Syllabus for Spring 2019
Generally Wednesdays: 9:30-12:30, but sometimes Mondays. See Google Calendar for details
Juan Pablo Alperin, firstname.lastname@example.org
PUB802 asks the fundamental question: what happens to publishing in an era where the vast majority of publishing and reading happens on the Internet? More broadly, this course is intended to encourage a critical examination of the ways in which technologies are shaping every aspect of our personal lives, and the very structure of our society. For how can we understand the intersection of technologies and publishing without first exploring the role of technology, and technology companies, in shaping our values, our psychology, and our daily habits?
After a discussion of the way Web has changed us, and the way it has evolved itself, the course will explore some aspects of how technology has affected making, discovering, and consuming content. The discussion will include an exploration of publishing platforms, making works available in the marketplace (both digital and physical), and the digital reading experience. By the end of it, we will hopefully have a sense of how digital technologies have redefining the value and even the very meaning of publishing.
PUB802 is a seminar, but it is not your typical seminar. While there is a syllabus below, it is only a starting point. We will work on filling it out together during the first class, and you will continue to shape it every week as the course progresses. In pairs, you will each take responsibility for a week and a topic, and we will all learn together about the things that matter or concern you most regarding tech. Expect and be prepared to be challenged, but also to challenge others—without discussion, there is no seminar. PUB802 is also a graduate course. This means the discussions are based around ideas, not around specific technologies or moments in time. We will, however, endeavour to ground these ideas with concrete examples and case studies.
We will meet mostly on Wednesdays for 3 hours, but there is some variation in the schedule. Below is a summary of the dates, which will be input into the MPub Google Calendar.
Jan 9 – Wednesday
Jan 14 – Monday
Jan 21 – Monday
Jan 30 – Wednesday
Feb 6 – Wednesday
Feb 13 – no class (Emerging Leaders)
Feb 20 – no class (Reading week)
Feb 25 – Monday
March 6 – Wednesday
March 13 – Wednesday
March 20 – Wednesday
March 27 – Wednesday
April 3 – Wednesday
The following is a rough outline of the course’s coverage. In reality, we will be much more flexible around topics to allow our discussions to go on as long as we feel is necessary and to cover topics as they come up.
Week 1, January 9: Introduction to the course
- wordpress demo
- hypothes.is demo and set up
- bring laptops to class, if you have them
- Craig Mod. 2018. The ‘Future Book’ Is Here, but It’s Not What We Expected. Wired.
- response: Carmody, Tim. 2018. Towards the Future Book. Kottke.org
Week 2, January 14: The Web changes things
- Gopnik, Adam. 2011. The Information: How the Internet gets inside us. The New Yorker.
- Dash, Anil. 2016. There is no “technology industry.” Medium.
- Dash, Anil. 2017. Tech and the Fake Market tactic. Medium.
- McGuire, Hugh. 2016, April 23. What books can learn from the Web / What the Web can learn from books. Medium.
- Derakhshan, Hossein. 2015, July 14. The Web We Have to Save. Medium.
- Kottke, Jason. 2013, December. The blog is dead, long live the blog. NiemanLab.
- Multiple authors. 2018. Welcome to the post-text future. NYTimes.
- Shatzkin. Words-to-be-read are losing ground to words-to-be-heard, a new stage of digital content evolution. The Shatzkin Files.
- Kottke, Jason. 2016. WWW: The Way We Were. kottke.org.
- Meyer, Robinson. 2015. What Blogging Has Become.The Atlantic.
- Shapiro, Dani. 2014. A memoir is not a status update. New Yorker.
- Stearns, Josh. 2015. The best online storytelling and journalism of 2014. Medium.
- Vara, Vauhini. 2015. Is Amazon Creating A Cultural Monopoly?The New Yorker.
- Cohen. 2018. Back to the Blog.
- Dash. 2018. The Missing Building Blocks of the Web. Medium.
prompt for next week:
Gopnik describes three classes of people: the Never-Betters, the Better-Nevers, and the Ever-Wasers. Which are you? Where are we as a society? Or is there a different category you and we belong in?
Week 3, January 21: The Web changes itself
- Chimero, Frank. 2018. The Good Room. frankchimero.com
- short version: Carmody, Tim. 2018. The web is a library; the web is a shopping mall. kottke.org
- Singh, Alex. 2018. On the Web’s transition from nomadism to feudalism. Twitter.
- Madrigal, Alexis. 2017. The Weird Thing About Today’s Internet: The world’s biggest tech companies might be bigger than you think. The Atlantic.
- response: Kottke, Jason. 2017. How the Internet has changed in the past 10 years. kottke.org.
- Kolbert, Elizabeth. 2017. Who Owns the Internet? The New Yorker.
Blog Prompt: The readings this week examine the web today and reflect back on where it used to be. Have their reflections made you see the web differently? How so? What do you most appreciate about the way things are? What do you think the authors are right to be nostalgic about?
start of Wikipedia assignment
- Staltz, André. 2017. The Web began dying in 2014, here’s how. staltz.com.
- Mobile Ad hoc Network. Wikipedia.
- Peters, Adele. 2017. Want To Guarantee Net Neutrality? Join Peer-To-Peer, Community-Run Internet. Fast Company.
Week 4, January 30: Internet Business Models (Part One)
- Hempel, Jessi. 2016. Medium takes aim at WordPress with a new way to power websites. Wired.
- Williams, Ev. 2018. The Medium Model. Medium.
- Williams, Ev. 2018. The rationalization of publishing. Medium
- Platform Co-operative
Blog Prompt: Answer any of the following questions and feel free to include any ideas from our class discussion. What do you think of the Medium model and its use of subscription? What can be the publishing version of services like Netflix and Spotify? How can platform cooperativism be applied to publishing? How can it make publishing better?
tech lesson: What is XML and why does anyone care about it?
- Shatzkin. Medium publishes a book and gets some big PR. The Shatzkin Files.
- Semuels, Alana. 2018. The Authors Who Love Amazon. The Atlantic.
- Shatzkin, Mike. 2018. The dominance of Amazon needs to be addressed but it is far more attributable to natural circumstances than it is anybody’s fault. The Shatzkin Files.
Week 5, February 6: Internet Business Models (Part two)
- Patreon, Kickstarter and the new patrons of the arts (The New Medicis). The Economist.
- Carmody, Tim. 2017. Unlocking the commons: or, the psychoeconomics of patronage. kottke.org.
- Knepper, Brent. 2017. No One Makes a Living on Patreon. The Outline.
- Dash, Anil. 2015, Sept. 25. How we pass the buck: Ads, blocking, and how we make sure it’s never actually our fault. Medium.
- Hern, Alex. 2013. Adblock Plus: the tiny plugin threatening the internet’s business model. The Guardian.
What are the challenges and consequences of particular business models becoming dominant?
tech lesson: Pandoc (format conversion tool).
- Graham, Richard. 2017. Google and advertising: digital capitalism in the context of Post-Fordism, the reifiation of language, and the rise of fake news. Palgrave Communications.
- Shatzkin, Mike. 2011, July 24. Publishing is Living in a World Not of its Own Making. The Shatzkin Files.
- Shatzkin, Mike. 2017. Agency pricing didn’t restrain Amazon; it strengthened them. The Shatzkin Files.
- Kitteridge, Harrison. 2017, Dec 11. Creating the Uber of Publishing (Updated). Medium.
- Joseph, Heather. 2013, Oct 22. The Open Access Movement Grows Up: Taking Stock of a Revolution. PLOS.
- Albanese, Andrew & Milliot, Jim. 2015, Sept 25. After Oyster, What’s Next for E-book Subscriptions? Publishers Weekly.
- Shatzkin, Mike. 2014, August 17. This is a teamwork play that could really give Amazon a headache if they got together.The Shatzkin Files.
- Newton, Casey. 2017. Instant Recall. The Verge.
- Watters, Audrey. 2017. Education Technology and the Power of Platforms. hackeducation.com
- Bjarnason, Baldur. 2015, September. The discussion about ad blocking is very dumb (but not in the way you think).
- Kelleher, Kevin. 2014, November 6. Amazon Bound: Is Bezos Reaching His Limits? PandoDaily.
- Eisen, Mike. 2011, April 22. Amazon’s $23,698,655.93 book about flies. it is NOT junk.
February 13: (Emerging Leaders)
- no class
February 20: (Reading week)
- no class
Week 6, February 27: Copyright
- It is Fair Use/Fair Dealing week!
- Davisson, Amber. 2016. “Mashing Up, Remixing, and Contesting the Popular Memory of Hillary Clinton.” Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 22.
- Georgas, Helen. 2019, January. “The Digital is Ephemeral: E-Books and the Future of Library Collections.” Lady Science.
- Meers, Whitney. 2017, November. “I Don’t Care About Net Neutrality Because I’m Fine Letting Greedy Telecom Companies Decide How I Use the Internet.” Hackernoon.
- Melendez, Steven. 2018. “Here Come the Copyright Bots for Hire, with Lawyers in Tow.” Fast Company.
- Dewey, Caitlin. 2016, March. “How we’re unwittingly letting robots censor the Web.” The Washington Post.
- Reda, Julia. “Out-of-control censorship machines removed my article warning of out-of-control censorship machines.”
- Crash Course on Intellectual Property: Video Playlist
- Copyright Week 2019, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).
- Stoltz. 2019. Copyright’s Safe Harbors Preserve What We Love About the Internet. Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).
- Harmon. 2019. Don’t Put Robots in Charge of the Internet. Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).
- Comic on Google Books Fair Use case
- Doctorow, Cory. 2014, February 5. What happens with digital rights management in the real world?The Guardian.
- Bright, Peter. 2017. DRM in HTML5 is a victory for the open Web, not a defeat. arsTechnica
- Doctorow, Cory. 2017. DRM’s Dead Canary: How We Just Lost the Web, What We Learned from It, and What We Need to Do Next. EFF
- Hern, Alex. 2016. Revealed: How copyright law is being misused to remove material from the internet. The Guardian.
- Delwiche, Aaron. 2014. Scanner tags, comic book piracy, and participatory culture. First Monday.
- Mullin, Joe. 2015. Filmmakers fighting “Happy Birthday” copyright find their “smoking gun”. ArsTechnica.
- Tracks. 2004, February, 9. The Mouse That Remixed. New Yorker.
- DJ Dangermouse. 2004. Grey Album. (Audio)
- Menand, Louis. 2014, October 20. Crooner in Rights Spat. New Yorker.
- Van der Sar, Ernesto. 2017, November 4. Book Author Trolled Pirates to Make a Point. TorrentFreak.
- Ling, Justin. What the TPP means for copyright law in Canada. National Magazine.
- Van der Sar, Ernesto. 2017, February 20. Online Piracy Can Boost Comic Book Sales, Research finds.TorrentFreak.
Review any fair use/fair dealing court case. What are your thoughts on the outcome of the case?
Tech Lesson: Algorithms, AI, and Machine Learning
Week 7, March 6: Data Privacy
- Curran, Dylan. 2018. On the data collected about us. Twitter.
- Tufekci. Facebook’s Surveillance Machine.NYTimes.
- Schneier, Bruce interviewed by Agne Pix. 2017. Surveillance is the Business Model of the Internet. openDemocracy.
- Doctorow, Cory. 2018. Deleting Facebook is not enough: without antitrust, the company will be our lives’ “operating system.” BoingBoing.
- Vaidhyanathan, Siva. 2018. Don’t Delete Facebook. Do Something About It. NYTimes.
- Morozov, Evgeny. 2018. After the Facebook scandal it’s time to base the digital economy on public v private ownership of data. The Guardian.
- boyd, danah. 2018. Media Manipulation, Strategic Amplification, and Responsible Journalism.Data & Society: Points.
Blog Prompt: Do you think that the government should run a campaign to improve people’s awareness of protecting their data privacy? Should it be incorporated into the local curriculum system? How? Is there any existing example?
In your post, you could address and discuss some of the following: what you were surprised by and what you still didn’t understand; what the uses of data you are comfortable with; and how you would like the data privacy to be regulated.
Week 8, March 13: Distribution & Discovery
[[ Guest: Jamie Broadhurst, Raincoast books (to be confirmed) ]]
- Dawson, Laura. 2012. What We Talk About When We Talk About Metadata. In McGuire, Hugh & O’Leary, Brian (Eds.). Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto. O’Reilly Media.
- Shatzkin, Mike. 2018. A changing book business: it all seems to be flowing downhill to Amazon.
- Shatzkin, Mike. 2018. The best ways to use Lightning are not widely employed yet 20 years in. The Shatzkin Files.
- Michel, Lincoln. 2016. Everything You Wanted to Know about Book Sales (But Were Afraid to Ask). Electric Lit.
- #AmReading: Canadian Book Buyers on Facebook. BookNet Canada (requires SFU login)
- Hugh McGuire. 2013. A Publisher’s Job Is to Provide a Good API for Books. O’Reilly TOC.
- Shatzkin, Mike. 2016. Book publishing lives in an environment shaped by larger forces and always has.
- Knowledge@Wharton. 2014. Pull vs. Push: Publishers Search for New Ways to Help Readers Discover Their Content.
- Sharma, Amit. 2016, April 27. How much traffic do recommender systems actually cause? Medium.
- How does the Amazon Recommendation feature work?StackOverflow (see all answers).
- Chartbeat. 2015. Getting There. Quarterly.
- Shatzkin, Mike. 2014. The future of bookstores is the key to understanding the future of publishing.The Shatzkin Files.
- Shatzkin, Mike. 2017. Knowing which titles to work on is a challenge today that was not important 10 years ago. The Shatzkin Files.
- Mills, Dana. 2017. An Inside Look at “Quietly” Helping MEC Launch Good Times Outside.Project Report: Masters of Publishing.
- Rosenberg. 2017. How Google Book Search Got Lost.Wired.
- Herrman, John. 2015, December 3. Access Denied. The Awl.
- Friedman, Jane. 2013. The Importance of Metadata in Book Discoverability. Sprint Beyond the Book.
- Guren, Cliff. 2017. OptiQly: Augmented Intelligence For Book Marketers.
Register, Renée. 2014. Four Ways Book Metadata Is Changing. dbw.
- Patrick, Chung, Kyusik & Chandler, Otis. 2012. How do Books get Discovered? In McGuire, Hugh & O’Leary, Brian (Eds.). Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto. O’Reilly Media.
- Konnikova, Maria. 2014, January 21. The Six Things That Make Stories Go Viral Will Amaze, and Maybe Infuriate, You. New Yorker.
- Hodas, N.O. & Lerman, K., 2014. The Simple Rules of Social Contagion. Sci. Rep., 4.
What might be possible/different could you envision if we had perfect, high quality, complete metadata that was community based? If we could get the publishers and Amazon to cooperate?
Also consider: What are the dangers of a single entity controlling metadata? What are other options? How could you democratize the use/creation of metadata?
Week 9, March 20: Measuring & Tracking
- Parker, Sydney. 2017. Why Your Business Can’t Ignore Dark Social. Hootsuite
- Phillips, Stephen. 2016. Can Big Data Find the Next ‘Harry Potter’? The Atlantic
- Neary, Lynn. 2016. Publishers’ Dilemma: Judge A Book By Its Data Or Trust The Editor’s Gut? NPR
- Fischett, Mark. 2017. Great Literature Is Surprisingly Arithmetic. Scientific American.
- Emerging Technology from the arXiv. 2016. Data Mining Reveals the Six Basic Emotional Arcs of Storytelling. MIT Technology Review.
- Porter, Anderson. 2017. What Canada’s Shelfie Data Suggests About Ebook Subscriptions.Publishing Perspectives.
- Rhomberg,Andrew. 2015. Jellybooks: Tracking Reader Engagement for Better Marketing. Publishing Perspectives
- Willens, Max. 2018. Viral publishers see sharp engagement drops on Facebook. Digiday
- Apple on the “radical” use of humans to edit the news. Snippet from this NYTimes Story.
- Madrigal, A. 2012, Oct. Dark Social: We have the whole history of the Web wrong.The Atlantic.
- Alter, A & Russel, K. 2016, March 14. Moneyball for Book Publishers: A Detailed Look at How We Read. New York Times.
- Moses, Lucia. 2018. After Facebook news-feed changes, publishers look hopefully to Pinterest. Digiday
- 2017. DPS analytics. Adobe
- Molla, Rani. 2018. Google is replacing Facebook’s traffic to publishers. Recode
- The Dark side of Mobile Sharing. Radiomen
- 2014, Getting to know you. The Economist
- Vooza. Big Data. vooza.com
- Vooza. Bullshit Metrics. vooza.com
- Pornhub Stats (Super Bowl & World Cup)
Blog Prompt: Imagine that you are a publisher and had access to any data that is out there. What information would be beneficial to you and how could you get this information without impeding on personal privacy? How do you intend to you use this information to guide your decision making?
Week 10, March 27: Digital reading
- Konnikova, Maria. 2014, July 16. Being a Better Online Reader. New Yorker.
- Flanagan, Linda. 2016. How Audiobooks Can Help Kids Who Struggle with Reading. KQED
- Underwood, Reed. 2016. Twinescapes, Or The Rise Of Spatial Hypertext.
- Plate, S. Brent. 2015. Marginalia and Its Disruptions. LA Review of Books.
- Klinkenborg, Verlyn. 2013, August 10. Books to Have and to Hold. New York Times SundayReview.
- Rosenwald, Michael. 2014, April 6. Serious reading takes a hit from online scanning and skimming, researchers say. Washington Post.
- PewResearchCentre. 2014. Report on Reading.
- Genner, Noah. 2014, March 7. Canadian Readers by the Numbers. BookNet Canada.
- BNC Research. 2013. The Canadian Book Consumer 2013: Coast to Coast: Book Buyers Across Canada.
- Zickuhr, Kathryn & Rainie, Lee. 2014, September 10. Younger Americans and Public Libraries. PewResearch Internet Project.
- Crosbie, Vin. 2008, August 20. Transforming American Newspapers – part 2!. Corante—Rebuilding Media.
- Pelli, Denis G. & Bigelow, Charles. 2009, October 20. A Writing Revolution Seed Magazine. Seed Magazine.
- Manjoo. Farhad. 2013, June 6. You Won’t Finish This Article: Why people online don’t read to the end. Slate.
- Cohen, Dan. 2015. What’s the Matter with Ebooks? Dan Cohen Blog
- Cohen, Dan. 2016. What’s the Matter with Ebooks: An Update. Dan Cohen’s Blog.
- Hoffelder, Nate. 2017. Damn the Facts: The “Ebook Sales Are Down” Narrative Must be Maintained at All Costs. The digital reader.
- Watters, Audrey. 2017. Un-Annotated. audreywatters.com (Annotations are disabled.)
- Booknet Canada. 2016. The State of Digital Publishing.
- McWilliams, James. 2018, Feb 12. Teaching the art of reading in the digital era. Pacific Standard.
- Namakura, Lisa . 2013. Words with Friends: Socially Networked Reading on Goodreads. PMLA 128 (1)
- A.C. 2015. The Real Future of Electronic Literature. The Economist
Blog is deferred this week. Instead, write your reflective essays and come with questions for class.
Week 11, April 3: Creating knowledge in this tech environment
- Readings on scholarly communications
Blog Prompt: Discuss how different digital reading experiences are similar or different from one another. What distinguishes each? Are they all forms of reading? Is one more “pure” than the rest?
some possible topics that we could spend some time going over in class
- character encodings
- Twitter network analysis
- trackers and ad-blockers
readings that haven’t made it into the topic list above, but have been in previous syllabi
- Meeker, Mary. 2016. Internet Trends 2016 – Code Conference
- Fischer, Sara. 2017. Axios Media Trends.
- Swartz, Aaron. 2013. A Programmable Web (An Unfinished Work) (Chapter 1).
- Ford, Paul. 2015, June 11. What is Code? BusinessWeek.
- Bush, Vannear. 1945. As We May Think. The Atlantic.
- Marconi, Francesco. 2015. The Rise of Homeless Media. Medium.
- Basile, Jonathan. libraryofbabel.info
- W3C Web Publishing Working Group. 2018. Publishing WG has published three First Public Working Drafts. w3c.org.
- Sloan, R., Mod, C., Quinn, R., & Horowitz, E. 2015. The Pickle: A Conversation About Making Digital Books (All parts). Medium.
- Fadeyev, Dmitry. 2012, October 29. The Return of the Scroll. usabilitypost.com.
- Maxwell, John W. 2013. E-Book Logic: We Can Do Better. Papers of The Bibliographical Society of Canada 51, no. 1.
- Miller, Aaron. 2013. Real Pages Are All About Flow. Medium.
- Bjarnasson, Baldur. 2013. What Kind of Innovation?
- Bridle, James. 2012, May. From Books to Infrastructure. Domus.
- Bjarnason, Baldur. 2013. Great Text Transcends Nothing. Studio Tendra.
- Mod, Craig . 2013. Subcompact Publishing. @craigmod
- Mod, Craig. 2012. Unbindings and Edges. @craigmod
- Mod, Craig. 2011. Post-Artifact Books & Publishing. @craigmod
- Bridle, James. 2010, October 25. Network Realism. BookTwo.
- Armstrong, Peter. 2011. The Lean Publishing Manifesto. LeanPub.
- Larusso, Silvio. 2015. From Print to Ebooks – A Hybrid Publishing Toolkit for the Arts
- O’Leary, Brian. Context First: A unified field theory of publishing. From Books in Browsers 2010. Text & video.
- Brantley, Peter. 2013. The New Ones: The Only Horizon is Before Us.PWxyz (Archived).
- Maxwell, John W & Fraser, Kathleen. 2010. Traversing the Book of MPub: An Agile, Web-first Publishing Model. Journal of Electronic Publishing. 13 (3).
- Reactions to proposed merger of IDPF and W3C from here: “Some, like Peter , organizer of the annual “Books in Browser” conference, greeted the news with enthusiasm, while others, such as ebook wizard Baldur Bjarnason, were more skeptical. Dave Cramer’s (Hachette) response is also worth reading.”
- Meyer, Robinson. 2016. How to Write a History of Writing Software . The Atlantic.
- Portela, Manuel. 2016. ‘This strange process of typing on a glowing glass screen’: An Interview with Matthew Kirschenbaum. Materialities of Literature 4 (2).
- Alan Galey. 2013. The Enkindling Reciter: E-Books in the Bibliographical Imagination. Book History 15.
Possibilities and new models
- Warner, James. 2011, March 24. The Future of Books. McSweeney’s
- Kalven, Josh. 2014, July 11. Watch out! A cliff! Or How we kept 10,000 readers reading a wonky explainer on the minimum wage. Medium.
- Leonard, Andrew. 2013, February 1. How Netflix is turning viewers into puppets. Salon.
- Brian O’Leary. 2013. Disaggregating Supply. Klopotek Publishers’ Forum 2013.
- James Bridle. 2013. Hacking the Word. BookTwo.org
- Niemanlab. Predictions for Journalism 2018. Niemanlab.
- Tufnell, Nicholas. 2017. BC Launches Interactive Voice Drama for Amazon Alexa Devices. cnet.
- McGuire, Hugh & O’Leary, Brian, eds. Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto.
- Boscawen, Rosanna. 2013, March 6. The Kills: a digital-first project from Picador. The Digitalist
- Munford, Monty. 2014, June 22. The digital future of the book could be anything. The Telegraph
- Fish, Stanley. 2012. The Digital Humanities and the Transcending of Morality. Opinionator.
- Lee, Pippin. 2015, July 10. Will the future of writing be more like software?Medium.
GRADING AND ASSIGNMENTS
Your final grade will be made up of the following components:
- Participation (in class): 10%
- Participation (annotations): 10%
- Weekly blogs: 30%
- Public Contribution (Wikipedia): 10%
- Meeting learning objectives: 40%
The determination of your grade for each is done in a slightly unconventional way, which is explained in detailed here.
All seminar materials and will be publicly accessible. Similarly, all student writing must be made available online (although you may choose to keep select content behind a password). Work will be openly peer-reviewed online as well, and all readings will be openly annotated. Feedback on written work will also be provided through open annotations and comments. In short, this class does as much as possible in the open, and wherever possible, it licenses any content produced with open licenses.