I\’m Too Sexy for My Master\’s Thesis


bad grad student eating habits

Posted in tips by Rae on 30 June 2006

I’ve developed some very unhealthy habits while writing my thesis. I stay up late (usually until 2 or 3 am), get up late (around 10 or 11 am), and I eat terrible food. One of the great ironies of the past month or so is that I watch cooking shows while eating fast food. I love to cook, but like most of my favorite activities, cooking has fallen by the wayside while I write my thesis.

But there are options out there for quick, tasty meals. I’m in a somewhat more difficult position because I’m a pescitarian (mainly vegetarian with some fish, but no shellfish because that’s not kosher) but my husband’s not. Here’s a quick run-down of the food we’ve been eating for the past two months and what we think of it.

Fast food: This includes Qdoba’s (Mexican fast food), which is good but heavy on the beans. That may not be the best option for someone dealing with a lot of stress and not enough sleep. I like their grilled veggie burritos and cheese quesadillas. We order a large pizza once every few months because that’s all we can handle. If it were pizza from Lombardi’s, we’d eat it every day. As it is, we’re a bit far from SoHo. And we are so over Sonic, where I ordered their egg sandwiches, served all day, and their tater tots. Uber unhealthy, and really not that tasty. I was so desperate for new food that I even tried Burger King’s veggie burger one day. It tasted like everything from Burger King: gross. We finally ordered Chinese food the other night. I always end up with a huge container of lo mein. I’ve had three servings and the container is still full. How much of this stuff can one person eat? Beyond the unhealthy, not-consistently-tasty factors of fast food eating, it gets very expensive. Grad students=poor. Even when fast food is made with fresh ingredients, it usually gets old fast.
Frozen food: My sister recommended Bertolli frozen skillet meals for two. My sister, who also loves to cook and eat, is to be trusted in her food opinion. So, my husband went to the grocery store to find said frozen food. They have a nice variety of meaty meals, but only one meatless option. I tried that one option, which I probably won’t buy again. Who puts huge chunks of raw garlic in a pasta dish like that? My husband has yet to try the chicken meal he bought, but it looks promising. My husband also bought a frozen, meatless lasagna. It’s a bit big for two people, so my guess is that we’ll get really sick of it and won’t be able to eat it again for a very long time. Which is fine, because there are special circumstances and normally I’d just make the lasagna myself. My husband bought several different kinds of frozen chicken dishes and frozen wings, which he especially likes. I have my pseudo-chicken nuggets by Quorn that taste very similar to the real thing and are just like the real thing when dipped in honey. I also have frozen stuff by Amy’s, but I’m really sick of it all. It’s always either bland or too dry. I’m even sick of the Amy’s mac and cheese (which I didn’t think would ever happen). So, there are both good and bad frozen options out there. Don’t be afraid to venture into your grocer’s freezer section. It will save you money, time, and probably an aching stomach.

Ready-made deli food: This is a good option for special occasions. It’s less expensive than eating out, and you can take the food home and have a nice, full meal. This is what my husband and I often do for Shabbat dinner and date night (which happens to be the same night). It’s too expensive for all the time, though.

Since my husband and I are celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary tomorrow, we might actually spoil ourselves and go to a restaurant. We’re having a hard time deciding which one, though…

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super sexy wednesday 8

Posted in history,scholarship,tools by Rae on 28 June 2006

Digital History Hacks has a fabulous roundup of Digital History Blogs. While I’m Too Sexy might not technically be a digital history blog, my posts certainly display a strong interest in using technology to aid research and writing, not to mention my interest in new publishing models. Hmph. And Wah.

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Institutional Strategies and Policies for Electronic Theses and Dissertations:

Almost without exception, students produce theses and dissertations in electronic formats, and it would seem that an institutional electronic thesis and dissertation (ETD) program would be the rule and not the exception. In the United States, however, ETD programs have been slow to gain ground; other countries are far ahead in implementing comprehensive strategies for the creation of and access to ETDs. The focus of this bulletin is on the development of institutional policies to address ETDs and the changes needed in academic culture to implement robust ETD programs. The value of ETDs as institutional intellectual assets is also explored.

(via Open Access News)

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In Digital Age, Advancing a Flexible Copyright System:

So closely is copyright associated with the phrase “all rights reserved” that some people have difficulty imagining any other system. But an unusual global alliance of artists, scientists and lawyers, meeting here over the weekend, has been working in recent years to forge a “creative commons” that allows artists to decide which rights they want to retain and which they would rather share.

It always amazes me how long it takes the NYTimes to catch on. They might be a good source of new news, but they’re often a bit slow to cover cultural movements. But, better late than never.

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Creative Commons Add-in for Microsoft Office:

This add-in enables you to embed a Creative Commons license into a document that you create using the popular applications: Microsoft Office Word, Microsoft Office PowerPoint, or Microsoft Office Excel. With a Creative Commons license, authors can express their intentions regarding how their works may be used by others.

(via the Creative Commons Blog)

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Let’s Reverse the Pattern of Secrecy:

On May 2, 2006, Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) introduced the Federal Research Public Access Act (S.2695) requiring every federal agency with an annual extramural research budget of $100 million or more to implement a public access policy that is consistent with and advances the federal purpose of the respective agency. Help make sure that you have access to vital scientific advancements and other discoveries that could protect you and your family! Tell your Senator to co-sponsor S.2695 today!

I completed the form and sent it to friends and family, as well. Even if you decide not to fill out the form, at least click the link above to learn about this important issue.

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Read Roy Rosenzweig’s essay, “Can History be Open Source? Wikipedia and the Future of the Past.” While Sanger isn’t particularly happy with the results of Wikipedia, he is quite excited about his new project, Textop.

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The June 2006 issue of D-Lib Magazine is up. In case you don’t know:

D-Lib Magazine is a solely electronic publication with a primary focus on digital library research and development, including but not limited to new technologies, applications, and contextual social and economic issues.

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Israel’s Education Ministry still not recognizing Yeshiva University degrees:

YU degrees are accepted by Harvard, Yale and any number of top-notch American universities – and so it is an Israeli ministry alone that refuses to acknowledge them for salary purposes.

(via Failed Messiah)

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Snakes, Planes and the Triumph of Ironic Appreciation:

Like many PopMatters readers, I suspect, I tend to keep a sheaf or two of Hellenistic Judaic texts on the nightstand for light bedtime reading. You can only breeze through so much James Joyce before you start to feel like you’re slumming. Imagine my surprise when, in a section of passages presaging the end of the world, I came across the following:

And lo, unto the land of Babel shall come a man, one like unto the Son of man, clothed with rich garment down to the foot, and girt about the ears with a Kangol cap. And he shall be called Samuel, son of Jack, with an “L” in there somewhere, and speaking with a great voice, as of a blasphemous trumpet, he shall banish yon serpents from the sky…

When I read this I thought: Sonofa . . . they’re talking about Snakes on a Plane!

(via PaleoJudaica)

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Mary Martin McLaughlin, 87, a Scholar of the Middle Ages, Is Dead:

Mary Martin McLaughlin, an internationally renowned scholar of the Middle Ages who spent the last four decades working almost entirely outside the academy, died on June 8 at her home in Millbrook, N.Y. She was 87.

For the last 40 years, Ms. McLaughlin labored over two books, to be published posthumously, that colleagues describe as her masterworks. One is the first full biography of Héloïse, the lover and later wife of the 12th-century French philosopher Peter Abélard. The other is the first English translation of the complete correspondence of Héloïse and Abélard.

Call for Papers: The Society for Textual Scholarship

Posted in scholarship by Rae on 22 June 2006
CALL FOR PAPERS
The Society for Textual Scholarship
President: George Bornstein, University of Michigan
Executive Director: Robin Schulze, Penn State University
Fourteenth Biennial International Interdisciplinary Conference
March 14-17, 2007, New York University
Program Co-Chairs: Nicholas Frankel, Virginia Commonwealth University;
Marta Werner, D'Youville College

Deadline for Proposals: October 31, 2006
All participants in the STS 2007 conference must be members of STS. For
information about membership, please contact Executive Director Robin
Schulze at rgs3@psu.edu or visit the Indiana University Press Journals
website and follow the links to the Society for Textual Scholarship
membership page. For conference updates and information, see the STS
website.
The Program Chairs invite the submission of full panels or individual
papers devoted to interdisciplinary discussion of current research into
particular aspects of contemporary textual work: the discovery,enumeration, 
description, bibliographical analysis, editing, annotation,and mark-up of texts 
in disciplines such as literature, history,musicology, classical and biblical 
studies, philosophy, art history,legal history, history of science and technology,
computer science, library science, lexicography, epigraphy, paleography, codicology,
cinema studies, media studies, theater, linguistics, and textual and
literary theory. The Program Chairs are particularly interested in
papers and panels, as well as workshops and roundtables, on the
following topics, aimed at a broad, interdisciplinary audience:

Textual environments
Textual cultures
Textual ruins
Textual arts, including the book arts
Digital texts and editing projects

Papers should be no more than 20 minutes in length. Panels should
consist of three papers or presentations. Individual proposals should
include a brief abstract (one or two pages) of the proposed paper as
well as the name, e-mail address, and institutional affiliation of the
participant. Panel proposals, including proposals for roundtables and
workshops, should include a session title, the name of a designated
contact person for the session, the names, e-mail addresses, and
institutional addresses and affiliations of each person involved in the
session, and a one- or two-page abstract of each paper to be presented
during the session. Abstracts should indicate what (if any)
technological support will be requested.

Inquiries and proposals should be submitted electronically to:

Associate Professor Nicholas Frankel, email address: nrfranke@vcu.edu
Department of English
PO BOX 842002
Virginia Commonwealth University
Richmond VA 23220 USA
FAX: (804) 828-6048

and

Assistant Professor Marta Werner, email address: wernerm@dyc.edu
Department of Liberal Arts=20
D'Youville College
320 Porter Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14201=20
FAX: (716) 829-7760

super sexy wednesday 7

Posted in history,scholarship by Rae on 21 June 2006

Ah, Wikipedia. Wiki here, Wiki there, Wiki everywhere.

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The Association of American University Presses' annual meeting took place last week. Two takes: Jennifer Howard (The Chronicle) and Scott McLemee (Inside Higher Ed).

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Beyond Google: What Next for Publishing?:

Going forward, our work must take a more experimental turn. We need to get serious about developing online publications that allow students to freely explore the vast array of content and tools available through the World Wide Web, while still allowing an appropriate level of guidance concerning how to select and evaluate the sources that they find. And we must look at methods to deliver and store content in ways that allow students to use their remote devices to access it and that work through and enhance the online communities where they spend so much of their time.

Kate Wittenberg, the director of the Electronic Publishing Initiative at Columbia, wrote this article. She makes several good points, though she seems to be avoiding the open access elephant.

(via Open Access News)

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Sleepy Hollow:

"We are living in a commercial world that goes 24/7,” says Michael McNeil, coordinator of the Health Empowerment Office at Temple University. “My colleagues in higher education may not like this, but we’re fostering procrastination and cramming — time management skills should be put first.”

Imagine how twilight-zone-like the world would be if we all managed our time well.

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The House Appropriations Committee Directs NIH to Ensure Tax-Funded Medical Research is Freely Available in Agency’s Online Archive. As Peter Suber points out, "This is big."

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Tomorrow's Professor Blog has a review of Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by that Gladwell dude.

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The American Presidents Blog has the latest History Carnival.

two tools you must buy

Posted in tools by Rae on 16 June 2006

I get a thrill from finding great computer-based tools that can aid my research. As much as I love geeky tech stuff, nothing can replace two particular physical, hold-in-your-hands tools that I use on a daily basis.

I thought I was the world’s biggest (greatest?) fan of page tabs, until I started using them for research. The primary sources I use are circa WWI and the adhesive on the tabs does a number on the paper. In the pic of the tabs below, you can see some that have torn off bits of paper. It breaks my heart…

tabspile.JPG
But Book Darts have changed everything. They’re cute and get the job done superbly well, the tin is lovely and convenient, and the price ($30 for three tins containing a total of 375 darts) is far superior to that of Levenger’s Page Points ($83 for 375)! I don’t normally write infomercials, but that’s such a huge difference that I couldn’t help but point it out. I love browsing Levenger’s catalog, but they’re obviously going for a group of readers with significant incomes. Even if I did have lots of money, I’m too much of a bargain hunter to pass up a great deal on as practical an item as Book Darts.

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Here is Father Inch's review of this fab product:

Unlike the “other brand”, Book Darts are the cat’s meow of bibliomarkers. They fit tightly on the page (unlike the alternative, which is loose on the thinner pages), so that one does not leave off reading with the haunting fear that the marker will slip off (either accidentally or on its own volition). In addition, the lip that enables one to slip it onto the page is much more subtle than the competitor’s crude version, thus producing a slimmer profile when one examines the book from the side, and producing practically no dent in the page, even after a period of time (the competitor’s version feels compelled to leave evidence of its presence in the form of a slight nick on the page). My conclusion: Book Darts rule.

In case you need more proof, here are before and after pics.

tabsstacked.JPGbookdartsstacked.JPG

Awesome, right?

The other tool is a book weight. I have three, though the one shown below is the best of the bunch (and was about $10 at Borders). I usually have a few books open at one time when I'm researching, and it's convenient to have a tool that works so well. Sure, there are lots of other heavy objects one could try using, but I've tried them all and they don't compare. Other books are too big; cell phones are too small; a pencil case works well, but not if you need to take out a pencil, eraser, or sharpener. I also use my book weight on airplanes, as it frees up my hands for snacking and nail biting.

With:

img_0110.JPG

Without:

img_0111.JPG

Cats can also be used as book weights:

img_0107.JPG

But I assure you they can only provide a temporary solution.

super sexy wednesday 6

Posted in scholarship by Rae on 14 June 2006

Not exactly academe-related, but here ya go anyway: Rock, Paper, Scissors – a new form of alternative dispute resolution?

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The 9th International Symposium on Electronic Theses and Dissertations just wrapped up a few days ago. You can find out a bit about what went on over at digitizationblog, and I'm sure we'll be hearing more about it in the coming weeks from others.

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Academic boycott of Israel cancelled.

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You've probably already heard or read about the decision in Florida regarding "revisionist" history. Here's the article from the Los Angeles Times. But, The Elfin Ethicist points out that some of the article is misleading.
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And now that we're on the subject of Florida, you should know that a Florida law now bars state academics from studying in six countries. The Sun-Sentinel has an op-ed about it: One-note policies harm scholarship. (via Open Access News)

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And now that we're on the subject of hindering scholarship, check out this New Yorker article about James Joyce's grandson. (via Father Inch)

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On June 5, Oxford University Press hosted an Open Access Workshop. Presentations from the workshop are now available online.

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Academic Commons wants your writing:

Summer is nearly is upon us. Before we all head for the beach (or into the morass of some interminable system "upgrade"), this is a perfect time to reflect on the past academic year. We suspect that somewhere on your campus, someone did something interesting with technology in the service of liberal education. We want to uncover those stories of innovation, and to share reflections on how these innovations worked (…or didn't). We are also interested in more theoretical thought pieces that tackle some of the larger, important issues that surround our domain.

eye strain and the grad student

Posted in tips by Rae on 8 June 2006

eye.GIF

Eye strain is a serious problem for… well, just about everyone who uses computers (not just grad students who may be spending hours and hours and hours staring at a computer screen hoping that the next word will come soon).

I started wearing glasses when I was a teenager, after the people around me noticed I was holding books awfully close to my face. I switched to contacts two years ago, and I think some of my eye strain may be due to my contacts. I wear the kind of contacts that can be left in overnight and up to a month. So, I only change my contacts once a month and that's certainly not the best thing for eye health. I'm planning on getting my glasses perscription updated so that I can do month on, month off with the contacts. I hate having stuff on my face, but my desire to be able to read for the rest of my life trumps the whole "stuff on my face" thing.

I don't have time or money to deal with the glasses thing right now, but I do want to take steps to reduce eye strain. Besides, as long as I use a computer, I'll need to be careful about my eye health.

I know I need to take more breaks, but I often (almost always) forget. I know of one tool, the USB Vision and Posture Reminder, that hooks up to any computer. There are also downloadable programs that remind you to take breaks. Some of these are not free (like Albion StopNow! and Chequers Software Break Reminder). However, I'm a poor grad student and like free options, like Workrave.
Reducing monitor glare is also important for relieving eye strain. Blinking, too. BiggestBook.com has lots of useful information, including the 20/20 rule:

It's never wise to constantly be staring at something for extended periods of time. When it comes to computers, you can relieve eyestrain by following this simple rule: every 20 minutes take your eyes off the monitor and look at an area 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

I'm going to make use of the 20/20 rule in just a moment, as I've been staring at this monitor for approximately two hours. I'm also going to try these eye exercises.You know you've been staring at the monitor for too long when your eyes start stinging and tearing uncontrollably.

super sexy wednesday 5

Posted in history,scholarship,tools by Rae on 7 June 2006

Aqueduct's got the latest History Carnival focusing on academic technology.

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Something to consider while writing your thesis/dissertation/masterpiece: 10 flagrant grammar mistakes that make you look stupid. (via Lifehacker)

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Overlooked Again — Community Colleges and Science:

According to NSF’s 2001 Survey of Recent College Graduates, 46 percent of bachelor’s and master’s degree recipients in 1999 and 2000 in “life and related sciences” had attended community colleges. Students who had taken a class or classes at a community college also accounted for 42 percent of computer and math sciences degrees at or above the bachelor’s level, and 40 percent of engineering degrees.

I'd like to know how many humanities graduates attended community colleges. My husband has a law degree and attended community college way back when, and I, too, attended community college. In my case, several of my professors had PhDs from top universities but chose to teach at a community college because they wanted to focus on teaching and not research. As a result, those professors have hugely (and positively) impacted my years as a student, and even the years when I wasn't a student.

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New book: Teaching Bibliography, Textual Criticism, and Book History. According to the publisher, the book is due out some time this month.

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Check out Wired's article, Free Radical:

Varmus is the most visible characterin the movement to free the scientific world of its figurative corks: scholarly journals that restrict the flow of information by charging often hefty subscription prices for access to their content. Today, Varmus has been invited by Charles Nesson, a professor of law at Harvard, to enlighten the student editors of the various Harvard Law School journals about the virtues of so-called open-access publishing. Nesson introduces his guest as “the prophet of open access.” Varmus’ smile doesn’t fade, and his hair stands proudly where the wind last left it.

(via Open Access News)

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Researchers from 36 countries submitted proposals for research to advance the field of search. The 12 winners will receive grant money from Microsoft Live Labs and access to a set of MSN Search query logs in order to push forward our understanding of the Internet, search, and online social behaviors.

Read the 12 winning proposals. (via Open Access News)

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According to a Harris Poll published on May 31, the majority of U.S. adults support easy and free online access to Federally-funded research findings. Indeed, 83% wanted it for their doctors and 82% wanted it for everyone. So, you're wondering why someone in humanities should care, right? In general, the humanities fields are way behind the sciences in terms of utilizing technology, open access publishing, and implementing progressive models for education. I'm not going to get in to the hows and whys. Instead, I'm simply going to point out that the battles being fought by the sciences are paving the way for the humanities fields. I support easy access to research not only because it's just the right thing (IMHO), but because it will benefit all scholarship in the long run.

No significant updates on the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006 (the FRPAA/ Cornyn-Lieberman bill) introduced to the Senate in May, but feel free to urge your own Senator to support the bill.

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I'm psyched about the Scholar's Copyright Project. They are currently offering

a suite of short amendments that authors attach to the copyright transfer form agreements from publishing companies. The Addenda ensure, at a minimum, that scholarly authors retain enough rights to archive their work on the public Internet.

The project is under the auspices of Science Commons, but I don't see why these same addenda couldn't be used by any scholar (regardless of field).

(via OA Librarian)

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Publishing Gone Digital – It's refreshing when a major publisher isn't afraid of OA. Such is the case with Yale, which blogged about one of their books, The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom and posted a link to the free, online version. (via Father Inch)

Review: The Jewish Legion and the First World War by Martin Watts

Posted in history,jewish legion,scholarship by Rae on 5 June 2006

There are very few books written on my area of research, the Jewish Legion. Those that have been published generally fall into two categories: books written by Revisionist Zionists and books written by amateur historians. I'm not trying to make any statements, just pointing out the facts.

Anyway, here's a review I wrote of a book written by an author who more or less fits into the latter category.
MARTIN WATTS, The Jewish Legion and the First World War (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005). Pp. xviii + 256. $65.00 cloth.

Martin Watts’ The Jewish Legion and the First World War offers a history and analysis of Britain’s Jewish Legion. He provides detailed and carefully researched information on a topic that has been largely ignored by historians for nearly 90 years since the Palestine Campaign. Although Jewish self-defense is a common concept in contemporary society, from the time of the Bar Kochba revolt in 132 until the formation of Britain’s Zion Mule Corps in 1915, Jewish military forces were practically non-existent. For centuries Jews formed insular communities within the Ashkenazi Diaspora, having contact with non-Jews only as business required. Non-Jews viewed them as passive “people of the book.” Even in response to pogroms in the Tsarist Empire in the latter 1800s, Jews organized politically, not militarily. But in 1914, Vladimir Jabotinsky, an outspoken, controversial Zionist, began promoting a militaristic brand of Zionism.

Watts begins his study with the development of the Legion idea, which was “a Jewish army to fight on the Allied side, which would secure a seat at the peace conference and so obtain a Jewish state in Palestine” (p. 4). Jabotinsky was unsuccessful in promoting this idea in Italy and France and so traveled to Alexandria, where he and Joseph Trumpeldor petitioned the British authorities to form a Jewish military unit to fight in Palestine. The British responded that they could not form a fighting unit but could serve as a volunteer transport and supply group on an unspecified Turkish front. Trumpeldor accepted, but Jabotinsky was unhappy with the results and traveled to London to petition the government. As it turned out, the transport group was sent to Gallipoli and there served with distinction in the doomed campaign.

For several years, Jabotinsky and his allies (including Chaim Weizmann) persisted in their efforts in London to form a Jewish Legion to fight in Palestine. Through the bulk of the book, Watts successfully portrays the myriad obstacles they faced: anti-Zionism, anti-Semitism, and non-responsive bureaucracy, among others. After nearly three years of few successes and many failures, the diligence of Jabotinsky and a few other key characters paid off and the Jewish Legion was approved. But as Watts makes clear, it was not simply Jabotinsky’s doggedness that led to his desired outcome. Unpredictable and unplanned events enabled the formation of the unique Jewish force.

The magnitude of the war led the British government to allow Russian Jews and other foreign residents to serve in the British military. The Russian Jews refused to serve, however, because Russia and England were allied and they would not fight on Russia’s behalf. Once Russia dropped out and the United States joined the war, Russian Jews began to enlist and requested to join the rumored Jewish regiment. Nearly 2,000 U.S. and Canadian troops also volunteered to serve with the Legion. With the United States government backing the Jewish Legion and the British government attempting to gain the support of pro-German Jews at home and abroad, the formation of a Jewish regiment suddenly made sense. The influence of several prominent, pro-Zionist politicians also played a significant role in the creation of the Jewish Legion, which comprised three battalions of the Royal Fusiliers in the successful Palestine Campaign at the end of World War I. As Watts states in his conclusion, “The contribution of the Legion to Zionism, however, should not be underestimated, for its existence opened Palestine to the founders of Israel” (p. 243).

According to the introduction, Martin Watts first learned of the Jewish Legion in 1986 while he was still pursuing his commercial career as a repairer of traditional water- and wind-powered machinery. His love of history and research led him back to school and he obtained his Ph.D. in 2003; his dissertation was on the Jewish Legion. This book actually reads more like a dissertation: the literature review is extensive, the author references other authors a bit too much, and the narrative is bogged down by too many narrow details. Though Watts’ research is quite thorough, there are at least two important primary sources not included in his bibliography. Regardless, Watts situates the history of the Jewish Legion within both Jewish and British historical contexts quite well. Though Watts certainly leaves room for additional scholarship on the Jewish Legion, his book is an important and far too long overdue contribution to the field.

The Text Outline Project

Posted in collaboration,scholarship by Rae on 2 June 2006

The following letter was sent out on the SPARC Open Access mailing list yesterday. In "super sexy wednesday 4," I mentioned Lawrence Sanger's piece on "The Future of Free Information." Lawrence (or Larry) authored the following letter, too:

Hello!

You've probably heard of a little encyclopedia project called Wikipedia.
I conceived, started, and led the project in its seminal first year, and
was probably more responsible than any person for crafting the set of
policies that have made it the (qualified) success it is today.

Well, I've had an idea for a reference project–for a brand new *kind*
of reference–and I'd like to ask you to consider joining me in starting
a better community. This *is* going to happen. I am more excited about
it than I ever was about Nupedia or Wikipedia.

This new project is actually a side-project of the Digital Universe
(http://www.dufoundation.org). It's called the Text Outline Project or
Textop (http://www.textop.org), and it is itself a set of projects,
managed by a strong collaboration among a global group of scholars, with
the aim of organizing the information contained in books, dictionaries,
opinionated essays, and news articles–and perhaps other sources–into a
single outline of human knowledge. It will be an "open meritocracy."
Built by volunteers, the result will be free and noncommercial.
Top-level summary: http://www.textop.org/textop_summary.html

The Collation Project (http://www.textop.org/collation_summary.html),
the flagship, will analyze various public domain works studied by
scholars (e.g., Classics and history of philosophy) into approximately
paragraph-sized chunks; summarize the chunks; and place these chunks
into a single outline. Each node of the outline will not have more
than, say, a half-dozen chunks, so the outline will be constantly
expanding. This will provide a single reference point for comparing the
detailed content of scholarly works from throughout history and
eventually, it is to be hoped, more recent works as well.

We have a really impressive Advisory Committee:
http://www.textop.org/advisory_committee.html

Also of interest:
Proposed screenshot: http://www.textop.org/screenshot.html
Project manifesto: http://www.textop.org/TextAndCollaboration.html
Example outline: http://www.textop.org/outline_help.html
Letter: http://www.textop.org/letter.html
Proposed software requirements: http://www.textop.org/reqs_v1.html

What next? What can you do? Please join me and some really smart
people on the Textop mailing list:
http://lists.dufoundation.org/mailman/listinfo/textop
That's where it's all getting started; get the "digest" (all posts in
one day) if you want all the mails for a day at once.

We're starting up a pilot project on the project wiki:
http://www.textop.org/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page
We'll begin by "collating" some classic works of philosophy.

Please do join us!

Larry Sanger
Director, Collaborative Projects, The Digital Universe Foundation
Director, The Text Collation Project

I support open content projects, though I'm not entirely sure what I think about this particular one. But, there are lots of opportunities for involvement (by scholars, professionals, grad students, etc.), and I have a thing for collaborative projects and tend to find them irresistable.

I'm curious to know, what do my readers think of this project?

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