Editors’ Choice at Digital Humanities Now

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I am very excited to learn that Pathfinders has been selected as the Editors’ Choice at Digital Humanities Now.  As the site states, “This content was selected . . . by Editor-in-Chief Lisa Rhody based on nominations by Editors-at-Large Catelynne Sahadath, Bobby Smiley, Christopher Lao-Scott, Matthew Lincoln, Merisa Martinez, LauraAnne Carroll-Adler, Alyssa Reil, Ernesto Priego, Sasha Frizzell, and Grant Glass.  All of us who worked on the project are honored by this.

Pathfinders, Phase 2

Stuart and I are taking a short break from the multimedia book to write a series of critical essays about Malloy’s Uncle Roger, McDaid’s Funhouse, Jackson’s Patchwork Girl, and Bly’s We Descend based on the information we learned from conducting the traversals and interviews with the authors for Pathfinders. The book, entitled Traversals:  Digital Preservation for Early Digital Literature is under contract with The MIT Press and is planned for a 2017 release.

Here is the abstract for the project:

Born-digital electronic creations, constituted as databases, hypertexts, or multimedia simulations, pose a challenge to cultural continuity. Dependent on outdated platforms, these works are jeopardized by obsolescence; yet their contributions often inhere in the way they interpret and configure their particular technical systems. In our research project Pathfinders (2013-14), supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, we introduced a method of preservation based on recorded user experience, which we call traversal. We set out to preserve a small set of important works that are rapidly becoming inaccessible, introducing a new strategy for preservation. Our effort implied a second phase, in which we would investigate the uses of this form of preservation. The proposed book investigates what knowledge of late-20th-century experimental writing is gained when we are able to examine early digital literary works in their intended context, through recorded encounters with the texts using original equipment. We offer four extended readings of works featured in the Pathfinders project, where interpretation is based upon traversals, author interviews, and related research material. These chapters are framed by a Foreword and three contextual chapters that relate our work to the study of experimental writing, electronic art, and most crucially, the digital humanities.

Update on the Pathfinders Book

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Visitors in ELL for launch of Pathfinders

The Pathfinders multimedia, open source book is ready.  You can read it here. Included in the book are 104 videos, 204 color photos, and 3 audio files.

The launch has been successful. As of this moment, we have been live for 51 hours and have seen 1293 visitors on the site. That is about 25 hits an hour.  81% are new visitors.  75% of our visitors stay on the site, with close to 30% lingering in some cases over an hour.  Some of the universities and libraries that visitors come from include:

Lasalle U
UC Riverside
VA Commonwealth U
Muhlenberg College
State Library of Queenland
Claremont U
Montana SU
Princeton U
Minnesota U System
WSU Pullman
Northern Illinois U
Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (in Columbia)
Molloy College
U of Victoria (BC)
People coming in from Durham, NC; Washington, DC; Silver Springs, MD; Portsmouth, RI; and other places where we have friends and supporters.
Countries include: US, UK, Canada, Finland, Norway, Germany, Greece, New Zealand, France, Italy, Switzerland,
Spain, Australia, Mexico, Colombia, Denmark, Sweden, Japan, Portugal, Korea.
So, this is good news.  It means that our social media strategist Kate Palermini’s hard work on the social media campaign has been very successful and continues to have legs. We are still seeing tweets and retweets on Twitter and likes on Facebook.

Launching Pathfinders Today

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Pathfinders Open Source Multimedia Book Launched on June 1!

pathfinders on iPadStuart and I are excited to announce that after two years of development, we are releasing the Pathfinders open-source, multimedia book. It features 173 screens of content, including 53,857 words, 104 video clips, 203 color photos, and three audio files. Also, we are hosting a Pathfinders gallery show at Nouspace and throwing a book launch on Friday, June 5 at 6:30 p.m. Invitations by our various social media channels will go out at the end of the week.

Madeleine Brookman Receives Summer Undergraduate Research Mini-Grant

We are proud to announce that Pathfinder’s research assistant, Madeleine Brookman, was awarded a WSU Summer Undergraduate Research Grant for hr work with the project.  Her project will be to continue to develop the open-source, multimedia book that contains all of the materials for Pathfinders on the Scalar platform.

Exhibiting Pathfinders

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Madeleine explaining Pathfinders to visitors to her poster at SURCA

Madeleine Brookman and I are in Pullman, WA to show the work that Madeleine has done on the Pathfinders multimedia book to hundreds of faculty and students at WSU’s main campus.  The event is called SURCA (Student Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity) showcase. We have hauled iPads, a pedestal, laptop, and copies of Patchwork Girl, Uncle Buddy’s Phantom Funhouse, and other works of early e-lit to show to the audience.  With 102 videos and other media already organized into the Scalar environment, the book is looking robust.  Her work will be evaluated by judges and could possibly win an award––a Crimson, if it wins 1st place, or a Gray if it wins 2nd place.  She has also applied for a CAS Summer Mini-Grant and another Auvil Fellowship for next year to continue her work on the project.

Multimedia Book Almost Ready

scalarThe open-source, multimedia book created in Scalar that we are making for  Pathfinders is almost ready.  It will be comprised of 102 videos of authors’ and reader’s traversals and interviews + commentary by Stuart and me for each work + images and documentation about each work.  So much credit goes to my research assistant Madeleine Brookman, who edited a lot of the video, uploaded them all to Vimeo and then arranged them in the Scalar structure that Stuart and I produced. It was a very pleasant shock to realize yesterday that we are so close to completing this first phase of Pathfinders.

I am also pleased to announce that Madeleine has been invited to talk about her research with Pathfinders at the 2015  Showcase for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities at WSU Pullman at the end of March.  This is a highly competitive event and one that results in prizes for the best projects.  Needless to say, I am very proud of her.  Madeleine is a recipient of a 2014 Auvil Scholars Fellowship and has applied for the 2015 fellowship as well.  Her work on Pathfinders shows that she is very adept at independent research.

Finally, Pathfinders has been featured in the university’s Research Now! publication.  Here is a link to the article.

Pathfinders Update: Traversals, Grants, & References

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While we may have been quiet lately, rest assured much has been done on Pathfinders.  

First, Stuart and I are planning the next round of traversals and have received permission from Michael Joyce and MD Coverley to include their work in the project.  The inclusion of afternoon: a story and Califia, respectively, are important additions to our research.  Joyce’s hypertext novel is one of the most cited in literary scholarship and Coverley’s is one that uniquely uses Toolbook and a PC for its production.

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Adding two traversals to Pathfinders means we have been busy writing grants to support our work.  To date, we have written five grants in support of the project, with the target of having enough material in the open source multimedia book to pursue a larger foundation grant.  We are getting pretty close . . .

Other good news:  Pathfinders is referenced by noted e-lit scholar Leonardo Flores in an interview for the journal, E-Literatura by Karla Guadalupe Gonzales Nino and Monica Nepote.  The interview focuses on “the creation of the first [e-lit works] in the eighties to boom years new works were developed from  programming, special software and the proliferation of random write on social networks.”  The journal is sponsored by the Centro de Cultura Digital, in Mexico City, Mexico.

 

 

Talking about Pathfinders at the University of Victoria

etcl.logo_I will be giving a talk, entitled “Paths to PAD:  Saving the Legacy of Early Electronic Literature,” to scholars involved in the Electronic Textual Cultures Lab (ETCL) at the University of Victoria on January 22, 2015.  The presentation argues that while digital preservation has centered on emulation and migration, the Pathfinders project has made it clear that the 3rd and least popular method of preservation––collection––though challenging to undertake, provides essential information about a work that may be lost. Ultimately, the work Stuart and I have done with the traversals of five different works of e-lit has led us to encourage preservationists of early digital literature to pursue all three methods. I will be looking specifically at Judy Malloy’s Uncle Roger in this presentation in order to underpin my argument.

I thank Dr. Ray Siemens for this invitation and for the opportunity to visit the ETCL.  While I am there, I will be able to observe the work the lab is doing with Wikipedia, something I am very interested in.