Libress: the marriage of the university library and press as a viable relationship for academic publishers

In its heyday, during the postwar economic upturn of the 1950s, the North American scholarly press received generous subventions from parent universities and governments,
and also attracted A-list editors from trade publishing houses. Its longstanding mandate to publish the peer-reviewed scholarly journals and monographs of professors and PhD candidates at its research facility was therefore (relatively) easy, until a series of subsidy setbacks began in the 1980s. Magnifying the negative impact of slashed funding was the web, from which eventually spawned the open access movement that threatens the scholarly publishing ecosystem of today.

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When truth is truly irrelevant

Samsung paid $1 billion in nickels to Apple.
A linebacker defends a gay classmate against a bully.
And when the superstar American basketball player LeBron James was still in high school, he met his idol Michael Jordan.

Events or news can be condensed to the size of a meme and spread quickly through social networks. Does it still matter if the story is true? Yes. And no.

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The Unexplored Potential of the Internet as Art Medium

marcel duchamp fountain

Oh, Fountain. Go to any first-year art history course and Duchamp’s urinal-turned-art-piece will be one of the most debated topics of the term. There are always those students who insist the merit of any work of art is in the skill of the execution, of which Duchamp demonstrates none. But the concept—a critique of the posh High Art world—always prevails and Fountain is hailed as one of the strongest works of the European avant-garde.

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On the importance of viewing book porn

By Kaitlyn Till

Book porn is online media that celebrates and fetishizes both the purchase and ownership of books, and the aesthetic of an arranged collection of reading material. Like the subset of twenty-first century music fans dedicated to collecting and displaying vinyl albums, book porn creators and sharers are passionate about collecting the physical artifact and promote the creation and sharing of media that celebrates the “old” technology.

Online book porn can be divided into four categories. The first is collections of images and videos of libraries, bookstores, and other book-related places—often grandiose and far beyond the means of the viewers to replicate, such as the images found at Bookshelfporn. This is the often unattainable, always inspirational imagery that a subgroup of devoted bibliophiles binges upon; these are the infinite stacks filled with so many books that the titles are unreadable for their distance and extent. These images may be of either the place as it naturally is (such as an enormous library with a traditional organizational scheme), or are staged for maximum visual appeal with less functionality in mind—such as the extent of rainbow-organized book collection images.

Rainbow library

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In the Public Eye: The Intermediary Role of a “Recursive Public” in the Free Software Movement

Free Software, as a movement, has transformed the public’s idea of how technological information should be developed and distributed. Approaching software infrastructures in a contained and linear fashion has been overshadowed by collaborative and capricious programming methods; more and more, veils of secrecy around source codes are seen as conservative and regressive practices. With networks of free software creation broadening daily over the seemingly infinite Internet space, technologists have worked endlessly to understand and support this dominating model. Standard practices have been outlined by the Open Source Initiative (, but it seemed necessary and appropriate to develop a specific discourse for these unsteady and murky waters. Continue reading “In the Public Eye: The Intermediary Role of a “Recursive Public” in the Free Software Movement”

Shattering the Bounds of Reality – The Oculus Rift v.s. The Book REVISED

Amanda Peters

The old adage of “seeing is believing” is being proven wrong every day. Augmented reality is becoming a thing of the past, quickly replaced by virtual reality the likes of which we’ve never before experienced. We’re now living in a digital age, and the lines between what’s real and what isn’t are blurring every day.

I want to harken back to my previous essay with this one, expanding in a different direction on the idea of memory spaces and experience in the context of how unreal but immersive experiences influence our perception of the world. With the ways electronic media is conferred and experienced advancing and changing on almost a daily basis, traditional media (read print, in this case) is seen as lagging behind.

The real question, however, is whether or not this is the truth. Perhaps the real argument here is that the constant bombardment our senses are being submitted to by technology seeking to fill the real world with the viscera of fictional universes will lend itself to the revival of simple print. That the battle between print and technology is, at its foundation, more about the consumer’s acceptance or resistance to being robbed of agency. With virtual media remaining a prescriptive experience – as it has been since its inception – it could be argued that we are moving back towards a model in which the consumption of passive media like print out of a desire to regain control over how we interact with our forms of entertainment.

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Streamlining Our Lives

“No moment in technology history has ever been more exciting or dangerous than now. The Internet is like a new computer running a flashy, exciting demo. We have been entranced by this demo for fifteen years. But now it is time to get to work, and make the Internet do what we want it to.” – David Gelernter, “Time to Start Taking the Internet Seriously.” The Edge. (2010).

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Out of Quantity comes Quality (or what Publishers can offer Self-Publishers)

As the volume of self-published works continues to grow exponentially, research by book data analysts at Bowker suggest that the number of self-published titles has increased by 422% since 2007, and as the tools to do so increase in popularity and ability, with platforms from Amazon and Smashword providing full self-publishing services, publishers are increasingly being called into question to defend not just their position, but their existence. In a world where the number of books is increasing exponentially, I argue that the traditional publishing house will become an identifier for quality.

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Redefining the Publisher: Why We Need Our Gatekeepers

What is a publisher? There are many definitions, both online and off, specific to music, books, other media, and more generally speaking. In the Oxford English Dictionary a publisher is defined as, “a person who makes something generally known; a person who declares or proclaims something publicly”, a definition with usage from 1453 through 1995. This is also a definition that is particularly pertinent to this discussion. More on that shortly, for there are also more nuanced definitions. Definitions that exist in a more ephemeral sense and that understand the term “publisher” in broader terms, connected to a reputation, whether like Harlequin or Del Rey as publishers of certain types of work, or like Penguin & Random House as big presses that publish and republish countless texts, or like small presses whose publics define them in a much more immediate way. In each case, the sense of “publisher” is one that involves an awareness of what to expect as a reader and has, therefore, an awareness of some kind of quality control. The OED definition of publisher above is one that does a wonderful job reflecting the commonly held notion of the digital age, that “everyone’s a publisher” in today’s networked landscape. However, it is lacking in the nuances and connotations that, I think make the need for a publisher even more important to the publics of the current landscape than ever before, a landscape that not only inhibits but seems to reject the very idea of the publisher. Take for example, Clay Shirky, who argues that, “Publishing is not evolving” and that, “Publishing is going away….[that] There’s a button that says ‘publish,’ and when you press it, it’s done.”
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Undead Print Publishing: Layar and the Future of Augmented Reality

Zombies eat brains, so I am sure you, dear publisher, will be A-Okay during this time of the apocalypse. In this life of print after the declaration of its death, it is much too easy to get nostalgic and believe we are beginning another Renaissance in publishing. wow. much potential. very scared. It is my opinion that we, the publishers of tomorrow, should stop looking for (or God forbid, try to invent) “the next printing press.” Let us discard notions of square pegs trying to fit in round holes (does no one see anything Freudian about this phrase?) and instead, let’s take a stab at anticipating what our readers want from their future reading experiences, and just give it to them. Continue reading “Undead Print Publishing: Layar and the Future of Augmented Reality”

for the love of bot, end already!

My initial plan was to actually write the whole remix/adaptation/whatever you want to call it implied by the title of James Bridle’s “We Fell in Love in a Coded Space” presentation, with links going out from lyrics to other articles dealing with things like code in semiotics and expanding on the theory of code/space and other like things.

But I didn’t understand it well enough to actually do that, so I decided to just awkwardly reference a bunch of stuff at the beginning of my post and let you wade through them, or not, as you were inclined.

Job done.

Except for the point-making part, I mean. Continue reading “for the love of bot, end already!”

The Social Life of Links: Network Influence and the New Economy of Discourse

The Hyperlink, Contained

There was a time when “hypertext” was a thing that people talked about. It was a novel discursive adventure to create and explore documents with multiple access points. The form bred another term we rarely hear today: “hyperlink.” The word “link” no longer requires a qualifier. It is a fundamental part of our daily digital lives that has been imbued with cultural significance. Through a gradual evolution it has become an essential component of discourse on the web, taking on its own rhetorical function. In the social world of blogs and tumblogs (Kottke) a link signifies any number of things beyond a single author’s original intent.

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The Meaning of ‘Quality’

The imagined communities of FanFiction.Net don’t care what you think is good writing—they have their own stipulations for ‘quality’

Tori Elliott

Quality writing—it’s what all writers strive to produce and all editors hope to acquire.  It helps authors get published, compels readers to comment, and persuades juries to hand out awards. But what is ‘quality’? As a writer, I can tell you that there is no concrete answer to that question. Quality can be determined based on personal preference, popular opinion, or prescribed conditions. It is an elusive concept and, as John Maxwell has stated, it is entirely relative.

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Governing the Internet: Why Publishers Need Net Neutrality

Open access to the Internet presents a sense of online freedom for both users and content providers, but a recent legal ruling could mean the end of that. Since 2011, the FCC has adopted a set of Open Internet regulations to ensure fair access to all web content. However, in January 2014, the US Court of Appeals for the DC circuit ruled against the regulations set forth by the FCC, creating a potential future where net neutrality will cease to exist (Roberts, 2014). Aside from the threat against net neutrality, one takeaway from this case is that the parameters for net neutrality need to be clearly and carefully expressed in order to ensure that the Internet remains a public democratic space. Though the ramifications of the 2014 ruling will not be immediate, an Internet without net neutrality means a damaging influence on how users and content providers, including publishers, engage with the online world. Continue reading “Governing the Internet: Why Publishers Need Net Neutrality”