Book Notes- Measuring Behaviour: An Introductory Guide – Martin and Bateson

Martin, P. and Bateson, P. (1991). Measuring behaviour: An introductory guide (2nd ed.) New York, NY: Cambridge University Press

Measuring Behaviour, was a book I picked up because I was interested in investigating methods for measuring behavior via survey. The book serves that purpose poorly, but does provide a solid introduction to measuring the behavior of animals. Which really has nothing to do with my own research interests.

One of the most useful sections will be the beginning, particularly the books opening salvo. Why measure behavior?

“In addition to ints intrinsic interest, the study of behaviour is both intellectually challenging and practically important. Animas use their freedom to move and interact, both with their environments and with one another, as one  of the most important ways in which they adapt themselves to the conditions in which they live.” 1991, p 1.

The above is particularly useful when we add in, The Science of the Artificial’s perspective.[ I don’t have that book on my person at this moment and so will elaborate further in a moment].

The other factor that I found useful was the fact that each chapter had a suggested further reading section that served as a capstone. This provides contextual analysis linking, works cited to the content of the chapter directly. This introductory pointers to those conducting the sort of research described by Martin and Bateson, is probably invaluable, but not really my bag. However, these insights are buttressed by an annotated bibliography, which I found to be useful in and of itself.

The bulk of the book describes measurement, and qualification of behavior, as well as statistical methods for understanding it, many of which were not supremely relevant to my interest in the book, however I kept with it because where there was insight it was very useful. Particularly, there was an interesting discussion on describing behavior at the start of chapter 4. Here Martin and Bateson distinguish between describing the structure, or physical characteristics of a behavior, and the consequences, or effect of the behavior. This distinction is probably important, and also illuminating is the lack of motivation in describing behavior. They also do a good job laying out how behavior can be measured using the following categories; latency, frequency, duration, and intensity. These measurements can occur over long durations and be a state, or can be short, and spaced forming events. Of course as this book is concerned with Ethology, or the study of behavior the authors always stress careful science.


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Book Notes: Interviewing as Qualitative Research – Seidman

Seidman, I. E. (1991). Interviewing as Qualitative Research. New York, NY: Teachers College Press

Interviewing as Qualitative Research is a good book on those interested in research using interviews of any type. It’s most useful, however, for those interested in phenomenological interviews based on biographical narratives. Even if that’s not your cup of tea, and it is certainly not mine, the volume is an accessible quick read, with several good tips for those interested in interviewing.

The particular method of interviewing and data analysis is not relevant to my own interests, which lie in a more expertise and behavioral analysis context. However I found every chapter except for chapter 2, which is a direct split between the authors interests and my own, to be valuable. Particularly Chapters 1 and 3. Other readers may be interested in Chapters 6 and 7 which discuss the technique of interviewing and the management of relationships between the interviewee and interviewer.

Those who find resonance in the text will also want to look up, Patton’s Qualitative evaluation methods (1989), published by Sage, which is heavily referenced through out the text. I have a copy on my desk but haven’t yet delved into it. Chapter 3, is about structuring a research proposal. This chapter heavily references Locke, Spirduso, and Silverman’s (1987), Proposals that work.

One reason why I picked up this text in the first place is my interest in the rational of interviewing, and the way that context shapes constraints in the interview process. This is largely dealt with in chapters 1 of the book. However, Seidman’s contexts are very different from the ones that I am interested in investigating. While this pushes their constraints in a very different direction, some of the fundamental contexts for choosing interviewing is the same. As Seiderman argues:

“Every word that people use in telling their stories is an microcosm of their consciousness (Vygotsky, 1987, pp. 236-237). Individuals’ consciousness gives access to the most complicated social and educational issues, because social and educational issues are abstractions based on the concrete experience of people.” Seidman, 1991, p. 1

While, I have some issue with the constraints of this quote, if you interject information in the middle of the quote and add in the context of McLuhan and Orr around literacy, at the end, I think you get something that is very usable. Interviewing as articulated with a slight alteration allows us through the words of the interviewee to illuminate complicated social and informational issues through the experience of that individual.

Another interesting section in the first chapter is on the purpose of interviewing. Seidman argues that the fundamental interest in conducting interviews is an interest in understanding the experiences of other people and the meaning they make of/from those experiences. Seidman also argues that by reflectively understanding our limits to understanding we can still strive to understand people by their actions. This fits very well into the larger metaphysical assumptions I make about the world. Seidman thinks that interviewing provides access to the context of peoples behavior and that is provides a missing component that allows us to construct meaning out of that behavior. A note I made here seems to indicate that while this is interesting to me, my own research seems to be more driven by context and aboutness. It’s been a few weeks since I read this section so I am not quite sure if this is indeed what I meant or if it was meant as a commentary on Seidman’s views. That their work was less about meaning actually and more about interrogating context and aboutness behind affect in educational situations.

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Information wants to be free

Information wants to be free… or so goes the quote. Where you find attribution it is often attributed to Stuart Brand. So it is, right there in a transcript from one of the first Hackers’ Conferences. Stuart Brand and Steve ‘The Woz’ Wozniak discussing and out it comes. Not in the package you think you know, because that would be 1) easy and 2) naive, but as a nuanced quote, and expression of paradox.

“On the one hand information wants to be expensive, because it’s so valuable. The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So you have these two fighting against each other.” Brand, S., 1985 p. 49.

As interesting is what The Woz rejoins with,

“Information should be free, your time shouldn’t.” Wozniak S., 1985, p. 49

Food for thought information wants to be free, information wants to be expensive, and your time should not be free.


Discussions from the hackers’ conference, November 1984. The Whole Earth Review. May. 45-55

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Back in the saddle


If you follow the links in the previous post you will likely discover… well, they’re dead Jim. This is because web hosting is expensive, and also I realized somewhere along the line that I was doing a web based portfolio all wrong. That’s also why I made some structural changes to this blog as well.

Anyway, I’m reviving this blog, because people will likely be coming here more in the months to come. Like in the past I will be posting first to my blogspot blog, of the same name, and then cross posting. This arrangement works well for everyone, as I tend to post the highest quality and edited things here… except for this, this was completely off the cuff.



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A Wild New Site


Recently I’ve been a bit absent from the blog while I’ve been working on somethings in the background. Some of those things haven’t congealed yet, but I’m happy to announce that one of the has. I’m happy to announce that I have a new site, A Wild Book Chase.

A Wild Book Chase, represents a centralization of my web presence. Previously I’ve been using this site as a showcase, and using a blogger site or the lion share of my blogging. With the launch of A Wild Book Chase, I have merged the two on a Drupal site. In addition to blogging and pointing out my own cleverness, I will also be posting a large section of my, Bibliography of Science Fiction Translated into English, and creating a U.S. Government Information Pathfinder 2.0.

I’ll keep this site up as long as it remains free, but in all likelihood this will be my last update.



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This is the remix…

Well, not really.

But I am currently in the process of centralizing my web presence on a new hosted Drupal 7 site. As I’ve been working on the project, I’ve been writing some blog posts that I hope to share with you soon.

The reason for the switch is in large part driven by the easy of converting my bibliographic work into a web based framework. Drupal’s flexibility and database oriented architecture should also make maintaining and updating such resources easier. Plus those resources should also be more usable.

For now, I’m going to take down the government information guide, and a few other pieces of content. They’ll be the first things I rebuild in the new site.

Catch you on the flip side


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Forbes Flub

I have a new post over at my blog addressing the recent ranking of a Masters in a library related field as the worst one to get by Forbes. I’m really excited to hear that a lot of people have like it. It’s by far my most popular non-hack library school post to date.

Running business well relies on having good information. Forbes as a business publication should probably be doing a better job checking it’s facts. You can make an argument, as Forbes does that MLISs are a bad degree, you’d be using the wrong information to do it though.

Read the rest here!

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Notes From The Frontline – A Sample

Crossposted from

Below is an example of what I have been working on. As my search for Science Fiction translated into English begins to slow down and reach completion (at least as close as I can get). I’ve been pulling entries from my database out into a Microsoft Word document and preparing my manuscript. I’ve chosen Swedish as my sample entry because it is brief but also high lights some of the features of my work. Where I have had comments about the general publishing trends in a particular language, I have noted them at the top before any entries. Where I am able to categories a collection I have included categories as well as an abstract. When the bibliography is complete I hope to have annotations for all entries as well as categories listed for every novel and as many of the collections and anthologies as possible.


Scandinavian genera fiction has garnered significant attention as Steig Larson’s Millennial Trilogy has dominated the best seller list. There are several other well know mystery writer writing in Norwegian and Finnish as well. This attention has not as of yet translated into a publishing boom, however, Scandinavia has a thriving Science Fiction Community. Mikael Niemi, is one example of how Scandinavian authors are encountering Science Fiction and bending its tropes to their own creative will.
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The Science Fiction and Fantasy Translation Awards

This post is crossposted from my blog at blogspot of the same name.

As many of you know (at this point) I am working on a bibliography of Science Fiction translated into English, published between 2006 and 2010. One resource I have relied on is the Science Fiction And Fantasy translation Awards website. On June 16th, the awards were announced at Eurocon in Stockholm, Sweden. The creation of this award will I believe be instrumental in helping more translated works get published. It will also help create an incentive for translators to be recognized in indexing and creating metadata for magazines publishing Science Fiction. As it stands now translators can easily slip away into the sands of history. I want to applaud the members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Translation Awards board, and wish them success in continuing this years success forward.

The results of the first Science Fiction and Fantasy Translation Awards:

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Notes From The Front Line – The Hospital Waiting Room

This post is crossposted from my blog at blogspot of the same name.

I got sick as a teenager and had to spend a lot of time in the hospital. For about a year or so I lived my life to its timetable. That meant a lot of hurry up and wait. Hurry to get to the hospital for the appointment, about an hour away in traffic, than wait for x doctor or y procedure. I’m beginning to find that compiling this bibliography is the same way.

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