Aug 042011

Mahendra is introducing the DevCSI Hackathon Awards by saying that he gives honorouable mention to Mark McGillivrey and Jo Walsh for their entries. Here is our first of the three presentations we will see:

Visual Filter for the Learning Registry – Jim Klo

the registry is a network for sharing material across many different repositories. Really mean anything by anyone. Could be service data, could be a pubilcation. Could be from an institution or an individual. This means there is a lot of data. A real challenge to usage and access. The Learning Regisry is an infrastructure not an interface. So helping communicate this better and how they could build on top of this I wanted to build a simple browser interface.

We accept everything so there are no standards – no schema standards! Taken a pure HTML5 device agnostic device. A touch graph for search results.

Topic Modelling – Michael Fourman

This was a spur of the moment 24 hour project. We have taken some of the topics from 3000 items in the research archive here. We wanted to address the issue of creating bridges between people using this. If you know someone writes a lot of papers on chemistry then you can see how their work relates to their peers. So if we look at each topic we can find the closest 7 people on a topic. You can see and drag connections around: The idea is to browse people and topics seemlessly and explore connections.

Bridges between author -Pat MacSween, Matthew Taylor, Andrew Day

Dave Millar’s career viewed temporaly as a co-author diagram. You can see the increasing breadth of his network. And you can click a contact to view co-authored papers. And you can click again to view that researchers graph. And you can go back in time to see their graph as well. This isn’t EPrints dependent. It runs off RDF and any old Triple Store.

And finally… we are awesome… ! Matt coded the backend and prepared the Pecha Kucha for me this morning so I could code the front end.

So…. the prizes…

So in Third Place is… Jim Klo, he gets the £50 Amazon voucher!

In Second Place is Micheal Fourman,  – share an Amazon voucher for £150

So First Place is Pivot People! They share a prize of £300 Amazon voucher!

And finally the best idea prize. We had ten ideas submitted by: Robin Rice, Peter Murray Rust, Nicola Osborne, … this goes to… Special mention for Jodie Double who submitted 5 ideas. The winner goes to Jodie for the idea which was very simple, was about how collections, community collections, could be enhanced with content from the community. A lovely idea. We will blog about all the ideas!

Pecha Kucha Prizes

Martin Donnelly has just announced the Day 1 Pecha Kucha Prize goes to Sheila Fraser. The Day 2 Pecha Kucha Prize goes to Mark MacGillvrey.

Closing Keynote –  Prof. Gary Hall (Coventry University)

Firstly huge thanks to Martin, Florance and everyone who has made me feel so welcome over the last few days.

In March this year the Radical Publishing event took place. Despite the title very little discussion took place about discussion of radical notions of publishing, authorship, copyright. Mainly publishers who publish radical content rather than radical business model used this event to advertise their work. It’s some of these issues I’ll speak about today. I will talk about projects that intersect between art, media and new media, “media gifts” if you will.

Ten items fall into this category. My starting point for thinking about these projects was a focus on the free distribution of research. So Culture Machine – the open access journal I publish. We have opened the Open Access Humanities press. There has been much discussion about why academics might publish in open access journals. We have looked over the last few days at how we can make repositories more accessible, more useful, more full of quality content. How we can take advantage of social and mobile media. How we can engage with the public through our research. However we musn’t lose sight of open access arguments: the taxpayers arguement (to not pay twice); the moral arguement (that we should circulate our work as widely as possible, particularly in less affluent parts of the world); and that it enables healthy democratic public sphere. Most people who see Open Access as important will have a mind to one of these political arguements. However how I think Open Access is most interestingly political is to the extent to which it can create an undecidable terrain:

“the politial is a decision taken in an undecidable terrain” – Ernesto Laclau.

Cue five minutes of political philosophy!

There are two senses of hegemony: as the leadership or dominance of one class over the other – the society defines itself but those outside of itself and this means society cannot be a unified community. Within this context that stability operates. Hegemony provides a stable reinforcement of society. A Them and Us articulation.These are the consesquence of temporary shifting events – and that does mean they can change.

“the political is a decision taken in an undecidable terrain” – Chantal Mouffe

Mouffe sees hegemony as inevitable. I’m not saying that we should not use hegemony. Nor that we should attempt to create a chain of equivelancy. And we do not live in a post hegemony world. In an era of Facebook, YouTube, Twitter we are in a default position of joining up with each other – if we only have outsider groups how do we create new ways of being in society.

So what it means to be political now isn’t something that can be decided in advance once and for all. It must be able taking decisions as needed, in an undecidable terrain. And it’s opportunities for doing this, using new media to create such decisions, that I’ve been experimenting with.The Culture Machine open access repository we launched in 2003 is just part of this. If we look at this piece by Ted Striphas on Taylor and Francis and connections to military and dubious political regimes. We designed a site to draw attention to the open access movement. This isn’t about peer review – fixed processes. We also saw this repository as a way to disarticulate and change and maybe reform the concept of publishing. And this is how Open Access is most interestingly political for me. Making it difficult to take decisions about their own political, publishing practices.

I’d argue that these projects is thinking beyond Open Access. Currently the Open Access community is actually quite conditional. It may allow unconditional sharing but that is often to the exclusion of allowing us to ask questions that are valid about authorship, ownership, etc.

OK, philosophy over!

And now onto CUTV – an IPTV project with Clare Birchall with colleagues. There is a need to invent new flexible fluid ways to express intellectual ideas within and beyond the university. We want this to be cheap and easy. We don’t do this because we feel the need to reach out to audiences who are not usually engaging with academic books and journals  – we don’t want to be personalities, build our brand, or become Brian Cox. This is why after the first broadcast we moved from individualised forms to more experimental democratised videos.  We want to make an intervention into the academic field, to find a new way of being in the world as academics. And that’s something Clare and I are also trying to do with the Liquid Theory Reader came about as a response to a publisher asking us to write a follow up to New Cultural Studies – they wanted another volume gathering papers by the key people but we felt that fixed brand was the wrong way to do this. So we are creating a liquid book instead. We gathered text from some of the first volume authors, and biographies for others we’d want to include. We have published this online. This allows us to challenge traditional formats and include whole books, video, sound, etc. Publishing a book in this way has allowed us to explore  posssibilities of new formats and devices. But we could make this book not only open access but also open on a read/write basis allowing edits, annotations, remixes etc.

By producing this book in a fluid open style in this way. What does this do to our notion of the author, authority, the concept of the book itself? And we endeavour to raise similar issues in our curent project The Living Books Series. We are combining biological and theoretical books that repackage existing open access materials clustered around selected topics. And these books are about life and are living objects themselves.

There has already been a radical shift in decentralised authorship over time. One year of social media is seeing a broader array of authors come forward than in 100 years of early book publishers. In 2010 the Guardian ran an experimental network of science blogs – bringing over content in in a very decentralised way. For Amy Alexander the impact of New York Times content night diminish the importance of the publication compared to experience of the paper on it’s own terms.

Will decentralised aggregation and editing see a shift in the role of academic author to editor or publisher. Will publishing in traditional journals lose it’s importance over time. Or could a more radical shift take place. Really shifting responsibility from author to editor/aggregator is not so radical. But read/write access offers further challenge, particularly if authors are not easily identifiable – perhaps not even human in the era of Google News.

Even more important still is the role or of the work itself with everyone potential authors here. Any attempt to entirely eliminate the role of the author risks placing authority on the work itself (Michel Foucault).

Are the future editors of Zizek going to have to publish his tweets? If not, why not? But according to Zizek’s publisher his Twitter page was run by an imposter.  Books have capacity to be extremely pluralistic – multi medium, multi location, objects. A few publishers are exporting and universalising their works. So looking at Michel Foucault’s wok – his work was the most cited by authors in the humanities in a 2009 THES chart.

In a 2009 Open Humanities Press talk Ngugi wa Thionh’o described how some languages have higher value for dissemination than others but provide important insights: in 2004 some 90% of the world’s scientific research was done by just 15 countries – a risk of a centre-periphery relationship being perpetuated.

One final project inspired by film and video art. This is inspired by Anders Weberg’s P2P text: Pirate Philosophy. I shared material for a limited time only and made it only available in the peer to peer version. Once downloaded I deleted my copy making all copies pirate only. What if I did that with this lecture? What of it? How does that effect your notion of authority, of the author, or of the conference.


Q1 – Les Carr) Really pleased to hear about the politics of Open Access. Part of me wonders what you would have thought had we turned your paper into pirate only document, deleted your original from your machine. I can’t help but think that open access is broken if it sees authors only as commodities for bitstreams. I think we just skate over that completely but I would like to see some serious thinking on the politics of eresearch.

A1) As far as I can see you are recording me here. That’s fine, you can cut it up, mash it up etc. Someone once asked me to give a talk and felt weird about putting things online but that’s the price for doing something interesting. The internet creates opportunities for community, thinking differently about community. It gives us a chance to look at new forms of economic circulation and distribution. We talk about academics not using Facebook or Twitter but maybe we can have different ways of gifting and sharing in less commodified ways. That’s why I am experimenting as I am.

Q2 – Ian Stuart) I sort of have a question. Social science people take data, reexamine data and combine it and create new research. That’s close to piracy in some ways. There is a fine line between that activity and pirating. It’s an interesting line that no-one has cleared up.

A2) Until yesterday we were probably mainly pirates – transferring our CDs to our PCs say. That may be legal now but yes, I am working on piracy and thinking about the new idea of a university. Perhaps having a pirate department. I’m sure some of you already know that 20th Century Fox was based on Fox pirating Henry Talbot’s technology and started a new studio in Los Angelos. None of us is free of piracy. But why do we pick some people and actions as authoritative, and others as piracy.

And finally we move to Martin to wrap up:

So it falls to me to sum up this year’s event for the organisers. Thank you to our sponsors the University of Edinburgh, EDINA, the DCC, OA-RJ, JISC-CETIS and particularly DevCSI.

Thanks to Stuart, Phillip, Nicola, Florance, Both Robins, Ianthe, Clare. To the weather for staying clear yesterday, our caterers, our audio visual support Blue Lizard and all at Informatics who have made us so welcome.

Enjoy the rest of your stay in Edinburgh and we look forward to seeing you next year both here and at OR2012.


 August 4, 2011  Posted by at 3:51 pm Live Blog Tagged with: , ,

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