesses [45 paragraphs]. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 4(1), Art. 18, [40 paragraph]:
"My excuse for not presenting any authors' credentials is that I am not saying, "X is true because Smith said so." I hoped I was merely letting the reader know where I sourced an interesting idea and implicitly where they might look if they want to read more on the topic. LATOUR (1987) suspects that most of you will not."

May 30, 2010

we all need to write our stories

Choosing the pieces we have designed, collected, created, lived, experienced, exchanged... felt! It's as much an act of making sense as it is of obliteration for everything that could or should be there but will not be found on the text... in a never ending exercise, each time we need to write it down for us, for someone else or for others. 

May 17, 2010

Today tertúlia...

... Armazém F, with António Câmara. I'll be there because of sixth sense, because of Ydreams, because it's organized by APDSI, and because it's food for though ;)

Mar 5, 2010

transdisciplinarity is about transgressing boundaries

"Here I want to assert that knowledge, as well as expertise, is inherently transgressive. Nobody has anywhere succeeded for very long in containing knowledge. Knowledge seeps through institutions and structures like water through the pores of a membrane. Knowledge seeps in both directions, from science to society as well as from society to science. It seeps through institutions and from academia to and from the outside world. Transdisciplinarity is therefore about transgressing boundaries. Institutions still exist and have a function. Disciplines still exist and new ones arise continuously from interdisciplinary work."

Feb 16, 2010

Visual Research Conference

For some time now that i feel that i need to know more about the use of visuals for research. Lack of «local» peers to talk about the use visuals in research and the implications of those for the research design, have made me go back to readings... but never really able to discuss what I read.

Just now, a friend of mine, also doing her research, sent me a link to Visual Sociology. They have an open call (till March 30) for an event that will take place in Bologna, July 20-22, this year.

Apart from not knowing how can I afford going in there, the main issue is getting to prepare my contribution and facing that this would be a great opportunity to learn with other people using visuals for research... and a great opportunity to change my long time fears of talking about my work that turn into procrastination.
Although all sessions are interesting, the ones that address more questions I've been doing to myself are:

«Theory of the image»:
- Panel 1, Visual Mobile Landscapes, because it addresses the issues concerning how mobility is perceived (or mobilities like explained in Urry). I'm not only dealing with artefacts (mobile phones being one of them) but I'm also trying to «capture» what kind of mobilities do workers face for getting work done and how do they perceive it. Historical context is also of important and it is addressed.
- Panel 2, Sociology of the Visual, would be great when I can present the results of my research. But I would like to be expose to research done using visuals in order to have a feel of the problems, solutions and options that people using it as a method face.

«Methodology»
- Panel 7, Integrating fieldwork methodologies using Net and its Tools, cause I feel that I don't need to be re-inventing the wheel when finding/learning how to use existing tools and adapting them to my ongoing needs (although it is one of the things that I like most and that also contributes for what others perceive as procrastination)
- Panel 10, Methodological issues of Visual Data Collection, Production and Presentation, cause I have accumulated so many questions during visual data collection and accompanying readings that I feel like jelly when it turns out to justify the need of visuals as an integral part of the basis of my research set in Information Systems.

«Fieldwork»
- Panel 22, Doing Work, a lot of issues in here, but one of the main connections is about «visible» and «(un)visible» work. When we use visuals we bring the «unvisible» visible by way of image... I'm also dealing with use of information artefacts in «private spaces» that by way of documenting visuals become not-private anymore. «Doing work» anywhere is also an issue for conducting fieldwork and, more often then not, I keep asking myself how to have a more robust work?...

And also the panel 27, that deals with representations in visual research and the need for reflexivity. Trying to address this on my research by expliciting my practices, making visuals of my own artefacts in work context but still, not knowing how to integrate that as part of one of the research layers.

Jan 29, 2010

continuous present

Sarah Pink (2009). Doing Visual Ethnography. Sage, p.150:

"When a photograph is situated in the present tense and is treated as a realist representation, a particular relationship between the text, the image and the ethnographic context is constructed. The specificity of the photographic moment, set in the past, is lost and instead the photograph is situated in a continuous present."

Nov 20, 2009

social artefacts

From ongoing research project Networks and Mobility in Everyday life: Gustavo Cardoso, Maria do Carmo Gomes, Rita Espanha and Vera Araújo (200?), Mobile Society: mobile phones and social change 2006-2008
"Although cell phones are usually considered mere instruments at their owners’ service, they are also social artifacts. As a communication channel, they support the relationship with others. But, more than this, cell phones communication patterns is influenced by the social context in which it is used, and, as it can be activated from anywhere, at any time, cell phones took up also an active social role. But who communicates with whom? What is the structure of social networks created by communication through cell phones? Is cell phones use connected to a borderline blur between social contexts and individual practices, as our daily roles intertwine?"
(...)
"The present study allowed evaluating the level of Portugal involvement in the Mobile Communication Society, highlighting the main differences between socio demographic groups within the area of several use contexts. On the other hand, it contributed to identify user profiles, enabling to foresee the development path on this sector, where everyday new possibilities emerge. Its major contribution will be perhaps the opening of a discussion about the need to analyze mobility role in general, and cell phones in particular, in today’s society."
in LINI - Lisbon Internet and Networks Institute

Nov 19, 2009

"Does this sound familiar?"

A piece by Nick Wingfield, on the Wall Street Journal (found via Lilia in my Friendfeed :):
"At the office, you've got a sluggish computer running aging software, and the email system routinely badgers you to delete messages after you blow through the storage limits set by your IT department. Searching your company's internal Web site feels like being teleported back to the pre-Google era of irrelevant search results. At home, though, you zip into the 21st century." [added the bold]
It's also an evidence based on the data I'm collecting. But not in the Information Systems literature, where the research work «assumes» that workers use (only) the organizational  systems to get work done. «Assumes» in here refers to the fact that personal artefacts are not part of the conceptual models of Information Systems (IS) nor are the other spaces that workers use to get work done. Maybe this can be seen as deliberate absence of something (John Law, 2004).

Nov 16, 2009

Inforgs for The Edge Informavore

Food for though: discussions on The Edge have the transcript of a talk with Frank Schirrmacher, The Age of the Informavore ["The term informavore characterizes an organism that consumes information. It is meant to be a description of human behavior in modern information society, in comparison to omnivore, as a description of humans consuming food."], and short note to bring Luciano Floridi Inforgs to The Edge discussion.

Luciano Floridi (2009). The Philosophy of Information, its Nature and Future Developments. Special issue of The Information Society, dedicated to "The Philosophy of Information, its Nature and Future Developments", vol. 25(3):
"We become mass-produced, anonymous entities among other anonymous entities, exposed to billions of other similar inforgs online. So we self-brand and re-appropriate ourselves in cyberspace by blogs and facebook entries, homepages, youtube videos, and flickr albums. We use and expose information about ourselves to become less informationally indiscernible."
Inforg, connected informational organisms. Detailed explanation in Floridi, L. (2007), "A Look into the Future Impact of Ict on Our Lives", The Information Society, vol. 23(1), pp. 59-64.
"The most obvious way in which the new ICTs are re-ontologizing the infosphere concerns (a) the transition from analogue to digital data and then (b) the ever-increasing growth of our digital space."
"(...) a quieter, less sensational and yet crucial and profound change in our conception of what it means to be an agent. We are all becoming connected informational organisms (inforgs). This is happening not through some fanciful transformation in our body, but, more seriously and realistically, through the re-ontologization of our environment and of ourselves."

---------------------
Would like very much to connect to Leonor's thoughts about PI and listen to her reflections about it. Are you there?...

Nov 5, 2009

Why Personal Information Management (PIM) matters?

“Learning to be intelligent starts by learning to manage information.” Choo, 2003

Nov 3, 2009

open data [collection]

In my social network, Ton as been the person that as thought me a great deal about the usefulness of Open Data (OD), although he might not be aware of that [conversations with Lilia :)]. First thoughts I had about open data concerned my research activity and what it meant in terms of ethical issues namely, protection of human subjects, if I was to share the collected data and not because I have any personal problem in sharing.

I believe in sharing but I also believe that we should talk more about open data in research, in social sciences and ethical issues in particular. Apart from changing research behaviours, we are still collecting data from real people and we need to know more about it so we can still protect human subjects, while conducting our research. But then, if we treat them as participants and not as subjects, does it change our obligations to protect them? As researchers, we are responsible to conceal information that our participants have given us, and that we think in our judgement it might be harmful for them, are we not? [side question: if/when methods are given by a science researcher, will the teacher warn students about human research ethics?]

While studying organizations, in order to increase access to study people in organization(s), the researcher or team can decide, à priori, to grant anonymity and restrictions on the data set. This situation can even mean that the leading researcher will sign a declaration guarantying that the data collected in the study will only be used for that specific study. Following this guidelines, is expected to increase the organization trust on the researcher(s). On the other hand, if we are receiving public or European funding, it makes sense that deliverables, papers and data are given back to the society, hence open source, open access, open data and in general, the open movement shift that we have been witnessing from some time.

In order to use open data in social studies, one must incorporate this view while thinking about the research design to define what's going to be part of the open data set. We know that our choices, always determine what we will get and how we can get it. We have also to think about when to give access to the data collected. The social side of research means that releasing the data during the study can influence the behaviour of the people we are studying and hence affect the study results. Besides data, there are so many of us using social tools in the research processes (flickr for easy of coding photos, citeUlike for papers collection, blogs for work in progress, slideshare for...) maybe we just have to make it part of the study...

Funny, when I though of this post I just wanted to do a quick note about the Open Data Kit (*) as useful tools for collecting data during fieldwork... and ended up making my 15 minutes exercise in a public post ;)
_______________________________________
(*) So, the tools currently available on the Open Data Kit (ODK), according to the information in the project page:

  • ODK Collect - phone based replacement for paper forms, built on the Android platform. It can collect a variety of form data types, like text, location, photos, video, audio, and barcodes. This functionality could be very useful for fieldwork data collection in social science studies.
  • ODK Aggregate - although not officially launched, it "provides a ready to deploy online repository to store, view and export collected data (...) and enables free hosting of data on Google", if one can does not have the required housing infrastructure.
  • ODK Manage - for managing the transfer of forms, data and applications between the mobile phone devices, using SMS.
  • ODK Validate - serves to validate and ensure the forms work well with all the ODK tools.
  • ODK Voice - also not officially launched, it facilitates "(...) mapping XForms to sound snippets that can be played over a "robo" call to any phone. Responses are collected using the phone's keypad (DTMF) and are automatically aggregated."

Oct 21, 2009

life

"Queria convencer-me que tudo dura para sempre, mas tudo tem um fim. Na verdade, nada dura mais do que um instante a não ser aquilo que guardamos na nossa memória (...)" Sam Savage (2009), Firmin
ICT have changed how we keep our memories. How do those external memories change our life?

Aug 31, 2009

idiosyncrasies and information behaviour in teams

Hyldegård, J. (2009). "Personality traits and group-based information behaviour: an exploratory study" Information Research, 14(2) paper 402:
"(...) Many studies exist on information behaviour in groups or teams (e.g., Case 2007), and a number of influencing variables have been identified, such as role, complexity of work task and social cost. Building upon this previous research it is hypothesised that the mere group setting in focus here will influence as well as mediate between individuals’ personality traits and their information behaviour."

Aug 25, 2009

when silence can mean a million things...

... and «talking» mean an empty life

I've been trying to learn how interactions between two people work in an era of perpetual contact (Katz & Aakhus, 2002) and I'm puzzled by the meanings of silence and how people seem to manage it in such elaborate ways. This seems to add new layers to the old communication paradigms, that were, mostly, based on face to face (f2f) interactions. It does not stop amazing me that, with all the communication channels available, it gets harder for people to get (and stay) together. And I keep thinking of a million things, but writing only a few that keep coming to my mind:
  • The elaboration of the mediated self, seems to be consuming all the time people have and detracting them for experiencing the, what might seem, the limitation of the physical world
  • Fears of failing in a world where people can bump into one another without being able to hold to a more controlled information space where they decide and control what is said and to whom, in their own grounds... and if they don't know something, they can always google it for staying better in the picture
  • The accelerated perception that people seem to feel that they have seen it all, that they can classify everything and that they can know everything, just because they can read it in words, in images or sound somewhere on the web
  • Hindering their capacity to marvel in face of serendipitous otherness discovery from casual encounters, just by feeling good by enjoying all the senses around «just a cup a coffee»
  • A need to accelerate the sense of «knowing someone» without the time required to «get to know someone» in different life stages, besides the digital ensemble ones
  • The perceive need to «say and show everything», taking away the magic of the exercise needed to play out with clues and trying to figure out what might the other be
  • The excessive ritualization where people really have to construct elaborate scripts to have «casualty encounters»
  • A sense of competitive «market for friends» in which if one does not became «friend» there will be millions of others in line that will
  • Growing difficulty to spot the genuine
I long for other rhythms. The kind that makes one feel happier for not needing to use technology for mediation of loneliness and emptyness.

Jul 30, 2009

technologies as cultural artefacts

Cornford, Tony (2003) Information systems and new technologies: Taking shape in use. In: Avgerou, Chrisanthi and La Rovere, Renata Lèbre, (eds.) Information systems and the economics of innovation, pp. 162-177.

Woolgar, Steve (1996). Technologies as Cultural Artefacts. In Dutton, William and Peltu, H. Malcolm, (eds.) Information and communication technologies, pp. 87-102.

Jul 28, 2009

a litle bit later...

... a friend came by. We stayed in the winter garden. We talked less than we usually do when we are together. Coffee in the table. Talking about research work. Talking about life. Back to working again. Each one, facing it's own computer.

Inside I'm thinking about the meaning of live. A much to big question. Start to think that is easier if I just think about the meaning of live for me. Guess I'm starting to understand that the meaning of life is loving passionately. When we love someone or something, we can build dreams. Inside us grows a force that tells us that we can make anything. Everything. Must be the reason why people in love feel younger, rejuvenated, energized.

We talk again. The sound of typing in each computer and the clicks on her mouse, must be a sign that we are both working. I light another cigarette... Way to many in this last days! I go on thinking about love and the meaning of life, and how we need to love and feel loved. This must be a to often talked about topic. But my mind wants me to go on. My fingers are doing the typing. And that makes me feel like working. I'm not. Sometimes, we just have to keep on. Typing, you know. Even if nothing comes out, they say we have to keep typing. I wonder. I keep typing, nevertheless.

Back to thinking about what's the meaning of life. No. Back to thinking about what's the meaning of my existence. Thoughts like these should have ended long ago in my teenage years. It seems not. Forty one years, and now I don't have an answer. Funny to think that in the meantime, along the way, I thought I had the answers. The effort we put on reconstructing, all the way, the meaning of our lives in such a delicate balance. Sometimes, without anticipation, they simply disappear. Collapse. Maybe we can't just remember. Maybe it's just a system malfunction. Maybe some events trigger these kind of thoughts. Mid life crises. If only I could be just a label, life would carry on. Normal. Usual.

Back from thinking, still in the winter garden. Just some sounds. We're both still working. Well, at least we are both still looking into our computers and typing. The sound of the mouse is louder. So is the sound of typing. We must be both working hard... because that's the only sound in here. Now we don't talk. I go make us more coffee. Maybe it will keep us typing longer. And we talk about the coffee and then get back to working (or should I say, back to typing). So many things that need not to be said when we are with a long time friend. Life, sometimes, does not look easy. We keep on. We must all keep on. We clinch to dreams. Dreaming is good. I need those to keep running. But I'm tired...

Had I been dreaming all along? How can a dream, so delightful, so long awaited for, can be taken back? My mind tries to recreate past events. Memorable. Are they real? They must have been. They are so vivid in my mind that they seem real. Once upon a time, there was a women who worked in a Government Research Lab. An ordinary women, working in an extraordinary place. There was not a single day that matched the previous one(s). Everyday had something special. Something unique, that needed to be learnt and shared... [...].

No. It was a dream, I'm sure. There's no trace of that place. Went looking for the office that faced the private garden, with the books on the shelves, the green plants, the mind map pieces glued on the door, the traces of past, present and future projects, the energetic team, all the partners involved in the projects, the working, the challenges.... nothing. None of those things exist. But if those 5 years, were but a dream, what was I doing during that time? Why do I keep pretending that they are still there? Why does my mind keeps convincing me that they existed?... I must be tired.

Have to think about getting back to life (whatever that is)! In the mean time, maybe I get to live another dream and my mind can fly away from all the reality that is sucking me.