Listserves Old and New  This is the list for the book series ‘transdisciplinary studies’ which is seeking scholars interested in discussing transdisciplinary research and book proposals for transdisciplinary research

—–  This is a list that began at the Center for Digital Discourse and Culture.  It is dedicated to discussing the relationships between software and culture.  This is a list that began at the Center for Digital Discourse and Culture.  It is dedicated to discussing the political economy of the internet.
—– This is a list of the collaboratory for digital discourse and culture.  it is dedicated to alternatives in humanities computing. It was started in 2001. This is a list of the collaboratory for digital discourse and culture. It is dedicated to the relationships between politics and technology broadly construed. It was started in 2001. The is the list for the Collaboratory for Digital Discourse and Culture, formerly the Center for Digital Discourse and Culture.  The Center was founded in 1998. This is the Critics-l list.  from the CRITICS projects  it used to be hosted  This is the list of the collaboratory for digital discourse and culture.  It is dedicated to the discussion of hypermodernism and supermodernism.
—–  This is a new list of the collaboratory for digital discourse and culture.  it is dedicated to the discussion of the critical study of the internet and critical study of internet based phenomena (and noumena as some might posit) This is a new list of the collaboratory for digital discourse and culture.  it is dedicated to the discussion of infrastructure as a topic of research/scholarship.

remembering preliminary exams

To some extent this exam was very important, and I think the questions that I was asked are indicative of why I think this is.  It is 12 years after I took this exam, and well being able to answer these questions today are just as important as them.  I only have the questions that I wrote and the answers, each question was answered offline over a 3 hour writing period in a morning or afternoon, over a 4 day period.  There was an oral exam afterwards.

The topics were:

Internet Studies

Philosophy of Technology

Politics of Technology

Cultures of Technology

1. You are to write about security issues on networks – from electrical networks, to telegraph and telephone, and then to the Internet and wireless networking.  Discuss the engineering and design considerations, such as Vannevar Bush’s work on electrical networks (and as expressed in more recent work like Networks of Power).  Relate the earlier work to contemporary issues in Internet and network security.  How were the concerns expressed in the earliest days of networking similar and different than the ones expressed now?  Is there something fundamental about the concept of a network that demands considerations of security (i.e., is security an element of network infrastructure), or is the consideration of security external to networks, a social, cultural, economic, political (etc.) “overlay,” or do those intertwine, and with what consequences?

2. You have just agreed to write a review essay on Internet Studies for the journal of Science, Technology, and Human Values.  Produce a first draft of your essay, taking care to draw extensively from your reading list while clearly identifying, describing, and comparing the main approaches in this field.  Also be sure to identify questions that merit greater attention but have not yet been pursued sufficiently?
3. What are the differences of approach between philosophy of science as it is practiced in American-Anglo traditions and continental traditions of philosophy?

4. Who are some of the contemporary philosophers of science and technology and what are their primary differences and similarities?  Where do you place my work in relation to their wok in the philosophy of science and technology, especially given the problems for philosophy posed by an age of autonomous technologies?

5.Where are the relations of power in science and technology?  How do power and knowledge interplay in technoscience systems? What is the role of the state and other actors in science and technology policy?

6.Discuss various approaches to the relation of technology and politics.  In what sense are technologies political?  Do artifacts have politics, does politics use artifacts, or should we invoke a seamless techno-politics?

7. Identify three central problems or issues in the STS literature that a focus on Internet studies helps clarify, extend, or otherwise exemplify.  What gaps or omissions in the STS literature can Internet studies help resolve or fill in?  In other words, what does Internet studies contribute to the knowledge of STS more broadly?  Here the focus should be upon the STS literature per se.

8. Connection metaphors abound in STS, critical theory, and on the Internet – networks, rhizomes, webs, links, social worlds, communities, etc.  Compare and contrast various such metaphors, discussing their strengths and weaknesses for the type of theorizing you hope to do.

Call: closed systems / open worlds

Closed Systems / Open Worlds

Edited by: Jeremy Hunsinger (Wilfrid Laurier University), Jason Nolan (Ryerson University) & Melanie McBride (York University)

This book will consist of explorations at the boundaries of virtual worlds as enclosed but encouraging spaces for exploration, learning, and enculturation. Game/worlds like Second Life, OpenSim, Minecraft, and Cloud Party are providing spaces for the construction of alternatives and reimaginings, though frequently they end up more as reproductions. We seek to challenge those spaces and their creativities and imaginings.

These worlds exist as both code and conduct. Code is a modulating multiple signifier, in that the interpreters of the code vary from human to machine and that our understanding of the signifier changes the worldliness in itself. The conduct of both participants and administrators of these spaces influences how they flourish and then fade. As such the worlds and their anima/animus are socially constructed fictions where authors/creators/users, both above and below the actions are sometimes in concert, yet often in conflict with the space and intentions of the originators.

This book seeks critically engaged scholars who want to risk the possibility of change in the face of closed systems. We are looking for critical or speculative essays that must be theoretically, empirically and/or contextually grounded chapters of 5000-6500 words plus apparatus. Doctoral students and non-tenure faculty members will be afforded blind peer review upon request.

We are aiming for 12 -14 chapters that define the boundaries and thus likely futures of research on virtual worlds.

Aug 1, 2014 – 250 word précis with 5-10 key references
Aug. 30, 2014 – accept/reject proposals
Feb 1, 2015 – final draft due
July 1, 2015 – feedback from reviewers
September 1, 2015 – final version
December 1, 2015 – in press

Queries and submissions:

Topics may include:

  • alternative and minor game/virtual/etc. worlds
  • archeologies/genealogies of virtuality
  • augmented and mixed-reality worlds
  • distributed cognitions
  • early explorations in virtual learning environments
  • the freedom of limitations
  • identity construction and/or identity tourism
  • the limits of simulation and emulation
  • memories and forgetting in virtual worlds
  • multisensory virtual environments
  • multisensory exclusions in virtual worlds
  • narratival and post-narratival andragogies, ‘learning worlds’
  • negative spaces as learning spaces (bullying, trolling, flaming, etc.) in virtual worlds
  • non-social virtual worlds (dwarf fortress, some forms of minecraft, etc.)
  • real world virtual worlds and boundaries (Lego, Hello Kitty, WebKinz, etc.)
  • replication of real world environments/problems
  • surrealism, unrealism and constructable alterities of/within virtual worlds
  • transformative virtual classroom
  • vapourware and virtuality
  • the virtuality of learning
  • corporate control of archives News: Digital Archives That Disappear – Inside Higher Ed

    Digital Archives That Disappear
    April 22, 2009
    As digital archives have become more important and more popular, there are varying schools of thought among scholars about how best to guarantee that they will be around for good. Some think that the best possibility is for the creators of the archives — people generally with some passion for the topic — to keep control. Others favor acquisition, thinking that larger entities provide more security and resources for the long run.

    [From News: Digital Archives That Disappear – Inside Higher Ed ]


    I remember when people were horrified that google bought dejanews and when dejanews started archiving and keeping usenet, which was before fairly ephemeral. Those were horrific days for many people because something would be preserved and controlled by someone else that was never intended to be that way.

    We’ve been facing problems with digital archives for ages and private digital archives are a huge problem for researchers, costs aside… The question of copyright, etc. is key and often misplaced, in the new form of the digital material. In any case, the discussion above points to some of the new problems of digital archives.

    Workshop on Humanities Applications for World Community Grid

    IBM Presents:
    A Workshop on Humanities Applications for
    World Community Grid

    On October 6, 2008, IBM will be sponsoring a free one-day workshop in Washington, DC on high performance computing for humanities and social science research.

    This workshop is aimed at digital humanities scholars, computer scientists working on humanities applications, library information professionals, and others who are involved in humanities and social science research using large digital datasets. The session will be hosted by IBM computer scientists who will conduct a hands-on session describing how high performance computing systems like IBM’s World Community Grid can be used for humanities research.

    The workshop is intended to be much more than just a high-level introduction. There will be numerous technical demonstrations and opportunities for participants to discuss potential HPC projects. Topics will include: how to parallelize your code; useful tools and utilities; data storage and access; and a technical overview of World Community Grid architecture.

    Brett Bobley and Peter Losin from the Office of Digital Humanities at the National Endowment for the Humanities have been invited to discuss some of the NEH’s grant opportunities for humanities projects involving high performance computing.

    If attendees are already involved in projects that involve heavy computation, they are encouraged to bring sample code, data, and outputs so that they can speak with IBM scientists about potential next steps for taking advantage of high performance computing. While the demonstrations will be using World Community Grid, our hope is that attendees will learn valuable information that could also be applied to other HPC platforms.

    The workshop will be held from 10 AM – 3 PM on October 6, 2008 at the IBM Institute for Electronic Government at 1301 K Street, NW, Washington, DC. To register, please contact Sherry Swick, Available spaces will be filled on a first-come, first served basis.

    More about the World Community Grid

    World Community Grid, a philanthropic initiative developed by the IBM Corporation, offers researchers a unique opportunity to accelerate the pace of their work while also mobilizing people worldwide around critical social issues.

    Launched by IBM in November 2004, World Community Grid uses grid technology to harness the plentiful, underutilized resource of PCs and laptops to support humanitarian research. Today, volunteers around the globe have donated the computational power of close to 1 million PCs; World Community Grid is harnessing their power when the computers are on but not in use to help advance promising research. Results on critical health issues have already been achieved, demonstrating World Community Grid’s potential to make significant inroads on a great range of future projects that can benefit the world.

    World Community Grid is available free-of-charge only to public and not-for-profit organizations to use in humanitarian research that might otherwise not be completed due to the high cost of the computer infrastructure required in the absence of a public grid. As part of IBM’s commitment to advancing human welfare, all results must be published in the public domain and made public to the global research community. Current research partners include The Scripps Research Institute, The University of Texas Medical Branch, New York University, University of Washingon, French Muscular Dystrophy Association, the University of Cape Town and The Ontario Cancer Institute.

    Looks like Ill be at this:)

    Fellowship and Conference

    Since Tuesday I have been in Milwaukee visiting SOIS and CIPR as part of my Information Ethics fellowship. I attended a discussion about a possible future conference on translating intercultural information ethics across the situated understandings that term implies across a plurality of contexts. That seems like a great project, I’m happy to help out there. For the rest of the time, I attended the conference Thinking Critically:Alternative Perspectives and Methods in Information Studies. It was an excellent conference and I met many interesting people in the field of information studies, most of which are leaders in their field or soon to be so. I also attended the 2008 Samore Lecture: “Interpreting the Digital Human,” by Professor Rafael Capurro, at the Allis Museum, which provided an excellent end to the conference. I had excellent dinners and conversation with colleagues that I’ve not seen for some time, and with new friends and colleagues. I suspect that I’ll be seeing many of these people again over the years. It was a great experience all around, though I did not get enough writing done on a promised paper that is overdue. It really looks like the CIPR and SOIS are up to some great things and I’m happy to be affiliated with them as an Ethics Fellow for another year.

    Unrelated to the conference and my fellowship, I had the opportunity to meet and talk with Thomas Malaby who has a book forthcoming on Linden Lab. We spoke at length about problems of research, computer game studies, his work with Linden Lab and his related work. It was a fantastic conversation and I hope to have similar conversations in relation to my work in Second Life in the future.

    All in all the problem of alternative methods and the communities that support them is an important issue in my career. I have been affiliated with many groups on this topic from Phil Graham’s old NewMediaResearch, heterodox economics, and the political science perestroika movement list, to my current work with InterpretationandMethods and Theory, Policy and Society, not to mention my work with the Association of Internet Researchers. The work that I perform is primarily interpretive methods, from ethnography to textual analysis, though I’ve been known to use quantitative when it adds to the argument. The key to me though is to come to notion of understanding and being able to communicate what actually leads to certain understandings of the world. It concerns me that there are so many people with so many of the same issues across so many different disciplines and there is so little conversations amongst them. Though there are broad interdisciplinary efforts and efforts toward inclusion.

    blacklight opac

    Blacklight is an open source OPAC (online public access catalog). That means libraries (or anyone else) can use it to allow people to search and browse their collections online. Blacklight uses Solr to index and search, and it has a highly configurable Ruby on Rails front-end. Currently, Blacklight can index, search, and provide faceted browsing for MaRC records and several kinds of XML documents, including TEI, EAD, and GDMS.


    blacklight looks cool and highly extensible, hopefully i’ll find some time to play with it soon. i like it’s theme… expose your hidden data.

    Archivalia: Usage of Creative Commons by cultural heritage organisations

    Archivalia: Usage of Creative Commons by cultural heritage organisations:
    Usage of Creative Commons by cultural heritage organisations

    Snapshot and case studies of current usage of Creative Commons (and other open content) licences by cultural heritage organisations in the UK

    this is a worthwhile study, i wonder if there is funding to do a comparable study in the u.s.