the magical principle of contagion

Rozin P, Ashmore M, Markwith M
Lay American conceptions of nutrition: Dose insensitivity, categorical thinking, contagion, and the monotonic mind
HEALTH PSYCHOLOGY 15 (6): 438-447 NOV 1996

Abstract: Two studies explored Americans’ tendency to simplify nutrition information. Substantial minorities of separate samples of college students, physical plant workers, and a national sample considered a variety of substances, including some essential nutrients (salt and fat), to be harmful at trace levels. Almost half the respondents believed that high-calorie foods in small amounts contain more calories than low-calorie foods in much larger amounts. Many subjects classified foods according to a good/bad dichotomy, and almost all subjects confounded nutritional completeness with long-term healthfulness of foods. To account for these results, we suggest the following heuristics and biases: dose insensitivity, categorical perception, a ”monotonic mind” belief (if something is harmful at high levels then it is harmful at low levels), and the magical principle of contagion.

something for this information addict to remember.

your brain is a teacup

…Your brain does not obey Moore’s Law. It’s aided by it, for sure. But the truth is. there’s only so much you can pack in there… (from Steve Rubel’s Micro Persuasion)

Despite my fondest wishes, I have finite attention, limits on how much can be stored in short-term memory, and requirements for getting stuff into long term memory.

like a version.

Last night I set up activeCollab on my website. I did this for two reasons.

1. Backup. I’m uploading each thing I work on to my webspace every day anyway. Now I will just do it through activeCollab, and it will be more organized because of…

2. Simple version control. I’m the only one working on these things (but that may not always be the case), but I never want to run into that cliche of being asked by my committee to revert to the chapter as it was before I made all those revisions, only to find I’ve lost the copy without the revisions.

But, I can also maybe use this to share the documents.

Critical readers who know how grad school goes may raise an eyebrow and say, “New blog, now this? Is someone perchance procrastinating?” But no, I protest! My web host, Dreamhost, offers quick one-click installation and upgrades of a variety of tools (including WordPress and activeCollab), which is so nice and easy when you are like me and know just enough about wrangling things from the command line to make progress until you get yourself into trouble and have no idea how to get out of it.

No, I’m not rationalizing. 🙂 Back to work…

Andrew Pace says that Bibliographic Control Has a Future. I hope so. What we do know is that it has a working group.

I am, of course, very keen on harnessing the power of computational analysis of data to create richer, better forms/methods/systems of bibliographic control. But I have a hard time believing that computational analysis will be able to replace the human analysis of authority data with an acceptable level of control. I am not that much of a technological optimist.

I’m not willing to cede the importance of striving for Cutter’s collocating objective (recall). I don’t want to lose the structure of the catalog. I want it to be augmented with all the cool things we can do now, but I’m too much of a pedant to be comfortable with doing away with series control, or trusting that algorithms are going to be able to accurately disambiguate and reference between names, bibliographic identities, subject terms/tags/headings, titles, works, etc. The more you think about these problems across the reality of the bibliographic universe, the more complicated and messy they seem to become (which is a large part of the fun).

I like the idea of large, distributed groups handling the work that humans do best. In one sense, we already do it through OCLC, but that has its own nest of problems. LibraryThing has shown that this is a viable and useful way to handle authority work out in the open. Lots of people in librarianship are thinking/dreaming/working in this general direction. I think it’s obvious this the way it’s going to have to go. I’m curious, hopeful, nervous about whether we are going to get to “The Future” without losing too much of what is valuable in bibliographic control. Or ending up with more corporate/proprietary control over the results of the work of catalogers (librarian or not).

Anyway, I look forward to following the activities of the working group. Karen Coyle made copious and excellent notes on the meeting on Uses and Users, though I haven’t yet had time to really digest them. Her summary is here. Preceding posts detail individual presentation.

let’s try this again.

This is what, like, my fourth attempt to keep a LIS/academic blog?

It seems that I get so busy doing work that I never want to write about the work I’m doing. Previously, writing a post for a blog of this nature has taken forever and I have ended up deciding that maintaining the thing is not worth the time and angst. Why is it so difficult? My natural inclination is to sit on my ideas, especially in writing-to-be-shared, until I’m sure I have it all just right. Grad school hasn’t yet succeeded in completely beating the perfectionism out of me. But perfectionism is a liability in this line of work, and I’m continually working to let more of it go.

So in the interest of getting more comfortable with sharing ideas that seem (to me at least) to be unfinished and halfbaked, I hereby resurrect the infomusings blog.

We’ll see…

how to configure procite 5.0 to search and import records from the UNC OPAC

Issues: Call numbers are not imported into Procite correctly. As far as I can tell, this stems from the way the catalog stores holdings information separately from the MARC bibliographic record, and complications with having multiple call numbers for books that are held in more than one UNC library.

How I got here: Procite and Endnote are similar, so I looked in the Endnote connection file (.enz) made available by the library to extract the necessary information for configuring Procite. Perhaps the solution to the call number is buried in there, too, but I have run out of time and patience for this today.

  1. Choose Tools –> Internet Search
  2. Click on the Hosts button
  3. Click Configure Hosts
  4. Click New Host
  5. Fill in the following values in the window that pops up:
    Host name: UNC Chapel Hill
    Domain name or IP address:
    Port number: 210
    Library type: Academic
    Location: USA
    Leave the rest blank. It should look like this:

  6. Click OK
  7. A new Database Properties window will pop up, for you must now enter information about the database that will be searched.
  8. Fill in all the fields as shown below:

  9. Click OK
  10. If you are asked whether you want to add another database, click No
  11. In the Configure Hosts window, select Library Catalog under UNC Chapel Hill and click Proxy Server. Make sure “Not using a proxy server” is selected beneath “Proxy protocol.”
  12. In the Configure Hosts window, select UNC Chapel Hill and click Proxy Server. Make sure “Not using a proxy server” is selected beneath “Proxy protocol.”
  13. In the Configure Hosts window, select Library Catalog under UNC Chapel Hill and click Test Host.
  14. Hopefully you will get a window with a message at the bottom that reads “SUCCESS”
  15. You should now be able to search the catalog and import records from it into your Procite databases.
  16. If you do not have a SUCCESS message, make sure you’ve entered all your values right. If all your values were entered correctly and it is not working, try back later–the catalog itself might be having a problem. If those don’t work, I’m at a loss.