I’ve got a new piece over at The Atlantic on Barack Obama’s prospective presidential library, which will be digital rather than physical. This has caused some consternation. We need to realize, however, that the Obama library is already largely digital:
The vast majority of the record his presid...
I love the perspective given here, and in the article, of how important a digital library might be.
The means and methods of digital preservation also become an interesting test case for this particular presidency because so much of it was born digitally. I’m curious what the overlaps are for those working in the archival research space? In fact, I know that groups like the Reynolds Journalism Institute have been hosting conferences like Dodging the Memory Hole which are working at preserving born digital news and I suspect there’s a huge overlap with what digital libraries like this one are doing. I have to think Dan would make an interesting keynote speaker if there were another Dodging the Memory Hole conference in the near future.
Given my technological background, I’m less reticent than some detractors of digital libraries, but this article reminds me of some of the structural differences in this particular library from an executive and curatorial perspective. Some of these were well laid out in an episode of On the Media which I listened to recently. I’d be curious to hear what Dan thinks of this aspect of the curatorial design, particularly given the differences a primarily digital archive might have. For example, who builds the search interface? Who builds the API for such an archive and how might it be designed to potentially limit access of some portions of the data? Design choices may potentially make it easier for researchers, but given the current and some past administrations, what could happen if curators were less than ideal? What happens with changes in technology? What about digital rot or even link rot? Who chooses formats? Will they be standardized somehow? What prevents pieces from being digitally tampered with? When those who win get to write the history, what prevents those in the future from digitally rewriting the narrative? There’s lots to consider here.
I am dipping into Equity Unbound, a new online course/collaboration with Mia Zamora, Maha Bali and Catherine Cronin. They will be working with university students as well as opening things up to other spaces where folks, like you and me, can jump in. (The Twitter tag is here: #unboundeq) I am always interested in seeing how new offerings can be riffs off previous open learning networks, such as NetNarr, Rhizo, Digiwrimo, CLMOOC, and others.
Possibly worst of all, your personal identity on the internet can end up fragmented like so many horcruxes across multiple websites over which you have little, if any, control.
Inherent in this idea is that corporate interests and others who run social sites can disappear, delete, or moderate out of existence any of my writing, photos, audio, video, or other content into the memory hole at any time and for almost any reason. And just like a destroyed horcrux, their doing so takes a bit of my soul (identity) with it each time.
A few years back, I decided to take back my own identity on the web and post everything of interest to me on my own website on my own domain first–a digital commonplace book if you will. Only then do I syndicate it into other communities, websites, or areas as needed. (Even this reply is on my own site before I syndicate it to yours.) As a result, I own a tremendously large part of my online identity (though even at that, a lot of it is published privately for myself or select small audiences).
I hope that as Equity Unbound continues and we explore the ideas of identity, public/private, and related topics, people might consider some of these ideas and implications and potentially work on expanding solutions for students, teachers, and the rest of the world.
This statement addresses some unfounded allegations about my personal involvement with the publishing of Ted Hill's preprint "An evolutionary theory for the variability hypothesis" (and the earlier version of this paper co-authored with Sergei Tabachnikov). As a number of erroneous statements have been made, I think it's important to state formally what transpired and my beliefs overall about academic freedom and integrity.
I first saw the publicly-available paper of Hill and Tabachnikov on 9/6/17, listed to appear in The Mathematical Intelligencer. While the original link has been taken down, the version of the paper that was publicly available on the arxiv at that time is here.
I sent an email, on 9/7/17, to the Editor-in-Chief of The Mathematical Intelligencer, about the paper of Hill and Tabachnikov. In it, I criticized the scientific merits of the paper and the decision to accept it for publication, but I never made the suggestion that the decision to publish it be reversed. Instead, I suggested that the journal publish a response rebuttal article by experts in the field to accompany the article. One day later, on 9/8/17, the editor wrote to me that she had decided not to publish the paper.
I had no involvement in any editorial decisions concerning Hill's revised version of this paper in The New York Journal of Mathematics. Any indications or commentary otherwise are completely unfounded.
I would like to make clear my own views on academic freedom and the integrity of the editorial process. I believe that discussion of scientific merits of research should never be stifled. This is consistent with my original suggestion to bring in outside experts to rebut the Hill-Tabachnikov paper. Invoking purely mathematical arguments to explain scientific phenomena without serious engagement with science and data is an offense against both mathematics and science.
In the highly controversial area of human intelligence, the ‘Greater Male Variability Hypothesis’ (GMVH) asserts that there are more idiots and more geniuses among men than among women. Darwin’s research on evolution in the nineteenth century found that, although there are many exceptions for ...
I understand the potential political implications of such research, but blocking publication like this seems a tad underhanded. I’ve not yet read the paper, but want to take a look at it at least from an evolutionary theoretic standpoint. Admittedly on its face it sounds a bit more like pure theory rather than anything supported by actual evidence and underlying research in reality, but there’s no reason to stop the idea if it could potentially be a fruitful area.
If a formally refereed and published paper can later be erased from the scientific record and replaced by a completely different article, without any discussion with the author or any announcement in the journal, what will this mean for the future of electronic journals?
This is a very concerning issue and a good reason why people should also practice samizdat and place multiple copies online in various repositories.
I’ve recently outlined how ideas like a Domain of One’s Own and IndieWeb philosophies could be used to allow researchers and academics to practice academic samizdat on the open web to own and maintain their own open academic research and writing. A part of this process is the need to have useful and worthwhile back up and archiving ability as one thing we have come to know in the history of the web is that link rot is not our friend.
Toward that end, for those in the space I’ll point out some useful resources including the IndieWeb wiki pages for archival copies. Please contribute to it if you can. Another brilliant resource is the annual Dodging the Memory Hole conference which is run by the Reynolds Journalism Institute.
While Dodging the Memory Hole is geared toward saving online news in particular, many of the conversations are nearly identical to those in the broader archival space and also involve larger institutional resources and constituencies like the Internet Archive, the Library of Congress, and university libraries as well. The conference is typically in the fall of each year and is usually announced in August/September sometime, so keep an eye out for its announcement. In the erstwhile, they’ve recorded past sessions and have archive copies of much of their prior work in addition to creating a network of academics, technologists, and journalists around these ideas and related work. I’ve got a Twitter list of prior DtMH participants and stake-holders for those interested.
I’ll also note briefly, that as I self-publish on my own self-hosted domain, I use a simple plugin so that both my content and the content to which I link are being sent to the Internet Archive to create copies there. In addition to semi-regular back ups I make locally, this hopefully helps to mitigate potential future loss and link rot.
As a side note, major bonus points to Robin DeRosa (@actualham) for the use of the IndieWeb hashtag in her post!!
Dave Winer has a great post today on the closing of blogs.harvard.edu. These are sites run by Berkman, some dating back to 2003, which are being shut down. My galaxy brain goes towards the idea of …
An interesting take on self-hosting and DoOO ideas with regard to archiving and maintaing web presences. I’ll try to write a bit more on this myself shortly as it’s an important area that needs to be expanded for all on the open web.
We create almost everything on the internet, but we control almost none of it.
As time passes, I fear that more and more of what happened in those days will live only in memory. The internet has slowly unraveled since 2011: Image-hosting sites went out of business, link shorteners shut down, tweets got deleted, and YouTube accounts were shuttered. One broken link at a time, one of the most heavily documented historical events of the social media era could fade away before our eyes.
If Edward McCain (t) hasn’t come across this article yet, it might make an interesting case study for this year’s Dodging the Memory Hole conference. Definitely an interesting case of people archiving their online content.
In honor of Dodging the Memory Hole 2017 this week, for free (hosting and domain registration not included) I’ll offer to build one journalist or academic a basic IndieWeb-capable WordPress-based portfolio website to display and archive their personal work.
Preference will be given to those in attendance at the conference, but any who need an “author platform” for their work are welcome. Comment or reply below by 11/25/17 to enter.
I’ve just spent an inordinate amount of time creating an archive of all my past online writing work, in particular of the tech blog I founded ReadWriteWeb. I thought I’d outline my reasons for doing this, and why I ended up relying heavily on the Internet Archive instead of the original website sources.
Journalists, take note of how Richard MacManus created an online archive of his writing work!
I’m sure it took a tremendous amount of work given his long history of writing, but he’s now got a great archive as well as a nearly complete online portfolio of his work. If you haven’t done this or have just started out, here are some potentially useful resources to guide your thoughts.
I’m curious how others are doing this type of online archive. Feel free to share your methods.
RSVPed Interested in Attending https://www.rjionline.org/events/dodging-the-memory-hole-2017
Please join us at Dodging the Memory Hole 2017: Saving Online News on Nov. 15-16 at the Internet Archive headquarters in San Francisco. Speakers, panelists and attendees will explore solutions to the most urgent threat to cultural memory today — the loss of online news content. The forum will focus on progress made in and successful models of long-term preservation of born-digital news content. Journalistic content published on websites and through social media channels is ephemeral and easily lost in a tsunami of digital content. Join professional journalists, librarians, archivists, technologists and entrepreneurs in addressing the urgent need to save the first rough draft of history in digital form.
The two-day forum — funded by the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute and an Institute of Museum and Library Services grant awarded to the Journalism Digital News Archive, UCLA Library and the Educopia Institute — will feature thought leaders, stakeholders and digital preservation practitioners who are passionate about preserving born-digital news. Sessions will include speakers, multi-member panels, lightning round speakers and poster presenters examining existing initiatives and novel practices for protecting and preserving online journalism.
I attended this conference at UCLA in Fall 2016; it was fantastic! I highly recommend it to journalists, coders, Indieweb enthusiasts, publishers, and others interested in the related topics covered.
Linkrot and the lack of permanence on the web is a recurring theme for this blog. In the final days as App.net was winding down, I wanted to put my money where my mouth was. I spun up a couple new servers and wrote a set of scripts to essentially download every post on App.net. It feels like a fragile archive, put together hastily, but I believe it’s mostly complete. I’ve also downloaded thumbnail versions of some of the public photos hosted on App.net.
Interesting to see that Manton Reece created an impromptu archive of all of App.net before it shut down.
This has to be the most awesome Indieweb pull request I've seen this year.
WithKnown is a fantastic, free, and opensource content management service that supports some of the most bleeding edge technology on the internet. I’ve been playing with it for over two years and love it!
And today, there’s another reason to love it even more…
This is also a great reminder that developers can have a lasting and useful impact on the world around them–even in the political arena.