Read Ebooks Are an Abomination by Ian BogostIan Bogost (The Atlantic)
If you hate them, it’s not your fault.
Ian Bogost has a nice look at the UI affordances and areas for growth in the e-reading space.

A🧵 of annotations
theatlantic.com/books/archive/…

What any individual infers about their hopes and dreams for an e-reader derives from their understanding of reading in the first place. You can’t have books without bookiness. Bookiness. That’s the word Glenn Fleishman, a technology writer and longtime bookmaker, uses to describe the situation. “It’s the essence that makes someone feel like they’re using a book,” he told me. Like pornography or sandwiches, you know bookiness when you see it. Or feel it? Either way, most people can’t identify what it is in the abstract.

definition: bookiness

Does this only come out because there’s something that’s book-tangential or similar and it needs to exist to describe the idea of not-book, book-adjacent, or book-like on some sort of spectrum of bookishness.
Annotated on September 18, 2021 at 12:28PM

The ancient Romans sometimes connected wax tablets with leather or cords, suggesting a prototype of binding. Replacing the wax with leaves allowed many pages to be stacked atop one another, then sewn or otherwise bound together. 

early book prototypes
Annotated on September 18, 2021 at 12:30PM

In other words, as far as technologies go, the book endures for very good reason. Books work. 

Aside from reading words to put ideas into my brain, one of the reasons I like to read digital words is that the bigger value proposition for me is an easier method to add annotations to what I’m reading and then to be able to manipulate those notes after-the-fact. I’ve transcended books and the manual methods of note taking. Until I come up with a better word for it, digital commonplacing seems to be a useful shorthand for this new pattern of reading.
Annotated on September 18, 2021 at 12:33PM

If you have a high-quality hardbound book nearby, pick it up and look at the top and bottom edges of the binding, near the spine, with the book closed. The little stripey tubes you see are called head and tail bands (one at the top, one at the bottom). They were originally invented to reinforce stitched binding, to prevent the cover from coming apart from the leaves. Today’s mass-produced hardcover books are glued rather than sewn, which makes head and tail bands purely ornamental. And yet for those who might notice, a book feels naked without such details. 

It is an odd circumstance that tail bands are still used on modern books that don’t need them. From a manufacturing standpoint, the decrease in cost would dictate they disappear, however they must add some level of bookiness that they’re worth that cost.
Annotated on September 18, 2021 at 12:37PM

One site of that erosion, which may help explain ebook reticence, can be found in self-published books. For people predisposed to sneer at the practice, a lack of editing or the absence of publisher endorsement and review might justify self-published works’ second-class status. That matter is debatable. More clear is the consequence of disintermediation: Nobody takes a self-published manuscript and lays it out for printing in a manner that conforms with received standards. And so you often end up with a perfect-bound Word doc instead of a book. That odd feeling of impropriety isn’t necessarily a statement about the trustworthiness of the writer or their ideas, but a sense of dissonance at the book as an object. It’s an eerie gestalt, a foreboding feeling of unbookiness. 

Having helped others to self-publish in the past, I definitely do spend a bit of time putting the small sort of bookiness flourishes into their texts.
Annotated on September 18, 2021 at 12:41PM

The weird way you tap or push a whole image of a page to the side—it’s the uncanny valley of page turning, not a simulation or replacement of it. 

This may be the first time I’ve seen uncanny valley applied to a topic other than recognizing people versus robots or related simulacra.
Annotated on September 18, 2021 at 12:44PM

The iPad’s larger screen also scales down PDF pages to fit, making the results smaller than they would be in print. It also displays simulated print margins inside the bezel margin of the device itself, a kind of mise en abyme that still can’t actually be used for the things margins are used for, such as notes or dog-ears. 

It would be quite nice if a digital reader would allow actual writing in the margins, or even overlaying the text itself and then allowing the looking at the two separately.

I do quite like the infinite annotation space that Hypothes.is gives me on a laptop. I wish there were UI for it on a Kindle in a more usable and forgiving way. The digital keyboard on Kindle Paperwhite is miserable. I’ve noticed that I generally prefer reading and annotating on desktop in a browser now for general ease-of-use.

Also, I don’t see enough use of mise en abyme. This is a good one.

In Western art history, mise en abyme (French pronunciation: ​[miz ɑ̃n‿abim]; also mise en abîme) is a formal technique of placing a copy of an image within itself, often in a way that suggests an infinitely recurring sequence. In film theory and literary theory, it refers to the technique of inserting a story within a story. The term is derived from heraldry and literally means “placed into abyss”. It was first appropriated for modern criticism by the French author André Gide.

Annotated on September 18, 2021 at 12:49PM

Ebook devices are extremely compatible with an idea of bookiness that values holding and carrying a potentially large number of books at once; that prefers direct flow from start to finish over random access; that reads for the meaning and force of the words as text first, if not primarily; and that isn’t concerned with the use of books as stores of reader-added information or as memory palaces. 

Intriguing reference of a book as a memory palace here.

The verso/recto and top/middle/bottom is a piece of digital books that I do miss from the physical versions as it serves as a mnemonic journey for me to be able to remember what was where.

I wonder if Ian Bogost uses the method of loci?
Annotated on September 18, 2021 at 12:53PM

So do all manner of other peculiarities of form, including notations of editions on the verso (the flip side) of the full title page and the running headers all throughout that rename the book you are already reading. 

I do dislike the running headers of digital copies of books as most annotation tools want to capture those headers in the annotation. It would be nice if they were marked up in an Aria-like method so that annotation software would semantically know to ignore them.
Annotated on September 18, 2021 at 12:56PM

Skimming through pages, the foremost feature of the codex, remains impossible in digital books. 

This is related to an idea that Tom Critchlow was trying to get at a bit the other day. It would definitely be interesting in this sort of setting.

Annotated on September 18, 2021 at 01:03PM

“We’ve been thoughtful,” Amazon continued, “about adding only features and experiences that preserve and enhance the reading experience.” The question of whose experience doesn’t seem to come up. 

They’re definitely not catering to my reading, annotating, and writing experience.
Annotated on September 18, 2021 at 01:04PM

Read 25 Years of Ed Tech – Blogs by JR DingwallJR Dingwall (jrdingwall.ca)
This week I was able to catch up a bit on some podcasts I subscribe to. One of the casts I’ve been enjoying lately is 25 Years of Ed Tech, a serialized version of Martin Weller’s book by the same title. Now audio books are plenty good by themselves, but this particular podcast has an addition episode per chapter called “between the chapters” where a host interviews members of the ed tech community (those around Martin in some way) about the topic of the previous chapter. This week was all about blogs.
JR writes about some of his journey into blogging. I appreciate some of the last part about the 9x9x25 blogs. For JR it seems like some smaller prompts got him into more regular writing.

He mentions Stephen Downes‘ regular workflow as well. I think mine is fairly similar to Stephen’s. To some extent, I write much more on my own website now than I ever had before. This is because I post a lot more frequently to my own site, in part because it’s just so easy to do. I’ll bookmark things or post about what I’ve recently read or watched. My short commentary on some of these is just that—short commentary. But occasionally I discover, depending on the subject, that those short notes and bookmark posts will spring into something bigger or larger. Sometimes it’s a handful of small posts over a few days or weeks that ultimately inspires the longer thing. The key seems to be to write something.

Perhaps a snowball analogy will work? I take a tiny snowball of words and give it a proverbial roll. Sometimes it sits there and other times it rolls down the hill and turns into a much larger snowball. Other times I get a group of them and build a full snowman.

Of course lately a lot of my writing starts, like this did, as an annotation (using Hypothes.is) to something I was reading. It then posts to my website with some context and we’re off to the races.

It’s just this sort of workflow that I was considering when I recently suggested that those using annotation as a classroom social annotation tool, might also consider using it to help students create commonplace books to help students spur their writing. The key is to create small/low initial stakes that have the potential to build up into something bigger. Something akin to the user interface of Twitter (and their tweetstorm functionality). Write a short sentence or two on which you can hit publish, but if the mood strikes, then write another, and another until you’ve eventually gotten to something that could be a blog post (or article). Of course if you do this, you should own it.

This is also the sort of perspective which Sönke Ahrens takes in his excellent book How to Take Smart Notes: One Simple Technique to Boost Writing, Learning and Thinking – for Students, Academics and Nonfiction Book Writers, though there he’s prescribing something for general note taking when I might suggest it’s a prescription for a pedagogy behind living and writing.

Read Creating a Commonplace Book (CPB) by Colleen E. KennedyColleen E. Kennedy
During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, one of the most important tools of a reader or writer was a commonplace book (CPB). Peter Beal, leading expert on English manuscript studies, defines a commonplace book as “a manuscript book in which quotations or passages from reading matter, precepts, proverbs and aphorisms, useful rhetorical figures or exemplary phrasing, words and ideas, or other notes and memoranda are entered for ready reference under general subject headings.” Your sources can include, first and foremost, the assigned readings and supplementary materials, as well as any other useful texts you come across. I encourage you to supplement CPB entries with extra-curricular material: quotations from readings for other classes, lyrics from songs, lines from movies, tweets with relevant hashtags, an occasional quotation from a classmate during discussion, etc. These extra-curricular commonplace passages, however, are in addition to and not in place of the required passages as described below.
I love this outline/syllabus for creating a commonplace book (as a potential replacement for a term paper).

I’d be curious to see those who are using Hypothes.is as a social annotation tool in coursework utilize this outline (or similar ones) in combination with their annotation practices.

Curating one’s annotations and placing them into a commonplace book or zettelkasten would be a fantastic rhetorical exercise to extend the value of one’s notes and ideas.

Read Collaborative Community Review on PubPub by Heather Staines

In preparation for Peer Review Week, I wanted to take a closer look at some of the collaborative community review experiments that have happened recently on PubPub. Finding new ways to harness engagement in scholarly communications is a goal of the Knowledge Futures Group, and inline annotation is a technology that I rely upon every day to organize my thoughts and track my online reading. I reached out to the authors of three forthcoming MIT Press books that have undergone this type of review during the last year. I was excited to learn about their experiences and to share some of their observations here.

A short text “interview” with the authors of three works that posted versions of their books online for an open review via annotation.

These could be added to the example and experience of Kathleen Fitzpatrick.

“Criticism is a marker of respect and an acknowledgement that others see in us the ability to learn.” they noted. 

quote from Catherine D’Ignazio, Assistant Professor, Emerson College, and Lauren Klein, Associate Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology, authors of Data Feminism.
Annotated on June 21, 2021 at 07:57AM

He notes that authors of such projects should consider the return on investment. It take time to go through community feedback, so one needs to determine whether the pay off will be worthwhile. Nevertheless, if his next work is suitable for community review, he’d like to do it again. 

This is an apropos question. It is also somewhat contingent on what sort of platform the author “owns” to be able to do outreach and drive readers and participation.
Annotated on June 21, 2021 at 05:12PM

Read Making Our Mark: 2021 Innovator in Residence to Focus on Creative Notetaking (The Library of Congress)
The strike-throughs, underlines, doodles, and marginalia made by historical figures in their personal papers at the Library of Congress give researchers a more intimate sense of who they were. These markings sometimes shed light on the story of how a work was made or received. Researchers can understand more about the creative process, opinions and musings of people throughout the centuries by understanding these historical markings that are often, literally and figuratively, in the margins. Artist and educator Courtney McClellan is inspired by this tradition of mark-making, and today the Library of Congress announced her appointment as 2021 Innovator in Residence.McClellan’s project, Speculative Annotation, will invite Americans to join this historical lineage of annotators by creatively engaging with a curated collection of free to use items from the
I Annotate 2021 in I Annotate 2021 | Program ()

Bookmarked on 2021-06-20 at 7:19 PM; Read on 2021-06-21 at 5:22 PM

doodles 

aka drolleries

Annotated on June 21, 2021 at 05:19PM

These markings sometimes shed light on the story of how a work was made or received. Researchers can understand more about the creative process, opinions and musings of people throughout the centuries by understanding these historical markings that are often, literally and figuratively, in the margins. 

In addition to looking in the margins, one must also look at contemporaneous copies of both printed and privately held (or collected) commonplace books to cast a wider net on these practices.

Annotated on June 21, 2021 at 05:21PM

The project will be available in summer 2021 on labs.loc.gov. 

Return to this project in July 2021 to see it in action.

Annotated on June 21, 2021 at 05:22PM

Read On Privilege & Sharing Power by Maha BaliMaha Bali (Reflecting Allowed)
Multi-USB/Plug power hub Power strip/hub that I use when I need to work outside the house I have a personal experience that I think can be used as a metaphor for privilege and power, but I need to brush up on my reading on power. All I remember from readings back during my PhD, was there are multipl...
Read A Year in Marginalia by Sam Anderson (The Millions)
The writing I enjoy doing most, every year, is marginalia: spontaneous bursts of pure, private response to whatever book happens to be in front of me. It’s the most intimate, complete, and honest form of criticism possible — not the big wide-angle aerial shot you get from an official review essay, but a moment-by-moment record of what a book actually feels like to the actively reading brain. 
This is a phenomenal way to do a look back at a year in reading. I’ll have to consider how to pull it off for myself this year.
 
Read Social Media Isn’t Going to Save You From Social Media (KIRISKA)
Everyone has a bone to pick with existing social networks. There are plenty of legitimate concerns, but the fact is that social media has also been incredibly valuable for many people. If your business depends in large part on connecting with others or engaging with an audience, it’s hard to simpl...
The heading really says it all.
 
I’ve been spitballing with a few people about how to create alternate funding ideas including making smaller community-centric hubs and infrastructure to both center the smaller interactions as well as help create healthier funding centers for our technology. Smaller local news outlets and libraries are better places for these spaces to stem from in my opinion. Setting up these structures isn’t easy (or cheap) however.
 
As for the confusion on the IndieWeb pieces, you’re not wrong. The community knows this is an issue and is slowly, but surely working on it. Naturally it’s a slow process because it’s all volunteer driven, but we’ll get there.
Read Obsidian Release v0.12.2 (Obsidian Forum)
Shiny new things Command palette can now be configured to have “pinned” commands that appear at the top. Obsidian Publish now has a search filter in the upload dialog. Improvements Obsidian Sync no longer runs into a possible race condition which sometimes causes file to be recognized as deleted. This has only been observed happening on Obsidian Mobile so far. Vastly improved Obsidian Sync boot up speed. It will now also avoid re-scans of attachments when they haven’t been changed. Obsidian S...
Read Obsidian Release v0.12.1 (Obsidian Forum)
Improvements On initial loading of the vault, the cache indexing notification will now contain the indexing progress. Improvements to the font size adjustment annoyance: Ctrl+Scroll now only activates if you hold Ctrl before starting to scroll. This option can also now be disabled in Settings > Appearance. No longer broken Obsidian Sync: setting custom device names now persists properly. Obsidian Sync: viewing version history of images and other media files no longer freeze the app trying...
Read Obsidian Release v0.12.0 (Obsidian Forum)
Shiny new things You can now search for tasks using task: similar to block:. There is also task-todo: and task-done: which will match only the tasks that are incomplete or complete, respectively. Use task:"" to match all tasks. Search and backlink results has been significantly reworked: Search results are now always expanded, instead of showing “… and x more matches”. “Show more context” will now show the markdown block, instead of a fixed number of lines before and after the match. There are...

Task lists [x] can now contain any character to indicate a completed task, instead of just x. This value can be used by custom CSS to change the appearance of the check mark, and is also available for plugins to use.

I’ll need to create some custom CSS for these in the past as I’ve used:
* - [>] to indicate that an item was pushed forward
* - [?] to indicate something I’m not sure was done in retrospect (typically for a particular day)
* - [~] to indicate something that didn’t occur, but is “done” anyway
* others?
Annotated on May 20, 2021 at 01:00PM

You can now search for tasks using task: similar to block:. There is also task-todo: and task-done: which will match only the tasks that are incomplete or complete, respectively. Use task:"" to match all tasks.

This will be incredibly useful to create as a view.
Annotated on May 20, 2021 at 01:03PM