[SIGCIS-Members] SIGCIS public presence / media page

Thomas Haigh thaigh at computer.org
Tue Nov 25 15:59:07 PST 2014

A few thoughts related to the idea of moving images on the site:


·         Re the moving images, once we upgrade Drupal I think this will be easy to support. 

·         For sources of images, there are a number of ENIAC images proclaimed as public domain by the US Army. http://ftp.arl.army.mil/ftp/historic-computers/ I also took some close ups of ENIAC tubes and computers on exhibit in various places, which I could provide. 

·         CHM has a great image collection, and we could probably borrow some from there.



From: Rebecca Slayton [mailto:rs849 at cornell.edu] 
Sent: Thursday, November 20, 2014 4:38 PM
To: members at sigcis.org
Cc: Evan Koblentz; Andrew Russell; thaigh at computer.org; Subramanian, Ramesh Prof.; chris.leslie at nyu.edu
Subject: SIGCIS public presence / media page


Hello everyone,


Several of us have been talking about how SIGCIS can better reach its various publics, and we are looking for feedback on the following options. I have bolded some questions that we hope you will address, ideally in a message to me (rs849 at cornell.edu) rather than the whole list, so that we don’t subject everyone to a deluge! I will compile responses after one week or so, so if possible please reply by November 28.


Since SIGCIS is a volunteer organization, and therefore can’t do anything too labor-intensive, we will likely start small. In addition to the bolded questions below, please also let us know which of the following options you think should have the greatest priority.

1.       We are considering creating a media page that would trumpet our collective expertise a bit, and be directed to (at least) three potential constituencies: journalists and other popular writers; lawyers seeking expert witnesses; and contractors looking for professional historians. At a minimum, it would include a keyword searchable “experts directory” which would link to the profiles generated and maintained by the SIGCIS membership. For an example, see http://cisac.fsi.stanford.edu/people/mediaguide Note that this would rely upon members keeping their profiles up to date! Should we create this media page and send periodic reminders that members should update their profiles?

2.       The media page could include a menu of “topics” linked to specific experts. This menu could be a simple dropdown (as shown here http://cisac.fsi.stanford.edu/people/mediaguide ) or a page displaying all areas at once, ideally with images (as shown here http://cisac.fsi.stanford.edu/research ) This prompts (at least) two questions.

o   Would you like the media page to include a topics list or not? If so, what topics would you suggest? 

o   How should members be linked to topics? If members are allowed to link themselves to the topics of their choosing, we risk the occasional person claiming more expertise than is warranted. Alternately, members could request an administrator or group of administrators to add links to specific topics, vetting the requests very lightly. This latter option would ideally include an explicit basis for creating and/or refusing a linkage (even if refusals were very occasional). A relevant peer reviewed publication (PhD dissertations included) is one potential criterion; others could be proposed.

3.       The media page could include a field in which individuals could pose questions, which would be vetted by an administrator and then sent to the list if appropriate. We would want to include explicit language to deter high schoolers and others looking a quick answer to homework questions, etc.

4.       The media page could include a link to a page on “Popular controversies in computer history,” which Evan Koblentz has generously volunteered to help create and manage. This would give the membership some opportunity to address factual questions or clear problems in the popular literature, hopefully without appearing too pedantic and without obscuring the very real ambiguities that come up in historical records and interpretation. If you would like to see this page created, what controversies would you like to see included, and what content could you contribute?

5.       We could make the SIGCIS homepage AND the media page more visually appealing by scrolling through some pictures related to our topics (for an example of a homepage that scrolls through automatically, see http://cisac.fsi.stanford.edu/ the difference is we’d want something that represents our topics; pictures of ourselves would likely go elsewhere on the site). Do you have any images that we could use without running into expensive copyright issues?


Obviously there are many other options and models out there, but hopefully this can get the conversation started. Please let us know your thoughts  on which of these options we should, and should not, be pursuing (and with what priority). Thanks!



(with the help of Evan Koblentz, Tom Haigh, Andy Russell, Ramesh Subramanian, and Chris Leslie)


Rebecca Slayton

Assistant Professor, Cornell University

Department of Science & Technology Studies

Judith Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies

334 Rockefeller Hall | Fax 607-255-6044

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