Madcap Adventures Part I: Mitford Coding Workshop

A short post but an effusive one to record an eventful and momentous day:  I absolutely loved what happened in our kickstart of the Mitford workshop today. We triumphed over inevitable odds: Of course, the demons that possess HDMI and VGA cables and ports prevented projection from my computer, but we needed it not! We sat about a round table, and everyone could see each other’s screen so we made a sort of connected chain–so people could readily follow my links through our workshop, and  we all helped each other when we got lost. One especially helpful project participant (our Rebecca Nesvet) wrote up detailed notes to send to our Google Hangouts members to fill in when they had connection troubles–so she helped to ensure that our coding circle reached out to our people with hiccup-y connections in LA, Boston, and England. We worked together and made technology work for us! And my team bravely asked questions and helped each other onward.

Our workshop materials are here, and I’m very much indebted to the WWP (Women Writers’ Project), Their excellent slides introduced me to TEI for manuscripts, and that’s where I’ve started my team. Tomorrow they all start coding their own letters–I’m so proud of our group!

New Print Release of Hacking the Academy

Much excitement! See: Last but Not Least: Hacking the Academy–the Print and Ebook Editions.

News of the release of Hacking the Academy as a traditional book seems intriguing and ironic, since this has been the eminent example of the book-that-is-not-a-book, assembled from social media constructions. Can it be reputable in this new bookish edition? It seems a little sad and sorry to say that university press publication gives this text authority and credibility…

…and yet, and yet…consider:

The  print and e-book publication via U. of Michigan gives us a fine example of digital stewardship in action! The famous “Book Crowdsourced in One Week” from 2010 has been transformed after two years into something new, and I haven’t seen what it has become after the heyday of the blogspot has passed. But the transition to a new kind of book format through a university press has something to say about a need to reach a wider audience, a wider audience’s interest, and the transitional life of texts.

What has happened to Hacking the Academy is, of course Backing by the Academy…which was significantly quite the point of Liz Losh in her 2010 piece titled “Will ‘Hacking the Academy’ Be Understood as ‘Backing the Academy'”, duly compiled in the “Criticisms of This Book” section of the original web book. One of Losh’s concerns back in May 2010 (just about exactly two years ago now) was that DH as “hacktivism” and decenteredness and refusal of structure or hierarchy would play right into the hands of budget-cutters and anti-intellectuals—-that universities and professional associations and conferences and publications actually do have something important to offer in fostering the pursuit of quality and lasting research. Does the University of Michigan Press’s new release of a transformed Hacking the Academy derail its high-minded mission? I don’t think so. It expands the reach of the book, and proves its importance within an academy critically contemplating itself.