Author: Trevor Muñoz

CFParticipation: Help shape a conversation about Black digital collections at #AADHum2018

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From the CFParticipation:

Together Umbra Search African American History and the African American History, Culture, and Digital Humanities (AADHum) initiative at the University of Maryland are working on a research agenda related to vital issues of collaboration and sustainability for digital collections and platforms focused on African American history and culture.

We are planning two upcoming engagements around this research agenda. The first is a working meeting for invited participants, which will take place on Thursday, October 18, 2018, on the University of Maryland campus in College Park, MD, as a pre-conference event for AADHum’s Intentionally Digital, Intentionally Black conference. The second, the idea for which we have gratefully borrowed from the Collections as Data team, is open to all.

We invite the broader community to engage with us online. Please consider sharing a brief statement to help us shape our face-to-face meeting. This is a great way to get your concerns, questions, and provocations on the table as well as to share your background. Please add your thoughts here:

Read more here.

Editors’ Choice: How to See the Forest for the Trolls – Studying Digital Rhetoric on Compromised Platforms

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Content warning: References to sexual assault and online harassment

As we consider digital rhetoric’s futures, I want to think about ways that we can study digital networks, and communities and interactions on digital networks, better. And by better, I mean, more thoroughly, more descriptively, more rigorously. How can we better examine digital writers and the traces that they leave online? To start that conversation, I need to tell you a story, one I haven’t been able to get out of my head.

The Incident

This is a story about Andrea Noel, a journalist based in Mexico. I first heard her tell her story on the technology podcast Reply All, a show produced by Gimlet Media and hosted by PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman that tells human stories about technology and tech culture. While I first encountered Noel’s story in podcast form, you can also read her account on the Daily Beast, here.

Noel’s story began with what she calls “The Incident” – on a walk through her neighborhood in Mexico City, a man came up behind her, lifted up her skirt, pulled down her underwear, and then ran away. Immediately after the assault, Noel noticed a surveillance camera on the street that captured the entire incident. She tracked down the footage, which showed a blurry close up of the man’s face as he ran away. Noel decided to share the footage of her own assault on Twitter and asked her followers for help in identifying the man in the video.

Noel’s tweet inspired an outpouring of support, with others sharing their own stories of assault and harassment, using the hashtag #MiPrimerAcoso (MyFirstAssault). Noel’s story was also one of several stories around that time that led to one of the largest demonstrations in Mexico against sexual violence. But it also brought Noel harassment and death threats, which got worse when Twitter users accused Andoni Echave, an Internet personality with a television show called Master Trolls, where he played pranks on unsuspecting pedestrians and bystanders. Echave’s show was cancelled, and the online conversation around the assault footage was described by Vogt “like the Kennedy assassination film,” as each side argued over whether it was Echave in the video. Noel was also harassed on Twitter by a coordinated troll gang; no matter how many times she reported the account of the ringleader, who went by the name “Pasta Prophet,” and his followers, they were soon back on the site with new accounts and 10,000 immediate followers. He would retweet her messages for his followers to attack, and even tweeted out her real-time location. After being targeted in her own home, Noel moved and then finally left the country.


Read the full post here.

Job: Data Manager & Project Coordinator, Digital Library of the Middle East

From the ad:

The Digital Library of the Middle East (DLME) project is an international effort, gathering digital resources of Middle East and North African (MENA) material from providers around the world. This initiative will create the first seamlessly interoperable, large-scale digital library of cultural artifacts from the region. Working as part of Stanford Libraries’ digital library systems & services unit, the Data Manager & Project Coordinator will form part of an inter-institutional, grant-funded team. S/he will coordinate DLME data acquisition, data management, and day-to-day operations of the record harvesting and indexing pipeline. S/he will also provide technical support for digital library access tools to power and end users. As new data providers are identified by the Lead Curator and curatorial team, the Data Manager & Project Coordinator will work with them to acquire or harvest the metadata, map it to the DLME schema, and put content through the pipeline. For providers without their own repository, the Data Manager will help acquire and ingest the materials into SDR or other IIIF-compatible repository. This role will also work with the curatorial lead to ensure data agreements are in place and tracked, and perform ongoing QA of both data and site functionality.

Read the full ad here.

Funding: Announcing 2018 Deadline for NEH/Mellon Humanities Open Book Program

From the announcement:

I’m pleased to announce that the next deadline for the NEH/Mellon Humanities Open Book Program will be September 26, 2018.

The Humanities Open Book Program is designed to make outstanding out-of-print humanities books available to a wide audience by making them open access. NEH and Mellon are soliciting proposals from academic presses, libraries, scholarly societies, non-profit publishers, museums, and other institutions that publish books in the humanities to participate in the Humanities Open Book Program. Applicants will provide a list of previously published humanities books along with brief descriptions of the books and their intellectual significance. Awards will be given to digitize these books and make them available as Creative Commons-licensed “ebooks” that can be read by the public at no charge on computers, mobile devices, and ebook readers.

Read more here.

Resource: Enter “The Magazine Rack,” the Internet Archive’s Collection of 34,000 Digitized Magazines

About the resource:

Before we kept up with culture through the internet, we kept up with culture through magazines. That historical fact may at first strike those of us over 30 as trivial and those half a generation down as irrelevant, but now, thanks to the Internet Archive, we can all easily experience the depth and breadth of the magazine era as something more than an abstraction or an increasingly distant memory. In keeping with their apparent mission to become the predominant archive of pre-internet media, they’ve set up the Magazine Rack, a downloadable collection of over 34,000 digitized magazines and other monthly publications.

Read more here.

CFP: Slavery in the Machine, sx archipelagos

From the CFP:

sx archipelagos is now accepting submissions for our upcoming special section “Slavery in the Machine,” guest edited by Jessica Marie Johnson. This special section aims to highlight scholarship situated at the intersection of technology and hemispheric American slavery. Topics may include but are not limited to:

black code studies through a hemispheric lens
plantation societies and the socio-technics of enslavement
digital archives of slavery
representations of slavery on the open web or social media
cultural analytics and slavery

Read the full CFP here.

Editors’ Choice: Archives in the Anthropocene

Creative Commons image by Conor Lawless via Flickr

I want to frame my talk around a quote from Community Futures Lab co-director Rasheedah Phillips from her workshop “Time, Memory, and Justice in Marginalized Communities.” She states “Oral Futures is about speaking into existence what you want to have happen.”

I want to think with you today about how such future-making materials are collected, preserved, and made accessible in a moment of extreme climate change and the attending displacements of people and animals due to environmental and political-economic erosion of homelands and sites of cultural heritage.

We cannot save everything, nor would we want to. Decisions have to be made about what to keep and what to discard; these decisions encode and reflect particular values, privilege and power structures—some decisions about what to be kept go against the community’s desire for privacy or restricted access to materials; this is a tension between surveillance and privacy, between visibility and erasure. Yvonne Perkins writes, “In the past people such as women, non-Europeans, Aborigines, the poor etc were not considered important contributors to our history so their stories are often not portrayed in archival records, or they were obscured in the archives by the social conventions of the time.”

Archives—in this usage I mean institutional, community, as well as digital collections curated by scholars—do not only exist to explain or contextualize the past, but also signal towards and shape futures. Archives call to the fore the processes of preservation, memory, and access. As Brit Stolli notes, attending to these processes raises uncomfortable questions of who decides what is significant to carry forward, in whose memory is the past best preserved, how do we (and who exactly counts as ‘we’) determine the ethical framework through which to focus our efforts of preservation and future-shaping? Absences and obfuscations are referred to as archival silences. Michel-Rolph Trouillot outlines the ways voices from the past are silenced:

  • there is a silencing in the making of sources. Which events even get described or remembered in a manner which allows them to transcend the present in which they occurred? Not everything gets remembered or recorded. Some parts of reality get silenced.
  • there is a silencing in the creation of archives—in this usage, Trouillot means repositories of historical records. At times this archival silencing is permanent since the records do not get preserved; other times the silencing is in the process of competition for the attention of the narrators, the later tellers of the historical tales.
  • And thirdly, the narrators themselves necessarily silence much. In most of history the archives are massive. Choices, selections, valuing must be done. In this process, huge areas of archival remains are silenced.


Read the full post here.

Announcement: AIA Workshop, Turning Spatial with Pleiades – Creating, Teaching, and Publishing Maps in Ancient Studies

From the announcement:

The workshop will focus on ways that Pleiades and its partner resources can be used to involve undergraduates in scholarly research; to prepare maps for teaching, presentation, and publication; and to connect one’s own digital projects to the scholarly graph of Linked Open Data for ancient studies. In particular, we aim to teach participants — through hands-on instruction — to create dynamic digital maps that can be printed or placed in presentations for class use and to construct research plans and student projects that rely on “the Pleiades ecosystem” for source data and tooling.

Read the full announcement here.

Resource: 1,000+ Historic Japanese Illustrated Books Digitized & Put Online by the Smithsonian – From the Edo & Meji Eras (1600-1912)

About the resource:

We like to highlight Japanese book culture here every so often (see the related content below) not just because of its striking aesthetics and consummate craftsmanship but because of its deep history. You can now experience a considerable swath of that history free online at the Freer|Sacker Library’s web site, which just this past summer finished digitizing over one thousand books — now more than 1,100, which breaks down to 41,500 separate images — published during Japan’s Edo and Meiji periods, a span of time reaching from 1600 to 1912. “Often filled with beautiful multi-color illustrations,” writes Reiko Yoshimura at the Smithsonian Libraries’ blog, “many titles are by prominent Japanese traditional and ukiyo-e (‘floating world’) painters such as Ogata Kōrin (1658-1716), Andō Hiroshige (1797-1858) and Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849).”

Read more here.

Editors’ Choice: What improv comedy can teach us about visualizing data

While storytelling can take on many forms and span several disciplines, the techniques and methods we use to tell good stories are fairly similar. Understanding those similarities and what makes a particular story effective on a particular medium can help us become better storytellers. There are certain tricks to improv comedy, for example, that can help us better visualize data.

For both data visualization and improv, the storyteller is inviting an audience into an artificial world. This is a big ask. We’re asking our audience to suspend their understanding of reality for a moment and accept new rules and conditions. For example, when an actor walks on stage, arms outstretched, complaining about the imaginary fishbowl she’s carrying that’s brimming with water, the actor is asking the audience to picture a fishbowl in her hands. What’s more, she has to account for the fishbowl for the entire scene — is she holding it the whole time, is water spilling out of it at all, does she ever put the bowl down, or if it breaks, what happens to the fish?

When we visualize data, we are doing the same thing. We are asking our audience to understand shapes and forms on a digital screen to be something other than what they are. We do this by constructing the world within which these shapes exist — as well as the rules that govern them. We create space with coordinates and maybe gravity — a bar chart, for example, establishes a “ground” and the bars themselves are stacked piles or filled cylinders. This gives the height of the bars meaning.

An important thing we can learn from improv comedy is that we must maintain the logic of the environment we’ve established. If the actor on stage forgets she’s holding a fishbowl and slowly drops her arms as the scene progresses, the scene is ruined. The audience’s trust is lost. The world the actors have asked the audience to imagine has been broken.


Read the full post here.