Dartmouth's Daily Blog
News, commentary, criticism and praise for the College on the Hill, enlivened with history, culture and travel when we feel so moved.
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Whither The Viewpoints?
A week ago, Dartmouth web publisher Jay Collier, in conjunction with developer Chris Boone debuted “ViewPoints”, a technologically advanced website that autonomously scoured the internet to find the latest Dartmouth-related blog posts, photos, weather, and news items. Some Dartmouth student bloggers —left and right —welcomed the news.
I initially refrained from comment, unsure of how long it would last. My cynicism was justified. The website, previously located at both now.dartmouth.edu and viewpoints.dartmouth.edu, has vanished. Proof of life is the fact that those two sub-level domains now forward to Dartmouth’s homepage. Try entering a random string of characters in front of ‘.dartmouth.edu’ and they won’t resolve anywhere. But just days ago they pointed to Boone and Collier’s slick Web 2.0-based site, where links to blog posts about Dartmouth, including some posts critical of various aspects of the College, were aggregated so that students and faculty could see the goings-on of their peers. No more. I’ve been told that higher-ups 86’d the site, that “it was a demo” and that “the College has decided to bring it down so [they] can take some more time to consider.” Needless to say, it would be speculation to say it happened because its scripts were harvesting critical posts, but no other rational reasons come immediately to mind.
To me, the site represented two things: a willingness on the part of Dartmouth to engage in the active conversation on the internet, through praise and pan. Secondly, with its Web 2.0 aspects, it was a continuation of Dartmouth’s proud tradition of technological leadership. Given my druthers, the site would still be live. I’d be willing to bet other Dartmouth bloggers feel similarly. But it is Dartmouth’s web server, Dartmouth’s prerogative, and no one should expect an organization to present negativity on a website primarily concerned with public relations, as college websites are.
That said, there is a model for blogging in academia. Several, to be sure. But one of the oldest and finest is Harvard Law School, which allows any Harvard student or faculty member to start a blog free of charge on the Harvard.edu server. The latest posts (even if they aren’t exactly brochure-worthy) are aggregated right up front. Something similar could work at Dartmouth. There is far, far more good about Dartmouth than bad. A free and open blogging system would reveal this constantly and brilliantly.
In an interview conducted just before the site was scrapped, Jay Collier put it perfectly: “Simply presenting this information, however, does not imply it is more or less valuable than official sources, any more than including books from multiple publishers on a library shelf means some are better than others. The point here is that the Web offers access to diverse perspectives.”
August 14, 2013
Breaking: Of Crips and Bloods and Memories of Ghetto Parties
History repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce, or sometimes it just repeats itself. From the New York Times on November 30, 1998: At Dartmouth College, white students at a ”ghetto party” dressed…
June 25, 2013
Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson’s War on Students Part (2/2)
Part 1, Part 2 Today’s post again recounts the events that befell the Freshman. However, the content of the Hanover Police department report reproduced in this space yesterday is supplemented by information from my own…
October 18, 2009
When Love Beckoned in 52nd Street
We were at San Francisco’s BIX last evening, enjoying prosecco, cheese, and a bit of music. A full year of inhabitation in Northern California has unraveled to me no decent venue for proper lounging, but…
October 9, 2009
D Afraid of a Little Competish
So our colleague and Dartblog writer Joe Asch informed me that the D has rejected our cunning advertising campaign. Uh-oh. The Dartmouth is widely known as a breeding ground for instant New York Times successes,…
September 4, 2009
How Regents Should Reign
As Dartmouth alumni proceed through the legal hoops necessary to defuse a Board-packing plan—which put in unhappy desuetude an historic 1891 Agreement between alumni and the College guaranteeing a half-democratically-elected Board of Trustees—it strikes one…
August 29, 2009
Election Reform Study Committee
If you are an alum of the College on the Hill, you may have received a number of e-mails of late beseeching your input for a new arm of the College’s Alumni Control Apparatus called…
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- 2007 Trustee Election
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