Tracking Changes With diffengine

Our most respected newspapers want their stories to be accurate, because once the words are on paper, and the paper is in someone’s hands, there’s no changing them. The words are literally fixed in ink to the page, and mass produced into many copies that are near impossible to recall. Reputations can rise and fall based on how well newspapers are able to report significant events. But of course physical paper isn’t the whole story anymore.

Document Time

A segment from Berg & Bowker (1997) about the ways in which documents and records fix narratives. I think I picked up Berg’s work from Mol (2002). I particularly like this notion of document time where experience is flattened, and then used in particular ways.

Berg, M., & Bowker, G. (1997). The multiple bodies of the medical record: Toward a sociology of an artifact. The Sociological Quarterly, 38(3), 513–537.

Mol, A. (2002). The body multiple: Ontology in medical practice. Duke University Press.

Genealogy of the Record

By whom, when, why, how was the archive created? Where was the archive kept, in the safe or in the bedroom? Who used the archive in the first, second and nth place when, why, how? Who did the appraisal, when, why, how? Et cetera. All these stories constitute the genealogy of the record, more dynamic and more effective than the traditional provenancial and custodial history. (Ketelaar, 2001, p. 140)

Ketelaar, E. (2001). Tacit narratives: The meanings of archives. Archival Science, 1(2), 131–141.


If you happen to be using jq to provide tweet identifier datasets for others to hydrate you may be interested in this significant difference between jq .id and jq .id_str.


Suchman, L. (1993). Do categories have politics? The language/action perspective reconsidered. In Proceedings of the Third European Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work 13–17 September 1993, Milan, Italy ECSCW93, pages 1–14.


Real freedom is not to feel limited when wearing this Zen robe, this troublesome formal robe. Similarly in our busy life we should wear this civilization without being bothered by it, without ignoring it, without being caught by it. Without going anywhere, without escaping it, we can find composure in this busy life.

Dogen Zenji says to be like a boatman. Although he is carried by the boat, he is also handling the boat. That is how we live in this world. Even though you understand how to live in the world like a boatman, that does not mean you are able to do it. It is very difficult, which is why you practice zazen.

Suzuki (2002), p. 97

Suzuki, S. (2002). Not always so: Practicing the true spirit of Zen. Harper Collins.

Law and Mol

Law, J. and Mol, A. (1995). Notes on materiality and sociality. The Sociological Review, 43(2):274–294.

Law on ANT

Here are some more notes from a reading that followed on from Nicolini (2012): a description of ANT by John Law, who worked closely with Latour and Callon to define it.

Nicolini, D. (2012). Practice theory, work, and organization: An introduction. Oxford University Press.