July 20, 2006


Kathleen Fitzpatrick has offered a lengthy post about MediaCommons (cross-posted also on her own blog), in which she - in collaboration with many scholars and The Institute for the Future of the Book - introduces preliminary suggestions for a model of scholarly publishing that moves beyond what for many appears to be an unsustainable and slowly declining print model. Rather than attempt to summarize, I offer the above link (which also includes a number of insightful comments) as well as if.book's post containing a round-up of initial reactions.

I suspect this is a project that must be led primarily by senior scholars (read: tenured), for no other reason than to protect the untenured from investing too heavily in something that may not be valued (enough) come time for review. Notwithstanding, there are a number of good ideas at work here - I'm excited about MediaCommons' prospects and look forward to watching the discussion unfold.

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March 8, 2006

Nebraska Digital Workshop

The Center for Digital Research in the Humanities Call for proposals looks like a great opportunity especially for graduate students, although the description seems to suggest that humanities computing projects (actual applications, archives, etc) are what they are looking for, rather than the broader "digital humanities" (which might involve study born-digital objects like cybertexts or computer games). In any case, if you are working on a digital project, check it out.

And hurrah for another digital humanities center.
[via palms]

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March 7, 2006

Tools for Game (and New Media) Scholarship

On our way over to Scott's talk today, Marc was telling me about his VIAO, which came with (correct me if I'm wrong Marc) a TV tuner card and some software that allowed him to play his GameCube on his screen. The software also allowed him to record his play sessions. My understanding had always been that there was significant lag with a setup like this, making console game play all but impossible on such a rig. This is why I've avoided buying another video card, and why the Adaptec GameBridge was potentially a big deal (and, at under $100, still seems like a possible solution). Marc says, not so - it works just fine (Marc, have you tried it with the PS2?).

I'm curious about other's experiences - how do you "do" game scholarship? What tools do you use? What tools do we need? Do you record play sessions or, like me, just have a LOT of notes and a LOT of saved game files?

This is at least indirectly related to Scott's talk, in which he gave a nice overview of the ELO, its history and purpose, some of its future goals, and the challenges implicit in the study of new media objects that question, resist, or even outright defy genre. Scott shared several examples from the forthcoming Electronic Literature Collection and generated some nice discussion about genre and the "literature question" (as in, "Is this even literature?"), as well as about general e-lit teaching strategies and preservation and archiving challenges. Though I've followed Scott's blogging (both his personal one and Grand Text Auto), I was pleased to hear about his work in person, which was intriguing enough to run the program well past its normal stopping time.

If you are in the DC area, MITH's Digital Dialogues has a great line-up this semester, including scholars like Scott (today), Jerome McGann and Johanna Drucker (March 14) and Alan Liu (April 28) as well as writer Shelley Jackson, author of Patchwork Girl, Skin, Doll Diaries (April 17) and comic guru Scott McCloud of _Understanding Comics_ fame (May 2). There are many others, so look at the full schedule here (PDF).

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December 14, 2005

Great Advice

So You Want a Ph.D. in Digital Humanities, Digital Studies, New Media, Electronic Literature . . .

I occasionally get asked where one should go for a Ph.D. in one of the above fields. I thought I'd offer up a general response to that question here.

Matthew Kirschenbaum offers up some solid advice for humanities students who are considering pursuing a PhD.

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June 8, 2005

Under the category of "dream jobs"

Position: Assistant Professor
Salary: $50,000 to less than $60,000
Institution: University of Central Florida
Location: Florida
Date posted: 5/27/2005

The School of Film and Digital Media (SFDM) at the University of Central Florida has over 1200 undergraduate students, and 36 faculty members, and offer B.A., M.A., and M.F.A. degrees. The school has facilities on the main campus as well as a new graduate and professional center in downtown Orlando.

SFDM is seeking to fill a tenure track Assistant Professor position, with an emphasis in digital storytelling, that would also include a secondary joint appointment in the Department of English.

Duties include teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in Digital Media and English, advising undergraduate students in Digital media, providing service to the department, college, and university, and developing and maintaining a program of research.

A terminal degree in an area related to Digital Media is required. Experience in grant proposal preparation, and demonstrated interpersonal skills are required.

The necessary background to develop an active research area in digital narratology or closely related are preferred. University teaching experience is preferred.
STARTING DATE:August 8, 2005

[via the Chronicle]

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April 19, 2005

University of Maryland Tuition Hike

In a lovely nod to all those dissertating students at the University of Maryland, many of whom are taking only 1 credit of 899 (dissertation credits) to keep Stafford loans at bay while staying enrolled, campus decided to increase ABD students' tuition by nearly half [PDF]. ABD students, starting Fall 2005, will pay a "flat" rate of $650 per semester in-state ($1200 out-of-state), rather than $371.

Hello inflation.

That's right. A targeted tuition hike, hitting the people who for years provided nearly free labor, at a University that has raised tuition so many times in the past four years that they are almost keeping pace with the DC-area housing market. A University that is one of the most expensive public universities in the country.

What the hell?

If you want a taste of irony, this news item falls right under the one highlighting Graduate Student Appreciation Week.

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February 8, 2005

Online Bibliography Tool

I'm looking for a relatively straight-forward pre-fab bibliography database. I'd be happiest if it was hosted on my server, if it was php/mysql or something else I could understand, and if it was free. It would be great if it exported to something like html or pdf. In MLA format.

Basically, I'm tired of not being able to enter records into something like ProCite unless I have my main computer next to me.

Any suggestions?

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March 15, 2004

The Politics of Information

The Politics of Information, edited by Marc Bousquet and Katherine Wills, is available at ebr

Contributors include Charles Bernstein, Bennett Voyles, DeeDee Halleck, Fran Ilich, Bruce Simon, Mark Amerika, Katherine Wills, David Golumbia, Tiziana Terranova, Nick Dyer-Witheford, John Monberg, Matt Kirschenbaum, Donna Haraway, Lisa Nakamura, Mark Poster, Kembrew McLeod, Caren Irr, Tara McPherson, Anne-Marie Schleiner, Paul Collins, Harvey Molloy, Marc Bousquet, Ken Saltman, Timothy W. Luke, Stephanie Tripp, Katie King, Laura L. Sullivan, Susan Schreibman, Chris Carter, Gregory Ulmer, and Victor Vitanza.

Lots of familiar names in there, including people I've worked with at UMD: Matt K, Susan Schreibman, Katie King.

Makes me wish my Gameboy could also function as a PDA so I could read this on the Metro.

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February 22, 2004

Mental Note

Gary Alan Fine. Shared fantasy : role-playing games as social worlds. Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1983.


Beyond Role and Play, edited by Markus Montola and Jaakko Stenros, product of the Solmukohta nordic role-playing convention.

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February 18, 2004

News Round-Up

IDGA - Ivory Tower column, Dungeons, Dragons, and Ivory Towers, where Chaim Gingold focuses on issues of collaboration between the game industry developers and academics/researchers.

Michael, of GTA, officially announced the creation of the Experimental Game Lab at Georgia Tech, which is holding an open house on February 27th.

The Associated Press is getting into the game with their recent article on game studies, now syndicated at a newspaper near you.

If you kick a robotic dog, is it wrong? - the Christian Science Monitor looks into the question. GTA delves deeper.

Matt K.'s graduate seminar blog links to much of the conversation around Aarseth's Cybertext (which is, quite frankly, not much - for such an important book, there are surprisingly few reviews of it). Great set of links (and Espen even swings by).

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February 13, 2004

5 Elements / Academic Blogging

The 5 Elements of Digital Storytelling by Nora Paul and Christina Fiebich from the U. of Minnesota [via Lisbeth].

Also, Lisbeth's Academic Papers on Blogs

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January 14, 2004

Game-centered Information, Communication & Society

The new issue of Information, Communication & Society [abstracts available; fulltext limited to subscribers] is game-centered, with the following articles.

Mapping the Bit Girl: Lara Croft and new media fandom by Bob Rehak

Boundary Spaces by T. L. Taylor, Beth E. Kolko

The Video Game Lightning Rod by Dmitri Williams

Aside: I was on a panel with Dmitri at the latest AoIR conference, where he spoke of his research on social relationships - online and off - in MMORPGs. He continues to bring some much needed perspective on the current status of research related to games' effects on behavior, both in his dissertation as well as on the Games Research Network listserv. His dissertation, which I will not claim to have read yet, is available for download at his online CV

Geography of the Digital Hearth by Bernadette Flynn

The Sims: Real Life as Genre by Diane Nutt, Diane Railton

From Pong to Planet Quake: Post-Industrial Transitions from Leisure to Work by Hector Postigo

Playstation and the Power of Unexpected Consequences by Alberto Alvisi, Alessandro Narduzzo, Marco Zamarian

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January 8, 2004

Online Teaching Guides

As George, Chuck, and I were discussing developing George's idea for sharing teaching resources, Chuck passed along this handy link: a Guide to Literary and Critical Theory.

In the overall conversation, we were brainstorming methods for developing on online resource/blog/wiki/something that would allow not only a listing of resources already online, but a place for teachers of English (loosely defined to include film and even game studies) to exchange, critique, and collaborate on course materials, which might range from books to include in a class, to possible assignments, and so on.

If you're interested in participating or have some ideas to share, you should go check out George's post and leave a comment.

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December 10, 2003

Digital Dissertation

As December graduation deadline dates are fast approaching, please update all department publications, and notify degree candidates that, effective Fall 2003, all Thesis and Dissertations will be submitted electronically. The on-line submission process is outlined at our web site http://dissertations.umi.com/umd [from University email]

The University of Maryland now only accepts a thesis or dissertation in PDF format (they take .rtf and .doc, but change them into PDF). This is a pretty radical shift, I think, not just in general policy, but in terms of what a dissertation can easily include. Of course, digital dissertations aren't new, but we are talking enforced doctrine here, rather than early adoption.

The UMD process still has restrictions in terms of margins and other formatting issues (fonts, grr!), but you can still embed video, images, and sound easily in a PDF document, not to mention use programs like Quark to develop elaborate designs within the established guidelines. While I'm grateful that I'll eventually save money on copy costs, I really wonder: are they just trying to make it harder for me to finish?

Hyperlinks. Images. Video. Sound.

Bound, but unbound.

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November 14, 2003

Gaming Programs

New article - Wired News: Academics Can Be Fun and Games - about increased study of games at universities. [via /.]

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