Crowdsourcing is a hot not-so-new trend that’s been heralded as a solution for funding creative works of all kinds, from films to games to manufactured products. Popular sites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo are also venture-funded startups that facilitate distributed contribution to ideas, providing the appearance of investment or pre-orders. But even as more and more individuals source and fund projects through sites like Kickstarter, few realize that the satisfaction (or disappointment) they take away from the process has more to do with the experience of kickstarting, rather than from the product itself. As crowdfunding becomes its own form of entertainment irrespective of whether or not projects succeed or fail, the projects created risk becoming empty shells, lies that can never produce the results they promise because their existence was never meant to produce them in the first place. This talk offers a philosophy of crowdfunding as entertainment, and then presents a new project in development at Georgia Tech as a part of the Intel Science and Technology Center for Social Computing that tries to apply some of these lessons from popular personal electronics projects, including Kickstarted products like Twine, and related projects like Arduino and Raspberry Pi. . . . Continue Reading
Social media is international: users from hundreds of different cultures and language backgrounds are generating and sharing content. As a result, language and national borders emerge in the communication landscape online. What can we do to make those borders more porous? Expatriates, migrants, minorities, diasporic communities, and language learners play an important role in forming transnational networks, by creating social ties across nations and communities. A closer look to their connections and interactions online might illuminate us in many ways, i.e. how to increase intercultural awareness, information diffusion across language borders, and promote international relations, outreach or activism at a global scale. Focusing on the personal social network of multilingual Twitter users, I will discuss how social network analysis unveils the intersections of language groups. In general, the use of social network analysis to discover patterns of intercultural connections constitutes an enriching approach that can be applied in many disciplines. Also, I will talk about the influence of the social network on the language choices of multilingual users, with particular attention to the use of English as a Lingua Franca. Finally, I will invite the audience to reflect on what prevents or encourages translation behaviors and cross-cultural awareness in the social media context. . . . Continue Reading
Designing and building information technologies involves an ethical component, as designers (consciously or un-) make values choices that influence the uses and impacts of their designs. This talk will discuss how the practices of design affect the social values materialized in emerging technologies, and explore how design practices can encourage ethical reflection and action. The talk will present data from two participant-observation projects. The first observed a laboratory that engineered software for mobile phones to track users’ locations, habits, and behaviors. The second examines the social values considered in the design of a future Internet architecture. In both cases, technical work raised ethical challenges ranging from avoiding surveillance to encouraging equity. The projects suggest that particular activities within design can help engineers agree on social values as important to design. I characterize these activities as values levers: practices that open new conversations about social values, and encourage consensus around those values as design criteria. Laboratory leaders and advocates can enable and strengthen these levers to encourage ethical reflection and action as an explicit part of design practice.
Katie Shilton’s research focuses on ethics and policy for the design of information technologies, systems, and collections in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland. . . . Continue Reading
In February 2012, as the new manager of DCMR, I was tasked with revamping the digitization center, increasing production, expanding services throughout the Libraries, and expanding services to include audio and video digitization, in addition to managing digitization projects. After consulting with stakeholders throughout the Libraries, just over one year later, we have expanded our staff, acquired new equipment, are in a newfacility, and are testing production-level workflows and standards. Our digitization center is modeled on other, larger digitization centers, but scaled to fit the Libraries’ estimated, near-future needs.
My colleagues and I have also worked to define the separation of digital unit responsibilities between production and preservation, digitization and digital projects. Though DCMR focuses solely on production-based on content-managers’ requests, we maintain a larger focus on overall digital operations. Beyond digitization request orders for patrons, many of the larger projects we undertake frequently include other presentation or digital humanities components. Some of these projects include: the digitization of Katherine Ann Porter’s correspondence to create a digital scholarly edition, in collaboration with various other units and departments; digitizing a collection of Civil War-era letters and diaries that may be used in future classes as education exercises to perform transcription and TEI; and digitizing multiple formats and series of materials throughout a broadcasting collection, providing an extensive picture of the collection for a Special Collections exhibit. . . . Continue Reading
Museums as institutions of the 21st century have progressed quite a ways from the Wunderkammer of generations before. The 21st century museum takes the audience as its starting point and seeks out ways to rely upon its collections and the expertise of its staff to teach not only content but also skills; to be a venue not just for silent contemplation of its artifacts but where conversations that help to define and shape society may find a starting point and a home. Even with this more open approach to dialogue around collections, museums still struggle with how far to allow their visitors into their scholarship and their “stuff,” fearing for their status as authorities in their fields should amateurs be welcomed into that part of the conversation.
For history museums, Citizen History is one way to bring users worldwide into a dialogue based upon the museum’s collections and ongoing scholarship. Building from practices established in citizen science, Citizen History engages amateur scholars and enthusiasts in contemplating and answering authentic questions, building from research and resources held by the museum as authority but being open to the new ideas, questions, and ways of thinking brought by these new collaborators. . . . Continue Reading
In January 2012, the International Center for the Arts of the Americas (ICAA) at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston launched the Documents of 20th-Century Latin American and Latino Art Digital Archive and Publications Project. Available online (http://icaadocs.mfah.org), the Documents Project is dedicated to the recovery and dissemination of primary source materials related to modern and contemporary Latin American and Latino art. A working group was established in the greater Washington, DC area last July, and the University of Maryland is part of a consortium of institutional partners that includes the Archives of American Art (Smithsonian Institution), the Organization of American States, the Inter-University Program for Latino Research (University of Notre Dame), and George Mason University.
This talk will introduce the ICAA Documents Project and its recovery initiative in the Washington area. Undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Maryland have worked on this project over the academic year 2012-13, and their contributions – from archival discovery to digitization and scholarly analysis – will be profiled as part of the group’s work. The Documents Project is at the forefront of digital initiatives in the field of modern Latin American art history, and it has tremendous potential for use in teaching, research, and collaboration among scholars across the Americas. . . . Continue Reading
“Theses about the developmental tendencies of art under present conditions of production . . . brush aside a number of outmoded concepts, such as creativity and genius, eternal value and mystery. . .” – Walter Benjamin (1936)
“Do we claim to understand [Walter] Benjamin only now?” – Richard Shiff (2008)
The growing field of the digital humanities reflects the ever-broadening adoption by scholars of new electronic tools and the ongoing development of new opportunities for collaborative research and dissemination of their projects. What of digital curation? What implications does the growing presence of digital media art in the museum have for curators who seek both to care for and interpret these collections?
With a nod to Walter Benjamin’s recognition of the paradigmatic shift of the understanding of visual art and culture in the era of mass reproduction, this presentation will offer a curatorial perspective on the philosophic, aesthetic, and practical implications of collecting and exhibiting time-based and digital art at the Smithsonian and beyond. Based at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, I will address both how born digital time-based artwork reflects and shapes new ways of understanding the self and other, and the practical considerations associated with overseeing these new additions to our collection. . . . Continue Reading
Videogame preservation has made great strides in the last four years, from having the Art of Video Games on display at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art to making the program of the annual Game Developers conference. As with any other type of preservation or conservation, preserving videogames requires some fairly esoteric knowledge and specialized implements to do well. In this talk, Donahue will present some of the tools (hardware, software, and other) she used and helped create to benefit videogame preservation during her work with the Preserving Virtual Worlds project.
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This talk will analyze reading and writing practices that are interactive, social, live, sited, and algorithmically produced. With examples ranging from installations, performances, interactive text events, and Second Life exhibits, Dr. Raley will consider a variety of expressive activities that are neither formalizable as “electronic literature” nor reducible to a stable and singular medium. How are scholars to engage textual practices that do not depend on inscriptional durability and thus do not entail the presence of an archive? The premise of her talk will be that ethnographic techniques, documentary recording, and formal analysis are in themselves methodologically insufficient if one wants to account for textual practices that do not have stable hermeneutic form. The overarching purpose will thus be to work toward developing a framework for understanding our mediatized textual environments and their intrinsic ephemerality, vernacularity, and disintegration.
Works discussed will include Ben Rubin and Mark Hansen, Shakespeare Machine; Sarah Waterson, Cristyn Davies, and Elena Cox, Trope; Jason Lewis and Obx Labs, Cityspeak; John Cayley and Daniel Howe, The Readers Project; Cayley, imposition; and some of Ted Warnell’s PbN (poems “by nari”). . . . Continue Reading
Linked Data is a bit of a buzzword at the moment in the cultural heritage sector. At first glance, the principles of Linked Data seem simple enough. However web developers, designers and architects who attempt to put these ideas into practice soon find themselves not only learning a set of new technologies, but cast adrift in debates about web architecture, the semantic web, artificial intelligence and the nature of identity. In this talk I will briefly outline some of these historical debates, and attempt to characterize some pragmatic ways of realizing the goals of Linked Data with examples from the Web we have today.
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