Art of the Archive Workshop 5/21

Art of the Archive

Date & Time: May 21, 2015 from 9:30 am – 5:15 pm

Location: King Hall 2100A, UC Davis


The archive is in flux. The proliferation of born-digital objects and digitized materials opens up new modes of curation, circulation, and scholarly communication. This presents opportunities and challenges for scholars, artists, and publics for assembling, making accessible, decolonizing, and appropriating.

Digital platforms for curating and publishing cultural heritage and expressive culture—art, music, video, performance, sound—promise new collaborative forms, creating new relationships between producers and publics. Furthermore, archives and databases raise questions of ownership and control over knowledge–including decolonizing ethnographic collections and developing traditional knowledge licensing.

Our workshop will examine the digital archive and database in terms of the aesthetics and politics of curation. We will bring together perspectives from the humanities, arts, and social sciences to address the challenges and possibilities for an emerging art of the archive.

Topics that we will explore include:

  • How publics are being reimagined and remade in the creation of archives and databases.
  • How the archive is in movement–less as a storage “place” but rather a network and a mode of reassembly and circulation.
  • The ways poetics and aesthetics of data collections are shaping access, use and reappropriation.
  • What types of academic credit, recognition, or assessment making online platforms, exhibitions, and data publications might receive.
  • How temporality emerges as archives of and for the future and the “way back” are imagined and constructed.


9-9:30 Coffee and Continental Breakfast

9:30-9:45 Welcoming Remarks

9:45-11am Publics: Decolonization, Local Practices, Social Movements

Jane Anderson, NYU, Anthropology & Museum Studies; Decolonial Futures for Ethnographic Collections?
Allison Fish, UC Davis, ICIS & Library; Techno-legal Renderings of South Asian Classical Medicine
Ramesh Srinivasan UCLA, Information Studies; Fragment and Re-assembling: Digital Cultures of Resistance
Moderator: Marisol de la Cadena UC Davis, Anthropology & STS

11-11:15 Break

11:15-12:30 pm Curation: Aesthetics, Ethics, Poetics                            

Tarek Elhaik, San Francisco State University, Media & Culture, Curator: A Conceptual Persona
Erica Farmer, Smithsonian Institution, Between promise and practicality: Balancing interests and responsibilities around sensitive archival collections at the Smithsonian Institution  
Ilana Gershon, Indiana University, Bloomington, Communication and Culture, Formatted Out of Work in the U.S.: Hiring in the Digital Age
Moderator: Joshua Kim

12:30-1:30 Lunch

1:30-2:30 Resisting Presentism: Ethics and Evolving Archives

Rick Prelinger UC Santa Cruz, Film & Digital Media, Filling the Teleological Vacuum: Archives as Actionable Spaces
Mary Murrell University of Wisconsin, Madison, Anthropology, Mass Digitization, Orphan Works, and the Ethics of Recirculation

2:30-3:45: In Motion: Circulating, Opening, Re-Spatializing                

Nathalie Casemajor Université du Québec en Outaouais, Communication, The Metrics of Archives in Movement
Alessandro Delfanti, UC Davis, ICIS & STS, Beams of Particles and Papers: Archives in High-Energy Physics
Xan Chacko & May Ee Wong UC Davis, Cultural Studies, Archives of Risk
Moderator: Mario Biagioli UC Davis, STS, Law, & History

3:45-4:00 Break

4:00-5:15 In the Making: Craft, Collaboration, Credit

Kim Christen Withey, Washington State University, English, The Ethics of Aesthetics: Archives and Access in the Digital Landscape
Alexandra Lippman, UC Davis, ICIS & STS, Archiving Sound: Craft and Collaboration in Listening
Alexis Rossi Internet Archive
Moderator: Brad Sherman, The University of Queensland, School of Law


Notes from “Advancing Research Communication & Scholarship”


I’m currently at the Advancing Research Communication & Scholarship conference. Hackathon, presentations on open data,  open access, and alt metrics. You can follow what’s happening via Twitter at #arcs2015. I’ll add some notes from the conference soon and am excited to present on “Beyond Open: Global Perspective on Research Communication and Knowledge Production.” The panel’s chaired by Brian Rosenblum (University of Kansas Libraries) and I am joining Jane Anderson (NYU) Mónica I. Feliú-Mójer, (Ciencia Puerto Rico and iBiology) and John Willinsky (Stanford). Below is the description:

Current scholarly communication initiatives are focused on expanding access, use, and reuse. This session will explore the relationship between these issues and the needs and goals of the developing world and marginalized communities.  We will consider how new models and expectations affect and address knowledge distribution structures in the developing world, and the control local research communities have over their own legacies and outputs.

For example, are efforts to make cultural materials “open” at odds with the interests of indigenous or marginalized groups, whose culture may be appropriated by those with greater resources or access to the means of knowledge production? How do Traditional Knowledge (TK) licenses address some of the inadequacies of Creative Commons licenses in this regard? How do open access initiatives of the global north impact the visibility of scholarship produced in the global south. What are the main institutional forces driving knowledge production in the global south and how does this affect scholarship from and about those regions? What infrastructures are needed to allow the south to support the production and distribution of its own research?

We will explore these and similar issues in order to identify points of entry to expand the scope of discussion around global research communication.  The discussion will be relevant to researchers across disciplines, as well as publishers and professionals in libraries, archives, museums and other cultural institutions.  

Call for Papers: “Transforming Scholarship: Open Access, Data Sharing, and Emerging Forms of Publication”

ICIS associates have issued an open call for papers for a panel at the next 4S Annual Meeting (Society for Social Studies of Science), to be held in Denver, CO, November 11-14, 2015


Transforming Scholarship: Open Access, Data Sharing, and Emerging Forms of Publication

Powerful changes are impacting traditional systems of research publication, academic credit, research quality assessment, and the meaning of “publication.” At the same time, traditional publishing models continue to shape how scholars produce and exchange knowledge. Understanding the scholarly communication system and its balance between transformation and continuity is a key goal for science and technology studies, as publishing practices affect scholars and scientists across all fields and levels. These changes also frame the policies of administrators evaluating and funding them, and of libraries confronting new technologies. The increasing scale and interdisciplinary nature of collaborations, as well as the growing reliance on cyberinfrastructures for producing and disseminating research, are central transformations that require a critical, theoretically oriented approach that encompasses the significance of these trends beyond communication.

The panel turns to different perspectives, such as STS, law, history, ethnography or media studies, to shed light on how scholarly communication systems evolve and interact with broader socio-political transformations. Indeed, we believe that the transformation we point out is posing epistemological and sociological questions about the place of scientific knowledge in contemporary societies. We are particularly interested in papers including, but not limited to, the following sub-topics: the interplay between old and new models of scholarly communication; the impact of Open Access models; the transformation of data from research results to research output itself; new metrics of impact; new forms of misconduct including metrics-based misconduct; the impact of English as the lingua franca of global science; doubts about peer review as quality guarantor; the impact of intellectual property on the content and timing of publications; disciplinary and geographical differences; scholarly norms and incentives that shape scientific institutions and their communication practices. Through this panel we aim to discuss and strengthen a critical research agenda that could inform university policy change for scholarly communication.

The deadline for submissions of individual papers is March 29, 2015

Organizers of this panel are: Alessandro Delfanti (corresponding convenor), Alexandra Lippman, and Mario Biagioli (University of California, Davis).

Provoke! A Special Collection of Digital Sound Studies

Cross-posted on The Sound Ethnography Project

Screen-Shot-2015-01-06-at-12.05.12-PM-e1420564088283Provoke!  published its first online collection of digital sound studies, making scholarly communication just a little bit noisier. As the editors write:

“Provoke! creates a home for creative-critical projects by makers, documentary artists, and sound scholars whose work presses at the boundaries of scholarship. Envisioned as ‘provocations’ to existing forms of publication, these projects relate to one another through their deep engagement with sonic materials and innovative formal presentation….

The editors, known collectively as Soundbox, wish to see audio material featured more abundantly and creatively in scholarly settings. At the heart of our collaboration is a bold aspiration to hear sound used as a primary means of knowledge production.”

Their website privileges listening. Hovering one’s cursor over different projects triggers related sound. The range of scholarship and approaches are impressive. Perhaps the challenges of working between media and fields of expertise fostered frequent collaboration. Dancers, composers, ethnomusicologists, curators, sound artists and others worked together to produce different projects. The pieces include “a city symphony of sounds” collected before the 2010 earthquake in Port-Au Prince; recordings from a music studio set up in the Richmond, VA jail; and an audio effects processor, Paperphone, for giving scholars tools to critically ‘sonify’ their presentations.

For Paperphone’s debut at the UCLA, I had agreed to become one of experimenters. Using the MaxLive software plug-in, I performed “Mixtape Rio,” weaving together soundscapes I recorded with my vocal narration. Everyone’s varying uses of the software revealed and opened up new possibilities for scholarly communication and artistic creation.

But, what of credit and evaluation for this kind of scholarship? How does the work register as scholarship and what challenges does it present for the standardized peer-review model of publishing? Support and guidance from well-respected individuals and institutions helps; Duke’s Franklin Humanities Institute and PhD Lab in Digital Knowledge sponsored the initiative. Also, the online iteration of Provoke! Digital Sound Studies will be followed by an edited volume to be published by Duke in Fall 2015. Perhaps, these multiple modes of publishing can work together to strengthen and push the possibilities for scholarship– sonic or otherwise.

Looking at Open Science through the Prism of a Social Dilemma

The journal First Monday just published a paper by Kaja Scheliga and Sascha Friesike from the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society. The article is titled “Putting open science into practice: A social dilemma?” What follows is an abstract of the paper.

The essence of open science is to make the whole research process transparent and accessible. The idea of open science can be traced back to the days of the emergence of the scientific journal system when scientists started to publish their insights in the form of scientific papers instead of anagrams. In its current form, open science has gained a new dimension thanks to the internet which provides scientists with the technological means to share their insights on a potentially global scale.

Continue reading Looking at Open Science through the Prism of a Social Dilemma

Virtual Itineraries Through the Speculum Romanae

Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae, A125, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.
Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae, A125, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

The University of Chicago Library takes a cue from nearly 500 year old publishing practices  to curate personalized, “individually bound” introductions to their digital collection of the Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae:

In 1540 Antonio Lafreri, a native of Besançon transplanted to Rome, began publishing maps and other printed images that depicted major monuments and antiquities in Rome. These images were calculated to appeal to the taste for classical antiquity that fueled the cultural event we call the Renaissance. After Lafreri published a title page in the mid-1570s, collections of these prints came to be known as the Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae, the “Mirror of Roman Magnificence.” Tourists and other collectors who bought prints from Lafreri made their own selections and had them individually bound. Over time, Lafreri’s title page served as starting point for large and eclectic compilations, expanded and rearranged by generations of collectors.

The University of Chicago Library has curated their collection of 994 prints–the largest Speculum collection–by creating miniature exhibitions based on theme, place, or an artist. Visitors can choose a “virtual itinerary to explore the collection” with a specialist in the field as their guide. Professor Evelyn Lincoln, who recently visited UC Davis as one of our invited speakers, is one of the expert guides to the collection. She focuses on “Print and Ritual in Renaissance Rome” and discusses her selection through this lens.

Other “tours” through the archive include “Love and the Gods” led by James Grantham Turner (University of California, Berkeley), “Viewing Ruins” led by Christopher P. Heuer (Princeton University), and “The Eternal City: Maps of Rome in the Speculum” led by Jessica Maier (Mount Holyoke College). The virtual itineraries “allow for a more specialized, but still lively and accessible, introduction to selected works from the collection, draw attention to particular intellectual questions associated with these prints, and serve as a new mode of scholarly publishing.”

I highly recommend extended trips into these curated archives. You will be rewarded  richly.

Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae, A152, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.


Quick post – papers for sale

Well, this is much more elaborate than I could ever have imagined: For Sale: “Your Name Here” in a Prestigious Science Journal – Scientific American.  Seems that there are services out there to help people write, in essence, bogus scientific papers filled with pithy somewhat reasonable sounding phrases about certain topics.  Seems we could all use some more comprehensive full text analyses of papers to try and flag such activities.