an invitation 11.03.2008, 2:36 PM
posted by bob stein
We've got a small NEH grant to hold a couple of brainstorming sessions. the overarching goal of the sessions is to come up with a conceptual framework for learning spaces which combine the rich media attributes of the cd-rom era with the collaborative affordances of the net. Here's a short excerpt from the grant application:
With the advent of the cd-rom in the late 80s, a few pioneering humanities scholars began to develop a new vocabulary for multi-layered, multi-modal digital publications. Since that time, the internet has emerged as a powerful engine for collaboration across peer networks, radically collapsing the distance between authors and readers and creating new communal spaces for work and review.
To date, these two evolutionary streams have been largely separate. Rich multimedia is still largely consigned to individual consumption on the desktop, while networked collaboration generally occurs around predominantly textual media such as the blogosphere, or bite-sized fragments on YouTube and elsewhere. We propose to carry out initial planning for two ambitious digital publishing projects that will merge these streams into powerfully integrated experiences.
Although the locus of scholarly discourse is slowly but clearly moving from bound/printed pages to networked screens, we've yet to reach the tipping point. The printed book is still the gold standard of the academy. The goal of these projects is to produce born-digital works that are as elegant as printed books and also draw on the power of audio and video illustrations and new models of community-based inquiry -? and do all of these so well that they inspire a generation of young scholars with the promise of digital scholarship.
We're going to hold three meetings grouped by discipline -? History, Music and Media Studies.
Consider this an invitation to apply to be part of one of these sessions. If you think you can make a significant contribution to the discussion, please send us a note. Or if you know someone else who would be perfect, please pass the word on to them.
Posted by bob stein on November 3, 2008 2:36 PM
Gary Frost on November 3, 2008 8:00 PM:
Producing an on-line publication as elegant as print is one challenge, provoking young scholars to screen publication is another and the two are not necessarily related. There is also a too ready assumption that "the power" of audio and video must be piled on top of the on-line publication rather than assume their own independent roles in digital delivery. Website and Wiki format does compile text, visual, and audio, but this format has not proven a publication mode that supplants scholarly print transmission.
More and more print and screen augment each other. This would indicate that the screen and print are really a single transmission ecology that is producing momentum toward a different kind of book. Counterpoints of print and screen works should be observed in detail to better understand their interaction for cultural transmission and the possibility of an emergence of a new synthesis.
Mark Gabriel on November 4, 2008 10:41 AM:
You might want to include some people like Ted Nelson (invented "hypertext") or Alan Kay (helped invent mouse and much more), or people from their projects ("Xanadu" and "squeak" or something similar) to provide forward-thinking technical input.
Today's personal computers (either Mac or PC) are Tinkertoys compared to what they have in mind.
Paul Ford on November 5, 2008 10:07 AM:
This problem is dear to my archive-managing heart. I hope you'll make the results of the event(s) available to all. Some ideas for folks: David Huynh for his timeline/Semantic Web work; someone from MusicOntology.com--fascinating stuff happening there; Jerome McGann for obvious reasons, as he's been at it longer than most anyone; and there's interesting work happening at the New York Times WRT managing historical sources--they're obviously facing down challenges at making history relevant and accessible--be good to talk to some of the Times Machine people. Maybe Bolter and Grusin to talk through some of the stuff they did way back when; still relevant to the "make it classy like a book" problem. Bruce G. Robertson for his work at HEML. Someone from Dipity or Mnemograph perhaps? Not to mention someone from CMS at MIT. And perhaps people who can talk about latent semantics--there's no reason that more can't be done by machines to help humanists get their work done. So perhaps someone from Dow Jones or again the Times with their Tags API--indexing and tagging is the key to these sorts of products. Ah, and Erin McKean has some very interesting ideas about the future of dictionaries--which, in many ways, falls under the History rubric. And the work at CHNM is impressive; maybe consider Dan Cohen?
bowerbird on November 5, 2008 7:51 PM:
well, if paul ford isn't going to suggest himself, i certainly will. :+)
perhaps you can cure him of his fear of lawsuits...
Eric Swenson on November 30, 2008 6:15 PM:
BLQM! 1 was distributed by Voyager and Voyager Japan (blam! 1-3). The evil step child will return. Along with suffocated breathren.
Bill Seitz on December 11, 2008 5:45 PM:
I'm very interested in the future of non-fiction as online media. More for general-interest readers than for scholarship games.
I'd be very interesting in chatting, if an amateur has a place...