Tag Archives: media

LIVE 24/7: two cartoons from Iraq

15 Nov

The times have gone, when a social approach to art history was able to produce such classics as Arnold Hauser‘s Social History of Art, and yet – no doubt thanks to my library work within the social sciences – I am always fascinated by (contemporary) works of art that know how to address broader issues than only aesthetic/poetic ones.

Here follows an example from political cartoonist Abdul Raheem Yassir’s work, seen (and photographed) last month at the Iraqi Pavilion at the 55th “Biennale di Venezia”: present-day media pervasiveness and our (active) role therein are finely addressed by both cartoons.

Abdul Raheem Yassir Tank

Abdul Raheem Yassir Interview


The autumn of information literacy (2): subject search in LexisNexis

8 Nov

Just as with the previous ‘autumn’ post on statistics, the aim of the present one is to illustrate a specific search need (news on a topic, in the case of LexisNexis Academic), building both on older posts on this issue and on several questions from UvA students and staff I have been dealing with in the course of 2013.

Let’s say I want to search both US and Dutch News for articles on youth and the media. Some English search terms I may come up with for the two concepts are the following:

– youth, girl, boy, teen, teenager, adolescent, child, toddler, baby, infant

– media, internet, social media, games, twitter, facebook, television, film, book, reading, digital, Ipad, computer, tablet, pc, socialbesitas, chat, webcam, groom, cyberbullying, multitasking

LexisNexis will in most cases automatically search for spelling variants singular/plural, i.e. ‘girl’ searches ‘girls’ as well, but ‘child’ does not search for ‘children’. Being an exclamation mark the character accepted by LexisNexis for replacing any number of letters at the end of a word, the search strings I am going to use in the database in order to fetch all (plural) variants look therefore like these (complete with the OR connectors):

– youth OR girl OR boy OR teen OR teenager OR adolescent OR child! OR toddler OR baby OR infant

– media OR internet OR social media OR games OR twitter OR facebook OR television OR film OR books OR reading OR digital OR Ipad OR computer OR tablet OR pc OR socialbesitas OR chat! OR webcam! OR groom! OR cyberbullying OR multitask!

After having selected the sources I want to search (Major US Newspapers; screenshot A, 1 to 5, click to enlarge), I will combine the above search strings with each other in Power Search, also adding the following three “Subjects” from the Index Terms: adolescents, children, students & student life, and thereafter choosing for Match any terms (screenshot B-C, 6 to 9).

subject search LN A

subject search LN B

Thereafter I will most likely want to limit the search by date (screenshot C, 10) and I may want to limit it by section as well, i.e. determine in which part(s) of the article my search is performed: HEADLINE or HLEAD (headline + first paragraph) being two interesting options (screenshot C, 11).

subject search LN C

What about Dutch news or, more generally speaking, news in other languages than English? The major difference is that the use of Index Terms (needless to say: particularly helpful when searching for a topic) is not possible, since such terms are not added to most non-English sources in LexisNexis.

After having the search strings translated into the preferred language and matched them to the relevant sources (same steps needed as for the example above), my best option is to limit the search by section, with HLEAD as favourite option (screenshot D). Practical applications of this strategy, just as of the one described for the news in English, so far confirm it as convenient for finding relevant newspapers articles on a given subject with LexisNexis Academic.

Should any reader, who has not only been patient enough to read the whole post, but has also got any clue which may help improve the above search strategy, I’ll be more than happy to hear her/his feedback.

subject search LN D

Once upon a time (1) : communication overkill

22 May

Isherwood«What a mania for communication! A notice of the least important committee meeting on the most trivial of subjects will be run off and distributed in hundreds of copies. Everybody is informed of everything. George glances through them all and then tosses the lot into the waste-basket…»

‘George’, an Englishman living in California and working as professor of English at a local college, is George Falconer, the main fictional character of Christopher Isherwood’s masterly novel A single man, published in 1964, a date which implies that present-day overloaded mailboxes and social media tools had in George’s case still the form of «a pigeon-hole […] stuffed with papers»

Impossible to resist the temptation offered by the above passage, when reading the book a couple of weeks ago… 🙂pigeon-hole

P.S.: pigeon-hole’s photo is from the Department of Chemistry’s website at the University of York. Christopher Isherwood’s belongs to the authors’ pages at Vintage Books, from whose edition of ‘A single man’ (p. 30) I took the quote.

Football & racism: (1) News

18 Jan

A recent event on a football field nearby my hometown Milan gives me the opportunity to blog on a search tool and a theme that I discussed in previous posts, that is LexisNexis and race and sport.

Shortly, the facts: on last January 3rd a friendly match between Milan and Pro Patria, played in the latter’s stadium in Busto Arsizio, was abandoned after Milan’s Kevin-Prince Boateng walked off in protest at racist chanting from local fans. The rest of Milan players followed suit. The Guardian, amongst others, reported the news. What about other English newspapers? Let’s take a look at LexisNexis, beginning with the following print screen (click to enlarge).

lexisnexis news1

After having chosen for ‘News’ (1) and then for ‘All news’ (2), we will:
– formulate a simple query: ‘kevin prince boateng’ (3) (LexisNexis treats adjacent words as phrase by default) and search in ‘Headline & Lead’ (i.e. headline and first paragraph of an article);
– define the time limits: ‘date is between’ 03/01/2012 and 06/01/2012 (4);
– identify the information source: ‘All English News’ (5);

On the results page (see the following print screen) we can first limit the results to ‘Newspapers’ (6) and then refine further at title-level (7) (The Times, The Independent, The Guardian etc.). More edit/refine options are available (8).

lexisnexis news2

If choosing for one of the two articles from The Guardian, we will note that Racism in football: Milan players walk off pitch in racist chant protest (see the following print screen), published in the January 4th print issue of the newspaper, reproduces the January 3rd online version, yet provided with some LexisNexis tools that may prove specially convenient if using the database for a systematic search:
– print, mail, download, export bibliographic references, copy the permanent link (9);
– ‘find documents with similar topics’ (10), that is whether narrow the current search results (by ticking off terms from the list) or launch a new search (by using terms from the list as alternative or additional search terms).
lexisnexis news3

Searching LexisNexis for (German) pirates

6 Sep

On Tuesday, November 6, 2012, the US Presidential Election will be held: Republican candidate Mitt Romney will take on sitting President Barack Obama. Earlier this year it was France that chose its new Head of State, François Hollande and, last but not least, Parliamentary elections (Tweede Kamerverkiezingen) are to be held Wednesday next week (12th September) in the Netherlands.

To stay tuned to the political news, I have chosen to focus the present post on a news database, LexisNexis Academic, that can prove crucially relevant to academic research on politics and the news, i.e. (to quote from UvA-ASCoR program group’s page for Political Communication and Journalism) on «the contributions of media and communication to citizens’ perception, knowledge, and understanding of political issues and political and social groups, as well as citizens’ participation in the political arena and their electoral behavior» (see also entries Framing of the News and Political Communication in The International Encyclopedia of Communication).

To explore LexisNexis search options, I have decided for the Pirate Party as topic: having this recently founded international political movement achieved some notoriety in the news mainly thanks to its electoral success in the 2011 Berlin state election (as Piratenpartei). And being the Piratenpartij one of the 21 parties competing in the Dutch elections next week.

Within the specific frame of LexisNexis as search tool, some of the strategies to be addressed here are: the use of AND/OR, phrase searching (search for two or more words next to each other rather than for separate words), searching in different languages, and where to search within a document.

Let’s imagine that we want to know how Dutch daily newspapers have covered the Pirate Party phenomenon in 2012. Take a look at the following print screen (click to enlarge).

After having chosen for ‘Power search’ on LexisNexis homepage (1), what we will need to do according to the aforesaid question (What has been the coverage of the Pirate Party by Dutch daily newspapers in 2012?) is the following:
– define the time limits: ‘after 01/01/2012’. Use the drop menu ‘Specify Date’ (2);
– identify the information source: ‘All Dutch News’. Use ‘Select source’ (3);
– determine where to search (within the journal article). ‘Add Section Search’ (4) offers several options: the one chosen, ‘HLEAD’, «contains the headline, highlight, and lead sections».
– formulate the search query: ‘piratenpartij OR piratenpartei OR pirate party international’ will retrieve any journal article where the Dutch or German or English denomination of the party has been used. LexisNexis treats adjacent words as phrase by default, therefore we don’t need to enter pirate party international in quotation marks (the standard symbol for phrase searching).

The results page is shown in the following print screen (click to enlarge).

To limit the results to newspapers we will use the option ‘Source type’ (5): further refining at title-level (NRC Handelsblad, De Volkskrant enz.) is also possible. More edit/refine options are available (6).

By changing the time limits, the information source (newspapers in another language, or a specific newspaper), where to search within the article, and the corresponding search query (partito pirata OR partito dei pirati OR piratenpartei, should we choose for Italian news) we can adjust the LexisNexis search action to the most different questions.

Olympic Games (2): sport and sex(ism)… And synonyms and related search terms

16 Aug

The moment colleague Janneke Staaks drew my attention to the post What’s wrong with the media coverage of women olympians, published on the blog of Northeastern University media researcher Sarah J. Jackson, being myself busy with the sport-and-race topic of my previous post, I thought that addressing the issue of sex(ism) and sport could prove as interesting. And so it did.

Sarah J. Jackson’s post – a highly reccomended one – brought me, among others, to the column (London Olympics 2012: here’s 20 jolly good reasons to feel cheerful about the Games) London Mayor Boris Johnson wrote on last 15th August for The Telegraph, with as jolly-good-reason number 19 the following: «As I write these words there are semi-naked women playing beach volleyball in the middle of the Horse Guards Parade immortalised by Canaletto. They are glistening like wet otters and the water is plashing off the brims of the spectators’ sou’westers. The whole thing is magnificent and bonkers».

Though appreciating Johnson’s reference to the work of one of my favourite 18th Century Venetian artists, I couldn’t help feeling some discomfort with the ‘glistening wet otters’, a comparison which made me think back to Italian footballer Antonio Cassano’s publicly abusing homosexuals as ‘froci’ or to Dutch trainer Frank de Boer’s assertions regarding gay people’s conspicuous locomotion and their being less sporty. (Both sportsmen later apologised; I don’t know about London Mayor).

A truly intercultural topic – USA, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands – which proves nicely relevant with regard to information literacy as well. The multidisciplinarity of the issues at stake (communication, sexuality, sport sociology etc.) does namely correspond to the sheer variety of search terms you can think of… even without recurring to animals or insults.

The list of subject terms suggested by the database Sociological Abstracts when running a search for peer reviewed articles on “sexism in sport” is astounding: females‎, athletes‎, sex differences‎, racism‎, sports participation‎, news coverage, professional sports‎, sexual inequality‎, college sports‎, masculinity‎, mass media images‎, sex stereotypes‎, opposite sex relationss, males‎, sports teams‎, television‎, sex/sexes/sexism/sexist/sexists‎, sex role attitudes‎, feminism‎, olympic games‎, language usage‎, social reproduction‎, mass media effects, homophobia‎, naming practices‎, athlete/athletic/athletics‎, patriarchy‎, adolescents‎, feminist theory‎, mass media‎, sport/sporting/sports, sportsmanship, ethnography, sexuality‎, discrimination‎, stereotypes‎, attitudes‎, physical education‎, asian cultural groups, magazines‎, lesbianism‎, leisure‎, discourse‎, role models‎, woman/women, journalists‎, high school students, sex roles‎, sex role identity‎, colleges‎, social problems‎, assimilation‎, womens rights, american indians, conversation‎, aggression‎, age differences‎, sociocultural factors‎, sociology of sports‎, culture/cultures/cultural/ culturally‎, black white differences‎, death‎, spectators‎, embodiment‎, student attitudes‎, discursive practices‎, teacher attitudes‎, universities‎, programming (broadcast)‎, occupational roles‎, norms‎, nontraditional occupations‎, race‎, newspapers‎, role/roles‎, nationalism‎, male/males, man, minority groups‎, methodological problems‎, resistance‎, membership‎, physical fitness‎, social history‎, hegemony‎, physical characteristics, heterosexism‎, performance‎, sexual harassment‎.

In other words ( 🙂 ): choosing a topic to do research on is not only a matter of conveniently limiting it (geographically, historically, socially etc, see my previous post) but also to think of as many search terms as possible which may be related to the topic. Both these activities together represent a crucial initial stage in any search for scholarly information on a specific topic (have a look at the ACRL’s Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education, with number one & two being the ones applying in the present case).

Photo’s: Australia’s first women Olympians, Fanny Durack and Mina Wylie, swimming gold and silver medalists in 1912, from the collections of the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales and American Greg Louganis, openly gay athlete, gold medalist in diving in 1984 and 1988 (image), from the official site of the Olympic Movement.

Children’s literacy: advertising, information, sexual

21 Jun

The RSS-feeds I am subscribed to usually give me inspiration when choosing a topic to blog on. This post is no exception to the rule, yet the latest cover page of UvA-Hva students’ weekly Folia Magazine (see picture) – and the article it actually refers to – provided extra input.

To start with, the magazine made me think of an article title in The Guardian I blogged on last year with regard to (needless to say) information literacy, and which could be restated in the case of Folia Magazine as «A case of never letting the topic spoil a good headline».

What the Dutch do better than the Americans («Wij doen het beter dan de Amerikanen») has namely nothing to do with fellatio, but with sexual awareness and education – in other terms (to make the case for this post), sexual literacy – such as this might be developed in young people by reading teen magazines. This is the topic of Suchi Joshi‘s dissertation, reviewed on pages 6-8 of Folia Magazine, and entitled «Adolescent sexual socialization and teen magazines: a cross-national study between the United States and the Netherlands» (defended June 7th; promoters: professor Patty Valkenburg, Spinoza Laureate 2011, and professor Jochen Peter).

To know more about Joshi’s research, you can read her interview on the site of CcaM, the Center for research on children, adolescents and the Media, which is part of ASCoR, the UvA Amsterdam School of Communication Research, and whose research focuses on the role and influence of media use in children’s and adolescents’ lives.

Esther Rozendaal is not only another CcaM researcher, but also one whose PhD thesis has been lately awarded the 2012 Dissertation Award by the ICA, International Communication Association. Entitled «Advertising literacy and children’s susceptibility to advertising», Rozendaal’s thesis explores the development and role of advertising literacy in children’s lives, contributing pivotal insights on how advertising-related knowledge is connected to children’s advertising susceptibility.

Sections of Rozendaal’s publication are available online at UvA-DARE, the Digital Academic Repository of the University of Amsterdam, while a (complete) print copy can be borrowed at the UvA-Bushuis library. By the way: as far as libraries are concerned, it is information literacy what we most care about:

«To be information literate, a person must be able to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information» (ACRL’s Presidential Committee on Information Literacy: Final Report).

«Developing lifelong learners is central to the mission of higher education institutions. By ensuring that individuals have the intellectual abilities of reasoning and critical thinking, and by helping them construct a framework for learning how to learn, colleges and universities provide the foundation for continued growth throughout their careers, as well as in their roles as informed citizens and members of communities. Information literacy is a key component of, and contributor to, lifelong learning» (Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education).

Photo’s from CcaM-site.