Library Publishing Forum

It’s been a week and my brain is still buzzing from the 36-hour long inaugural Library Publishing Forum.  I saw nothing of Kansas City, unfortunately, but the experience of being transported to a whole community deeply committed to publishing in libraries was so, so valuable. I came away with a lot to think about, and a list of projects I wish to have funded asap (please and thank you).

I am late with this. Others have blogged, Storifyedarchived or shared quicker and better than myself, so I’ve written just a few quick thoughts, and included the entirety of my notes below, should they be of interest.

– Similar to discussion in digital humanities, there’s a tension about the role of the library as service provider versus research partner. An extra layer of complexity is added in that, in addition to libraries building relationships with scholars, there are many instances where libraries collaborate or merge with their university’s press. Questions here are around who manages, who selects and, of course, who pays for the publishing work that go on as parts of these relationships.

– What’s more interesting to me, and more useful to think about since I’m not tied to one school or press, is the publishing that’s going on in libraries as library work – either as service or as in-library scholarship. What became very clear at LPF was that it’s often not possible to distinguish a library publishing effort from a library-managed Digital Humanities project. It’s arguably not necessary either, as long as conversations about publishing and conversations about ‘doing DH’ are not happening separately.

Should libraries and their presses integrate? Should they align but have different foci? Should libraries reject the traditional publishing model completely? Before attending the forum, I had really only thought of libraries-as-publishers in this third sense—and the Forum may have further radicalized me in that direction.  There are a lot of consortial opportunities in that scenario, and I look forward to fleshing them out in the coming months. I’ll also be pushing to formally join the Library Publishing Coalition as soon as it opens to consortium (quite soon!).

Notes below. Some session notes are more fleshy than others, and I’d be happy to clarify or expand with anyone who’s interested.

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Digital Humanities Day 3 (Notes)

The closing keynote, a rallying cry for a more global perspective (and action road-map), has come to an end. I need to put on a dress and go to the closing banquet, then pack my bag, have a short sleep, and head to the airport around 4:30 AM tomorrow.

I don’t really feel I have the mental energy to consolidate my thoughts about this amazing conference into anything useful, so I am going to once again just paste my barely-looked over  notes below. As often seems to be the case, the morning sessions seemed to get a lot more attention. This is on account of me, and not the presenters.


Anvil Academic – Forging New Traditions

  • @lisapiro @koreybjackson @MoodyFred
  • Governence and funding: Many universities and college contributing financially, in-kind, all sit on governing board
  • Liberal arts colleges – born-digital pedagogical materials
  • Digital Scholars, analog metrics: young scholars do compelling work, but as they work to advance their careers, everything is measured in an analog fashion. DH author’s predicament – authors need to do more traditional scholarly stuff for promotion and tenure. Will always choose to publish a monograph over cool DH project.
  • Some day – The Analog Humanities, with DH as the basic
  • What do they publish? Stuff that can’t be made into a monograph – data driven projects, multi-modal titles, networked authorship projects, interactive and media-rich educational resources.
  • Why publish it? Scholarly work is produced and consumed digitally, new form scholarship cannot be reduced to monograph form.
  • Need for a publisher in the digital world to fill the vetting and credentialing role publishers have traditionally filled – rigorous peer review and editorial processes.
  • What is publishing? Peer review, editorial services, distribution, impact metrics, imprimatur, cataloging and preservation.  (I would never trust a publisher to preserve!)
  • Criteria – Scholarly contribution, rationale for being digital, contribution to the state of digital art, searching for an appropriate balance between ‘ground-breaking’ and content and media use.
  • Platform-independence – works displayed in their native environments, marked as Anvil publications, list in Anvil catalogue, open licenses, open web platform
  • Short term – no hosting, preservation through archive – it
  • Long term – prove concept, secure more funding
  • Sustainability – 5 year plan, have 3 years of support now

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Digital Humanities Day 2 (Notes)

8:30 AM 

Toward a Noisier Digital Humanities – Darren Mueller, Whitney Trettier

  • @TeamNoise – PhD lab at Duke
  • soundBox – incorporate sound into digital projects
  • provocations: hybrid projects, layering physical spaces with digital connectivity to provoke new sonically engaged scholarly expression
  • pubishing format – Provoke! A web-book including audio, video and source code and website showcasing new multimedia methods of scholarship
  • “Sonic edition” of the book
  • #DHsound
  • Archiving, publishing, working with sound in digital environment – found scholars around the world struggling with this
  • Graduate pedagogy is usually coursework – exams – dissertations – supposed to be scaffolded, but are usually just huge steps with not a lot of support between them
  • The GDSI grant scaffolded graduate pedagogly through freeform collaboration – built a professional community
  • Seed grant ($500) fostered very early collaboration across disciplines, got the conversation going
  • Downside of the GDSI scholarship – cannot be used for thesis work, Soundbox was all extra-curricular
  • Sonifying library exhibit  space – had more luck with external galleries, but white-box space less interesting
  • Annotating a book with sound – use cheap sound cards (you can buy a greeting card and record your own voice)

Linked Data for Music Collections – a user-centred approach – Seamus Lawless

  • Linked Data – “it is about making links, so that a person or machine can explore the web of data…when you have some of it, you can find other, related data.” (TBL)
  • Huge increase in music collections online, sound recordings, but also textual info – biographies, scores, histories of works, engineering info about how recordings are made.
  • Disparate databases – a score in this database, a recording of the same thing in another
  • Linking biographical information to recordings elsewhere.
  • Different metadata, different formats,  MAY share DublinCore for basic stuff, but use their own standards for other parts of the collection
  • LinkedData and RDA help collections be more pluralistic – move away from siloed mark-up
  • Allows for linking to related but different info – where did a performance take place, where was a recording done?
  • Current landscape – Music Ontology – vocabulary for music info, builds upon and extends ontologies: Timeline, Event, FOAF [friend of a friend], FRBR, Key, Instrument. BUT no support for music scores, can identify too closely with particular genres (not sure about how this is)
  • MusicBrainz – music metadata database, collects core and user-conrtbuted data on artists, recordings etc…not a lot of classical coverage, doesn’t distinguish between performers and composers, privileges performances.
  • Contemporary Music Centre in Ireland – national archive &resource centre, has extensive collections of scores, huge range of media,
  • User base – composers, researchers, promoters, teachers, students
  • Conducted focus groups and interviews to discuss exposing the data of the centre – how to link to external content? How would users feel about reuse, both internally and externally (borrow from others, share their own collection)? How to make is discoverable?
  • Key findings – ensure trust and accuracy of data, avoid over-linking to external data, want more focused, music-related links, enhance browsability, prevent technological disadvantage among composers (i.e. some are not very present on the web – will they be drowned out by more savvy composers?)
  • Overall model was developed for integration of Linked Data and CMC ‘s collection – remodel database using FRBR, map CMCs metadata to the Music Ontology, Embed mappings as RDF in a new drupal version of the CMC website, develop visualization tools to support browsing
  • Linked data are very obvious very quickly music, but user base had many fears about the design. MORE nervous about pulling info in from outside to enhance local experience – excited about linked data being used to enhance the profile of the institution, share collection with outsiders
  • ß dissertation on this topic

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Digital Humanities Day 1 (Notes)

8:30 AM

The Full Spectrum Text Analysis Spreadsheet – David L Hoover

  • Idea – recently people are using more words in text analysis (600-4000). What if we look at words neither frequent nor rare, as well as those that are very rare.
  • Burrow’s Zeda and Oda (sp?) don’t use statistical tests, don’t need to be statistically valid.
  • Authors style markers
  • Look at wordlist of 30,000 words by Willa Cather and Edith Wharton
  • Counts consistency of use, rather than frequency – maybe consistency is more important?
  • Words sorted by characteristic
    • Cather – until
    • Wharton – till
    • Can see what is characteristic, what is avoided
    • Percentage present + percentage absence = distinctiveness score
    • Get a ‘distinctivness score’
    • Graph of vocabulary – remove words that appear only once – then only 500 most frequent words
    • Do you get better results looking at the whole vocabulary? It makes for better rhetoric – “I used all the words”
    • Content vs. style – a lot of overlap…

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To Lincoln! Digital Humanities 2013

I am heading to Nebraska tomorrow for the 2013 Digital Humanities conference (#DH2013). When I asked permission to go, I was full of nerves–a lot of the program seems over my head or slightly outside my area of knowledge. A number of people have told me these are the best kinds of conferences to go to, and I believe it. Still, it’s a bit scary, so I’m carefully plotting where I’ll be.

This is also some kind of promise about writing up these sessions too, though I suspect a combo of evening email catch up and the siren song of the Nebraska nightlife may keep me from too much conference writing (how do people do so much of that?!)

Anyway, if you’re interested in any of these things, please ask me! (full program here, edit: there are abstracts available from a link at the top).

In between and after these sessions I am hoping to rent a bike from the UNL Campus Recreation Centre and eat my way through the downtown, forecast (32, humid, thunderstorming daily) be damned.

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