There are a lot of web scholarly editions, and even though apps might be a solution to get more people to use the scholarly editions, it would not be feasible or sustainable to convert them all into apps. Therefore as a first step current web scholarly editions should be optimized to guarantee that they are properly accessible from tablet devices. Once that is done for some of the most relevant it should be investigated whether or not those are being accessed more by tablet devices rather than computers. This would be a quick and useful way to understand whether or not tablets can be a solution for the future of the scholarly editions.
As we see it, there are three additional possibilities to get the scholarly editions into the tablets:First: Current scholarly publishing tools could be adapted and extended to produce other formats that are natively supported by tablets, like eBooks. That way it should be simple enough to get scholarly apps on the tablets with possibly more or at least different functionality from that offered by a website.Second: How much should an app be customized to a specific work? Would a generic scholarly reading app that can read multiple works and have a set of standard features (like an eBook reader) be more valuable than single edition apps? And can we identify a set of features that are good enough to be the standard of the many editions, and what would be the consequences of doing so? How much would be hidden? We were never able to do this for the web editions, because every editor has their own opinions on what the standard should be!And third: is it possible to have a development framework to create scholarly apps that can be used by the different flavors of tables? And can it be made friendly enough so that scholars can use it? This last option would be the desirable, but what we must understand beforehand is whether or not tablets and/or apps are the way to go.And as usual the problem is not on the technology side, but on the intellectual argument on what to do with it.
Tablet apps, or the future of Digital Scholarly Editions?
Tablet apps, or the future of Digital Scholarly Editions? Elena Pierazzo José Miguel Vieira & Patricia Searl 1
The ideaResearch stemmed from a dissertation ofMA in Digital Humanities: Patricia SearlShe is here in spirit! 2
Digital Scholarly Editions (DSE), the use of• A part from some ubiquitous resources (Old Bailey, EEBO), the usage is pretty low• And even when used, they are scarcely cited• JISC Funded Programme 2010/11: Impact and embedding of digitised resources Why? 3
DSE: why yes• Open new possibilities to editing and presentation of the material• More space for commentaries, critical apparatus, biographies, related material• Images are cheap!• High profile projects: Rossetti Archive, Canterbury Tales (and Whitman, and Blake, and…) 4
DSE: why no• Difficult/unpleasant to read on the screen• They are not reliable in time (can change overnight!)• Difficult/awkward to use• Less scholarly than print: not peered review• Don’t look like a book…• Preservation!• Scarcely adopted as READING in classroom (seldom for research or example) 5
eBooks in the meantime…• Are doing pretty well!• Amazon: eBooks are selling more than paperbacks (since 2010)• The Tablet revolution: iPad (and Android)• Reading on tablets is pleasant! Even more pleasant than on paper!!! (Nielsen 2010)• Massively adopted by schools and universities – US, Korea and even Italy (would you believe it?) 6
Never say Digital• Digital is a complex concept that cannot be limited to a single object• Computer and tablets are not the same thing• Tablets are able to produce sense of ownership, like books• Computers are not 7
…but eBooks are boring!• They do not look like our digital editions• They feature only texts… mostly. Some images.• Enhanced eBooks: audio/video 8
Some exceptions• The Waste Land by Touch Press – Audio – Video – Comment – Facsimile No editor… (!!) [http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-waste- land/id427434046?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4] 9
Where are the academic editors?Still trying to understand the web… 11
The Research Questions• Are tablets the bridge between print and web?• Can they help in bringing DSE to a larger public? 12
Apps are fun!• Too much, perhaps?• Is the ludic component of the haptic behavior too ludic to endeavor scholarship?• Works for physics, astronomy, engineering…• Is the ludic component of the haptic behavior too ludic to endeavor HUMANITIES scholarship? 13
Every edition its own app• Is it a good idea?• User friendly = familiar, expectable• User friendly ≠ customization• An App for all seasons? Is it possible to agree on the features? 14
Technological Overview• Tablet’s OS – Apple iOS – Google Android• Different development environments – Which one to choose – 3rd party development frameworks (e.g. Appcelerator Titanium)• Different distribution programs – Apps may not be accepted for distribution• App lifecycle and updates: sustainable? 15
And what about the existing DSE?• Not affordable/sustainable to convert existing editions to apps• Optimize websites instead of developing apps• Evaluate: which one is used the most? Web or Tablet? 16
Other ways to get DSE into tablets1. Extend scholarly publishing tools? – Produce formats for tablets (eBooks)2. Scholarly reading app? – eBook reader for scholarly materials3. Scholarly App Development Framework? – Multiplatform apps 17
The future• A research project, well, two• Focus groups, usage and usability tests and analysis• Collaboration with publishers• Theoretical and practical models• Did I mention tests? 18