Mapping/Taxonomizing the vSocial Reading (and Writing)

This proposal is an outgrowth of a couple conversations from the sessions of the first day of THATCamp. As with other forms and modes of reading and writing, there are multiple modes of social reading. Categorizing the different types and components of social reading could help match the goals of projects with the different platforms that it could be staged on.

A few years ago, Bob Stein, of the Institute for the Future of the Book, attempted to create a taxonomy of social reading based around four major interaction categories:

  1. Discussing a book in person with friends and acquaintances.
    (offline, informal, synchronous, ephemeral)
  2. Discussing a book online
    (online, informal, synchronous or asynchronous, persistent)
  3. Discussing a book in a classroom or living–room book group
    (offline, formal, synchronous, ephemeral)
  4. Engaging in a discussion IN the margins
    (online, formal, synchronous or asynchronous, persistent)

Using these as a starting point, this session will explore how we might categorize social reading (and writing).

Categories: Session Proposals, Social Media | Comments Off on Mapping/Taxonomizing the vSocial Reading (and Writing)

Barriers to Social Reading Projects

Every project is going to have certain barriers to implementation.  Acknowledging these barriers allows you to be better prepared when an issue arises.  I would like to have a discussion around some of these barriers and their potential implications.

As an example, some of the potential barriers that jump to my mind include:

  • Community buy-in
  • Copyright
  • Resources
  • Long-term Retrieval and Accessibility
  • Fair and balanced, authority/credibility, and “scholarliness”
Categories: Copyright, Session Proposals, session-talk | Comments Off on Barriers to Social Reading Projects

Improving a Teaching and Reading Tool

Last year, my colleague Eric Morgan and I made a web-application called theCatholic Youth Literature Project.  It was designed as a classroom tool to offer students opportunities for close- and distant-reading of 19th-century texts and possibilities for the class as a whole to contribute to notions of Catholic identity by sharing interpretations of these texts.

Now that I am teaching both literature and composition at SUNY Canton.  I would like to adapt the project to expand to meet broader instructional needs for myself and others, forking the current code.

Categories: Teaching, Text Mining | Comments Off on Improving a Teaching and Reading Tool

Make session: Social Reading Toolkit

I propose to create an implementation toolkit for social reading.  I’d personally like to create a toolkit for academic libraries, but that’s open to the participants – we can make the toolkit as general or as specific as we need to serve the entire group’s interests.  There are many directions in which this could go, depending on interest.

What does the toolkit look like?  Whatever we want.  If we create one for an academic library, things we might want to include are:  educational objectives and standards, outreach/marketing, resources for software, resources for content, identification of potential collaborators in the academic community, etc.  Non-library students and faculty would be fantastic contributors and collaborators for this type of toolkit.

A projector/desktop set-up would be helpful for this make session, but not required.

Categories: Collaboration, Crowdsourcing, Digital Literacy, Libraries, Session Proposals, session-make, Teaching | Comments Off on Make session: Social Reading Toolkit

Re-Packaging Irksome Toil

Proposal Prolog:

I recently retired from George Eastman House where I served as Director of Interpretation (and for a time, by default, as make-shift CIO).   Collecting institutions unaffiliated with muscular university information technology face special challenges in the management, cataloging, interpretation, and sharing of fine-art photographs and related artists’ media.  For medium size or smaller museums and other independent organizations, the production of adequate collections information, mark-up, and data conformation for international aggregation has been difficult to staff and fund.  Even with today’s tools and increasingly powerful open-source cataloging projects, directors and trustees of institutions with other pressing programming priorities view such work as labor-intensive irksome toil – budget lines with the lowest return on the dollar and decades in the wilderness.


My proposal is a thought experiment that would put aside the above conundrum, and imagine refinements to the somewhat industrial systems of Digital Asset Management (DAM) – allowing the museum asset (digital facsimile or born-digital object) to function as an armature for the accumulation of image/object metadata and all manner of links and affiliations.


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the future of citation

We’ve gone from zero to sixty in terms of open access, social reading, massively-collaborative composition, and other features of the post-authoritative textual world.  I fully expect that we’ll break Mach 1 in a few short years.

Where does this leave us with regard to acknowledging our sources?  Will we continue to cite for the same reasons?  Will we devise new ways of bringing previous writers into our own texts?  What will documentation systems look like in a dozen years?  And exactly how far behind will our pedagogy lag?

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From Social Computing to Social Reading

In the final paragraph of his essay From Reading to Social Computing, Alan Liu asks,

[W]hat is the differentia specifica of literary social computing? That is, how does engagement with literature or literary communities inflect, extend, or criticize the culturally dominant tools and practices of vernacular social computing?

I would like to turn this question on its head to ask, How might reading in a social-computing environment inflect, extend, or criticize culturally dominant tools and practices for engagement with literature and literary communities?

But I would like to take the discussion a step further, giving it a practical turn: If a platform for social reading is to perform these functions – inflecting, extending, criticizing – what features must it possess? And how might we build them?

For example:

  • Small-group discussion – in the classroom, in self-organized readings clubs – is a culturally dominant tool for engagement with literature. Social reading platforms such as CommentPress and already operate at some level as implicit critiques of this tool by enabling and encouraging conversations that are broader and more inclusive. But can they also be made to operate so as to extend and inflect what is valuable about small-scale conversation? After all, small-scale conversation is not merely an artifact of technological limitations but a way of focusing discussion among particular people or for particular purposes. There are things we’d like to say to the world about a text, but there are also things we’d like to say to just these people, even if we don’t mind letting the world listen in.
  • Speaking to questions. The conference session is a dominant tool for engagement with texts that is often question-centric rather than text-centric. Can we build an online social reading platform that combines – at multiple scales – engagement around a text and engagement around questions?
  • Speaking on occasions. The conference itself, or in book form the festschrift, is a way of organizing textual engagement around a particular occasion. The always-on nature of social engagement on the web usefully breaks the occasion model, allowing us to converse whenever we please, but it thereby loses some of the focus that occasions (like particular questions) can provide. Is there a way for social reading platforms to allow both occasion-less and occasion-focused conversation to co-exist? To re-purpose the former (occasionally) for the latter?
Categories: Collaboration, Crowdsourcing, Open Access, Session Proposals, session-talk, Social Media | Comments Off on From Social Computing to Social Reading

Data Visualization

At University of Rochester we’re involved in a project that is visualizing the temporal narrative of television shows. We would like to have a discussion about data visualization to hear from other projects that are using data visualization in the humanities, especially ones that focus on time.

Categories: Coding, Research Methods, Session Proposals, session-talk, Visualization | Comments Off on Data Visualization

Innovations in peer review: open peer review, post-publication review and more

Over the past ten years, innovations in web technology have enabled a shift in scholarly publishing.  New initiatives bring the editing and review process to the public. Publishers of humanities journals are following the lead of science publishers and make the peer review process more transparent, including innovations such as open peer review and post-publication review.

I would love to have a discussion about the implications of some these new trends in scholarly peer review, and how this relates to social reading of scholarly work.

Categories: Publishing, Session Proposals, session-talk | 1 Comment

#1B1T: Twitter’s social reading of American Gods

In the spring of 2010, inspired by groups and communities who were social reading novels, member of the Twitter community decided to do a “One Book, One Twitter” reading online. “Let’s love one book together, our actual geographical location be damned.”  Very loosely organized participants voted on their selection – Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods”. Considering the content and nature of the work it was a controversial choice. Confined to the 140 character limit of the Twitter platform and structured into a schedule of chapters, denizens of the domain began with high hopes and a lot of enthusiasm. I will consider the preparations, execution, and conclusion of this crowdsourced attempt to facilitate a global social reading, the pitfalls that the endeavor encountered, and the benefits of such a massive attempt to read together.

I will need a smart setup (computer, access to the ‘net, projection) to show a backdrop presentation.

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