A list of principles for designing on-line communities created by Dr. Sorin A. Matei and his students registered in various versions of the Online Interaction Graduate Seminar at Purdue University

Online / virtual community design principles

Design guidelines are not guarantees.
Many are necessary for online community development but they don’t guarantee that communities will form. Good design principles are necessary but not sufficient. The following list provides some key principles to consider and implement when designing and online community:

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The U.S. Office of the Register of Copyrights has released Legal Issues in Mass Digitization: A Preliminary Analysis and Discussion Document .

Here’s the announcement:
The Copyright Office has published a Preliminary Analysis and Discussion Document that addresses the issues raised by the intersection between copyright law and the mass digitization of books. …

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One of the greatest hinderances for collaborative digital work is a cultural obsession with individualism. This is why I feel the digital humanities should essentially be about activism and advocacy. We need to not only assign and engage in collaborative digital projects, but also by create an environment where such projects are valued.  Kathleen Fitzpatrick already wrote an amazing article about the need for faculty to back graduate students who risk their graduate careers by engaging in digital work. I also really like what Natalia Cecire said about the political stakes of DH work in an already transforming academic labor market:
[D]igital humanities and ‘the job market’ as it now manifests isn’t a narrow, merely administrative sliver of life of interest solely to junior

The general assumption is that in the 2.0 era the user was at the centre, the produser took control and the cult of the amateur was born. The web was being flooded with what seems an infinite amount of user generated content. Big platforms, such as Flickr and Facebook managed to centralize and collect some of these efforts effectively. The result of is a big, fragmented and messy dataset. Enter web 3.0; the iteration of the web which can be read and understood by machines, where the dots will be connected and contribute to an open sphere of knowledge, something that the current pragmatics of the web don’t easily allow for. The philosophy here is, bluntly put, that this connected sphere is more than the sum of its parts. 

I’m always surprised when I hear people attack open access publishing. There are no rational arguments as to why print based texts and journals are superior to open access texts, but there are plenty of rational reasons for open access publishing. Some seem to think that open access publications are less reputable and should count less towards tenure. Personally I think if you’re writing and speaking for tenure you might be in the wrong line of work, but that’s another matter. Such people seem to forget that Harvard went open access back in 2008. Perhaps Harvard is a second rate institution, but that seems like a difficult case to make. All that should matter is the peer review process. Are the editors qualified to peer review the material handed

Earlier this month, I attended the ASIS&T 2011 Annual Meeting where, much to my delight, the paper I co-authored with Miles Efron and Katrina Fenlon was selected for the Best Paper Award.

In Building Topic Models in a Federated Digital Library through Selective Document Exclusion, we presented a way to improve the coherence of algorithmically derived topical models.

The work stems from topic modeling we were doing, first with PLSA and later LDA, on our IMLS DCC research group. The system we are working with brings together cultural heritage content from over a thousand institutions and, as a result contains quite diverse and often problematic metadata.

I’ve really enjoyed cruising through the Jack Dougherty and Kristen Nawrotzki open peer-review volume called Writing History in the Digital Age which is slated to be published by University of Michigan Press’s new Digital Humanities Series in their digitalculturebooks imprint.  I commented on many of the contributions and mined them all for references and ideas.  I’d encourage anyone interested or invested in the future of history in the digital age to check out the volume and to contribute to its open peer review.  Since I have read all the articles in the volume and have been thinking a bit about history in the digital era myself lately, I thought I might offer some overarching comments on the volume (as is my wont).

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I’m a relative newcomer to digital humanities; I’ve been doing this for about a year now. The content of the field has been interesting, but in some ways even more interesting is the way it has transformed my perception of the academy as a social structure. There are clearly going to be debates over the next few years between more and less digitized humanists, and debate is probably a good thing for everyone. But the debate can be much more illuminating if we acknowledge up front that it’s also a tension between two different forms of social organization.

Cross-posted from my “Hawthorne’s Celestial Railroad: A Publication History” development blog at http://blog.celestialrailroad.org/2011/10/the-celestial-railroad-and-the-1861-railroad/

At this January’s MLA Convention, I’ll be presenting on The Society for Textual Scholarship‘s sponsored panel, Text:Image; Visual Studies in the English Major (viewing the panel description may require an MLA membership). I’ll discuss “Mapping the Antebellum Culture of Reprinting,” thinking through my experiments with GIS in the past few years, particularly since attending the GIS course at the Digital Humanities Summer Institute this past summer.