MLA 2013 Session #353. Avenues of Access: Digital Humanities and the Future of Scholarly Communicati
Friday, 4 January, 3:30–4:45 p.m., Republic Ballroom, Sheraton
Presiding: Michael Bérubé, Penn State Univ., University Park
The news that digital humanities are the next big thing must come as a pleasant surprise to people who have been working in the field for decades. Yet only recently has the scholarly community at large realized that developments in new media have implications not only for the form but also for the content of scholarly communication. This session will explore some of those implications—for scholars, for libraries, for journals, and for the idea of intellectual property.
Welcome to Avenues of Access--part 2 o a three part presidential forum, Michael Bérubé, president of forum for another 48 hours.
Brief confession: was thinking back to various MLAs past when the question of the digital just came up, and I was member of Task force, on promotion and tenure, and several who had written the portion of statement on online publishing. Some people are only happy with print journals -- the question is yes, the way you're money is secured by that gold in Fort Knox.
Reads description. One more confession: twitter feed,
Adjunct had read paper rom distant. Changed MLA to the twitter feet.
Go in order listed in program.
1. "The Mirror and the LAMP," Matthew Kirschenbaum, Univ. of Maryland, College Park
Adjust emic and can be heard easier.
Attended first ML convention in 1996, PHD student in VA, Charlottesville, up the road in DC, a bunch of us carpooled. Like many firs tie attendees I had mapped out my convention schedule; ne session in particular stood out to me, The Canon and the Web, the web presence that you see here--you see the static screen shot, had been placed online months prior to convention. Animated gifs, and tables. Evident will to situate session in contextual network. Links to readings, Clear desire for interactivity, live email links, and the injunction to initiate a correspondence. Curatorial responsibility which seem very contemporary to me. Participants with links to ages, and MLA bios. Some major names, and all of hat was a key element of the panel's appeal. Other key element was heralded directly n the session's title, and substantiated in this formidable site--the web itself, celebrated not as a convenience or contrivance for delivering content.
World wide Web was not the same web as the web e have today, neither temporally or technologically or aspirationally. Still mostly flatland, html rendering synchronicity of different browsers, IE and Navigator war, starting up . HTML 3.2. No XML not DHML.
No commenting facility, no feed. There was no Google. You yahooed; there was no shame, we all did. Alta Vista.
The real backbone of scholarly communication at the time remained listserv email. You subscribed, were on, you posted, or lured, or flamed, or accidentally hit reply all, but you didn't have to worry about how many followers you have, or if you would be retweeted. You didn't have to ask if you could be somebody's friend.
Humanist Discussion Group Listserv: May 14, 1987.
Name reminds us of a time to conceive for the need or more than one listserv. Humanist remains active today; some of you may also follow an account on twitter (hum_comp)--culling archives for tweets.
Early humanist listserv saw much more clearly what the challenges and opportunities of humanist communicating would be.
By 1998, I was clear that many of scholarly listservs were already living out their lives. H-CLC comparative literature. Advanced maturity in the medium?
Great migration to blogosphere, nascent social networking software. The bogs are still with us today, but these were the salad days. Removable Type or MT; some bloggers seemed to exist only in comments. Group blogs feature of scholarly languescape.
Grand Text Auto : discuss on digital humanities, computer literacy, code criticism. Active and energetic user community that spurred MIT Press to use it as an open peer review for a monograph
Movement from graduate school to faculty to administration--less time to do the online thing.
Rise of twitter impacted blogosphere.
MLA Commons launching this weekend at the convention: intended to facilitate active member to member communication.
Built out from CUNY commons, built on top extensions--and lost other terms--bedrock of technologies. Working through online scholarship:
Access -- always engenders power. Power dynamics are built into social networking society. Ability to define relationship functions is at the heart of the web.
MLA Commons--at what point will filters go up home filter? Higher or lower rank? Be wary of procedural models into its fabric.
Access involves risk.
Posting prose in full of dissertation -- inspired by Harlan Ellison who wrote short stories in windows of bookstores. The web had the potential to be panopticon.
Asked if he was worried about plagiarism -- m response to the question about plagiarism, Poe's purloined Letter. Single best way to get work into circulation.
Blogging in 2003, blogged under my own name. twitter 2006, I have not blogged every good idea, I have not tweeted every insight, there is stuff to keep to myself, or stuff I release strategically, and everybody has to find own comfort zones.
Access always entails risk. Scholarship not zero sum game--but reputation can be.
Access always requires time--all part of a stream of text.
Speculation on future--interoperability not likely.
All of this is the same no matter how much attention spans changed--most scholarly careers measured in fairly pedestrian ways.
One final urging: not too soon for MLA commons to be planning for its own obsolescence, our social and scholarly networks are ever more porous, but they are not reliably portable. Relationships require enormous amounts of investment and time.
Online personas change and move across the platforms.
Relationships and work can endure after platform disappears.
2. "Access Demands a Paradigm Shift," Cathy N. Davidson, Duke Univ.
A few years ago, I spent a day in a cinder block space of cement floor and fluorescent lighting, twenty people and fifteen desks, 200 desktops, and other devices. Anonymous warehouse in San Francisco, obscure space, under overpass. I pressed the door bell, nothing, I pressed gain. Finally someone buzzed me in. had arrived. Welcome to the corporate headquarters of Wikipedia--sixth most trafficked site on the internet. To interview Jimmy Wales -- one question, did you know, Jimmy? Did you suspect? Largest encyclopedia the world has known. No cloister in history could compete with the success.
His answer: in 2002, we thought a couple of hundred people would think Wikipedia an interesting experiment. First pace most of us go for information. Lifesaving information. Wikipedia's even useful for serious scholarship in ways one might not expect: when I first bean making contribution to Wikipedia a class assignment, and substitute for research paper, I came across the entry on calculus;. The entry gave credit to Egyptian, etc., transcultural history--I called reference librarians to verify. No book had it; she tried to verify it; she made phone calls at research universities in Egypt Greece, Iran, India, China each of them knew the western history o calculus one of them knew about her own country' history. The residence librarian at Duke was able to confirm.
Americas: Asian immigrants, etc. Inuit's Excellent.
Why isn't this open access produce king us rethink?
1. Openness o contribution allows us to rethink expertise
2. The lack of a formal predetermined taxonomy of what counts as knowledge
3. Volunteerism and lack of compensation and overt recognition.
Think about new avenues of access to scholarly publication.
Formal education has not kept up with the changed requirements of everyday life and work.
We need to redesign our priorities based on human desire to know.
Peril: job description more important.
Redesign our institutions for critical thinking and critical contribution.
Openness is compromised.
Only 13% of contributors are female; in a world populated by female librarians and teachers and other forms of knowledge workers.
Open access is not de facto open. Must be taught and reinforced and practiced. W need to teach new skills of online publication, presentation, as professional and pre-professional. Add activist component to what we teach.
Mass media is no longer uni-directional: economic, legal, psychological, and cultural impediments. Understanding and overcoming those barriers -- the 21st century digital literacies -- need to be part of education.
Take up the challenge: our place is essential.
Lead the way to a major paradigm shift in education-all levels, all disciplines.
Remember our own institutional history: pundits love to say education hasn’t' changed in 2000 years. Partly true, but not really accurate. Almost all of the institutional apparatus hat now governs our forms and norms of higher education-1870-1924, Industrial Age, supporting capitalist production of that era. Had to move to more research--transformation. Industrial -Educational Complex.
19th century research university structured around technology of last information age.
Developments of research and workplace==all of them institutionally mechanisms of expertise.
Few educators today realize how deeply tailored are university structures we've inherited. Scientific Learning management-Taylor--ideas of scientific learning management spread throughout higher learning administration as good management practices. The humanistic mode of analytical thinking has been on the decline every since--humanities mode designed to be minimized by professional structure.
Taylorism--still educating students as if hey participate in the communication cycle to the Industrial age.
Lot of gatekeepers in the way of idea moving to publication.
Communication circuit looks more like this -- DIS organization of contemporary online publication.
Hyper commercialized ecology of possibilities -- tantalizing in design, yet exist to turn voluntary and open contribution into someone else's profit.
If it's free, you are not the consumer, you are the product being sole.
Academics need to be helping students negotiate perils of access.
Critical contributing means helping students gain confidence contribute meaningfully.
New paradigm ahead: access into just e publishing but new publics.
Lot of hype about the new form of education: MOOC
Harvard and MIT
1 billion learners.
New access to education==is it revolutionary?
MOOCS are seen as the great disruptor--structurally they disrupt the least about higher education.
Big professors, tenured white male professors, talking heads, through MOOCS: they do not invite students to contribute knowledge. No participatory knowledge. Nor do MOOCS warn students against dystopia possibilities of surveillance--a world where those in power can exploit open access to individual data.
Billions of learners--or billions being trained into global power force.
Global canon and decentered perspective--NOT in the MOOCS, preserving the Eurocentric perspective and canon. Imperial knowledge,
2013 we should not be massively scaling an outmoded model of education; we should be remodeling our institutions for new participatory curriculum.
Liberal arts as start-up curriculum for resilient global citizens: open contribution, open canon, voluntary participation, all elements that should be incorporated into the education.
Digital humanities is only one to have taken seriously he new epistemologies -- participatory components and humanistic analytical schools -- slide: 7 billion authors, 7 billion teachers.
It has evolved through some of its issues-not changing things at the start, not addressing race, gender, hierarchy, power.
3. "Resistance in the Materials," Bethany Nowviskie, Univ. of Virginia
Most mornings these days esp. when I'm the first to arrive in the Scholar's Lab, I'll start something printing on the replicator, before I get into my email -- grinding whir as the machine revs up, a harsh lilac colored light, things become hot to the touch, and I walk away. I don’t even bother to stay now to see the mechanized arms moves.
Lapsed Victorianist who trained in archeology before gravitating toward most concrete aspect --design of tools and online environments that emphasize materiality of texts and our physicality of it. I print to feel productive. Art objects, little mechanisms, experiments, cultural artifacts, cheap three D printing always readily become things. It's like when I learned to set type on a press.
Sometimes a failed print--a mess.
William Morris: it's not too long ago that we couldn't imagine humanities computing to become so mainstream, so common, active rather than passive detractors. Late 1990s apprenticed under Jerome McGann, technical writer, Morris, embodied frictions become revealingly evident when you move from print to digital material.
You cant have art without resistance in the material.
Only rarely contextualized or traced back to its source: Morris' son in law reports it in a study about the new fangled device about a typewriter.
Morris condemns the typewriter--between a man and his work. Paper, quill pen, condemn the pneumatic brush.
Make the work too easy--the les thought. You cannot have art without resistance in the material.
Sticky typewriter -- own type of resistance.
Resistance unhelpfully and inaccessibly located in a tool set. Disenfranchising resistance felt by scholars and students new to MLA
When established DH scholars are feeling generous toward ourselves--inevitable learning curve of DH, and so we might confess that among the chief barriers to energy are poorly designed research tools and social systems.
Tensions and fractures and glitches reveal opportunity.
Until quite recently every self professed digital humanist was deeply engaged in tool building or most fundamental type of remediation. Algorhythm, or software procedural devices, or patently ontological conceptual tools like database designs and mark up schema: frameworks testing hypothesis. Tools had one thing in common: their own users had make them, and understood continual remaking of them in response to resistance as natural part of process to use.
Three crucially important factors converging for humanities today: most critical moment.
didn't get clearly
Physical to digital and back again: handcrafted boutique digitization in the 1990s was jarred and overwhelmed by mass digitization.
Least common denominator of digitalization has had consequences to engage with physical archives.
Decade on, we have only just begun to grapple with the primary digitalization of scale.
Momentous scholarly changes by development of ubiquitous digital to physical conversions tools.
Consumer accessible 3 D fabrication.
Embedded and wearable computer devices.
Others are ahead -- social scientists, artists, etc. new digital materialities.
2. defamiliarizes our own practice so thoroughly, feel levels of resistance
Speaking in code.
Without a clear call from people feeling barred from access, software developer's community might not be talking about what we have internalized.
Unclear: interface, architecture, communal in discursive humanities design. Style of scholarly communication that differs from verbal expressions.
3. Call for thinking about work from marginalized groups from outside--prompt to make accessible the unspoken.
Morris: middle ages, art and labor, beautiful--man and nature made. Made mainly for use instead of to be sought and told.
The rise of casual and alternative academic labor: alt-ac labor (IT, another places for institutional hiring)
DH will only scale as commodity tool use for the classroom---not as research in its own right. Casualization of academic labor.
Allow generation of scholars to at will teaching and labor--we will lose control over materials, tools and time