The Problem with Print

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Talk given at UMBC Friends of the Library, Nov. 2013

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The Problem with Print

  1. 1. The Problem with Print publishing born digital scholarship
  2. 2. What’s wrong with print? Nothing. Or, everything.
  3. 3. hyper and deep “Deep attention, the cognitive style traditionally associated with the humanities, is characterized by concentrating on a single object for long periods (say, a novel by Dickens), ignoring outside stimuli while so engaged, preferring a single information stream, and having a high tolerance for long focus times.” “Hyper attention is characterized by switching focus rapidly among different tasks, preferring multiple information streams, seeking a high level of stimulation, and having a low tolerance for boredom.” -- N. Katherine Hayles, “Hyper and Deep Attention: The Generational Divide in Cognitive Modes”
  4. 4. Attention blindness “It's not easy to acknowledge that everything we've learned about how to pay attention means that we've been missing everything else. … For more than a hundred years, we've been training people to see in a particularly individual, deliberative way. No one ever told us that our way of seeing excluded everything else.” Cathy Davidson, “Collaborative Learning for the Digital Age”
  5. 5. Plato: not a big fan “[writing] will introduce forgetfulness into the soul of those who learn it: they will not practice using their memory because they will put their trust in writing, which is external and depends on signs that belong to others, instead of trying to remember from the inside, completely on their own.” “You have not discovered a potion for remembering, but for reminding; you provide your students with the appearance of wisdom, not with its reality.” “Your invention will enable them to hear many things without being properly taught, and they will imagine that they have come to know much while for the most part they will know nothing..” Plato, Phaedrus
  6. 6. What can an institution be? “This book proposes a deliberately provocative alternative definition of institution: An institution as a mobilizing network.” “How can the digital connections that transcend the walls (literally and figuratively) of institutions enable us to transform some of the most bounded and frustrating aspects (the “silos”) of institutions of higher learning?” Cathy Davidson and David Theo Goldberg, The Future of Thinking.
  7. 7. What can digital scholarship do? -- “deep reads” using database and data mining tools; -- display of digital and video works in their original formats, for the purpose of uncovering and critiquing these texts; -- potentially widespread open access via the Internet; -- on-demand updating of projects as new scholarship comes to light.
  8. 8. Humanities computing An example: the Perseus Digital Library at Tufts. A typical manuscript, worked up for the library: Julius Caesar’s Gallic War, http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Pe rseus:text:1999.02.0001
  9. 9. Humanities computing tools MIT’s Annotation Studio, under development: http://www.annotationstudio.org/tutorial/
  10. 10. Critical code studies Electronic Literature Organization (ELO) http://eliterature.org/ Jason Nelson http://www.secrettechnology.com/ “Infinite Click and Read” http://www.secrettechnology.com/sydney/
  11. 11. Sandy Baldwin, Goo (2006)
  12. 12. What lies beneath?
  13. 13. Hidden skulls (sidebar: if you’re interested in Holbein’s The Ambassadors, you might find Slavoj Zizek’s Looking Awry to be a treat)
  14. 14. Critical e-dition Jim Andrews, Arteroids http://www.vispo.com/arteroids/ Leonardo Flores talks about his mission, at the Library of Congress: http://blogs.loc.gov/digitalpreservation/2013/03/q uest-for-the-critical-e-dition-an-interview-withleonardo-flores/
  15. 15. Data visualization ”The Expression of Emotions in 20th Century Books”
  16. 16. Spatial history http://www.stanford.edu/group/spatialhistory/cgibin/site/viz.php?id=391
  17. 17. Spring Grove State Hospital Virtual Archaeology Project
  18. 18. Curating and indexing The Brautigan Library in Vancouver WA http://www.thebrautiganlibrary.org/Blank.html ELMCIP (Electronic Literature as a Model of Creativity and Innovation in Practice) Database http://elmcip.net/
  19. 19. The problem with digital Yes, digital works have their own set of biases and problems Institutional Technological Commercial
  20. 20. Institutional issues Book-centric models of publication (your research isn’t done until you write about it) Poor perception of peer review in digital works: NITLE/Anvil http://anvilacademic.org Rigid definitions of what counts as scholarly “work”
  21. 21. Problem: obsolescence “Acid Free Bits” http://eliterature.org/pad/afb.html Principles for Creating Long-Lasting Work 4.1 Prefer Open Systems to Closed Systems 4.2 Prefer Community-Directed Systems to Corporate-Driven Systems 4.3 Consolidate Code, Supply Comments 4.4 Validate Code 4.5 Prefer Plain-Text Formats to Binary Formats 4.6 Prefer Cross-Platform Options to Single-System Options 4.7 Keep the Whole System in Mind 4.8 Document Early, Document Often 4.9 Retain Source Files 4.10 Use Common Tools and Documented Capabilities 4.11 Maintain Metadata and Bibliographic information 4.12 Allow and Encourage Duplication and Republication 4.13 Keep Copies on Different, Durable Media
  22. 22. Document, document, document.. The Agrippa Files http://agrippa.english.ucsb.edu/
  23. 23. Problem: money Who knew? Your choice: pay or be googleized…
  24. 24. The future of digital (is digital)
  25. 25. MINDful Play Environment
  26. 26. Print the future
  27. 27. Print? No problem.

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