What's happening, Duke?

Mar 23, 2010

Duke University, like all great academic institutions, is a complex place with a dizzying array of academic, athletic, social, artistic and research activities. Only a few years ago, to best know what was happening on any campus, it was best to wander by the bulletin boards and telephone poles to sift through the layers of posters and flyers pinned there. When I worked in Chapel Hill, I used to enjoy wandering down Franklin Street and stopping at the poster boards to discover some new band or arts festival or lecture by a visiting scientist.

An aside: my friend John Ettorre, who writes the great blog Working with Words, taught me the reporter’s trick of asking to use the restroom before an interview and then wandering away to see what’s posted on people’s doors and the break room walls.

Today, Duke is among the institutions using the web to give it’s students, staff and faculty more powerful ways to keep up with what’s going on, and interactive ways to dive into the activities.

I start each morning with a visit to Duke Today. Then, these: Events@Duke is an online calendar of events, Duke on Demand is a Hulu-like clearinghouse of video from around the university, and Connect with Duke is an aggregator for Duke tweets and Facebook updates. There’s also the DukeList that has the potential to become a Craigslist-like trading post for the institution, and Futurity.org for news from Duke and other top research universities. And, of course, here on the Duke Medicine side, we have Inside Online.

All these tools remind me of how much I’m missing when I’m working away at my desk!

Tomorrow, though, I’ll take advantage of this great place. In the afternoon, Kari Stefansson of deCODE Genetics joins Hunt Willard (keynote speaker at our first science blogging conference in 2007) and others for a discussion about personal genomics, and at 5:30, superstar journalist Rebecca Skloot — who lit up the room at ScienceOnline the last two years — will speak about her bestselling book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

That’s tomorrow. Now, I’m speeding over to Alivia’s Bistro to catch more storytelling at The Monti.

Anton Zuiker

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