Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
Tina Arduini interviews Stephanie Vie, Project Director for Computers and Composition Digital Press. Vie discusses her work as Project Director, offers advice about preparing a multimodal text for publication, and anticipates the next steps for Computers and Composition Digital Press as an academic publisher for scholars in the field of rhetoric and composition.
Contributed by Michael Blancato
In 2010, Megan Fulwiler and Jennifer Marlow began collecting stories from contingent faculty across the United States and Canada about their experiences as part-time instructors. The resulting documentary, Con Job: Stories of Adjunct & Contingent Labor, presents harrowing accounts of how higher education institutions have increasingly come to rely on contingent workers who face poverty-level wages and uncertain futures.
While contingent faculty exploitation has become a disturbingly common trend, many faculty members are taking steps to secure better working conditions and pay. In 2014, a majority of adjuncts at Temple University signed authorization cards for union representation. Although these adjuncts have a right to seek union representation and collectively bargain, Temple University administration officials have blocked a union vote.
This short video documents some of the protests that have taken place at Temple University in response to the school’s decision to block a union vote. For more information about these protests and Temple University unionization efforts, you can visit the United Academics of Philadelphia and the Temple Association of University Professionals websites. You can also call on Temple University officials to respect adjuncts’ right to unionize by signing this MoveOn.org petition.
Updated October 11, 2015: It seems the protests and testimonies from Temple University adjunct faculty members have yielded results. On September 29, 2015, the Pennsylvania Labor Review Board approved Temple adjuncts’ request for a union election. This decision means Temple adjuncts will soon be able to vote whether they would like to join the Temple Association of University Professionals, a collective bargaining unit that currently represents “full-time faculty, professional librarians academic professionals in the 11 schools and colleges enrolling undergraduate students at Temple University.”
Darnton promises functioning “American Digital Public Library” for 2013. Google straighten’s up in its chair.
by Ryan Trauman
In her article for The Guardian, Alison Flood reports that Robert Darnton (of the Harvard Library) has promised a free, publicly accessible American Digital Public Library that “will be up and running by April 2013, and its initial holdings will include at least two million books in the public domain accompanied by a dazzling array of special collections far richer than anything available through Google.” If this is true (and Darnton certainly has done nothing that I know of to sully his own reputation), it’s a wonderful development for the literacy practices of millions of people.
Here are a few of the headlines I was considering for this short post:
“Darnton promises functioning “American Digital Public Library” for 2013. Google throws up a little in its throat.” or “Darnton promises functioning “American Digital Public Library” for 2013. Google to take its ball and go home.”
If nothing else, even the threat of this project should get Google back to work on its book scanning project. Not that they’ve stopped. Scanning books, I mean. But the litigation surrounding the case has certainly stalled, with Google’s hands effectively tied (or at least in risky legal limbo) until they push forward with a newly-structured agreement with authors and publishers. Either way, they’ve significantly scaled back the resources and marketing associated with the project for which I had so much hope. But as Darnton points out in several of his brilliant texts, Google is has a monopoly on the vast scope of its scanning project aaaaaaand its a for-profit corporation. That’s a dangerous mix. And I think the last 18 months of stagnant development (before which it was firmly established that there was little opportunity for another private entity to compete with Google’s project) have shown Darnton’s fears to be at least significantly warranted (although I wouldn’t argue they’ve yet come to fruition. yet).
The only thing trouble about this announcement is that the ADPL just had the first round of its three-part technological development workshop this week. I don’t want to suggest that they’ve really not made much progress with the project. From what I can tell the project is incredibly well-funded from institutions/organizations that will allow them every opportunity to succeed. And they’ve certainly built a solid foundation of theoretical scaffolding on which to build the project. I just don’t know how well-conceived it is to talk about such a HUGE benchmark twelve months from now.
From what I’ve seen, it takes three components to make digital initiatives work: clearly demonstrable need, accessible theoretical foundation for immediate and future action/funding, and momentum. I don’t think it takes a genius to understand the first two components. However, the need for momentum cannot be underestimated. There is an enormous volume of projects whose initiatives are (at least partly) to transition analog media or institutions to digitally operative structures. Unfortunately, even at the most subtle hint of failure or stalling, there are just too many alternative projects to jump to. It may be a chicken-or-the-egg sort of problem, but that’s the point where it’s very difficult for an initiative to regain its momentum.
This is all to say that… Darnton better not be wrong. I want him to be right. Oh how I want him to be right. But if he’s wrong, and the project is really 24 months, rather than 12 months away from functioning, Google will be able to relax again, fat and complacent with its cash and huge digital book database, confident that a digital public library is a technological challenge (which only it can solve), rather than a social challenge (which we as a public, can solve it we put our minds to it).
In the meantime, the Scholar Electric is likely to undergo several changes in content and design. We’re trying to use the blog itself as a space for development, design, and revision. If you’re curious, keep coming back until May 12th. If you’d prefer to experience blog in all its shiny functionality and energy, come on back on the 12th. For the first week, leading up to Computers and Writing, we’ll be posting at least one post every day. Some from Tim. Some from Trauman. And several from contributing scholars who’d like to engage or initiate public conversations related to digital publishing, new media scholarship, and writing technologies.
If you yourself have an idea for a post or even a topic you’d like for us to cover, please let us know. You can send us an email here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ryan Trauman and Tim Lockridge, Co-Editors