Jen’s description of the green MITH mug would make you think this is just an ordinary coffee cup, but a closer analysis of the photograph reveals that this is, in fact, a Reversed Gravity MITH Mug which rose to the ceiling and then got stuck there: it’s upside-down, and the shadow in the upper-left corner of the mug indicates that the light source is coming from one of windows across the room (i.e. from below the object). If you look closely at the reflection, you’ll see that Jen is looking up at the mug while taking its photo. Jen ordered these special mugs in 2010, when MITH was still in its subterranean McKeldin digs; the garish lime green enamel was intended to act as a cheap substitute for a sunlamp to combat the staff’s lack of sunlight. If you’ve watched Season 5 of the new Dr. Who series, the green MITH mug is basically a precursor to the gravity globe (rises up to the ceiling, is a substitute for natural light). Jen is a huge Dr. Who nerd and player of VVVVVV, but was too embarrassed to give everyone on the staff a sonic screwdriver or indie game; instead, she created an object that would reference the show in an extremely subtle way.
Can’t see anything on the Omeka site? You need to be logged in to view objects!
If you don’t understand a field or don’t think it applies, it’s okay to leave it blank. To read more about how capital-A archivists use these fields, this page has nice short descriptions of what each field is meant for.
“All Rights Reserved” if you want to totally retain copyright: no one can use what you posted without your permission.
The Creative Commons Chooser helps you pick a CC license if you want to let people use your work in new projects, memes, etc., but want to place some restrictions on this use (e.g. users must attribute you, can’t make money off of your work, or needs to use a CC license on whatever they make that uses your work). Some specific CC licenses you might use:
CC BY (must attribute you)
CC SA (anything they make with it must also have a CC license, i.e. they must also allow reuse)
CC NC (can’t make money off of whatever they make)
If you want a combination of these things, just string them along like this: CC BY SA
Tuesday, October 16th, was Ada Lovelace Day, in honor of Byron’s daughter, who is often recognized as the first computer programmer. To celebrate, UMD English Professor Melanie Kill’s “Computer and Text” class organized a “Wikipedia Loves Humanities” Edit-a-Thon from 3:30-6:00pm in the Learning Commons on the second floor of McKeldin Library.
Plus! In addition to contributing to a resource that I’m sure you use all the time, there is EXTRA CREDIT at stake. Attend the Edit-a-Thon and email me a link to a page you edited and your Wikipedia username so I can verify you participated, and you’ll get 7 points of extra credit (equal to one blog post). You may still receive extra credit if you couldn’t attend, but if you can make one meaningful edit to Wikipedia and send me links to both your edit and your Wikipedia user page before class on Thursday.
The #LAFlood communal fiction-tweeting project (check out the tweet schedule at the bottom of the page that gave the week-long experience some form, and also download the PDF of archived tweets to get a sense of the fictional event–link’s at the top of the page)
E-lit is intentional fiction created to use the unique features of a digital space.
The first wave of e-lit writing mostly used the current possibilities of the internet: HTML-based webpages
Later e-lit uses everything: Flash animation, 3D virtual spaces like Second Life, code work (e.g. poetry that uses some of the terminology and structure of programming languages), interactive fiction, games, and rogue uses of platform that weren’t intended for fiction (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, GoogleMaps… basically anything that can be used to tell a story)
With so many types of e-lit, it’s hard to talk about features all e-lit shares, but there are a few commonalities: multi-linear (many paths of reading), interactivity and choice instead of passive reading, multimedia (use of more than one form of media: video, text, music, navigable 3D space…), and exploitation of our expectations for a digital space (e.g. we assume a link will bring us to another page–what if it does something else? If a writer’s trying to make the reader share a protagonist’s frustration, perhaps they seed they story with links that don’t actually go anywhere no matter how often you click them)
As well as e-lit has explored these possibilities, don’t forget that a lot of them are usable in print form, too (though they’re used far less often). Think of Choose Your Own Adventure books (multi-linear!). Robert Coover has a short story called “Heart Suit” that’s printed on large playing cards; there’s a set first and last card, but you shuffle the rest of the cards and place them between in any order before reading.
Some questions to ask yourself:
What e-lit have you encountered already? (e.g. Twitter/Facebook accounts for someone’s cat)
Is there anything you saw in your reading of e-lit that you might use for your own work, either for a class project or outside class?
Did you have trouble navigating any of the works? Did you want to make maps or other devices to help you find everything or get back to where you were before?
Did any works seem broken or not work with your device? Did the works seem dated in other ways?
How do you feel about e-lit as a way to tell stories, in comparison to more traditional forms like a novel?
Three questions for evaluating e-lit:
What is the work trying to do, both in the story it’s trying to tell and how it’s trying to make the reader think and feel?
What are the significant and/or noticeable features of the e-lit’s digital design? (Does it use GoogleMaps, video, link to jarring images…?)
How successfully does #2 match up with #1? That is, how does the digital design of the work support its narrative?
Another way to describe the homework assignment:
Imagine the narrative you created last week as a piece of electronic literature–what might stay the same about the narrative, and what might change? For example, might you use hyperlinks to tell different characters’ viewpoints? Would music help the reader identify more with a given character? After spending some time imagining the e-lit you’d create if given the tools and know-how, make a list of specific things you’d do to your narrative to use the full power of the digital at its service. Go beyond basic statements like “links” and “video” to explain how these features might expand your narrative. Consider:
erasure. What happens if you strike out, obscure, or replace certain parts of your narrative text? What happens if it’s hard to read against the text’s background?
visual design (changes to the typography, layout, animation, legibility, division of text onto multiple pages…)
linking in multiple ways:
to continue one line of thinking or plot
to provide alternate paths of plot
to illustrate (graphics, sound, etc.; not only in a purely one-to-one illustrative fashion, but also in evocative or interpretive ways. Marble Springs’ author Deena Larsen notes that “connections do not have to be tangible to be real.”)
to provide context (flashbacks, definitions, intertextuality)
media (videos, music, still images; created by you or referenced by the text)
interactivity (how might you let the reader interact with your story?)
Homework assignment example:
1. Caitlin’s short story (“Literally a Hat”) describes an ace amateur detective checking out a crime scene. Two possibilities for an e-lit version:
Follow you process of thinking and secretly gives you points depending on how early you figure it out (figures of suspects at side, you highlight ones you’re still suspicious of)
Add items to your inventory, can’t go forward if you don’t pick up the right clues or know how to juxtapose them (Indiana Jones: statue + mayo)
Your e-lit version doesn’t need to be game-like, though–and in fact, many of your stories might not be suited to a game as well as to other tactics. Using an inventory to pick up objects works great with a story that rewards noticing and clue gathering, but an inventory might not make any sense for a story that doesn’t contain crime or mystery. You can always use things Deena Larsen suggests on her site, or imagine something entirely different–the story just needs to use (or abuse!) the digital platform.
2. Justin’s “Mirror Mirror” story made me think about doubling (mirrors, obviously), so one e-lit intervention might be to have every reference to a mirror in the story be hyperlinked to a page that looks like it’s the same story… except it’s slightly different and slightly odd (a through-the-looking-glass effect).
Hey, everyone! My name is Amanda Visconti, and I’m one of your four course instructors for Digital Storytelling. My background is in both literature and technology–I’m a web developer at MITH and am also working on a doctorate in literature here at UMD. I chose to teach this course because I spend a lot of time thinking about how the material design of literary forms–physical and visual stuff, like the layout of books, hardware of the SNES, or the technological constraints on the code behind web pages–influences what a narrative can do, and there’s a much wider, weirder frontier of unexplored possibilities for stories in the digital realm then there is for book form (though artists’ books are also really neat!).
I never encountered anything digital in my college English classes ( : / ) and I felt more mentally and creatively challenged in my undergrad digital art courses, crafting stories through 3D animation or building websites to teach other people cool stuff I’d learned (an ongoing project is making websites that help people enjoy James Joyce’s amazingly complex, rewards-you-on-multiple-readings novel Ulysses, like this and this). Figuring out that I could combine my passions for the geeky (code, design, 3d animation) and nerdy (wacky Modernist novels and the visual design of books) was an important moment for me, so I’ve tried to pass that awareness on by teaching literature that includes the digital and hypertextual, from multilinear print stories to web comics and digital games.
Speaking of games as something you can study: I ran a digital humanities unconference earlier this year where we built and discussed digital and analog games, and strongly recommend you check out the next version (in Cleveland this February) if you’re thinking about studying games seriously. I’m also part of a UMD research team that builds, runs, and studies alternate reality games (real-world and digital games where you play yourself, but the world is slightly augmented, more dramatic, more challenging).
I’d love to swap recommendations for graphic novels, video/computer games, and any other type of new media you’re into. Looking forward to reading your introductory blog posts and getting to work with you!
During our third class, we’ll be building a basic webpage in class using HTML (we’ll also be eating astronaut ice cream, because why do one awesome thing when you can do two?). To help me get a sense of your backgrounds and structure the class appropriately, please answer this quick poll now (you’ll need to log in first).
Have you ever coded a webpage using straight HTML? (not by other means such as Wordpress)
I've built a webpage via HTML and can share one of my HTML files to prove it. (40%, 2 Votes)
I've built a webpage via HTML, but don't remember much. (40%, 2 Votes)
I've never built a webpage via HTML. (20%, 1 Votes)