Category Archives: open source

THATCamp (Day 2b)

The initial schedule is now up. I’m going to attend a morning session on open peer review, an early afternoon session on comic books and playing with scholarship and will be a discussion starter on the session on disruptive pedagogy. I’m hoping, in the session that I’m helping facilitate to, among other things, that there might be some interest in a collection of essays (book/website) on pedagogies of disruption.

Open Peer Review session
Discussion starters: Sarah Werner, Folger Shakespeare Library; Jack Dougherty, Trinity College (editor of Writing History in the Digital Age)
Things that made their way into the conversation:  Risks associated with open peer review (public rejection); how OPR is different from the standard peer review process; how some authors get more encouraged than others and what that means in an open solicitation model like the one used in Writing History in the Digital Age; what happens when editors in a process like the one used WHDA encourage some authors more than others (as opposed to the crowd doing so); how slow standard peer review is and how uniterative as compared to open peer review; how long should open peer review remain “open”; how open peer review is exhausting for authors, especially because the time window for revisions by authors is often short; are authors giving up the rights to a paper once they put it up in open peer review (and then what happens if it is rejected); who do the comments belong to (important to stipulate that commenters abdicate their copyright); process of OPR–inviting authors/commenters, etc. (community management); has OPR improved the quality of journals/book; are some works more “commentable” than others and does that lead authors to offer these sorts of contributions, which are not necessarily “better” in the sense of scholarly value; value of this sort of approach for students–seeing how the sausage is made; OPR has the advantage of providing one way for reviewers to gain credit for their work, where traditional peer review is a private matter for which we receive no credit (might one begin to build a reputation as a commenter?); what does OPR not do well (speed is the enemy of good prose/careful arguments, what happens if you open the review process and almost no one takes part).

One of my interests in attending this session was to see, if my idea for something “book like” on pedagogies of disruption flies, what sort of publishing model/peer review model, to use.  Advice from Jack — think ahead and be very specific about your editorial policies. One of my other interests here is for what we’re going to do with original content solicited for Global Perspectives on Digital History (as opposed to republished content).

Hacking the Academy — the Book

I’m pleased to announce that Hacking the Academy is now available in its online edition from the University of Michigan’s Digital Culture series.

As my colleague Dan Cohen explains in his post on how the book came about, one should be careful about what one wishes for when it comes to a “hack” of a book. This one week project edited by Dan and Tom Scheinfeldt resulted in more than 300 contributions from almost 200 authors. Wading through all of that content to determine what would ultimately make it into the book was, I’m sure, a daunting task. I’m pleased that two bits of the book came out of this blog [1, 2]. Given how many excellent historians offered up some of their work for the project, I’m also humbled that some of my own writing made the final cut.

I love the variety of contributions in the book and look forward to reading (or re-reading) them all. The one thing I wish is that there were an eBook version of the book so I could download it onto my iPad. Call me old-fashioned, but I still like the look and feel of a book, even if that look and feel is reproduced in pixels rather than pulp.

Omeka is Ready For You

Those of us here at the Center for History and New Media and our partners at the Minnesota Historical Society are excited to announce the release of the public beta version of Omeka, a free and open-source software platform that provides museums, historical societies, libraries, and individuals with an easy-to-use platform for publishing collections and creating attractive, standards-based, interoperable online exhibits. Already in use at more than 150 sites, Omeka makes a variety of Web 2.0 technologies and approaches available to any user–small or large–who wants to foster a higher degree of interaction among users and site visitors.

I’ve been one of the beta-testers for the past year, because our 1989 project is built on the Omeka platform. While Omeka is really designed more for museums, archives, and other cultural institutions, it also works very well for a complex website like this one–a site that includes an archive of primary sources (texts, images, video). All of us on the 1989 project team have found Omeka very easy to learn and use.

If you or someone you know is considering building a web presence (or renovating an existing one), I highly recommend taking a look at Omeka. Because it is open source, we expect that all sorts of bells and whistles will be added by the user community, so it will only get better and better.

Omeka can be downloaded now. You can read more about the specific features of the software and the system requirements by going to the Omeka website.