MUniversity of Minnesota

July 2004 Archives

July 16, 2004


One of the best things about Movable Type is the huge developer community built around it. New tools and plugins are constantly being created for Movable Type. What is a plugin? A plugin allows Movable Type to do something it wasn't orginally programmed to do. For example, two plugins have been added to UThink's version of Movable Type. One is Textile, which allows blog authors to use simple codes to format the text and links of their entries. For example, typing _emphasis_ with underscores will produce emphasis if the Textile option for formatting is chosen. If you are interested in using Textile check out this blog entry for more information.

The second plugin installed on UThink (so far) is IfEmpty. This plugin allows for some extra conditionals for you to try in your blog templates. Two new tags are available with this plugin: <MTIfEmpty> - tag used to test if a given Movable Type variable is empty/blank; and <MTIfNotEmpty> - tag used to test if a given Movable Type variable is not empty/blank. Why would you want to use this tag? The reason it was installed was to give blog authors the option of using their MT profile nickname rather than their Internet ID as the "posted by" name at the end of entries. This is useful for class blogs where the students have been attached to a particular blog but wish to remain somewhat anonymous. This feature is already being used on the class blog Rhetoric 3562W. If you would like to do the same thing, follow these relatively simple instructions.

If you have need of any other plugins, please let us know by emailing

Posted by snackeru at 09:52 AM

July 06, 2004

Please note: Server Maintenance this Friday!

Please note that there will be server maintenace performed on this Friday (July 9) at 6 AM. We will be updating server software at this time. As a result, UThink will not be available for approx. 15 minutes. Please plan accordingly.

Posted by snackeru at 09:55 AM

July 05, 2004

Into the Blogosphere

UThink: Blogs at the University Libraries is proud to host Into the Blogosphere: Rhetoric, Community, and Culture of Weblogs, edited by Laura Gurak, Smiljana Antonijevic, Laurie Johnson, Clancy Ratliff, and Jessica Reyman of the University of Minnesota Rhetoric department. From the notice of publication:

This online, edited collection explores discursive, visual, social, and other communicative features of weblogs. Essays analyze and critique situated cases and examples drawn from weblogs and weblog communities. The collection takes a multidisciplinary approach, and contributions represent perspectives from Rhetoric, Communication, Sociology, Cultural Studies, Linguistics, and Education, among others.

Into the Blogosphere is a first in many ways. Along with its being the first scholarly collection focused on blog as rhetorical artifact, the editors also offer an innovative approach to intellectual property and to publishing. There are a number of peer reviewed journals in digital format. However, with an edited collection, the desired outcome is usually a hard-copy book, so the standard process has been to turn to a publisher with a proposal, then typically wait several years before the book actually comes out.

The editors produced this peer-reviewed edited collection in the spirit of blogging but with a focus on scholarly work that has been through the peer review process (full blind reviews were conducted). The book takes advantage of the speed of electronic publishing, the web's hypertextual nature and new ways of reading, and the formatting and open communication conventions of blog writing, while at the same time providing readers with essays that are of a serious scholarly quality. The blog, in this case, is the subject matter and it is also the book itself. It is not an ancillary web site that accompanies a hard copy book.

Posted by snackeru at 09:25 AM