A Few Reflections on the TOME Initiative

By | Digital Scholarship | One Comment

WASHINGTON, DC – Today a group of colleagues from the Association of American Universities, Association of Research Libraries, and Association of University Presses met to advance the Towards an Open Monograph Ecosystem (TOME) initiative. It was heartening to see the progress the initiative has made since our first gathering in the summer of 2016. At the time, I was enthusiastic about the effort to leverage University funding to support the open access publication of monographs by scholars in the humanities and social sciences. What I wrote then about the importance of this initiative, I feel more urgently today:

Publishing is one important way the humanities are put into practice. Ideas only enter the public realm when they are made public — that is, when they are published. But publishing is not simply a matter of making ideas public; it is also an opportunity to create publics, to establish relationships around shared values and ideas, and by extension, to transform existing realities in light of new possibilities opened by novel ways of thinking.

This commitment to make ideas public so as to enrich public life remains at the heart of the TOME endeavor. Today, a committed group of publishers, librarians, scholars, and administrators gathered to discuss how to strategically advance the initiative in months and years to come.

The most exciting development over the past year has been the publication of Open Access monographs, which we are curating through our referetory 1 using Figshare. The TOME Referetory will grow considerably over the next year as more monographs are added, while Figshare will enable us to track usage of the texts across the web.

Over the course of the day I tried to capture some of the wide ranging conversation on my microblog (cplong.net) using the TOME tag, but the texture of the conversation was too rich to convey adequately. Here, however, before the day is out, I’d like to capture two ideas that might shape the way forward.

Undertake the Messy Work

Much of our attention as we’ve developed this initiative as been focused on questions concerning infrastructure, standards, and the logistics associated with cultivating an ecosystem of open access long-form digital scholarship. And rightly so, for focusing on these issues of long-term sustainability, growth, and broad adoption will enable us to create the conditions under which such substantive contributions to the scholarly record can thrive and last.

However, the initiative has benefited greatly from a tendency to try things, by a willingness to do something based on the support of fourteen committed universities and a substantive and growing number of Association of University Presses. Without having it all quite figured out, we pressed forward to publish the work.

This tendency to act has served us well; for by publishing books, we are learning what works and what does not. That this can be a successful strategy was reinforced today by a story Frank Smith, Director, Books at JSTOR, told about JSTOR’s experiment with publishing OA monographs. Frank said, as Greg Britton tweeted:

@JSTOR has nearly 3,000 #OpenAccess books that have gotten over 6.5 million views. 18x the usage of other books on their site.

This is striking evidence for the value of open access monographs. Simply put, open access monographs are more widely read. If scholars want to be read as opposed to simply being published, we need to advocate for Open Access; we need to find ways to make our work broadly available online and to support initiative that make that accessibility sustainable. Real traction for initiatives like TOME will remain elusive until scholars across the globe insist that their work be openly accessible.

Even if, as Dean Smith, Director of Cornell University Press, put it: “Everything about ebooks is messy,” we can’t afford to wait until it is less messy to act.

Scholarly Practice

If, however, our attempts to create an ecosystem for OA monographs is to have a deeper impact on the practices of scholarship, scholars will need to more proactively consider the affordances digital modes of publishing offer us to make our ideas public in innovative ways. This is a question, I have argued, of performative consistency; and it returns us to the deeply reciprocal relationship between form and content. My own failed attempt to create a living, interactive digital book notwithstanding, scholars in the humanities and social sciences ought to focus intellectual attention and effort on considering how the manner in which our ideas make their way into the public domain might amplify, reinforce, and deepen a reader’s engagement with the arguments we make.

If it is successful, the TOME initiative will create an ecosystem in which richly developed ideas can be made openly accessible. How those ideas are engaged by other scholars, how they are taken up, responded to, criticized and built upon in order to transform the world in which we live will depend upon the creative imagination and generosity of our colleagues. We inhabit now a new, more dynamic, world of public ideas–whether they enrich or impoverish our lives together will depend largely upon our ability to cultivate new habits of public scholarship rooted a commitment to the humanistic sensibilities capable of creating a more just and beautiful world.

Humanities Commons and the Cultivation of Sustainable Communities

By | Digital Scholarship, The Long Road | No Comments

As we navigate the intense period of transformation in human communication through which we are living, identifying ways to nurture sustainable communities through which scholarship can be shared, discovered, and enhanced gains urgency. So many of the platforms through which we might cultivate scholarly lives together — Facebook, Twitter, Google, Academia.edu — are compromised by business models designed to maximize profit rather than advance scholarship.

When the Humanities Commons opened to the public a year ago, I was an early adopter and strong advocate. My work has long been focused on attempts to create vibrant communities of scholarly practice that nurture transformative scholarship. Whether through pedagogical practices that empower students to bring their voices to the public or through a podcast that practices the excellences of dialogue in a digital age, my own teaching and research have been enriched by exposure to and engagement with a broader community of people interested in and committed to the work.

Creating and sustaining communities that advance the ideas of a wide diversity of scholars, both within the academy and more broadly among the public, require us to support nonprofit sites of community gathering that embody the core values of equity, inclusion, openness, and preservation. The Humanities Commons has emerged as just such a gathering site. Its mission is to nurture scholarly communities by serving the needs of scholars as we engage in research and pedagogy that enriches a broader public.

When I first joined Humanities Commons a year ago, I quickly set up a profile, uploaded my work to the CORE repository, and joined groups in research areas to which I am committed, including those associated with two initiatives that are themselves designed to enhance the quality and scope of scholarship, the Public Philosophy Journal and HuMetricsHSS. Even so, however, I myself have not yet fully integrated the Humanities Commons into the workflow of my scholarly life. Yet, if this community is to become a genuine and sustainable space for conversation that enriches and advances scholarship, it will need to be nurtured by our best work, our ethical imagination, and our sustained attention.

This scholarly commons will only be as rich and textured as we, collectively, put it into practice.

So in celebrating this first year of the Humanities Commons, let us reaffirm our commitment to enliven this common place with the generosity of spirit and deliberate diligence that has long sustained and deepened the scholarship to which so many of us have dedicated our lives.

 

Nurturing Fulfilling Scholarly Lives

By | Digital Scholarship, Education | No Comments

In Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, there is a famous passage in which he reminds us that “to be happy takes a complete lifetime; for one swallow does not make a spring, nor does one fine day; and similarly one day or a brief period of happiness does not make a person blessed and happy” (Nic. Eth., 1098a16–20).

This passage came to frame our conversations around #Humetrics at this week’s Triangle Scholarly Communications Institute, because it reminds us that a fulfilling life — what Aristotle calls, eudaimonia, happiness, that is, a life well lived — requires cultivated habits rooted in core values that, when intentionally practiced, shape the character of a good life.

In the end, what we value should be embodied in what we do, not once or twice, but regularly over the course of a lifetime.

In framing our conversation about #Humetrics with this ancient conception of ethics, excellence, and character, we seek also to advance and reinforce the idea that a scholarly life can only be well lived in communities of practice with others.

For the #Humetrics team, this year’s Triangle SCI experience was a swallow that signifies but does not yet fully manifest the coming spring. It opened for us a space for the flowering of a community of practice oriented toward the question of how we might more broadly cultivate communities of practice that embody the values of fulfilling scholarly lives.

Five Core Excellences of Enriching Scholarship

core-excellencesWorking out loud together, we identified five core excellences of enriching scholarship:

Rebecca Kennison wrote about Equity.

View story at Medium.com

Simone Sacchi wrote about Openness.

View story at Medium.com

His point was amplified further by Rebecca Kennison in her post about The Value of Openness.

I wrote about Collegiality.

View story at Medium.com

jasonrhody wrote about Quality.

https://medium.com/@jasonrhody/on-quality-1f36621e04a1#.fn6eokf4i
Nicky Agate wrote about Community.

View story at Medium.com

And Stacy Konkiel sought to tie things together by distinguishing between enriching and corrosive values:

View story at Medium.com

In writing together in this way, we seek to embody the excellences for which we advocate.

The question that animates our work is this:

The Winter of Our Discontent

For too long, we humanists have been allergic to metrics. This allergy has prevented us from engaging in a serious and sustained conversation about what practices of scholarship we might want to cultivate and incentivize both through the activities we measure and those we celebrate.

As a result, a large and growing battery of metrics have been developed based on the practices of more scientifically oriented scholarship or simply on what it was possible to use our technologies to measure.

Current metrics of humanities scholarship have been shown to be too blunt to capture the multiple dimensions of scholarly output and impact (see, Haustein and Larivière). In addition, the inappropriate nature of current indicators can incentivize perverse scholarly practices (see, The Metric Tide, Wilsdon et. al.).

A critical component of our emerging #Humetrics conversation at Triangle SCI involves finding ways to expose, highlight, and recognize the important scholarship that goes into the all-too-hidden work of peer review, syllabus development, conference organizing, mentoring, etc. Our current metrics fail to capture what is most substantive about the rich life of scholarship we practice together in living academic communities.

In this context, our challenge and our responsibility is to articulate, incentivize, and reward practices that enrich our shared scholarly lives and expand our understanding of scholarship itself.

Without being naïve about how difficult it is to change culture, we hope to begin to reshape the conversation about metrics around the values of enriching scholarly practices and the communities in which they thrive.

Although our time together at the Triangle SCI was only one swallow that does not yet make a spring, the seeds planted there may begin to take root over the weeks and months to come, and the communities of scholarship that blossomed there just might be “made glorious by this sun” that shines when a broader public is invited to join the conversation.

humetricsteam

Bringing Your CV to Life

By | Blogging and Social Media, Digital Scholarship, Presentation: Interactive, The Long Road, Vita | 2 Comments

Traditionally, a curriculum vitae (CV) is an articulation of one’s qualifications and accomplishments in an academic context. The Latin root of the term suggests the extent to which the CV indicates a “course of life.”

Despite the dynamic and organic connotations of this Latin root, most CVs are printed documents updated periodically by faculty members as we accumulate accomplishments rather than living expressions of the course of our academic lives.

Increasingly, however, faculty are beginning to take advantage of the affordances of digital modes of scholarly communication not simply to document accomplishments and credentials, but more ambitiously to cultivate communities of practice and engagement around the work we are doing.

Inexpensive hosting services (like Reclaim Hosting), powerful publishing platforms (like WordPress) that are easy to set up and broadly accessible, and the wide adoption of social media (TwitterFacebook) have opened new opportunities for us to create communities of colleagues interested in our work and capable of enriching it through dialogical response and collaboration.

The barriers to our success in creating and nurturing such communities of scholarship on the web are now less technological than they are cultural. Our habits of online communication, scholarly and otherwise, remain immature; we are still learning what we can do with our new technologies and what they are doing with us.

The situation in which we find ourselves calls for examples and opportunities to reflect together on what is possible in a course of a scholarly life rooted in digital modes of engagement.

The Academic Advancement Network (#msuaan) session on October 4, 2016, brings faculty together from across campus who have created dynamic and living online spaces that open new opportunities not simply for wide exposure, but more significantly, for collaboration and engagement that can enrich and advance the quality of their work.

A major challenge for highly productive faculty is how to integrate habits of online community building into our everyday scholarly workflow so we are not pulled away from our research and teaching.

In identifying these colleagues, calling them together, and amplifying their work, we have sought in the session and here online, to embody a culture of generosity, amplification, and engagement that we hope will begin to take root and grow, not only here at Michigan State University, but more broadly across other academic communities and their emerging digital networks.

This approach is consistent with the long-standing MSU land-grant commitment to advancing knowledge through public engagement, and it’s integral to bringing our academic work to life.

Participants in the Oct. 4th #msuaan session include:

Alexandra Hidalgo: http://alexandrahidalgo.com/

David Lowery: https://davidbryantlowry.wordpress.com/

Dylan Miner: http://www.wiisaakodewinini.com

Robby Ratan: http://www.robbyratan.com/

Chris Long: http://www.cplong.org/

Investing in Humanities Publishing

By | Dean, Digital Humanities, Digital Scholarship, The Administrative Life, The Long Road | 2 Comments

To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived at the headquarters of the Association of American Universities in Washington, D.C. early last week to take part in a discussion about a new model for open access digital monograph publishing in the humanities.

The meeting, organized by a Task Force convened by the AAU, American Association of University Presses, and the Association of Research Libraries, included an impressive group of directors of university presses, deans of libraries, and academic administrators.

I was there to represent Michigan State University. In February, Provost June Youatt asked me for feedback on the Task Force’s proposal to establish a sustainable model by which long-form humanities scholarship could be published in a digital open access format. The proposal called for up-front institutional funding for the open access publication of manuscripts accepted through standing AAUP best practices for peer review.

I was enthusiastic.

Given my work on the Public Philosophy Journal, my service on the Board of Directors of K|N Consultants with its Open Access Network initiative, and my own efforts to publish my book on Socratic and Platonic politics as an open access enhanced digital book, I arrived in Washington prepared to put my commitment to open access into sustainable structural practice.

Still, I was not sure what to expect because we have heard so much — too much — about the “crisis” of the humanities in general, and of scholarly communication in particular. Further, the ecosystem of scholarly publishing is complicated — faculty depend on acquisition editors, presses depend on libraries, tenure and promotion processes depend on the integrity of peer review …. With so many moving parts and with so much at stake, developing a supportive and sustainable funding model for open access is daunting.

From the beginning, however, it was clear that the Task Force, under the leadership of John Vaughn, Elliott Shore, and Peter Bekery, had gathered a group of creative, thoughtful, and generous colleagues who were willing to imagine what might be possible if universities committed to fully funding the cost of open access monograph publication up front.

Questions of cost, addressed by the Ithaka Report on the Costs of Publishing Monographs and qualified in interesting ways by John Sherer of the UNC Press, did not derail the conversation, which took a decisive and, in my view, positive turn when we agreed not to frame the initiative as a response to a crisis in either the humanities or in publishing.

Far the better strategy is to seed an initiative that will establish a sustainable publishing workflow designed to expand access to and engagement with humanities scholarship.

Publishing is one important way the humanities are put into practice. Ideas only enter the public realm when they are made public — that is, when they are published. But publishing is not simply a matter of making ideas public; it is also an opportunity to create publics, to establish relationships around shared values and ideas, and by extension, to transform existing realities in light of new possibilities opened by novel ways of thinking.

Attempts to establish a sustainable financial model for open access publishing in the humanities should ultimately be motivated by a commitment to advancing the capacity of humanities scholarship to transform, enrich, and shape publics.

As a dean, I understand any up-front contributions the College of Arts & Letters would make to facilitate the open access publications of our faculty as an investment in the transformative power of the humanities.

Beyond the important academic benefits of having the work of our faculty more widely read and cited lies the land-grant mission of Michigan State University to “advance knowledge and transform lives,” to educate “globally engaged citizen leaders” and to facilitate research and scholarship that will lead “to a better quality of life for individuals and communities, at home and around the world.”

Broadly accessible humanities scholarship, work that is not merely published, but widely read, enriches public life by enabling us to imagine and create more just and responsive publics.

This ideal of the humanities deeply woven into the fabric of public life motivates my own humanities scholarship and administrative work; and it animates my interest in the work of the Task Force to seed and support a sustainable financial model for open access long-form humanities publishing.

I was heartened by the conversation we had in Washington, D.C. last week and by the emerging plans to establish a process, funding model, and workflow that will enable us to begin publishing open access long-form humanities scholarship in the near future.

More heartening still, however, is the palpable sense of what is possible when universities, presses, and libraries collaborate across institutions to expand public access to humanities scholarship capable of enriching public life.

* * *

This have been cross published on Medium:

View story at Medium.com

Adventures in Open Access: Plato's Dogs, Unleashed

By | Digital Scholarship, The Long Road | One Comment

It was paragraph three, section b) of the Contributor Publishing Agreement from Indiana University Press that gave me pause.

In it I read that I would not be permitted to post the final published version of my article, “Who Let the Dogs Out? Tracking the Philosophical Life among the Wolves and Dogs of Plato’s Republic,” on my website until a full year after the date of its publication.

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To Be Published or To Be Read

By | Digital Scholarship, The Long Road | 12 Comments

To be published or to be read, that is the question scholars increasingly face.

Although publications with reputable university presses or journals continue to be the cornerstone of the tenure and promotion process, many remain inaccessible to a broad audience, bound up, as they often are, in paper volumes or locked behind paywalls required by the outmoded business practices of scholarly publishers.

Take this recent experience as illustrative of the situation scholars committed to Open Access face.

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Tracing the Contours of the Enhanced Digital Book

By | The Evolving Book, The Long Road | No Comments

Now that Socratic and Platonic Political Philosophy: Practicing a Politics of Reading is in galley proofs, the contours of the enhanced digital book are beginning to take shape.

In order to determine the features of the digital book, we have developed a specification document that outlines the nature of the book, its key features and more specific details about how these features will fit into the ecosystem of the enhanced book itself.

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Public Digital Scholarship: The @PubPhilJ at the #APAEastern

By | Presentation: Academic, Presentation: Interactive, The Public Philosophy Journal, Vita | No Comments

This presentation on the Public Philosophy Journal, invited by the APA Committee on Public Philosophy, provides an update on the status of the development of the open access, open peer review journal.

However difficult it is to create an open access, open peer review site of excellent digital scholarship, the Public Philosophy Journal includes a yet more ambitious performative dimension: the PPJ seeks to perform, as its very mode of scholarly publication, the sort of public philosophy it hopes to cultivate and amplify.

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Digital Dialogue 68: Building the PPJ

By | Digital Dialogue Podcast, The Public Philosophy Journal | 2 Comments

During our first planning trip to Matrix at Michigan State to develop the Public Philosophy Journal, Mark Fisher and I sat down to talk with Ethan Watrall and Bill Hart-Davidson about creating the journal as an ecosystem of scholarly communication.

Ethan Watrall (aka: @Captain_Primate) is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Michigan State and Associate Director of Matrix. In addition, Ethan is Director of the Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative and the Cultural Heritage Informatics Fieldschool here at Michigan State.

Ethan’s research interests fall in the domain of cultural heritage informatics, with particular (though hardly exclusive) focus on digital archaeology and serious games & meaningful play for cultural heritage learning, outreach, and engagement.

Bill Hart-Davidson (aka: @billhd) is Associate Professor of Rhetoric & Writing and Director of the Rhetoric & Writing Graduate Program. He is Senior Researcher at WIDE Research at Matrix Writing in Digital Environments Research, and a co-inventor of Eli Review , a web service for coordinating and evaluating peer review. Bill is currently President of the Association of Teachers of Technical Writing and in January he will become the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies in the College of Arts and Letters.

The four of us discuss five functional aspects of the Public Philosophy Journal: the user profile, the open peer review process, curation, collaborative writing, and the publication itself-complete with the process by which it came into being.

As you listen, we invite your thoughts and comments here or on the Public Philosophy Journal blog.

Digital Dialogue 66: Sustainable Scholarship

By | Digital Dialogue Podcast, Technology | One Comment

Almost immediately upon being awarded a $236K Mellon Grant to develop the Public Philosophy Journal, Mark Fisher, Dean Rehberger and I found ourselves in New York at the 2013 Ithaka Sustainable Scholarship conference to learn more about how to identify a path by which scholarly projects like the @PubPhilJ can be sustained after their period of funding.

In the 66th episode of the Digital Dialogue, we discuss the journal, the technology behind it, the interface, and the future of scholarly publishing. At Ithaka, we learned more about the current state of scholarly publishing, the challenges it faces and the possibilities open to it in a digital age. In this podcast, we think together out loud about where we are and where we hope to go with the Public Philosophy Journal.

Accountability and Public Scholarship

By | Blogging and Social Media, Digital Research, The Long Road | No Comments

With the announcement that Mellon has funded the first year of the Public Philosophy Journal, I have been thinking more reflectively on what it means to do public scholarship. Receiving the grant is, however, only one of a confluence of recent experiences that have forced me to consider how best to cultivate habits of excellent public scholarship in digital contexts.

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The End of the Beginning and the Path Ahead for @PubPhilJ

By | Academic, Grants, Fellowships, Awards, The Long Road | No Comments

On Friday, October 4th, we received the good news that the Mellon Foundation’s Scholarly Communications and Information Technology program will provide $236K to support the development of the Public Philosophy Journal (PPJ, aka @PubPhilJ).

The grant marks the end of the beginning for the Public Philosophy Journal, a collaborative endeavor between the Department of Philosophy at Penn State and Matrix at Michigan State, to create an open access, open peer review digital publication intent on performing public philosophy as its mode of publication.

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Socrates, Plato and Digital Scholarship at #ECDS

By | Presentation: Academic, Presentation: Interactive, Presentations, Socratic and Platonic Politics, Vita | No Comments

The Emory Center for Digital Scholarship asked me to give a version of the presentation at gave at #DH2013 last summer entitled eBook as Ecosystem of Digital Scholarship

Socratic and Platonic Political Philosophy: Practicing the Politics of Reading (forthcoming Cambridge University Press) is an enhanced digital book that attempts to use digital media technology to cultivate the political practice of collaborative reading for which it argues.

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The Googled Graduate Student

By | The Graduate Experience, The Long Road | 4 Comments

It is going to happen. Maybe not today or this week, but eventually, you will be Googled.

I am not talking about being Googled by an old friend interested in what you might be up to these days, but about the kind of Googling academics do when we are interested in learning more about the work of a young scholar.

Often, of course, this happens during a job search, but it can also happen in the course of your graduate education as you cultivate new professional relationships through disciplinary organizations and public appearances at conferences.

When it happens, you will want content you created to appear early and often in the search results.

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The Evolving Book: Building into the CBO

By | Books, The Evolving Book, The Long Road | No Comments

The CBO is Cambridge Books Online, the electronic books platform for Cambridge University Press (CUP). This is the platform into which Mike Chaplin and a team of programmers working for CUP will build the Socratic and Platonic Political Philosophy: Practicing a Politics of Reading.

Already at the beginning, I was worried that my vision of an open and fluid boundary between the written text and the online community of readers using social media to share ideas would dissolve as a rigid wall was established between the text and a wider public. Obviously, we are dealing with issues of access and questions of monetization, both of which are important concerns in a project like this, engaged as it is with a major University Press.

These concerns, however, have been assuaged, as Mike has sought my frequent advice and direction during these early phases of development. Right now he is playing around with mock-ups of the environment, and I have been suggesting models of online digital communication and interaction that might help provide a path to a more open, dynamic and interactive reading experience.

Toward More Opennness

Mike’s first mock-ups sought to integrate some of the features of highlighting and annotation into the CBO environment. I had suggested that the way Diigo allows you to highlight text on any web site and take notes, which can be made public or private, might serve as a model for us.

Figure 1.0: Diigo on the Uni(di)versity blog:

Diigo Screenshot

Here you can see the ability to highlight and add a kind of sticky note that can be private or publicly viewed. I like the little menu bar at the top right to add notes, bookmarks and highlights. I also like the new feature that Diigo has added with the little orange dot on the right margin that indicates an annotation is at that location. I’d like us to develop a way to use such dots to indicate points of common interest among readers. The idea would be that the dots would get larger and more intense in those spots where multiple highlights and annotations are being added, so that hot spots of conversation and interest can be easily identified.

Mike then developed this initial mockup of what the book might look like in a CBO environment.

Figure 1.1: Reading Inline

11 READ inline

Here the text appears immediately under the main area with information on the title, etc., with the sticky note metaphor floating in its own window outside of the main central column of text.

In the next image, Mike tried to illustrate how we might integrate social media into the system, bringing voices from outside into the the CBO environment and allowing those reading the book to share the text or their comments with wider social media communities.

Figure 1.2: Social Media and Notes

12 Social Media and Notes

Here you can see how facebook and blogger might be integrated, and in turn, how I as author might appear as part of the conversation.

Philosophical issues of authorial authority lurk here. Although I am identified as the author, I like how I am not afforded special status and that I would appear in line with other comments and annotations.

The design ought not to reinforce the aura of authorial authority.

My voice as author will, of course, overdetermine the nature and direction of the conversation simply by virtue of the fact that the conversation centers around the things I wrote. Because of this, I will need to participate in these conversations with care, attending to the manner in which my responses themselves will have weight and authority, even if that authority is being directly challenged in the comments and annotations.

Extending Beyond the Column

In thinking about how to integrate comments and social media into the experience, I was beginning to feel too constrained by the single column of content sandwiched between two wide expanses of Cambridge University Press blue. I suggested to Mike something along the lines of CommentPress.

Figure 1.3: Comment Press

13 CommentPress

Here I liked the clean look in which reading is clearly a priority, but elements of interaction are inserted by means of chat bubbles and a column on the right with two tabs: comments and activity.

Also, and importantly, the text is organized by paragraph marks, not page numbers, a feature I would like to see added to both the print and digital editions of the book. This would make referring to specific passages consistent between the paper and the digital formats.

Mike then responded with a mockup that extended the inline reading experience outside of the single main column.

Figure 1.4: Extended Column

14 READ inline Comments

Here you begin to see the manner in which social media profiles can be drawn upon and the comments and annotations can extend beyond the main column of text even as the annotation column would be easy to access, if desired.

Directions to Pursue

I would be interested in your thoughts and ideas about the layout and direction developed thus far.

A number of features now seem to be emerging as important:

  1. Paragraph reference markers in the digital and print editions should be established to facilitate cross referencing in paper and digital environments;
  2. Textual “hotspot” markers could be implemented to suggest emerging areas of reader interest;
  3. Design elements should not overdetermine and reinforce authorial authority;
  4. There is not, as yet, a space for more extensive and detailed conversation in a forum. For this, I have in mind a model of something like Discourse.org, but I think I am getting ahead of myself…

eBook as Ecosystem of Scholarly Communication

By | Presentation: Academic, Presentations, Vita | No Comments

Socratic and Platonic Political Philosophy: Practicing the Politics of Reading (forthcoming Cambridge University Press) is an enhanced digital book that attempts to use digital media technology to cultivate the political practice of collaborative reading for which it argues.

The book’s central argument is that there is an analogy between the ways Socrates practices politics with those he encounters in the dialogues and the ways Platonic writing turns us as readers toward ideals of speaking and acting capable of transforming our lives and the community in which we live.

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Public Philosophy Journal

By | Presentation: Academic, Presentations, Vita | One Comment

Philosophy is often mistakenly viewed as distant from public life, secluded in the Ivory Tower away from the public concerns of civil society.

However, the affordances of digital scholarly communication have enabled philosophers increasingly to bring the value of their work to bear on matters of public importance from ethics and public policy to cultural criticism. Even so, however, there are few publishing venues available for philosophers to gain publicity for their work and to reach diverse audiences.

The Public Philosophy Journal is designed to re-envision the relationship between the academy and everyday life by creating a public space for accessible but rigorous scholarly discourse on challenging contemporary issues of public concern.

The Public Philosophy Journal is a collaborative endeavor between the Department of Philosophy and the Humanities in a Digital Age initiative at the Pennsylvania State University, and Matrix: The Center for Humane Arts, Letters, and Social Sciences Online and the Department of Philosophy at Michigan State University.

Our intent is to create a journal that will perform public philosophy as its mode of publication.

By leveraging the open and collaborative capacities endemic to digital communications, the Public Philosophy Journal will cultivate a community of scholars engaged in curating, reviewing, editing, co-writing and modeling rigorous work related to public philosophy broadly construed.

The process of publication for the journal will involve five basic dimensions:

  1. Curate: Current digital public philosophy discussions and pertinent web content will be curated by leveraging the work and input of a world-wide community of scholars, graduate students, and policy makers;
  2. Review: The journal will include mechanisms for open peer review of curated content, including a system for reviewing reviewers and credentialing reviewers who are consistently engaged and thoughtful in their contributions;
  3. Enrich: Digital public philosophy will be greatly enriched by creating a space for collaborative writing to further develop the content of the online discussions into a rigorous scholarly article;
  4. Publish: Reviewed articles will be openly published together with invited responses to the reviewed work;
  5. Cultivate: Ongoing open dialogue about the published articles will be cultivated by invited and curated responses that have the potential to feed the development of new collaborative scholarship.

Below is a Prezi that Mark Fisher and I developed for the Networked Humanities conference at the University of Kentucky, February 15-16, 2013, #NHUK, that explains in a bit more detail the vision behind the Public Philosophy Journal.

If you are interested in being a part of the @PubPhilJ community, please fill out the attached form and help curate excellent content from around the web.

New Cultures of Scholarship

By | Presentation: Other, Presentations, Vita | 2 Comments

STATE COLLEGE, PA – In my keynote address at the inaugural Liberal Arts Scholarship and Technology Summit, I discuss how the transition from print literacy to digital literacy is transforming the nature of academic scholarship.

[The live stream recording of the event can be seen below.]

The presentation is divided into two parts. The first part focuses on the theoretical background that helps us put the transformation of literacy through which we are living into a wider context. In the second part, I focus on a few of the ways I have sought to integrate digital technologies into my scholarly practices.

The theoretical background begins with a discussion of what Lars Sauerberg has called the “Gutenberg Parenthesis,” suggesting by this term a contained period of literacy characterized by the dominance of the printed book. I use Thomas Pettitt’s lecture at the 2010 conference at the MIT Communications Forum to emphasize that the parenthetical period was no mere digression, but added substantively to the history of literacy.

After pointing briefly to how pre-literate oral cultures undertook many of the practices we now find in digital culture–remixing, borrowing, creatively changing and modifying stories for particular audiences–I turn to Walter Ong’s book, Orality and Literacy, to suggest the manner in which print culture values the ideals of completeness, originality and creativity in ways that gave rise to the idea of authorial genius that continues to determine how we think about scholarship and scholars.

In the second part of the talk, I illustrate how I have sought to use digital literacy to reinforce and amplify those values of print literacy worth retaining–the established practices of peer review, caring attention to detail and the permanence of books. I tell the story of my own use of digital media for scholarship, focusing on how I used Diigo to annotate and respond to a recent review of my book in the Bryn Mawr Classical Review, and how some of my colleagues, notably Rose Cherubin from George Mason University, added substantively to that digital discussion.

I talked also about the Digital Dialogue podcast to suggest how digital media can be used to create new print scholarship.

Resources
Quotations
From Sauerberg:
In a cognitive context the mass-produced and mass distributed book has been of the greatest significance for the way we approach the world. In the transition from the printed book to digitized textuality the mode of cognition is being moved from a metaphorics of linearity and reflection to a-linearity and co-production of “reality.” This means moving from the rationality accompanied by the printed book to an altogether different way of processing, characterized by interactivity and much faster pace. The book as privileged mode of cognition is, it seems, being marginalized and transformed (Sauerberg, 79)
From Ong:

“Print encourages a sense of closure, a sense that what is found in a text has been finalized, has reached a state of completion … Print culture gave birth to the romantic notions of ‘originality’ and ‘creativity’, which set apart an individual work from other works even more…” (Ong, 132- 133).

From Carson:

An individual who lives in an oral culture uses his senses differently than one who lives in a literate culture, and with that different sensual deployment comes a different way of conceiving his own relations with his environment, a different conception of his body and a different conception of his self (Eros the Bittersweet, 43).

 

Curating Your Digital Vita

By | Presentation: Other, Presentations, Vita | No Comments

WACO, Texas — During my visit to Baylor this week, I guest taught Anne Schultz’s class on Plato’s Symposium and joined the Academy for Teaching and Learning to speak about how I use digital media in my teaching, research and administrative work.

The title of my talk is Curating Your Vita: Cultivating Communities of Teaching, Research and Administration in a Digital Age.

The presentation is divided into three parts: Teaching, Research and Service. It takes each activity in turn as an opportunity to cultivate community around one’s scholarly interests. I tried to rely on concrete examples of what has worked, and failed to work, for me as I put social media into practice in ways that, I hope, invite dialogue and discussion.

Teaching

My Philosophy 200 course, Ancient Greek Philosophy, was the focus of the section on teaching. Here are resources related to how I used a co-authored course blog to create a community of education in that course:

Research
I talked about the way I use the Digital Dialogue to invite scholars and colleagues to talk about their work and to develop my own work on Socratic politics.

Administration
I talked about how we use blogging, podcasting and video in the Liberal Arts Undergraduate Studies office in the College of the Liberal Arts to empower students to give voice to their undergraduate experience in the liberal arts.

In putting the presentation together, I was struck by something that had not occurred to me in concrete terms about how and why I share my activities on the internet. Although this sharing, which for some, I know, is over sharing, began as a natural desire to reach out to others about my work and invite them to share theirs, I realize that one of the most powerful things about sharing on the internet is the unanticipated possibilities that open when people put words to their experiences in public. In the presentation, I put it this way:
Sharing opens the possibility of serendipity.  
Here are some videos that show some of the serendipitous possibilities that opened as I shared my teaching, research and administrative activities: 

Finally, take a look at the slideshow of my excellent visit to Waco and Baylor University.  Thanks to all who made it possible.