Hello. That is loud. Welcome to Recognizing Digital
Dissemination Scholarship in the 21st Century. My name is Emily Sherwood. I’m the director of the
Digital Scholarship Lab at University of Rochester
just down the road. And I’m pleased to be
moderating this panel today. I’m going to start
off by introducing the speakers in the order
in which they’ll speak. They have between
15 and 20 minutes– we’re still in
negotiations about that– to talk. And then we will follow
their short talks by what we hope will be a robust
discussion with the audience. So I will come up
to moderate those. But it is my pleasure today
to welcome Wendy Kozlowski. She is the Data Curation
Specialists at the John M. Olin Library at Cornell University. She is the Research Data
Management Services Group Coordinator. Wendy’s work focuses on
scientific metadata and data description, data curation
services for data sets, and their IR or
other repositories, outreach and consultation
on information management, and other support related
to research data lifecycle. She has a BA in biology
from Boston University and an MS in ecology from
San Diego State University. And she has spent 19 years
in biology and oceanography research working on
multidisciplinary data sets with teams from
numerous institutions both in and outside
of the United States. Matthew K. gold is
Associate Professor of English and
Digital Humanities at the Graduate
Center CUNY, where he holds teaching appointments
in the PhD program in English, the MA program in
liberal studies, and the doctoral
certificate programs in interactive technology and
pedagogy and American studies. He serves as advisor
to the Provost for digital initiatives,
Director of CUNY Academic Commons, Co-director of the CUNY
Digital Humanities Initiative, Director of the GC
Digital Scholarship Lab and Director of GC
Digital Fellows program. He is very busy. He is series editor with Lauren
F. Klein of Debates and Digital Humanities. And his collaborative
digital humanities projects have been supported by
grants from the NEH Office of Digital Humanities,
the National Science Foundation, the US Department of
Education, the Sloan Foundation and the Mellon Foundation
and the Ford Foundation. And finally, Steven
Jacobs is a professor with the School of interactive
Games and Media at RIT. Professor Jacobs also
holds the position of visiting scholar at the
Strong National Museum of Play. In this capacity, he has
served on the design team of their exhibits,
including e-game revolution, the first permanent exhibit
on the history of video games in the United States. Recently, he has
acted as the producer for the original mobile games,
an app with playable games on the history of
predigital pocket games from the Strong’s collection,
currently available on iOS and Android. And he is an
interdisciplinary scholar who works in game design,
interactive narrative, and free and open source
software, and free culture. One of professor Jacob’s recent
projects includes Libra Corp., a faculty led student-driven
open source consultancy for humanitary, free, and
open source software projects and communities. It is connected students skilled
and FOSS community, building and production with
organizations and projects like UNICEF Innovation, open
APS, Night Scout, e-Enable, Sugar Labs, and others. Please join me in
welcoming our panel. [APPLAUSE] Hi. Thank you so much for inviting
me to be a part of this event. I’m really excited to be here
and talk to you about something that really is truly near
and dear to my heart. My introduction mentioned
that I have 19 years of research experience. And so that’s the
perspective I bring when I come to the
library and try to think with them
about what it is that we want to do when we work
with library as a content type. So I should stop talking
and make sure I open this. Since you are to
know who I am, I tried to put together just a
few slides to keep me on track. What I will hope to cover today
is addressing the questions that are up there right now. What are we really
talking about when we talk about publishing data? It’s not necessarily a
term that researchers tend to use when they
think about sharing data. That’s a word you
might hear more often. And why is it good to do that? Why is it good to
share published data? How can it be done? What are some of the methods? And what are some best
practices that we can do as– from the research perspective
to make it a high quality to add value from a library
perspective to that content? So let’s start with
the idea of publishing. When I say publish
or share data, basically, that is releasing
data for reuse by others. It doesn’t give any kind
of necessary connotation to whether it’s been gone
through any peer review process, any editorial process,
even any curatorial process. But it is out there
for others to use. So what you’re going to
hear very often in mandates and policies from
publishers and funders is this requirement
to share your data. And that’s really what
I’m talking about today. And I’ll probably use the
terms publish and share interchangeably. And actually,
maybe I should also clarify what I say when
I’m talking about data. Because that can actually
be misunderstood at times. So using the government def–
in the US government definition of data is– research data is that
it’s any materials that support an underlying
findings of your research. So it can be what we think of– many think of very
traditionally numbers. If I don’t have spreadsheets,
I don’t have data. But that’s not true at all. If your conclusions
in a social science study that you did include
interviewing people, that interview tool and
the set of abbreviations and how you did the
actual qualitative analysis is all part of
your data set, as well. If you’re looking at
the historicalist extent of glaciers in Alaska over
time and your data sets are imagery that you actually
do digital analysis on, those images are your data. So data can encompass
many different types, not just what many people
think of as numerical data. OK. So let’s talk a
little bit about why we’re talking about sharing. There was a study done in 2013
on just over 500 papers that aged between two
and 22 years old. And the researchers
in this project tried to go through and
find the data sets that were part of these publications. And you can see the pretty
significant downward trend over time. The chances of those researchers
actually getting their hands on the data, not even
publicly, but actually being able to somehow
get the data fell by 17% every year over time. The main reasons they can’t find
data these days, or at least in this study, was attributed
to non-working email address. We always think our
emails are persistent, but it’s not as much
as we think anymore. As well as corrupt
storage media. Did you guys all know that
external hard drives still have an average lifespan
of only five years? How many of us keep our content
on external hard drives? We need to be aware of
these things and the impact that it has. So when you use some
of the methods we’re going to talk about for
publishing or sharing data, it adds this level of security
and access and availability to that data over time. And this number was actually
really driven home to me when you also did
that introduction to think that the research I did
at the beginning of my career is now 25 years old, which means
there’s only a 25% chance of me actually finding my own work. So also on kind
of the fuzzy edge side of why it’s good
for us to share data, is it really is
good for science. We would like to have a
return on the investment for the funding
agencies, and we would like to be able to
build on the research. There’s a lot of
people who think their work is only for
the explicit purpose that they set out for it. But if we think about the
work that we do, for example, in climate science, a
lot of that information is repurposed from
studies that were never intended to be looking at those
questions in the first place. So we need to be able to
think about the bigger picture and how our work might
benefit others down the road. For a very practical
sense, though, the reality of what I see in the library,
why researchers are coming to me to publish or
share their data, is this, because they’re
publishing papers. And the publishers– many
of the large publishers, among which are up there,
are requiring as a contingent on publishing the
paper, you have to publish the data
set that supports the conclusions that you made. So that has been a very
strong driver as of late. Similarly, funder requirements. Many of you are probably
familiar with the requirement that came out in 2011
for data management plans with the National
Science Foundation. And since then, many
of the major funders also require researchers
to say, how are you going to keep this data secure
while you’re collecting it? But how also are you
going to share it, or why won’t you not share it
when your research is done? And that comes back to that
idea of return on investment. So that’s a really–
those are some of the major drivers that I
see for why people are sharing. And I do actually get
people that come to me and say, I just want to share
because it’s the right thing to do. We could have that
conversation at sometimes it’s like, well, we’re out of
money to support our own lab server anymore and so the
library is a good go-to place to solve those problems. But these are some of the
really big drivers that I see these days for publishing data. All right. So how can that be done? What are some the
platforms people are using? So there are these things
called data journals. Anybody out there heard
of a data journal? OK. We have a few people. So here’s just a
couple of examples. Some of these are might– what
you might consider pure data journals. Scientific data is actually an
output of the Nature Publishing Group, and it is a mechanism
by which researchers can share data without
actually making conclusions. So you set out on
a project and you collect all the information. You have a high
quality data set, but it doesn’t actually
support the hypothesis that you originally put out. And in today’s– in many of
today’s publishing paradigms, you don’t actually get to
put that paper out there because you had a
negative result. But these are mechanisms by
which you can still share that data set and someone else
may be able to reuse it. So the Faculty of 1,000
is another similar one. Faculty of 1,000
also kind of expands that idea of a data paper. You can just publish it and
describe in detail your methods and what implications
it might have, but you can also publish
scientific results in Faculty of 1,000. And Earth System Science Data,
very similar to this idea where you can say this is a
research data set that I think would be significant. It might be buried inside some
of internal report, otherwise, we’re going to put it out
there for the public to use. There are a few journals
that still support– many journals that still
support sharing data sets as supplementary
information. So oftentimes, this is
in a storage facility that is supported by
the publisher itself. Or sometimes they ask
you to prepare the files and they will share them in
some other public repository. When I talk to researchers
about good and bad and better– or bad, better, best ways
to share research data, I kind of tend to discourage
supplemental information unless it’s with
an open journal. Because it still
requires, in many cases, the person who
wants access to it to actually have a
subscription to that journal at the same time. So there are some limitations
in some supplemental information files. But what I see most often and
what a lot of the major funders are really looking for is
that you put your content in a public safe
place that’s going to be around for the long term. That’s a capital L,
capital T, long term. And I kind of group repositories
into three main headers. And this is not official. This is just the way I
tend to think about them. There are a lot of
disciplinary-based repositories, things
like NIH’s FlyBase. You know, NASA has
a huge repository. NOAA has repositories. There’s some that are
social science based. You may have heard of ICPSR
out of University of Michigan. These all tend to take things
based on content types. There is a distinct
advantage to that, in that they can do a little bit
more with that data processing and offer services
that would allow you to look between those
data sets rather than at one at a time. So there’s some
really nice things you can do with
disciplinary repositories. But there are also– oops, sorry, ignore the
pictures that just popped up. General was supposed
to come up by itself. Well, we can merge
that in there. So a general
repository I think of is that it’s not affiliated
with a specific discipline or a location and takes
data of all types. If you’ve heard of Data
Dry Ad, it is a repository that up until very,
very recently, you took only data
sets that were associated with publications. They’ve opened that up now
that they’ve association with the California
Digital Library. But they take data
sets of any type. And code is considered
data, as well. And it falls under that– those
same requirements by publishers and funders to share. And so there’s repositories
that people are already using, like GitHub,
that aren’t necessarily secure for the long-term
access of the data. We have no idea, quite
frankly, how long GitHub is going to be around. But GitHub ties in very
closely with a repository called Zenodo. And you can essentially
freeze a copy of your code and send it off for long-term
preservation and access in Zenodo. And then the third
category is what I would call institutional
repositories. And those are ones
affiliated, oftentimes, with academic institutions. I know here at our
IT, you have digital– an instance of digital comments. I couldn’t find
data sets in there. It looks like it’s
a lot of PDFs. But there are platforms
that academic institutions are using that can hold
data as a content type. And because I am intimately
familiar with one that we have at
Cornell, I’m going to use it to explain
some of the things that you might want to look
for in a repository platform when trying to share
or publish data. So, of course, the top three are
really kind of at a high level, not necessarily– there are things you should
look at across the board. So some of them are not
institutional repositories but repositories in
general, may have costs associated with them. You want to look
at whether or not you have money to do
that kind of sharing. Often they’re cheap $75,
sometimes a couple thousand dollars. It really depends on where
you are in your career, whether that’s going
to impact you or not. And they have varying levels
of preservation commitment. So a repository may
say, I guarantee access to your content for 10
years, at which point the repository has the
right to re-evaluate whether we should hold onto that
content and may deaccession it. And want to know what
their access policies are. Is this content going to
be available for any– for everyone? Is it going to be locked down? Do people have to ask
permission to use it? What are the repository
policies around that? Then the ones that
are at the bottom are really kind of
value added services that some repositories offer. So things like URL that
will work for the long run. Some of the brands of
these you may have heard of are Handle or DIY,
and they’re often used in the more traditional
digital publishing industries, as well. For data sets in particular,
because that traditional paper is often the currency
of 10 years still, people like to have access
to their direct links to related papers
and publications. So a lot of
repositories offer that. Licensing, again making sure
that the terms of access are really explicit on the– getting to the content,
and then whether or not you can get to usage analytics,
and whether or not there’s some curation involved. And we’ll get to that
in just a second. So my last point is about
what kind of best practices for when you’re sharing
data and you can take this from the researcher
perspective as your own goal by coming at it more as
a librarian, as a service that we offer to
researchers that submit content via our service. And how many of you have
heard of this Fair Data idea? Couple of hands again. All right. So I’m hoping that
as time passes, you’re going to hear
more and more about this. This is a goal that is
coming up within the data community about having
these high level standards of having our data
that is out in the public be findable. And that means having
good descriptors on it playing into– having the metadata play
into the major search engines and things like that. We want it to be accessible. We don’t want it
to be locked down. It’s going to defeat the point. You might as well be sitting on
someone’s server under a desk if it’s not accessible. Ideally, has much content. The data and the metadata
itself will be interoperable, which means that it can be read
on my machine or your machine and may be merged
with other data sets that are
similarly described. And we would like
it to be reusable. And this comes back
to metadata again. A data set with no
explanation around it is going to be pretty useless. So making sure
people are properly describing this so that
someone who isn’t intimately familiar with the
project from the get-go is going to understand that. And to that end, there
are people out there who consider themselves
data curators within academic
institutions, as well as a lot of the
disciplinary repositories. And this is a neat little
pseudonym– no, not a pseudonym, that’s a fake name. What is it when–
acronym for some steps that we’ve
started to think of as a process for
looking at research data. And it fits neatly into
the idea of curate. So when we get a
data set coming in that people want to share
at Cornell University, we take a really close look
at the files themselves in the metadata. Is everything that
the researcher says they’re going to
share, is it actually there? Can I open the files? Does it take special
software to open them? Are the file names
things that make sense, or are they dataone.xls,
datatwo.xls, and things like that. So we look very closely at them. That blurs into this idea
of understanding them. So someone sends me code. I strip down my
installation of MATLAB or R, and I start from
scratch, and I see if I can actually run the code. I don’t test for
reproducibility. I don’t check if
their results match the paper that’s related to it. But I check if I can
actually run things. Did they give me enough
instructions in the file so that I can get those files
out and make them usable? And if those things fail, I go
back to that author and I say, here are some things that
would make your data set stronger and more fair. Hopefully, they’ll provide
us that information and we go ahead and we augment
either the files themselves or ask the researcher
to change those files. Or we do it from our end,
especially, when it comes to the metadata. Oftentimes, sharing
data, especially when related to a publication
is a last minute effort, and so they rush through
the idea of creating their descriptive metadata. And so we work with them
to do a good job with that. Depending on the
format of the file that has been provided
to us, we actually do some transformations on them. In an institutional repository–
in our institutional repository, most often
that’s changing them to non-proprietary,
non-Microsoft format. And sometimes we still share
the Microsoft files, along with the CSV files. But we do transformations. And then we go back for our own
purposes and try to evaluate, have we made this
data set more fair? That is my last slide. So I will leave to the other–
to the next speakers just with the thought
that there really is, like the other
content types that you’re going to hear about today,
I think a lot of new things that are still coming to light
with– that we’re discovering as we try to publish
data as a content type. And there’s a lot of
resources that we’re still trying to define,
whether they’re in terms of the infrastructure,
or the long-term costs of storing large
volumes of content. Or if it’s around making sure
that we have the right skill sets to do this editing and
curating of the research data to make it useful
for the long term. That’s all I have. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] Let me just start by saying
thank you to our hosts here at RIT and RIT libraries. Thank you to Emily for
moderating this panel. Thank you to my
fellow panelists. My presentation today is about
a specific scholarly platform. And I’m going to talk a little
bit about how, with this work, we’ve tried to enable
new different kinds of scholarly publishing. Although thinking,
I think, about some of the same questions
that were articulated in the last presentation,
particularly about what is it that we are
actually publishing, and are there ways
to publish not just, say, the article itself but also
the data associated with it. And I would say one of
the central things we’ve been thinking
about with Manifold is how can we
present them together as an interactive experience? How can the data and the
associated resources, be they images or film videos,
or interactive elements, how can they all be
presented together with the scholarly
argument itself? So Manifold Scholarship is
a project, a collaboration, between a number
of institutions. My institution, the
CUNY Graduate Center located in New York City,
the GC Digital Scholarship Lab, the University of Minnesota
Press, and Cast Iron Coding have created Manifold through
the support of two grants from the Andrew W
Mellon Foundation. And I want to take a
second and just thank our team, which
has been integral to the creation of this thing. And just also to note
that what I think has made this project notable– or one of the things
that’s made it notable is that it’s a collaboration
of three very different types of organizations– a University Press, a
digital humanities lab, and a development
agency, run by someone who has a PhD in English
and has an academic program. So it’s really– we’ve
found in our collaboration that those three perspectives
have come through and helped us create a
platform for publishing that reflects the values of
each of those entities. One thing I just want to note is
that as a platform, especially when focusing on
digital publication, we still love books. And we love print books. And it’s important to say
because when you are creating a digital publication
platform, people often oppose that to
print publication, when in fact, the– our entire
rationale from the beginning has been about helping
university presses and other publishers publish
both print and digital. So the idea is like
hybrid publication and allowing the workflows
that lead to print publication to also lead pretty easily
to digital publication. The project has its origins
in Debates in the Digital Humanities, which is a book
published that I edited and that was published by
the University of Minnesota Press in 2012. A year after the
print publication, we released an open
access interactive website that contained the
text and allowed for all sorts of
annotation and commenting. And when the Mellon Foundation
came to the University Press community, asked it to
think about the future of the monograph and how– especially the future of the
digital monograph, the Press and my shop and
Cast Iron Coding, which had created this
interactive version, wanted to take what
we had done here and make it into a platform
that others could use. So our goals and kind of– or
what we were thinking about when we were starting to create
Manifold involved getting– pushing digital publishing
beyond the static PDF. Often people talk about the
importance of open access, but then what they’re
actually sharing is something that has the virtue
of being stable in PDF form, but isn’t really interactive
and doesn’t in some ways take advantage of lots of
the affordances of the web. We also wanted to connect
text to ancillary resources so that a lot of the data
that we just heard about. We wanted to showcase
scholarship as a project. So in other words, one of the
ideas we were working with is iterative publication,
how a text moves from draft to draft to final form, and
can we create a platform that showcase that? We also wanted to meet a
need for scalable editorial and production
procedures from presses, and to move DH publishing
beyond PHP based frameworks. When this project started
about five years ago, there were still– a lot of presses were
using PHP based platforms, and we felt the
need to sort of move into a little bit more
modern frameworks. So among our objectives
were creating beautiful aesthetically pleasing
well-designed responsive publications. Publications that looked as good
on phones and tablets as they did on the web,
incorporating rich archives. Importantly building this
platform in conversation with existing University
Press workflow. So one of the first
things we did was to say, where do presses
wind up before they send the file to the printers? And that’s– where we wound up
was that most publishers are– not all, but most publishers
are produced winding up with an EPUB file, which is a zip
format that they send off to the publisher. So that’s one of
the things where we started Manifold is to
say the way to get text into it is you ingest them in. And the starting
format we started with was EPUB, although
we’ve gone beyond that. We wanted to
connect publications to social networks,
and also make a publishing platform that felt
like it was of and for the web. So we focused on design. We focused on creating a
tool that had a viewpoint. It was trying– it presented a
certain manner of publishing, and we focused on all the
other things you can see here– user experience,
accessibility has been a very large focus
of ours, and on community. So we’ve had a transparent
editorial and production process throughout. It is also important to say
that Manifold, as a platform, is– it’s grant funded. It’s not-for-profit. It’s 100% open source. So all the code that powers
manifold is on GitHub and is freely available. So I’m just going
to show you a couple of quick aspects of Manifold. And just to kind of
show you what it is and give you an
orientation to it. What you see here is what you
might imagine a publisher that publishes lots of text. This is its series of text. And we call projects that’s
sort of the basic building block of Manifold. So this is a particular
project called Building Open Infrastructure at CUNY. And a project can
have multiple texts. When you go in and
start reading Manifold, you can see that you
can highlight text, you can annotate it. Whatever you highlight sort
of shows up in the annotation. You could say this
is a great argument, and save that and
publish it there. And others can then go
back and see and reply. You can also highlight text
and do other things, like share it with citation
information, et cetera. So it’s– basically, it’s
a platform that allows for different kinds of
interactive publications. And importantly,
also that allows for the use of media
with those publications. So this, for instance, is
a book called Meta Gaming that the University of
Minnesota Press has published. And if you look at
it, what they’ve– these authors have done in this
book is to publish the text– oh, I forgot to mention that
you could also really adjust sort of how the text
looks and whether it’s Serif or Sans Serif, et cetera. But you can see that they’ve
got ancillary resources, like images, or they
also have videos that can be played from
right inside the book. So this is a way of kind of
like bringing the text together with other resources,
which can also be grouped together and shared. So here are a bunch of
different resource collections that are associated
with the text. And if you’re a
researcher, you can imagine that this is
one way of publishing not just your argument, but
also the various data that you gathered. Less than– maybe
less– a little bit less than sort of like the sense of
publishing it into a repository and more into thinking about
that moment of publication and seeing the argument
and dialogue with the data. So that’s basically– it’s
a really quick version of Manifold. And then I just want to
highlight a couple of use cases to show how we’ve been
seeing people use Manifold. The first instance is the
University of Minnesota Presses instance of Manifold. And they and others
are using Manifold to publish their texts. So for instance, this is the
University of Arizona Press and they’ve got something
called Open Arizona, which is currently down so
I shouldn’t– but they’re publishing all their book
online through Manifold. And this is the University of
Minnesota Press’s repository of texts. One of the things
that they’re doing is they are doing something
called iterative publication. So if you look at what they’re
doing with their instance, they have books here that are
not yet published in print. They may be under contract. This is a book
called The Lab Book with authors who are doing
surveys of various media labs around the country. So although their text
hasn’t been published, they’re generating
conversation around it and the platform
sort of captures that social media conversation
through the Twitter hashtag. But they’ve also been publishing
their source materials, like their lab– their
interviews and conversations with lab directors. So this allows the book to
kind of generate conversation before it even
becomes published. And there are multiple
examples of that that Minnesota is doing. There are scholars
who are publishing, not just their own materials
that they generate, but also the source texts that
are inspiring them so that they are kind
of annotating source documents through Manifold that
then become part of the book publication. And then there are also people
using Manifold for peer review. And moving forward, we
have groups experimenting with Manifolds for
Journal Publishing, and also for single
project publishing where instead of publishing
a whole lot of books, they’re publishing
just one project. So the way Manifold works is
that it’s not a space where you actually write
the text, instead you write your text in Microsoft
Word or Google Docs or Word Docs. And then you kind of
ingest them into Manifold. And you can upload all
sorts of resources, as well. You could also include
interactive resources. And this is where, although
this is still developing, it’s what I think is one of the
most exciting uses of Manifold where you can publish a
text and then you can also start publishing
interactive data, like this is an R studio
shiny app that as– you can actually explore
the data and sort of dig into it while
you’re, say reading– reading a text. So something like
that, I think, is very exciting in that we allow
people not just to even publish a static view of the data but
an interactive view of one. We’ve got another
one here I think– somewhere here we’ve
got a Gephi diagram. This is something– this
is another interactive bit of data. But you see it
like this, this is making the space of
publication itself a space of data exploration,
which is something that we’re really kind of focusing on. We also have– I’m
just going to mention– I’m not going to
go too far into it, but I do want to highlight
teaching and pedagogy. In part, because it’s
important to me as a scholar, but also because I
think we sometimes forget that our moments
of teaching and pedagogy can become points
of publication. And among the ways
we’ve been seeing people use Manifold is,
A, to kind of create shared course text that can
be annotated by students. Those of us working in the
CUNY system and SUNY systems and, really, all
over the place, we’re working a lot on the open
educational resources so that students can save
money on textbook costs. So especially if you’re working
with kind of public domain texts ingesting, if you
can find them high quality EPUBs into the platform,
and having students annotate them together, can be
something that’s really great. We also are seeing Manifold
being used as an end point for student writing. So we have examples of
classes that as they’ve gone on their final assignment
is to collectively produce a text of some kind,
and then that text gets published in Manifold. So I’m not going to–
because of time limitations, I’m not going to go too
much into the back end. But I would just say that there
is a full kind of back end to Manifold where you can
administer it, add metadata. And to say that
again, on GitHub, the larger project is shared,
including our roadmap which will show you kind of what
we’re doing, where we are, and what’s up next. I would also put in
a plug for our blog where Jojo Karlin, who’s a
graduate student at the CUNY Graduate Center, is
publishing Travels with Terence, which tracks
our digital scholarly projects editor Terence Smyre as he
travels across the world, actually, to help people
get started with Manifold. In case you’re interested
in the technology stack, I just wanted to show you
that this is what we’re using. And we have full documentation. And what we’ve seen, especially
over the last two years through the support
of a Melon Grant is more widespread adoption. So we’ve got a whole
bunch of publishers which sometimes are DH
centers or individual scholars using Manifold. And then we’ve just recently
announced our second round, and there are lots of
exciting use cases here. And I would highlight
Gallaudet University Press, which is doing a lot
of work to publish sign language and deaf and
hearing impaired publishing. So thinking about how
something like videos can be used to share sign
language and stuff like that. And sort of like thinking in
new ways about the publication space itself. So we have various services
associated with it. I’d invite you to
look at the website and find out more about it. But I guess I just want to
close by saying that we’ve been thinking about
how to reshape this– the actual space of publication
and think in ways that puts the digital publication
in line within and connection with
print publication, while simultaneously
taking advantage of new forms of interaction
that the web makes possible. There are tons of challenges
to doing this kind of work. And I think some of the ones
we’ve been thinking about, I think, relate to
your presentation thinking about
preservation and issues of sustainability, which
we’re thinking through very seriously. And maybe can talk
about in the Q&A. But our goal really has been
to create a platform that helps– that’s easy
to use and that helps people publish academic
text in interactive ways. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] Hi. So we had kind of
big picture data. We had platforms. This is going to be
project-centered, primarily RIT projects, related projects. Very quickly, I spent a
lot of my life in what is often referred to as
informal education settings– zoos, museums, things like that. And so my kind of engagement
with digital humanities is either kind of
informal education or kind of a journalistic approach. Information for the general
public, rather than for academia per se. And so these projects kind
of all follow that line. So– and the engagement in this
practice started right when I came to RIT as a– as a tenure track professor. And this was a time
in which this idea of the graphical world wide
web was about 18 months old when we started. And I had a colleague,
Gordon Goodman, and he and I for many years
worked with the local arts and cultural institutions in
town to get them up on the web. That was kind of
my first engagement in digital humanities. We started with the George
Eastman House and both because the newness of
the idea of websites, and because they were
between directors, we couldn’t get the pro–
the project officially approved as the official
website of the Eastman House because it went up
between directors. So it was released as a student
project about the Eastman House until the new director had
enough time in seat to actually approve what we did. So this is kind of
the early emergence of this kind of stuff. And we formed an
organization called CAROL, which stood for Culture
and Arts of Rochester Online. And working with the
Arts Council in town, we put up about 30 organizations
over a period of about seven, eight years. Since then, my work has
pained back and forth between officially sanctioned
university projects and kind of personal projects that engage
with students in the university do this kind of work. My colleague, Elizabeth
Lawley over there, and I and a team of other folks
worked with the local newspaper to create a game called
Picture the impossible, which is the newspaper
styled window on the left. I guess it’s your left. Yes. And so a lot of what– a lot of what we did here was
to get our own local community engaged in our history and
our local institutions. There is a tendency
that if you live there, you never do those things. I grew up in DC, born
in DC, and the number of DC natives who’ve never
gone to the Washington Monument or don’t know any of its
history is huge, right? If you live there, you
don’t know about it. So this was
successful in getting roughly 2000 plus people
playing every week and learning about the
history of Rochester. So we found that to be very
satisfying and successful. And we’ll talk about
impact a little farther on. The next one over was the Finger
Lakes Interactive Project, Flip for History. And this was the tourism
department and New York State. New York State at one point
divided a million dollars between various
regions, including Western New York, which is
our region, to kind of improve tourism. And so Flip for History took you
through different local sights. It was kind of a
scavenger hunt app. You went to a local or
regional cultural institution, got some augmented
reality interaction with whatever the content
was within that entity, and then had a website
where you could like– I’ve visited 10 of these, and
you get these many points. That kind of semi-gamification
to make it move forward. It was an educational process
for New York State tourism to understand how
this stuff works. They had picked, for
example, Letchworth Park. Well, Letchworth Park
as one of the places they wanted to highlight. And we had to tell them we
couldn’t do that because there is no cell phone coverage
in Letchworth Park and so we could not build a– or at least then. It’s probably better
interactivity now. But these types of
things are learning, not just for the students
and for the faculty, but often, the institutions
they’re engaged with them. So things you learn. Most recently, I’ve done a
couple of personal projects and a couple of university
partnership projects. And each of them brings kind
of different technologies and different
relationships into the mix. And I hope to talk
about those briefly without going over time. And we’ll see how that works. This one is the Jewish
PLAY project website. Roughly, six years
ago at this point, I stumbled across what’s
called an open secret or– who does not know what
an open secret is? OK. We have hands. Good. So an open secret means
that within a certain group, everybody knows a
piece of its history. The external world does
not often actively pursued by the internal group, right? So you’re probably more familiar
with comic books and probably 15, 20 years ago the fact that
a lot of the primary creators of comic books, or the
publishers thereof, were of Jewish extraction and
brought pieces of their culture into those comic books. People in the industry knew
about it for many, many years. The outside world
did not know about it until books started coming
out to talk about it. So accidentally,
six years ago due to a side project with a
Jewish children’s museum, we were going to
build an exhibit on playing games in Jewish
secular and religious life. And I said, oh, well,
you know, just like there are 10 well-known
Jewish baseball players, like Sandy Koufax,
right, there are maybe like eight or 10 toy and
game designers and companies. So we’re going to build
this small hall of fame. And I started to do my research. And when I came across 135
people and 85 companies over 200 years and still had
not come near reaching the end, I said, oh, well, this is
probably a thing that somebody should talk about. And I reached out
to various contacts in both the toy and
the game industry, and especially, the Jewish
Scholarship History Studies Community. And discovered that
nobody had actually figured this out except the
toy industry, many of whom did not want me to
highlight this work. Those concerns were,
of course, related to the potential for
anti-Semitic abuse, so on and so forth. And those concerns were
validated by the fact that because this website has
the word Jewish in its URL, the administrators
here on campus tell me that it
receives five times the number of malicious security
probes of any other website hosted on campus
with people trying to take it down or
subvert the content or et cetera, et cetera. So this is created
in something called a TimelineJS, which is a– was originally a
knight funded project, Knight Foundation project. It’s a piece of code that lets
you either using a database or just using a well-formatted
Google spreadsheet, put data in and it spits this out. Now, we subverted
it a little bit. You’ll notice here, if this
is my interactive one– where is my– where’s my arrow. Oh, there it is. OK. Thank you. You may have to do
that multiple times. That’s always a
challenge, right? So generally TimelineJS
works on one timeline. We subverted this to do three. But this whole
interface is created by a piece of open source code. All we did was fill
out a spreadsheet. And what this gives us is
the ability to click around, said he trying to click around. And it has stopped displaying–
am I in PowerPoint? I may have to bounce
toward the other window. Please excuse me one moment
where I find my arrow again. Help. All right. Well, I’ll just talk
about it since I can’t click on anything here. The website gives us– now it goes to the next slide. Thank you. All right. So we get interoperability
between the links. So that if I click
on a company name, it will hop to that timeline and
that entry about the company. We’ve built in a lot
of external links there, as you see
on the sources, that we can go through
back and forth. This is entirely what’s
referred to often as a born digital site. Ever– all of the
content here except for the textural descriptions
in the upper right side of your screen, upper
left side of your screen, everything else is generated
from other websites that we’ve linked to or
pulled their data in. So there was no
precedent for this before we created this website. The next website here is
a more personal project. This is my great
grandfather’s diary. The boy sitting on the lap
of my great grandfather is my grandfather. They didn’t dress boys
like we dress boys now when they’re infants
in those days, so that is not a
girl in a dress. That is my grandfather. And this is the personal
diary of his time period in the Russian army. He was a– he was a
Polish bookbinder who was roughly 20 years old, who
was conscripted by the czar’s army to serve a term. We were lucky enough that
he was conscripted just after the time
period in which there is a differential between Jewish
soldiers and other soldiers. Before this time
period, Russian soldiers were conscripted for three
years and eight months, and Jewish soldiers were
conscripted for 25 years. Luckily, he had
reached the point where it was equal
across the board and it was still three
years and eight months. And two years into
his enlistment, he became part of the Russian
invasion of Manchuria. Historically, there was
this thing called the Boxer Rebellion– you ever
heard about that– where the first multi-national
army ever created went to go and invade the
imperial seat of China, because they had locked
down the diplomatic quarter. In any kind of China, for the
Chinese type of revolution, that was supported
by the emperor. But Russia saw this
great opportunity to try to annex
Manchuria as a whole, rather than just support that. So he spent 10 and 1/2
months following this journey that you see mapped over here. Wait a minute, that
brought something up. Where’s my arrow? Where’s my arrow? So what we have– the book here is the actual
Yiddish script of his diary that he wrote and is probably
a memoir rather than a diary, but he called it a diary. The text you see is the
translation into English. Throughout this timeline,
we also have data from– on the Russian side, we
have the Russian census that says how many Jews were
in a certain town versus how many non-Jews were
in a certain town. That data is there. And if you were able to click
on these pins over in the map, you would jump to
the diary entry for where he was in that time. In kind of an
understanding of what war was like in those days,
it took them 4 and 1/2 months to get from the starting
point to Manchuria. Primarily, by rail
and then by boat to where the Boxers
had dynamited the railroad tracks and you
could no longer go by rail. They spent 2 and 1/2
months in China itself defending the Chinese
peasants who lived in the town from the Chinese bandits
who were raiding the town. So what benefit there was to the
Russian oligarchy, who knows? And then they spent another
4 and 1/2 months getting back to the Ukraine. And so all of that
is documented. There’s very little information
on the life of Jewish soldiers in this time period. There are both the
historical kind of what it’s like to be
in the army on those days, and some of the Jewish cultural
information from his entries on what it’s like to
be marching toward– during Yom Kippur
in which you’re supposed to be
repenting for your sins and spending all day
in synagogue, and those types of things are
also part of that. Oh, and just briefly, as
well, what this is is this is the Joy of Open Source. You can take technology
and morph it. So this website is done in
something called time mapper where somebody took TimelineJS. The timeline stuff
is all TimelineJS. But they built in
GIS capability. So now you can have a map
and a timeline interact. Another piece of information
about how this was built is this, all of the images for
the diary are in Google Docs. And so Google Docs automatically
lets us scale that image or jump to a new window
with the full image. So if you can read
Yiddish script, you can see what the actual
words were for free, right? We did no technological work. It’s just part of that. This you see right
in front of you is a project with NTID, funded
by US Aid and World Vision. It’s to increase the
literacy of deaf children around the world in the
written language of their sign language. So you take story
books like this. And you’ll notice you see
English and HCMSL, that’s Vietnamese Ho Chi
Minh sign language. So you can select
both in the text and if you’ve loaded
it in in the sign language, multiple languages. So this content is meant
to be crowdsourced. The platform is all
open, and the idea is is not only will communities
of deaf people, deaf educators, build stuff for their
particular communities, but ideally, people
from other places will hop on and add their sign
languages and their written text to make those stories
accessible to communities elsewhere around the world. Does that make sense? It also has games, kind of
like workbook style games. So these are the type
of traditional bus you find in Manila. Because we first tested
this in the Philippines, called jeepneys. And you select videos and boards
in the windows of the buses to go ahead and do
the kind of workbook match the text term to the sign. Most recently with the Strong
National Museum of Play– and you’ll notice this
is on the switch– we created an app
that allows you to play a bunch of these old
handheld ball and maze games. This is an active digital
conservation and conservancy, as well as dissemination
for museum. These things are made out of
tin and cardboard and glass. And you can’t have the
500,000 people a year who come to the Strong
actually use the objects, but you can
distribute the objects as a game on phones or tablets. Or now, this is the first
educational university game on the Nintendo Switch. And so you can actually
reach a different audience. So you get the digital
version that’s playable. You get the actual photograph
of the object in the collection and the history of that game. And because it’s a game, you
get things like streamers. For those of you who
don’t know, streamers are people who play games
on Twitch or on YouTube and talk about what
they’re playing. So last week, the game grumps
went ahead and featured this, and we have had
almost 560,000 views of them playing this game. We have comments here about– well, 80% of the
comments were picking on one of the guys who
thought all of the games were for the 1800s, even
though one had a World War II airplane in it. But if you extract the
abusive comments out, you get stuff about, I had no
idea that the Strong Museum has made these games,
that kind of outreach. Academically, this
stuff is still not considered to have
the same weight as journal publications or
even conference publications. So things we have to
do and things we do do is go to these conferences to
not only disseminate the work, but also to get the Institute’s
recognition that it is viable. We also get things in
books and use games from MIT Press Publish stuff
on pictures the impossible, and CRC Press just
published doing things with games, social
impact through play, where there is a case
study of building the original mobile games. Thank you for your patience
of my failing technology. And I think it’s question time. [APPLAUSE] So before we start the Q&A
part of our panel today, what I would like us to do is to
have a short conversation with your neighbor about
what was talked about today, about questions you might
have, about takeaways that you’ve observed. And there are a
couple of reasons why I like to do this at
the start of a Q&A session. One, some of us
take a little bit longer to process
what we’ve heard and to come up with that
really good question, right? So it helps us kind of
talk through our ideas. That’d be me. Two, sometimes we have
a really good comment that actually isn’t a question
but it’s a really good comment. And so maybe run that by the
person sitting next to you to see if you can get it phrased
into a question for the panel before we ask it. So sometimes you can
just run your ideas by someone first,
too, which is useful. And then some of us, too, we
don’t like to raise our hands and stand up and ask a question. But we still are really excited
about the ideas that are raised in a panel like this. So we want a moment to be able
to talk through those ideas and really be able to
participate and converse with each other in the room. So I’m going to give you
five minutes, and we will– please, I’m serious. If you’re not
talking to somebody, I’m going to come around and
partner you with someone. So we will reconvene
in five minutes and talk through
your ideas and see if you have a question
that maybe you’re going to want to pose to the
panel and the larger crowd in five minutes from now. Thank you. And Nick and Francis are
on both sides of the room, so if you have a question,
please raise your hand and please use the mic so
that we all can hear you. Questions? Yeah. Oh, and please introduce
yourself, as well. Hi, I’m Liz Lawley. I’m a Professor here in
Interactive Games and Media and worked with
Steve to make Picture the Impossible, which
we’ve asked the NIH to fund a new version of. So we’re excited. But here’s the thing. When you propose to
redo a project that you did 10 years ago,
especially something like an alternate reality
game, which isn’t a thing. It’s not a single object. It’s not a data set. It’s very hard to go
back and reconstruct all of that, which
has got us thinking a lot about preservation of
digital humanities projects that are neither data
sets nor texts, right? So Manifold doesn’t
work for us because it’s a very text centric thing. And in fact, almost
every digital repository that we have access to starts
with the, who’s the author? When you’ve got a big, complex
project with multiple people having worked on it, you
don’t have one author. You have a code base and you
have data and you have videos and you have websites
which, of course, are no longer online, right? The screenshot he put up the
Picture the Impossible had my log in because I’m the
only person who ever took a screenshot of the site,
which is a very long statement to a question, which is, do
you know of tools or projects right now that are well
suited to that kind of complex multi-object
repository storage? We’re starting to
think a lot about that here in terms of
games and DH projects. Are the mics on? Yes, they are. So unfortunately, I will
say this with a caveat that preservation is
not my background. However, one of the things we
are just discussing up here is the awareness within the
library community, certainly, of needing to address
those concerns. We had a project at
Cornell that looked at that very thing about
access to multimedia content from 20 or 30
years ago and how critical all those pieces
that you discussed, as well as kind of the
infrastructure underlying them and being able
to recreate those. I can’t tell you a
particular package that is going to be a solution. But my recommendation
would be very strongly to work with the library on
those pieces of recognizing what has to be preserved. I think it’s going to be a
multidisciplinary solution even to it. So what to preserve and
then how to preserve it might be two different
sets of expertise that need to address that. Unfortunately, I don’t know
what particular package that’s a one size fits all for that. So much asking about particular
softer but more implementations or work towards
this goal, people are currently doing so
that we don’t end up reinventing the wheel. I mean, I would say one
project you may not know about is called Webrecorder. It’s from Rhizome
from the New Museum and their concept there
is to preserve interfaces by like sort of recording a
kind of web-based interaction experience that
then become saved and can be renavigated by people
who explore the recording. There’s also some work around
using Docker as a preservation strategy. So the idea with like–
especially if you’ve got a series of a technological
stack that depends upon of you– or if your
project depends upon a certain
technological stack that will need to be recreated,
thinking about using something like Docker to create computing
environments where it can then be kind of replayed. And just generally
this idea that the kind of virtualized experience
can somehow record something. But I would say one of things
we’re talking about up here was the preservation discussions
we’ve had in Manifold. And I think it gets
to be very difficult. And I think to some
extent kind of existential when you start asking
these questions about what is it that we should preserve? What is possible to preserve
and why should we preserve it? And for what reason? And I know for Manifold, among
our preservation strategies right now, we’ve built
this whole project to get away from PDFs, and
yet part of our preservation strategy right now involves
exporting PDFs from Manifold to [INAUDIBLE] so
they can be saved. And I find that very frustrating
because, first of all, it does away with
all the work we’ve done on the interface, which is
what I feel like has been part of what the project is about. But I think there’s
also a balance to be found in sort
of what we preserve. And I tend to feel that
it is OK for projects to do– there are people
who have this term graceful degradation that
it’s OK to let projects sort of like go. And we have to come
to grips with the fact that we can’t preserve it all. But I do think
from what I’ve seen these two strategies of,
one, trying to kind of record the experience while
the project is going on. And then, two, trying
to preserve in some way the technological stack
through virtualization by– those are the two promising
strategies I’ve seen Challenges a lot of our
scholars in games and media and digital humanities. Their scholarship doesn’t
take the form of a paper. So if you want to
cite that, if you want to show it to a promotion
and tenure committee, telling them, sorry,
it’s gracefully degraded it’s not going to
be a viable strategy, right? And so these are the
things we’re trying to wrap our heads around. In some ways, it’s
reassuring that I haven’t missed some obvious
thing that you’re like, why didn’t you look at that? Right. So thank you. But I do think Docker
is something to explore. And just to note
that there is the– I think it’s Carnegie Mellon
or the University of Pittsburgh has a grant from the
Mellon Foundation to explore Docker as a
preservation strategy. So that’s the only thing
I’d say to look into. But I know they’re also at
a very preliminary stage. Cool. I was also going
to jump in and say that Greenhouse Studios at
UConn is doing a lot of work around how you recognize
the various forms of labor and collaboration that go into
digital scholarship projects. So when you’re talking
about having 100 authors and they’re doing all
these different things, you might look at the work that
Greenhouse Studios at Yukon is doing. And that’s really interesting
because, for example, in the project Liz
and I did together, I was the game designer. So how do you tell
your bosses that you were the– luckily, we
have a document internally that explains to our tenure
committees what the heck we do so that they get it. But, yeah, I mean, that’s
really interesting. Another question. Hi, I’m Sarah Thompson. I’m an art historian here in
the College of Art and Design. I have a question
about copyright. And because I’m an art
historian and often working with images that
are made by other people, they’re often held
in repositories, museums, libraries. And those museums and
libraries, even those who have started to make
more of their images available for open access,
have been increasingly reluctant to grant usage for
things with an unlimited web access. And it can be really
difficult to get someone to actually sign a
permission release that says that you can use
this in an unlimited way for digital publishing. And I don’t even know
what they would say about, can I put this on an open
access website forever and ever? Any thoughts about,
I don’t know, how to encourage
these kinds of places to be more open to the possible
use of work outside, or like, how do you solve
this issue then? So what– two
instances of what we found, if I can
remember them both, the first one, a lot of it is
about ask forgiveness later. So one answer is that in
the game preservation world, the Internet Archive
started preserving games. And they– a museum is very
careful about these kinds of things and permissions
and all that stuff. The Internet Archive
just went ahead and put up every game that Atari
had ever put in web browser emulation as a test. And what they got
back from Atari was not here come the
lawyers, but we see what you’re trying to do here. Here are the 50 we care about
that still make us money. You’re going to have
to take those down, but you’re going to
leave the rest up. Which is a nice way
to handle things. The other enabling approach I’ve
been trying to publish a book, or write and then publish a
book based on the Jewish PLAY Project. And in doing this, I went
to various academic presses. And I noticed one
academic press opened an option for an open access
published version of the book. And this is like many academic
presses, this one required a subvention, i.e.,
a payment upfront to help with publication costs. If you wanted to do
a closed solid book publication of your work,
there was a $4,000 or $5,000 subvention. If you wanted to publish
it as open access, the subvention was either
$12,000 or $14,000, right? So people are
grappling with this. Some people are dealing
with it better than others. I would just note the– so Mellon, has been
funding a bunch of projects around public
digital publication. And one of the ones that they
funded in the last five years or so is Yale University Press
with thinking about art history catalog publication. And they have– what they
did is they created a, I believe a platform
for publishing catalogs. And the way they dealt
with a copyright issue is to make an argument
about fair use, and to say that the way it
works is that they show images at a kind of low resolution. And in order to see them
at a higher resolution, you have to click
into the image. And they argue that that
repre– that act of clicking in represents a scholarly
desire to explore the work. However, I think
the concern is like, is this possible if you’re
any other institution that doesn’t have lawyers willing
to go to court to argue the fair use case? And so I don’t know how
widely applicable it is, and I also don’t
know that it gets to the roots of your larger
question, which is, how do you get the cultural institutions
and art institutions themselves to really change their habits? I do think it has been
kind of amazing to see these museums start publishing
their collections online. So that’s been– that open data
movement has been at least very positive in that direction. Yeah, it’s been an
interesting thing to watch. I mean, the Met, for example,
has made high resolution images accessible. They’re very clear about
when you can use them. But even a lot of
these places that are doing that kind
of project still have limitations in their fine
print as to how many copies of a book can be published
before they consider it a for profit
enterprise and then they will no longer allow it
to be used in open access. And when you’re saying I’m
going to put this on the web, then they don’t
know how to define how many copies of
something that would be, and hence, they back off. Yeah. In some of the places, where
like The Folger or the New York Public Library have made their
digital collections freely available, one of the benefits
of something like Manifold is that you could embed
from their website. So that you’re helping– the same thing
with Omeka, right? If you’re pulling exactly from
the resource and their holdings that they’re making
available, then you’re actually embedding
and linking directly. So you’re helping– that helps
circumvent some of the issues. Yeah. Yeah, and in the Jewish
PLAY Project website, we link out to
everything, right? So the downside of
that is, of course, when these things go way–
you basically kind of have to get– put upon yourself
going through the whole thing every given time period
to see what’s disappeared, and can you find the same
thing somewhere else, or do you have to
just go without? Joe. No, microphone, please. Hello, hi. I’m Joe Easterly from the
University of Rochester. I have a question about
the Jewish PLAY Project. Sure. I was just wondering
about the relationship with the Strong Museum of Play
and any other community engaged aspects of it, maybe with
local Jewish Federation, or if there’s been any
educational programming that’s happened or on the horizon? So since I’m dual positioned
over at the Strong, they were very helpful
in verifying my facts. They were able to go to
other people in the industry and say, is this guy crazy
or is his list right? And what we got back
was his list is right and I wish you
wouldn’t talk about it. The Strong stance,
which I understand, is that they will
supply the material cultural to any institution
that wants to do an exhibition. But they don’t feel it’s
appropriate for them as a non-Jewish institution
to do the interpretation, to be the lead,
which I understand. I may not agree with,
but I understand, right? I haven’t done much
locally yet, primarily because I’ve been
trying to navigate the, do I set up a museum
exhibition elsewhere, which I have not
been successful at. Or do I go and write the book. So I’m going to
go write the book. I am in talks with
the Federation about maybe doing
something down the road. But again, you
want to– ideally, you want to use the material
culture and museums. At a certain level, have
an institutional mandate that their stuff can only be
released to other institutions that have the ability
to do, essentially, archival presentation, right? So if I’m going to do
something like an exhibit at the Federation or at
the JCC, I essentially have to do it with
photographs or other things, because they don’t have the
security or the exhibition stuff in place that the Strong
requires for their stuff to be shipped to. Am I being coherent? [INAUDIBLE] Yeah, yeah. Exactly. Other questions? How would you suggest
motivating or pushing traditional academic
curriculums to accept more digital and interactive
modes of scholarship? Oh, I’m a student– I’m a PhD student at the
University of Rochester. My name’s Marcy. Like, for instance– hi– we have the digital
scholarship lab and I’m super happy
that we get to use that in my digital history class. But is there any hope for
classes on like secular criticism to make
those more digital and to make that kind
of very scholarship be erudite information more
accessible to the public? I will take a
first shot at this. And I think what
you’re talking about is in some ways like a kind
of larger cultural shift and acceptance of
digital scholarship, if I understand
what you’re asking. Sort of like, how can we– how can we get this kind
of work to be accepted and more widely spread? And I do a lot of this
work at my own institution where I’m doing a lot of
institution building of trying to make people aware
of what’s possible using digital platforms. And so we’ve had a
number of strategies. One is to be very
student centered. So for instance, we do
some supportive faculty, but most of our support
at the graduate level is for graduate students. And what we try to
do is to show them what’s possible with
digital scholarship. And where the light bulbs
go off in the faculty members’ heads is where they
see a graduate student engaging a digital platform
and it actually impacting the scholarly
argument that they make. And I think I’ve been on
a number of dissertation committees where I’ve
seen that happen. One that comes to mind is
a scholar Heather Zuber who was working on socioeconomic
mobility in 18th century novels. And she had an argument
that was her dissertation in an English
department, but she realized she wanted to map it. And she had no mapping skills. She had very few digital skills. But she began to
plot out the journeys that characters in these
18th century novels took. And once she saw them
spatially, her argument changed. And then that became part of
the dissertation she submitted. And it brought the
faculty along, too, because they could see how it
wasn’t until the tool impacted the argument that it sort
of– that things clicked. And I think the one
thing that, say, as digital humanist
or people who are excited about
technology have to, I think, always think about is to help
students and others bring it back to the argument and think
about the research questions and how the technology
affects or can interact with the research question. Because that’s what, I think,
faculty and the academic world at large really responds to. So there are multiple
layers in all of this stuff. It’s not an easy question. At one level, it’s
generational in terms of faculty in university
administration that no, really, this
stuff is scholarship. No, really, this stuff is work. Part of it is financial, right? Our institutions
need to make money to keep doing what they do. So we’ve experimented
with MOOCs massively online, open courses at RIT. We did one on game history
with the Strong Museum was the first one that
we did here on campus. And there’s no real
return on investment in terms of bringing the
cash that it would have cost. Yes, it’s soft cost. I’m on salary. The folks in the media
department here in RIT who helped produce
it are on salary. But it’s a lot of people’s time
and a lot of people’s effort that the universities justify
having been spent on it. The games on the
Switch– and they were released on iOS
and Google Play first. They’re given away for free. We put in a boatload of
human chargeable time to make that happen that
we will not get back. So you can get academic
institutions or other entities to do that once in a
while on the argument that the visibility
and the marketing and the advertising and the, we
did it first, value is there. But to get them to put
everything out digitally for free, or even for cost,
because at a cost level that would bring the ROI to us,
people won’t access it, right? It’s really difficult,
depending on what level you’re looking at. And this is not a
problem RIT faces alone. This is the institution
in the industry, right? Also, Marci, I would
just say that even Wendy’s talk about thinking
about the data sets, like the data behind,
that those things are also out there in the world
and being published. So the more visible– I think one of the
things that each of you have highlighted in a
really great way today is, you’ve highlighted all of
the other aspects of the labor that go into play and have this
dialogue with what we think of as traditional scholarship. But in doing that and
making those things visible and seeing them in
conversation with each other, we are more apt to start
to recognize them also as scholarship, because they
are part of our scholarly labor. And so putting them out there
in the world makes them visible and makes it, therefore,
countable in some ways. So you can have then the
metrics on how many times your data set was accessed
or used in other contexts, and how many times those
other contexts or research projects received grants,
and how many times then those things are brought back,
those items are brought back together and analyzed in a text
that was published on Manifold. And I would say that
as our faculty start to see that more and more and
see those interconnections and have those– that
labor made visible, they may be more apt to also
bring that into the classroom. But I would also say that
another place you can go is through your
professional organization. So the MLA has put
out recommendations for tenure and promotion
for digital projects. I know that there
are other faculty who are working with their
professional organizations to do that, as well. And as those conversations
continue to happen, you will see a shift even if
it’s a very slow one, I think. And there are hidden costs that
you don’t even think about. So for the Mordecai Marches to
Manchuria site, The Diary Site, my family paid for a
translation of that diary, which was written in multiple
different dialects. So even to find someone to
do it was really challenging. But I had to get another
level of translation done on the document because
it was important to me that as much as possible
the page from the diary and the translation and
the entries and the map all lined up. That translation wasn’t done– if I’m trying to show everything
that happened on one date, that was translation
by the page. It wasn’t, well, broken down for
me as to this is what happens on this page. So if I’m going to do a
reasonable representation, I had to go back through
it, break it down by date, and then find another
translator to say, so where does this
date start and end on the pages of the diary? Because I can’t read it, right? So you wouldn’t think about
that when you’re looking to move something to digital. And yet those kinds
of things pop up. Mandy, do you– I think he’s covered it good. Oh. We’re good? I want to thank the organizers
for– it’s 3:00, right? I’m not– OK. I would like to thank the
organizers for having us here today. And I would also like
to thank our panel. Will you please me–
join me in doing so. [APPLAUSE]

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

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