DigiLib Blog

DH09: ACH general meeting

June 24th, 2009 in DigiLib BLog.

The Association for Computers and the Humanities wants YOU to be a member. You get an OUP journal subscription out of it! And ACH, one of the organizations putting on this conference, is funded by its membership dues. Do it, folks.

Stefan Sinclair, chair of the ACH jobs effort, is putting on a jobs slam! Like speed-dating, but different. Job seekers are going to spend 30 seconds each presenting themselves, and perhaps they’ll get hooked up with jobs. But first, job opportunities:


DH09 Wednesday, session 1: managing information

June 24th, 2009 in DigiLib BLog, Preservation.

First up, Melissa Terras of University College London. “Digital Curiosities: Resource Creation Via Amateur Digitization”

Melissa has spent a lot of time studying images, and in most cases was studying images in/from institutions. But what about collections (of all sorts, not just images) created by people who aren’t affiliated with institutions? They’re actually quite interesting, and Melissa studied them using the following methods:


DH09 Tuesday: Christine Borgman keynote

June 23rd, 2009 in DigiLib BLog.

[note to self: read Gibson’s Spook Country.]
[OK, I’ll admit: I’m tired and punchy. Hopefully, I’ll do some justice to Borgman’s talk.]

“Scholarship in the Digital Age: Blurring the boundaries between the sciences and the humanities.”

Borgman’s Scholarship in the Digital Age: Information, Infrastructure and the Internet was published by MIT Press in 2007. Well received and worth reading. What’re you waiting for? Here it is! Encourage your local library to get a copy! And now, on to the talk.


DH09 Tuesday, session 4: collaboration, XML geekDOM, collaborative modeling

June 23rd, 2009 in DigiLib BLog.

Oooh, late to the Julia Flanders talk, “Dissent and Collaboration.” I’ll do what I can.

We have an implicit contract with future scholars, who need to know how we did what we did.

Is there a conduit through which collaborative negotiation can take place? There’s data itself, potentially a schema for the data; hopefully documentation of both; and an implicit agreement (social contract) to use a common language, and to use it according to its accepted usage.

These agreements, in a human world where scholarly expression has a high value and standards are still being developed, aren’t enough to ensure perfect collaboration. So what we need is not a common language but a common mechanism for the creation of such a language. TEI provides this: it’s a mechanism not for collaboration but for the creation of a common language.


DH09 Tuesday, session 3: Use Cases Driving the Tool Development in the MONK Project

June 23rd, 2009 in DigiLib BLog.

MONK Project is “a digital environment designed to help humanities scholars discover and analyze patterns in the texts they study. The MONK project has been generously supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, from 2007-2009. All code produced by the project is open source. MONK has a publicly available instance with texts contributed by Indiana University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Virginia, and Martin Mueller at Northwestern University.” So now you have context.


DH09 Tuesday, session 2: Supporting the Digital Humanities: Putting the Jigsaw Together

June 23rd, 2009 in DigiLib BLog.

[OK, not putting information copied from slides in quotes: no time. Thank you, panelists, for concise wording in your slides! If you want specific attribution, let me know.]

The big questions to be addressed by the panelists, as Martin Wynne proposes in his introductory remarks:

1. What specific problems have you identified, and how are you seeking to address them?
2. What services, if any, will you provide?
3. How might you link with other related initiatives?
4. What are the further elements of the jigsaw puzzle which are needed to create a coordinated and more complete research infrastructure?

DH09 Tuesday, session 1: Preserving Virtual Worlds: Models & Community

June 23rd, 2009 in DigiLib BLog, Preservation.

[Again, live blogging with all its pitfalls and disclaimers. I almost certainly won't get most or all of the live discussion, in particular; if you remember the Q&As, please put those in comments.]

This panel is put on by members of the Preserving Virtual Worlds project, a multi-institutional collaboration “funded by the Preserving Creative America initiative under the National Digital Information Infrastructure Preservation Program (NDIIPP) administered by the Library of Congress.” (quoted from the PVW site) More

DH09: opening plenary by Lev Manovich

June 22nd, 2009 in DigiLib BLog.

I’m in College Park, MD, at Digital Humanities 09, the annual international digital humanities conference put on by the Alliance for Digital Humanities Organizations. It’s my home conference; I first attended it in 2001, and have been in love with this crowd ever since. It’s the most fantastically supportive bunch of people I’ve found in academe. More: this year’s conference is hosted by the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, and the mood so far is downright festive.


BU STH materials make their way onto archive.org

June 19th, 2009 in DigiLib BLog, Open Access.

Here at the School of Theology Library, we’ve been digitizing our Missions collection—for now, just what’s out of copyright. Student assistants Christina (Mo) Geuther and Carolyn Frantz have been working tirelessly, and we’re starting to see results. Exciting! And more on the way.

Elsevier gets sneaky

June 19th, 2009 in DigiLib BLog.

The large and influential academic publisher Elsevier seems to have quietly changed its publication agreement. From the sample agreement [PDF link]:

Assignment of publishing rights
I hereby assign to <Copyright owner> the copyright in the manuscript identified above (government authors not electing to transfer agree to assign a non-exclusive licence) and any supplemental tables, illustrations or other information submitted therewith that are intended for publication as part of or as a supplement to the manuscript (the “Article”) in all forms and media (whether now known or hereafter developed), throughout the world, in all languages, for the full term of copyright, effective when and if the article is accepted for publication. This transfer includes the right to provide the Article in electronic and online forms and systems. No revisions, additional terms or addenda to this Agreement can be accepted without our express written consent. Authors at institutions that place restrictions on copyright assignments, including those that do so due to policies about local institutional repositories, are encouraged to obtain a waiver from those institutions so that the author can accept our publishing agreement. (Emphasis mine.)

So, first they imply that institutions with institutional repositories restrict their faculty’s publishing opportunities by placing “restrictions on copyright assignments.” Not true: most institutions aim to educate their faculty about copyright and make sure that their researchers don’t sign away all rights in perpetuity without knowing exactly what they’re doing. It’s understandable that Elsevier wouldn’t like this, as they want exclusive copyright on work they didn’t perform (though, to be fair, are publishing).

Then Elsevier encourages authors to opt out of an enterprise that is proving to be a significant boon to academics (first and foremost providing them with visibility), implying that this is required for the authors to accept Elsevier’s apparently immutable publishing agreement. No contract is immutable before it is signed, but the language here does strongly suggest this, counting on most people just going along with it because they are unaware, or because they want to publish and don’t have time to pursue this with Elsevier.

It’s true that the very next paragraph, and its continuation later in the document, have different implications:

Retention of Rights for Scholarly Purposes (see Definitions below)
I understand that I retain or am hereby granted (without the need to obtain further permission) rights to use certain versions of the Article for certain scholarly purposes, as described and defined below (“Retained Rights”), and that no rights in patents, trademarks or other intellectual property rights are transferred to the journal.

The Retained Rights include the right to use the Pre-print or Accepted Authors Manuscript for Personal Use, Internal Institutional Use and for Scholarly Posting; and the Published Journal Article for Personal Use and Internal Institutional Use. [...]

[definition of scholarly posting] Voluntary posting by an author on open Web sites operated by the author or the author’s institution for scholarly purposes, or (in connection with Pre-prints) pre-print servers, provided there is no Commercial Purpose involved. Deposit in or posting to Special Repositories (such as PubMed Central) is permitted only under specific agreements between Elsevier and the repository and only consistent with Elsevier’s policies concerning such repositories. If the author wishes to refer to the journal in connection with such posting, the Appropriate Bibliographic Citation should be used.

Further confusing: a scholar may post pre-prints to the websites that fit the italicized definition above, which would seem to include institutional repositories. Except Elsevier mentions repositories twice, and both in a permission-denied context: the second one is the Special Repositories such as PubMed.

Seems like language designed to mislead and bully, to me. Elsevier, would you please clarify?