Cheryl Ball presented this talk to the Digital Humanities Group at the College of William & Mary. She details how the field of digital writing studies has fostered the scholarly, social, and technical infrastructures that allow for the mentoring of scholars producing digital work. Ball then explains how this infrastructure is the backbone of the journal Kairos and how the Vega academic publishing system will bring that infrastructure to other academic publishers.
I prefer the term webtexts because that is the term that the journal I edit, Kairos, has historically used. Webtexts are screen-based, peer-reviewed scholarship that use the affordances of the Web to deliver their research arguments.
C&C, C&W, DWS, DR, etc.
DW vs. DH
Principal of webtext deisgn: UNIQUE DESIGNS, where form::content meet.
A major goal of webtexts is to enact their rhetorical arguments through design work. (This is a piece from 2009, argument about juxtaposition and wunderkammers facilitating invention)
Webtext principal: Process-based research In the August issue of Kairos, interaction design researchers Einar Sneve Martinussen, Jørn Knutsen, and Timo Arnall (2014) published a peer-reviewed webtext that showcases the design-process methodologies they used to construct a project called “Satellite Lamps.”
As Martinussen (2013) explained, the team explored and visualized “how GPS takes place in urban environments. The team has looked at the relationships between urban space, time and satellite-geometry, and design and has developed instruments and techniques for visualising the presence and the fluctuations of satellite signals.”
The opening video shows how the team’s time-lapse film methodology works to visualise these signals. The three authors worked together to produce the video, as well as curate multiple slideshows from their photographic archive, research additional scholarly materials for the rich transdisciplinary literature review, write the linguistic (written) content, and design the webtext in Ruby (which they had to transfer to HTML for Kairos’s archival purposes).
Kairos isn’t the only journal in digital writing studies, or more broadly in media studies, that publishes webtexts. Other journals have been in or more recently joined this publishing field, such as Computers and Composition Online (published from 1996–1999 and 2001–present), which is the strongest contender to Kairos. But there is also Enculturation, Vectors Journal, Harlot of the Arts, the Journal of Artistic Research, Public, and a few others.
This mentoring is possible because digital writing studies has already created social and scholarly infrastructures that allow for these kinds of discussions to take place. What I mean is this:
SCHOLARLY: the importance of design as a rhetorical vehicle for scholarly argumentation; SOCIAL: the available means of assessment and peer-review within a collaborative, open setting; and TECHNICAL: questions of sustainability of the scholarly work, regardless of form, in the rapidly evolving technological ecosystems of the Internet.
(These infrastructures overlap. All of these infra. come together in Kairos.)
At Kairos, we embrace design as part of the invention process through our mentorship of authors in pre-submission collaborations and through our collaborative peer review process
During the peer-review process, we developmentally edit for rhetoricity. After a piece is accepted for publication, we edit their designs (including the code, as needed) for sustainability, accessibility, and usability. All of these are rhetorical concerns: an author who chooses to design her piece in Adobe Flash chooses a limited set of sustainable, accessible, usable, and readable features that may change over time, or even disappear (see Sorapure). These design choices function as part of a webtext’s scholarly and technical infrastructures as well as part of the social infrastructure of Kairos’s collaborative authorial and editorial workflows.
What and how we edit for design depends entirely on the text in front of us at any given moment.
Are there transcripts? Are the filenames properly named and formatted? Do the links work? Do the images have alt txt? Are the media files uploaded to the correct server location & contain appropriate metadata?
Rethinking academic publishing through multimedia scholarship
Dr. Cheryl E. Ball
West Virginia University, USA | http://ceball.com |
(social semiotics, design, intermedia)
(academic literacies, university pedagogy)
(writing in the workplace & disciplines,
(usability, UX, design)
New media studies
(design, digital culture)
courtesy of Maia C, Flickr CC license
Relationship of Digital Writing Studies
to Digital Humanities
Kinds of DH Scholarship
New media scholarship
On naming, see Ball, 2004; Lauer 2009, 2012