Monday, February 27, 2012

Call for Papers: Digcult #12 Conference: Theory, Context and the Internet

As received in email.

Digcult #12 Conference: Theory, Context and the Internet 
13-14 June, 2012 - MediaCity, Salford, U.K 

Ben Light and Marie Griffiths, University of Salford
Siân Lincoln, Liverpool John Moores University
Steve Sawyer, Syracuse University

Conference Theme 
Drawing on the success of the 2008-2010 Digital Cultures workshops, we will host the first Digital Cultures conference in June 2012.  In a world of virtual communication and social media, it can be argued that we face challenges regarding the theorization and contextualisation of Internet mediated activity. The desire to generate new knowledge coupled with the hyperbole and ‘upgrade me’ mindset that so often surrounds the Internet means that often new theoretical approaches are introduced as a way to understand current uses and meanings where perhaps they are not necessary.  In terms of context, contemporary experiences can sometimes be decoupled from prior experiences, resulting in rhetoric of ‘the new’.  The outcome of this can be an emphasis on discontinuity for example as demonstrated in discourses regarding the pre-Web 2.0 era. Web 2.0 is conceptualised as new, contextualised in a simplistic fashion and claims are made regarding the necessity of new theory to understand such a ‘revolutionary new world’.   

While clearly, societal change and socio-technical change are occurring variously across the planet (although the two may not necessarily be linked) continuity is also present – empirically and theoretically.  There is therefore, a need to consider the history of Internet mediated arrangements and, to continue an interrogation of the abilities of extant theory to respond to and facilitate understandings of contemporary situations.  We call for contributions that do 2 things:

 •     One, engage with an aspect of Internet mediated activity and historically contextualise it
 •     Two, engage with/generate theoretical approaches in a reflexive fashion. 

Themes that papers might address include (but are not limited to:
Dating, Commerce,         Gaming,                             Politics,
Play,                                  Social networking,            Privacy management,
Sex work,                         Home working,                  Entertainment,
Celebrity,                         Music production and consumption,
Pornography,                 the intensification of work and Work-life balance,
mediated youth             Health and well-being,         Travel/tourism,
Search information and media consumption,
blurring boundaries between work and non-work times and places. 

Following from the previous workshops, we see this conference as an outlet for digital media, ICT and technology related research which may not readily sit within conventional disciplinary areas.   We seek extended abstracts of up to 1000 words (excluding references) that engage with theory, context and the internet. We also welcome panel proposals incorporating three presentations.  These should comprise 3 x 1000 word abstracts and an outline of the purpose of the panel of no more than 750 words. 

We are hoping to see fully polished papers this year and as related to the conference theme.  However, we will also consider research in progress/poster sessions for work that is more generally related to digital culture or which might be in earlier stages of development.  Our desire for more focussed and complete work is two-fold.  First, in engaging the structure as above, we hope to generate a more intensive and reflexive discussion about the Internet than might be possible with more fragmented approaches.  Second, we intend the conference to be the starting point for an edited collection of papers in the area and contributors will be invited to submit to a wider call.

This follows in the tradition of previous conferences – for example, a special issue of the journal Information Technology and People entitled ‘Digital Culture: New Forms of Living and Organising , based partly on based on the 2010 workshop published in January 2011  (please see

Abstracts should be submitted to Siân Lincoln at by Wednesday 7th March 2012. Please also email Siân if you require any further information at this stage.

Important Dates 
Abstract Submission Date: 7 March 2012
Notification of Acceptance: 30th March 2012
Conference: 13 and 14 June 2012

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The NMC Horizon Report > 2012 HiEd Edition

In case you haven't seen the announcement, the 2012 NMC New Horizon Report is available. The report covers six (6) technologies to watch and includes key trends. The Educause press release states:
The report identifies six technologies that are expected to enter mainstream use in learning-focused organizations. Each of the six is assigned to one of three adoption horizons: one year or less, two to three years, and four to five years. For 2012, electronic tablet computing and mobile apps are identified in the one-year horizon; learning analytics and game-based learning in the two- to three-year horizon; and gesture-based computing and the Internet of Things in the four- to five-year horizon.

By the way, one of the topics in the February CNI Conversations podcast, by Clifford Lynch, is the Horizon Report.  The podcast is 37 minutes in length. Lynch begins talking about the Horizon Project and NMC beginning around minute 3.

The 3-minute video below provides a quick introduction to the report. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

David Smith: Inferring and Exploiting Relational Structure in Large Text Collections

This week, I heard David Smith talk about "Inferring and Exploiting Relational Structure in Large Text Collections."  Interesting that digitized books in the public domain are becoming testbeds for these research endeavors.  He is also using translated text (e.g., books that have been translated into several languages) in order to discern the words used to describe specific concepts across languages.

I am so used to thinking about the digitization effort, that I rarely think about all of the ways that these now digitized texts can be used.  That is one of the reasons why I found Smith's talk to be of interest.

Abstract: The digitization of knowledge and concerted retrospective scanning projects are making overwhelming amounts of text in diverse domains, genres, and languages available to readers and researchers. To make this data useful, our group is working on improving OCR, language modeling, syntactic analysis, information extraction, and information retrieval. I will focus in particular on problems of inferring the relational structure latent in large collections of documents, such as books, web pages, patent applications, grant proposals, and social media postings. Which books or passages quote, translate, paraphrase, and cite each other? This research requires improvements in modeling translation and other forms of similarity, as well as improvements in efficiently comparing large numbers of passages. Finally, I will discuss how passage similarity relations can be used to improve tasks such as named-entity recognition and syntactic parsing.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Advocating for libraries within New York State

In years past, a group of New Yorkers have gone to the Legislative Office Building in Albany during February to advocate for libraries.  Our visit was prior to NYLA's Lobby Day and offered small group conversations with state senators and assemblypeople.  This year, we are not gathering in person in Albany and are instead reaching out individually to our representatives, some of whom are on key committees that impact libraries.  This morning, I sent of letters to Senator John DeFrancisco - chair of the Senate Finance Committee - and Assemblyman Samuel Roberts - member of the Assembly's Committee on Libraries and Education Technology.  Part of the text of my letter is at the end of this blog post.

As I look at the web sites for my representatives and read committee reports, I was reminded that the status quo is to say that things are good.  Yes, we've had to cut library funding, but there is always something that can be pointed to as good news.  However, we need to keep reminding our legislators that the news about libraries needs to be much better.  This is no time to rest on tired laurels.  Now is the time to equip our libraries to meet the needs of their community members.  

...I am writing to encourage you to seek increased funding for libraries across New York State.  Library aid is currently below 1994 levels.  At 2010 levels, the cost of funding would be approximately $4.34 for each NYS resident.  Could you work with the Committee and the rest of the Assembly to restore funding to that level (and ideally higher)?

As New Yorkers, we boast about having six of the 40 largest U.S. libraries within the state.  We proudly point to New York Public Library and Queens Library for the resources that they house and the services that they offer.  We are grateful that New York has 7,000 academic, public, school and special libraries.  Yet, we ignore that only a public library in an area with population over 7,500 must have a library director who holds a master degree in library science.  The current funding for libraries does nothing to increase the number of degreed librarians in our public libraries or to help them increase the services on which a growing number of New Yorkers rely.  Those services include:

·         Broadband Internet access for those with no or limited Internet access at home or on their mobile devices for completing homework, job applications, and personal research.
·         Information and digital literacy training for New Yorkers of all ages including those with limited English language skills and education.
·         Books, audio books, ebooks, and other materials for ongoing learning as well as recreation.

As a New York State resident and director of Syracuse University’s Library and Information Science Program (part of its School of Information Studies), my desire is that all of our libraries be the best in the nation. We should be able to walk into the Bristol Public Library (Ontario County) and find the same resources as libraries in Salina, and that those would be on par with New York Public Library.  With your help...we can make that dream a reality by 2020.

Event: 2nd LIBER international workshop on digital preservation, Fondazione Rinascimento Digitale, Florence, Italy [7-8 May 2012]

As received in email.

2nd LIBER international workshop on digital preservation, Fondazione Rinascimento Digitale, Florence, Italy [7-8 May 2012]

“Partnerships in curating European digital resources”

The LIBER Steering Committee for Heritage Collections and Preservation, in collaboration with the Fondazione Rinascimento Digitale in Florence and the National Library of the Netherlands, invites you to attend the second international workshop on digital preservation.

‘Do not go at this game alone’, was the unmistakable advice given to LIBER libraries at the end of the first LIBER workshop on digital preservation in The Hague in 2010. Since then, the euro crisis and budget cuts have only exacerbated the need to seek partnerships in securing long-term access to your digital collections. But with whom can you partner? How does it work? What are the advantages and disadvantages of various forms of partnering? And how much of the responsibility will always be yours, no matter how much of the actual work you outsource to others?

This workshop will provide an overview of the best-known collaborative initiatives: the stakeholders involved, the basic set-ups, the legal foundations, the business models – and help you analyse which alternatives are best suited for your organisation, your type of collection and your national culture. We will deal with organisational issues, legal issues, financial issues and technical issues that will influence your choices. Critical questions will be asked by experts in the field, and there will be plenty of time to ask your own questions. 

Lastly, the workshop will showcase a number of best practices.

You will go home with a keen understanding of the types of collaborative practices available which will enable you to start discussing long-term preservation policies with your management team.

Details of the programme, registration information and information on hotels can be found at:

For information about the programme, speakers and content of the workshop:
Marcel Ras,

For information about the conference organisation:
Chiara Cirinnà,

Monday, February 13, 2012

ARL Code of Best Practices in Fair Use

Late in January, the Association of Research Libraries released the "Code of Best Practices in Fair Use."  As the email from Brandon Butler, Director of Public Policy Initiatives  for ARL said:
After two years of painstaking (and really fun!) work learning from librarians about the challenges they face and the fair use solutions they favor, we are proud to release a Code that synthesizes all that info into one simple, readable, flexible document that we hope will help academic and research librarians move forward with important work with a little more courage and conviction than might have been possible yesterday.

As with all these Best Practices projects, this wouldn't have been possible without help from Pat Aufderheide and Peter Jaszi from American University - two scholars who have really made a huge difference in the way ordinary communities apply fair use. Not only did we rely on their pathbreaking work, but we were lucky enough to have them work with us hands on to develop this code and to promote it. And it wouldn't have been possible without generous support in the form of a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Now its our turn to read the document and use what they have written! If you already have delved into the document, please feel free to share your thoughts and comments about it on this blog post.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Event: Digital Futures Academy, March 19-23, 2012 in London, UK

There is still time to register for this....

Digital Futures Academy
Venue: The British Library, London

King's College London and Lyrasis is pleased to announce the Digital Futures Academy 5-day training event. We are thrilled that this year it will be hosted at The British Library.
Digital Futures focuses on the creation, delivery and preservation of digital resources from cultural and memory institutions. Lasting five days, Digital Futures is aimed at managers and other practitioners from the library, museum, heritage and cultural sectors looking to understand the strategic and management issues of developing digital resources from digitisation to delivery. Delegates will also receive 2 half day visits with expert talks and behind the scenes tours of The National Gallery and The British Library.

As the Academy enters its 9th year we invite you to join our experts of international renown in London, UK. Delegates from over 40 countries have experienced the benefits of the Digital Futures Academy. This is what they have said:
  • "Excellent - I would recommend DF to anyone anticipating a digitization program"
  • "I was very pleased. The team was exceptionally knowledgeable, friendly and personable."
  • "Thanks, it has been an invaluable experience."
  • "A really useful course and great fun too!"
Digital Futures is led by Simon Tanner, Director of Digital Consultancy at King’s College London and Tom Clareson, Lyrasis. They have over 20 years experience each and worked on over 500 digital projects across the world in delivering digital content or preserving culture. They will be supported by Alistair Dunning of The European Library and William Kilbride of the Digital Preservation Coalition.  Other experts at the National Gallery and The British Library will give talks during the tours. 

Digital Futures  covers the following core areas:
  • Planning and management
  • Fund raising
  • Understanding the audience
  • Social media and its impact
  • Metadata - introduction and implementation
  • Copyright and intellectual property
  • Sustainability, value and impact
  • Financial issues
  • Implementing digital resources
  • Digital preservation
A certificate of attainment is offered to all Digital Futures Academy delegates on completion of the course.

For more details and to register please visit

Saturday, February 04, 2012

LibDay8: Library Day in the Life Project

This last week, I participated in the Library Day in the Life Project, which is coordinate by a Bobbi Newman.  I tweeted what I did on several days and read the #libday8 tweets from others.  I know...I don't work in a library, but I still felt that it would be worthwhile contributing what I do as a faculty member in a library and information science program.

So what did I do this past week?
  • I recorded a lecture for my "Creating, Managing and Preserving Digital Assets" class, which is taught online (asynchronous).  I also answered emails from that class, read and contributed to the online discussion (this week about copyright), and loaned one student a copy of the textbook until hers arrives.  By the way, those students are posting their first blog posts about digitization programs at  Feel free to read those posts and comment on them.  (I believe this class now has 37 students in it!)
  • Barbara Stripling and I are co-teaching "Planning, Marketing and Assessing Library Services", a project-based class.  This week, I had to take care of some administrative details with that class, because prepare the lecture.  We have 46 students in this Thursday evening class!
  • I am on two search committees and they generated several meetings this week.
  • As the new director of the library and information service program at SU, I attended or ran a number of meetings that relate to the program.
  • I worked on the course schedule for next fall and am even thinking ahead to the schedule for spring 2013.
  • I met with current students and prospective students.
  • I received, read and responded to a lot of email, but didn't get through all of the messages waiting for me. Facebook smileys
  • The first Little Free Library in Syracuse
  • I helped with the public launch of the Little Free Library Project here in Syracuse.  We are following in the footsteps of Todd Bol and Rick Brooks in Wisconsin who see these as a way of sharing books and increasing literacy in a community.  The project here has been a collaborative effort that initially included members of the Near Westside community, design students from Visual and Performing Arts at SU, library and information design students from SU's iSchool, and a core project team.  Since our initial meeting in October, more collaborators have joined us, including the Onondaga County Public Library and ProLiteracy.

    Last night at 5 p.m., we filled the first Little Free Library (located on Gifford St.) with more than two dozen books.  Before 6 p.m, some of the books had already been borrowed!  We are anxious to see how this Little Free Library is accepted in the community and hope that it is not only accepted, but also adopted!  {This LFL does have a community member who will be its caretaker.}  Once we see how this structure has survived in our weather, we will gear up to put more on the Near Westside. {A photo of our first LFL is above!}
  • Worked on a consulting project that has to do with digital literacy training that is given by public libraries.  I'm working with a team of people and it is a very interesting experience.  It is also a project that will make a difference across NYS.  (More about it after it launches.)
If you are associated with a library of any type OR work in the profession, what did you do this past week?  Take the time to let others know.  People cannot support us if they don't know what we do.