As HASTAC heralds a forum (the HASTAC way) on “A Bill of Rights and Principles for Learning in the Digital Age,” which calls for access, contribution from all over the world, and “pedagogical transparency” (students should know the background and outcomes of educational objects in advance), the open spirit represented therein calls to mind Lawrence Lessig’s advocacy of more reasonable copyright laws to support rapidly produced multimedia conglomerations. At this time, we are still waiting to hear if the two streams are finding each other.
People are starting to consider Twitter less novel and constrained (the 140-character limit) and more navigable (helped by things like Tweetdeck), as reported in econtentmag (“Twitter comes of age“). Gerry McKiernan, engineering librarian at Iowa State University, is a prolific commentator and announced years ago [citation being sought] that he was moving from list posts to blogs, and then using Twitter as his medium of choice. It still isn’t as organizable as e-mail, but certainly it’s getting too popular not to check regularly, even for scholarly information as academics announce their latest publications or ideas.
Econtentmag reports that “some organizations are beginning to question the wisdom of giving up ownership of their data through these sites and are considering hosting networks via their own on-domain sites (“Wrestling social network control away from the big guys,” Econtentmag 7 January 2013). YouTube is not mentioned, but use of it to host video libraries of individuals (faculty members as well as consumers) and small organizations (labs), sometimes in the form of “channels“.
There has been a fair amount of grantees publishing in Open Access venues (actually, the requirement is to submit copies of all published papers to PubMed Central), but there are still holdbacks–investigators who publish in journals that are not OA. Insofar as OA journals are not always considered to be at the top of their fields (although some are quite prestigious), that would be understandable to career-minded academic; there also has been pushback from Congress to benefit large for-profit publishers (see Research Works Act down for now). This notice (given by NIH, as mentioned in Research USA) shows that NIH is not backing down.
A new product, Tesserae (described in HASTAC), “aims to provide a flexible and robust web interface for exploring intertextual parallels.” Texts (such as books or plays or poem cycles) become grist for analysis–the meanings and implications, not the character sequence or word count.
Its start is with classical authors (Plautus, Ovid, Catullus, Vergil, Horace), but it is expanding to English prose.
This is another good example of what digital humanities (DH) are, in that understanding texts for their language and thought expression (as opposed to phenomena described in words) is a core concern of humanistic scholarship.
What is noteworthy, especially from the point of view of finding crossover points or ways in which the humanities can open new windows of analysis of science, is the concern over copyright. As soon as text becomes data, it brings along issues of copyright. Of course experimental data can be copyrighted as well, but that is either liable to be waived, or the level of concern over originality and remuneration is likely to be lower than in artistic or literary communication. As DH grows, scientists, clinicians, and social scientists can learn to address issues they consider “supporting” or outside their disciplines, and can award such problems the attention they deserve, since their colleagues in the humanities are supplying the expertise.