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Digital Research Conference, Oxford
11 September 2012
Digital Futures
Re-imagining the literary essay for the digital age
...
A digital essay -
commissioned
from the
London Review
of Books for The
Space –an
online digital
arts platform
developed by...
The Proposal:
• Could there be a way to embellish the unadorned
line of the text without losing the impetus and
coherence ...
The project: one essay
‘Kafka’s Wound’
A digital essay by Will Self, professional writer
and Professor of Contemporary Tho...
How can we support the most fulfilling
learning experience?
• Surface learning:
– Information
– Memorising
– The acquisiti...
Form: (Content)
• Archival
• Creative
• Documentary
• The essay
Function (UI)
• Supporting engagement with the text
• Technical details
• Visual index
• Side-notes
Technical Details
• HTML5 development. Responsive design.
• The content articles are normal WordPress posts of
custom type...
Technical (cont)
• Modern features: rounded corners allow the visual
index nodes to be circular; SVG (Scalable Vector
Grap...
Social Positioning Graph for ‘@theUL’
by Tony Hirst @psychemedia
http://blog.ouseful.info/2011/12/07/positioning-theul/
Hack at The National Archives: Ancient
correspondence (1175-1538) by @timhodson
http://timhodson.com/ancient-correspondenc...
CultureHack East at Anglia-Ruskin University, Cambridge:
Using Google Fusion Tables
Visual Index
Footnotes >> Side Notes
Qualitative data:
Twitter comments from the first 30 days
• 55 original comments that expressed an opinion have been recor...
Quantitative data:
Google Analytics for the first 30 days
• Visits 13,000
• Unique visitors 8,500
• Return visits 35%
• Pa...
The Future
Digital humanities: create essays integrating
digital media with text.
Archives: gain new life and exposure thr...
What Next?
• Linked data & entity extraction. Exploring using other
archives.
• Investigate how to publish data within a d...
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Digital Research Conference 2012, Oxford: Re-imagining the literary essay for the digital age Slide 1 Digital Research Conference 2012, Oxford: Re-imagining the literary essay for the digital age Slide 2 Digital Research Conference 2012, Oxford: Re-imagining the literary essay for the digital age Slide 3 Digital Research Conference 2012, Oxford: Re-imagining the literary essay for the digital age Slide 4 Digital Research Conference 2012, Oxford: Re-imagining the literary essay for the digital age Slide 5 Digital Research Conference 2012, Oxford: Re-imagining the literary essay for the digital age Slide 6 Digital Research Conference 2012, Oxford: Re-imagining the literary essay for the digital age Slide 7 Digital Research Conference 2012, Oxford: Re-imagining the literary essay for the digital age Slide 8 Digital Research Conference 2012, Oxford: Re-imagining the literary essay for the digital age Slide 9 Digital Research Conference 2012, Oxford: Re-imagining the literary essay for the digital age Slide 10 Digital Research Conference 2012, Oxford: Re-imagining the literary essay for the digital age Slide 11 Digital Research Conference 2012, Oxford: Re-imagining the literary essay for the digital age Slide 12 Digital Research Conference 2012, Oxford: Re-imagining the literary essay for the digital age Slide 13 Digital Research Conference 2012, Oxford: Re-imagining the literary essay for the digital age Slide 14 Digital Research Conference 2012, Oxford: Re-imagining the literary essay for the digital age Slide 15 Digital Research Conference 2012, Oxford: Re-imagining the literary essay for the digital age Slide 16 Digital Research Conference 2012, Oxford: Re-imagining the literary essay for the digital age Slide 17 Digital Research Conference 2012, Oxford: Re-imagining the literary essay for the digital age Slide 18
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Re-imagining the literary essay for the digital age: 'Kafka's Wound' by Will Self, for the London Review of Books and The Space.

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Digital Research Conference 2012, Oxford: Re-imagining the literary essay for the digital age

  1. 1. Digital Research Conference, Oxford 11 September 2012 Digital Futures Re-imagining the literary essay for the digital age A practice-based research project Helen Jeffrey Associate Publisher, London Review of Books @imhelenj #digres
  2. 2. A digital essay - commissioned from the London Review of Books for The Space –an online digital arts platform developed by the Arts Council and the BBC. www.thespace. org
  3. 3. The Proposal: • Could there be a way to embellish the unadorned line of the text without losing the impetus and coherence of the reading experience? • Could we create a rhythmic flow in and out of the sequence of sentences, to take in other texts, video and audio material, pictures and photographs, so that reading becomes multidimensional but not merely fragmentary? • Will enriching the line of a text deepen it or confuse it, energise it or dissipate its élan?
  4. 4. The project: one essay ‘Kafka’s Wound’ A digital essay by Will Self, professional writer and Professor of Contemporary Thought at Brunel University. www.thespace.lrb.co.uk
  5. 5. How can we support the most fulfilling learning experience? • Surface learning: – Information – Memorising – The acquisition of facts, methods and techniques • Deep learning: – Abstraction of meaning – An interpretive process aimed at understanding reality – Learning and changing as a person “Deep and surface approaches to learning are not personality traits”; the approach taken is dependent on both what the student is asked to do, and what the student perceives to be the purpose. (The Oxford Tutorial: Thanks you taught me how to think, edited by D Palfryman, 2008; Suzanne Shale, The Oxford Tutorial in the Context of Theory on Student Learning:).
  6. 6. Form: (Content) • Archival • Creative • Documentary • The essay
  7. 7. Function (UI) • Supporting engagement with the text • Technical details • Visual index • Side-notes
  8. 8. Technical Details • HTML5 development. Responsive design. • The content articles are normal WordPress posts of custom type 'article' with added metadata fields. • External media is dynamically added to the article content by a custom WordPress function. • A custom WordPress function adds a hidden list of articles with categories, titles and images to the essay for the visual index. • The visual index uses the D3 (Data-Driven Documents) general-purpose visualisation library. http://d3js.org/ • A client-side browser script uses the hidden list to create the visualisation when the essay is displayed and modifies the links so that the articles are loaded inline.
  9. 9. Technical (cont) • Modern features: rounded corners allow the visual index nodes to be circular; SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) used for the lines between the nodes. • Making the audio/video and slide players work in responsive pop-ups was a little tricky to get right. • Being able to open up a gap mid-sentence/mid- paragraph for extra content without triggering a reflow is something that browsers just aren't designed to support. • It would be nice to rework the animations to use modern CSS3 transformations -- this would greatly improve the performance on lower-powered devices (like the iPad).
  10. 10. Social Positioning Graph for ‘@theUL’ by Tony Hirst @psychemedia http://blog.ouseful.info/2011/12/07/positioning-theul/
  11. 11. Hack at The National Archives: Ancient correspondence (1175-1538) by @timhodson http://timhodson.com/ancient-correspondence/
  12. 12. CultureHack East at Anglia-Ruskin University, Cambridge: Using Google Fusion Tables
  13. 13. Visual Index
  14. 14. Footnotes >> Side Notes
  15. 15. Qualitative data: Twitter comments from the first 30 days • 55 original comments that expressed an opinion have been recorded • 4% negative, 96% positive • Simply brilliant - and a model for the future scholarly edition, as well as essay RT @LRB Will Self's 'Kafka's Wound’ • This interactive essay on Kafta, by Will Self @wself is clearly groundbreaking. Games and machinima have their part. • Swish #digital #essay from @wself with a nice #UI. The text stands on its own for any academics: Kafka’s Wound via @LRB • Envisage #research output with #data etc as a digital document - see coll. Brunel & @lrb in Will Self's Kafka’s Wound
  16. 16. Quantitative data: Google Analytics for the first 30 days • Visits 13,000 • Unique visitors 8,500 • Return visits 35% • Pageviews 40,000 • Bounce rate 2% • Time on site 9.15 minutes • Referral visits 74%
  17. 17. The Future Digital humanities: create essays integrating digital media with text. Archives: gain new life and exposure through digital integration with new work. E-learning: develop learning resources with contextual content. Creative arts: support collaborative digital projects working with other departments.
  18. 18. What Next? • Linked data & entity extraction. Exploring using other archives. • Investigate how to publish data within a digital essay. • Developing the side-notes concept to support academic referencing. • Technical improvements. • Work with writers to create more experimental digital essays. • Research into the pedagogical implications of the format – any takers?
  • KellyLewis81

    Nov. 26, 2021

Re-imagining the literary essay for the digital age: 'Kafka's Wound' by Will Self, for the London Review of Books and The Space.

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