Writing for Restoration

This is the second of a two-part series by Terrence Sampson. Terrence was incarcerated in 1989 at the age of 12, and is now serving the 25th year of a 30-year sentence. He has recently begun to pursue restoration through writing and Publication, and discusses his practice below. Terrence holds a Master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Houston-Clear Lake.  —bM

At the age of 17, I was sent to one of the most violent prison units in the state of Texas.

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On Not Publishing Dissertations

http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaelhenderson/866523877/Last July, the American Historical Association issued a statement suggesting that doctoral students be given the option to withhold dissertations from online public access for up to six years. The broad circulation of such work in databases like Proquest’s, it claimed, limits the ability of young scholars to secure publishing contracts for their dissertations in revised form. The AHA’s approach was criticized as running counter to the scholarly mission of sharing research. But what do university presses think of the embargoes? Laurie Matheson, Editor-in-Chief of the University of Illinois Press, shares her perspective.   —bM

Does the rise of ProQuest and similar online databases make it more difficult for scholars to publish books based on their dissertations? Most definitely.

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Digitization for Research and Scholarly Communication

Mara Wade’s contribution to the IPRH blog was prompted by a series of serendipitous conversations on the local bus. In this post, Prof. Wade uses her work with Emblematica Online, an online resource for emblem studies, to explain how digitization can inspire, aid, and shape research.  —bM

It really pays to ride the bus. That’s how several conversations about the IPRH blog and its theme of Publication evolved, and among them, some of the intellectually most productive discussions of this semester.

This posting treats digitization as a research activity and addresses issues central to digital scholarship and publication. While scholars love finding just the book they need in Internet Archive, Hathi Trust, Project Gutenberg, or Google Books, digitization alone does not answer research questions. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), for example, does not fund digitization for its own sake, but only within larger programs of research. While funding agencies understand, of course, that in some cases one must build a digital corpus in order to conduct research, digital scholarship seeks to reap the benefits of digitization.

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The Look of Winning

P.K. Subban

Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images.

P.K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens (left) stares down racist tweets after scoring the winning goal in a double-overtime playoff game against the Boston Bruins on May 1st, 2014.

According to the CBC, a media monitoring company reported that “the N-word and Subban’s name were used in conjunction on 17,000 tweets yesterday.”

Public tweets are archived by the Library of Congress, collected as part of our cultural heritage.


Photo by Miguel Ruiz – FCB.

Dani Alves of Barcelona FC (above) helped lift his team to victory over Villarreal on April 27th, 2014, perhaps refreshed after having eaten a banana that had been thrown onto the pitch purportedly in a racist taunt.

Days later, fans of Atlético Madrid were seen making monkey gestures during their team’s unexpected loss to Levante (below). Papakouli Diop, a player of Senegalese extraction, in turn drew attention to the racist insults by performing a “monkey dance.”

Recordings of the events now circulate widely on the Internet, and may thus be considered published and preserved in our collective memory.


Photo by AS English.

Updated to reflect the events that took place on May 4th, 2014, at the Estadi Ciutat de València.

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Savants, Peer Review, and Self-Publishing in 18th-century France

In her invited contribution to the theme of Publication, Marie-Claude Felton offers thoughts about the history of peer review and self-publishing. She recently completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University, where she studied the publishing activities of marginal scientists. Her book, Maîtres de leurs ouvrages. Édition à compte d’auteur à Paris au XVIIIe siècle, was released in March 2014 by Voltaire Foundation-Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment.  —bM

It is with much interest that I have followed the IPRH posts on Publication and on peer review. As a junior scholar, I am no stranger to the anxieties that the academic publishing system can provoke. Not only must we

publish lest we perish,

but the mode of publication that we use must convey its own intrinsic credibility, namely through peer review. As has been discussed in previous posts, there are ways scholars can reshape the traditional publication system, for example with the help of ‘open access’. With the advent of digital publishing in the last decade, questions of access to publication, of credibility, of peer review, and of authority (both individual and institutional) are relevant more than ever. When we take a look at the world of scientific publishing in 18th-century France, we actually realize how the anxieties linked to peer review and publication are rooted in a long past.

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Origins of Courteous Review

Stephen Jaeger shares a letter from 2010 in which he asked the Medieval Academy of America (MAA) to reconsider the reviewing practices of its scholarly publication, Speculum. Addressed to the Executive Committee of the MAA, the letter describes some of Prof. Jaeger’s experiences with anonymous peer review in Speculum, and encourages the adoption of a more open process of evaluation, such as the ones modeled by the editors of Shakespeare Quarterly and postmedieval—bM

August 24th, 2010

Dear Colleagues,
I’m sending a copy of an article on the front page of today’s New York Times on new alternatives to peer review. I would urge the leadership of the academy and the editor and board of Speculum to take its message seriously and consider a change in its current policy of anonymous peer review.

My long and largely unhappy experience with peer review in Speculum has set my own policy: never to review anonymously, but always to sign. It makes reviews more objective and more courteous. Of course, that’s what it means to attach your name to your work: I stand behind it and am willing to state my opinion publicly.

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Walking a Fine Line

This invited contribution to the theme of Publication comes from Mary S. Laskowski, who is Head of Collection Management Services at the University Library. In response to an earlier post on the IPRH blog about e-reserves and fair use, Mary shares a librarian’s perspective.  —bM

The University Library at the University of Illinois, as with all academic research libraries, walks a fine line between meeting the needs of patrons and satisfying all pertinent legal and contractual obligations. As noted in the Code of Ethics of the American Library Association,

“We respect intellectual property rights and advocate balance between the interests of information users and rightsholders.”

The e-reserve service, designed to provide electronic access to relevant course readings at the request of the faculty, faces that challenge on a daily basis.

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What’s Public Belongs to Google

GoogleCarsOn March 31st, Google asked the Supreme Court to consider legal the company’s interception of unencrypted Wi-Fi traffic.

As part of Google’s Street View program which offers panoramic street-level photographs, vehicles are equipped with cameras and other recording devices, and sent out to neighborhoods around the world.

Kevin Poulsen of Wired Magazine reports,

The company’s fleet of photo-snapping cars is equipped with Wi-Fi hardware to record the names and MAC addresses of nearby routers to improve Google geolocation services. From 2008-2010, those vehicles were also capturing tiny snippets of internet traffic from countless thousands of routers that weren’t employing encryption, turning every Street View vehicle into a rolling spy machine.

Subsequent investigation found that the electronic eavesdropping was part of an engineer’s 20-percent-time project.

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Full-Body Search

Preparing the "All Canadian Atlas" in Ottawa (1959).digital-strip-search-widedigital_search

Top: Preparing the All Canadian Atlas in Ottawa. From Hector Lemieux’s 1959 documentary, Portrait of Canada.
Middle: Digital strip searches in 2009.
Bottom: Sorting digital media in 2013.

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Publishing from Prison

In an invited two-part series on Publication, Terrence Sampson describes the practices of publishing as constrained by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Terrence has been incarcerated since the age of 12, and currently writes from Ramsey Unit in Rosharon, Texas. He holds a Master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Houston-Clear Lake, and encourages young detainees to use writing as a mode of self-expression.  —bM

Process of Publishing in the Texas Prison System 


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