“Networked Humanities Scholarship, or the Life       of Kairos”Douglas Eyman and Cheryl Ball
1. Scholarly: Design as argument  2. Social: Assessment/Peer Review  3. Technical: SustainabilityTHREE FORMS OFINFRASTRUCT...
 design-as-rhetoric is critical  meaning-making not solely textual  rhetorical style is equivalent to design  “style i...
 assessment and peer review  “new” venues, multiple genres  respecting vs. recreating antecedents  tradition and the c...
 sustainability (access & maintenance)  stop proprietary software formats  prevent quotation and citation rot  start u...
Affects all stakeholders in publishing:      Authors, Editors, PublishersBUILDING SUPPORT FORINFRASTRUCTURES
Networked Humanities Scholarship or The Life of Kairos
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Networked Humanities Scholarship or The Life of Kairos

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This talk given by Cheryl Ball at SCMS 2013 for the workshop, Writing with Video, takes on the challenges of infrastructure for rich media scholarship using the example of Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy, which Cheryl edits. The talk is adapted from a book chapter being written by Cheryl and Kairos Senior Editor, Doug Eyman.

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  • In a recent review of four books about digital scholarship, Cheryl Ball (2011) notes that most books on this topic address the institutional or technological activity systems of print-based scholarship put online. And, so, there is no coherent body of scholarship, and certainly no monograph (due to previous constraints in publishing venues), that has offered a sustained analysis of scholarly multimedia and its growing impact on digital scholarship (and digital pedagogies) in the humanities. In this chapter, we aim to provide a three-part framework in an effort to begin the process of analysis. Our framework takes up the idea of “infrastructure” – in this case, the underlying structures that support digital humanities work – in terms of scholarly method, academic capital, and digital platforms.
  • In the sections that follow, we draw on our experiences as editors and publisher of Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy . Kairos is a free, independent, open‐access, digital journal that has been publishing scholarly multimedia on the Web since 1996. Since its first issue, the mission of Kairos has been to publish scholarship that examines digital and multimodal composing practices, promoting work that enacts its scholarly argument through rhetorical and innovative uses of new media.
  • Based on our long tenure as editors of Kairos , we see three key practices that digital humanities scholars should consider if they choose to engage publication outlets that can support digital humanities production (as opposed to reporting in traditional, primarily textual, forms): 1) the importance of design as a rhetorical vehicle for scholarly argumentation; 2) the available means of assessment and peer-review; and 3) questions of sustainability of the scholarly work, regardless of form, in the rapidly evolving technological ecosystems of the Internet.
  • Despite proficiency with humanities computing and digital aesthetics, however, it appears that few scholars are consciously employing design as a means to further scholarly argumentation when showcasing or reporting on their work. The function of design as an enactment of rhetorical practice for digital scholarship is a relationship that we have attempted to champion and promote in each issue of Kairos In rhetorical terms, style takes on new importance for digital humanities scholarship, particularly in terms of visual style: for a digital rhetoric, style is equivalent to “design”; thus, scholars must be concerned with understanding all the available elements of document design, including color, font choice, layout, as well as multimedia design possibilities including motion, interactivity, and appropriate use of media. Bradley Dilger (2010) reminds us that for rhetoric, “style is never optional…” but integral. the question is not whether we want style or substance, but what kind of style we want to deploy as a component of substance
  • We have noticed that digital humanities practitioners at conferences such as HASTAC and DML are beginning to wrestle with the frictions that arise between traditional mechanisms for evaluating the quality of scholarly work (particularly in terms of tenure and promotion) and their limited applicability to the assessment of new media scholarship. In its early years, Kairos hoped to promote changes in the social infrastructure of digital scholarship by serving as a kind of bridge between traditional scholarly values and the disruptive inventions made possible by digital, networked production. A conscious decision was made to replicate some of the features of traditional publishing – standard issues with set dates of publication, a structured peer-review process, and an editorial board that included established and senior scholars in the field of rhetoric and composition. One of the benefits of supporting the social infrastructures of digital scholarship is that it helps to show the benefits of collaborative work, which has been a challenge for scholars who publish in traditional forms as well.
  • Because technologies and systems are in a state of constant evolution, it is critical to build and maintain sustainable platforms for the publication of digital humanities work. call attention to a series of technical infrastructure challenges that are particularly pressing for digital humanities scholarship : While there has been a general championing of the use of open-source systems for digital humanities work in general, many forms and approaches rely upon functionality that is not available via open-source systems. lack of social infrastructure that could support the development of new platforms, as this kind of work is not deemed scholarly. Digital humanities scholars are currently wrestling with the question of preserving and maintaining access to obsolete formats, and even in just the past decade we have seen a rapid shift in formats. Publishers can support and encourage the use of standardized systems that help track and monitor the location and status of both the works we publish and those that our authors cite. Metadata (“data about data”) provides information about the contents, format, ownership, and publication of a digital work. Inclusion of metadata should be an integral part of the invention and production process for digital works on the part of authors as well as a standard element of the publishing process.
  • We will report on our own moves toward sustainability through the deployment of metadata and the improvement of our own archival practices for the seventeen years’ worth of digital scholarship published in Kairos .
  • Networked Humanities Scholarship or The Life of Kairos

    1. 1. “Networked Humanities Scholarship, or the Life of Kairos”Douglas Eyman and Cheryl Ball
    2. 2. 1. Scholarly: Design as argument 2. Social: Assessment/Peer Review 3. Technical: SustainabilityTHREE FORMS OFINFRASTRUCTURE
    3. 3.  design-as-rhetoric is critical  meaning-making not solely textual  rhetorical style is equivalent to design  “style is never optional” (Dilger, 2010)SCHOLARLYINFRASTRUCTURE
    4. 4.  assessment and peer review  “new” venues, multiple genres  respecting vs. recreating antecedents  tradition and the collaborative talentSOCIALINFRASTRUCTURE
    5. 5.  sustainability (access & maintenance)  stop proprietary software formats  prevent quotation and citation rot  start using metadataTECHNICALINFRASTRUCTURE
    6. 6. Affects all stakeholders in publishing: Authors, Editors, PublishersBUILDING SUPPORT FORINFRASTRUCTURES

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