Syllabus for Fall 2016
Generally Mondays 9:00-12:00
Juan Pablo Alperin, email@example.com
PUB802 asks the fundamental question: what happens to publishing in an era where the vast majority of publishing and reading happens on the Web? More broadly, it is intended to encourage a critical examination of the intersection of technology and publishing. After a discussion of the Web’s relationship to publishing, the course discusses (in roughly this order) how technology has affected making , discovering, and consuming text. This discussion includes (but is not limited to) producing with digital tools, making works available in the marketplace (both digital and physical), and the digital reading experience. Throughout the term we will move through these acts to suss out how digital technologies are redefining the very meaning of publishing.
PUB802 is a seminar. This means that the course is organized around discussion, not around the instructor presenting content. As such, you should expect to come to class each day well informed on the topic at hand and, more importantly, having thought critically about it. 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, ground these ideas in with concrete examples and case studies. We will use the specifics to understand the dynamics of today, but also to extrapolate far into the future.
The following is a rough outline of the course’s coverage. In reality, we will be much more flexible around dates and topics to allow our discussions to go on as long as we feel is necessary and to cover topics as they come up.
Pre-course read: Shirky, Clay. 2014, September 9. Why I Just Asked My Students To Put Their Laptops Away. Medium.
Sept 12: Introduction to the course
- Meeker, Mary. 2016. Internet Trends 2016 – Code Conference
- 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.
Sept 22 (Thurs): The Web changes things
- McGuire, Hugh. 2016, April 23. What books can learn from the Web / What the Web can learn from books. Medium.
- Marconi, Francesco. 2015. The Rise of Homeless Media. Medium.
- Dash, Anil. 2012. The Web we Lost. Anil Dash: A blog about making culture. (read + watch if interested)
- 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.
- Meyer, Robinson. 2015, Feb 26. What Blogging Has Become. The Atlantic.
- Shapiro, Dani. 2014, August 18. A memoir is not a status update. New Yorker.
- Stearns, Josh. 2015, January 5. The best online storytelling and journalism of 2014. Medium.
- Basile, Jonathan. libraryofbabel.info
Sept 26: The Internet business model
- Shatzkin, Mike. 2011, July 24. Publishing is Living in a World Not of its Own Making. The Shatzkin Files.
- Bjarnason, Baldur. 2015, September. The discussion about ad blocking is very dumb (but not in the way you think).
- Dash, Anil. 2015, Sept. 25. How we pass the buck: Ads, blocking, and how we make sure it’s never actually our fault. Medium.
- Shatzkin, Mike. 2014, August 17.This is a teamwork play that could really give Amazon a headache if they got together. The Shatzkin Files.
- Albanese, Andrew & Milliot, Jim. 2015, Sept 25. After Oyster, What’s Next for E-book Subscriptions? Publishers Weekly.
- Vara, Vauhini. 2015, August 23. Is Amazon Creating A Cultural Monopoly? The New Yorker.
- Hempel, Jessi. 2016, April 5. Medium Takes Aim at WordPress With a New Way to Power Websites. Wired. (ironically avoid paywall like this).
- 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.
- Michel, Lincoln. 2016, June 30. Everything You Wanted to Know about Book Sales (But Were Afraid to Ask). Electric Lit.
Oct 3: Copyright
- Menand, Louis. 2014, October 20. Crooner in Rights Spat. New Yorker.
- Doctorow, Cory. 2014, February 5. What happens with digital rights management in the real world? The Guardian.
- Hern, Alex. 2016, May 23. Revealed: How copyright law is being misused to remove material from the internet. The Guardian.
- Ling, Justin. What the TPP means for copyright law in Canada. National Magazine.
- Tracks. 2004, February, 9. The Mouse That Remixed. New Yorker.
- DJ Dangermouse. 2004. Grey Album. (Audio)
- Mullin, Joe. 2015, July 27. Filmmakers fighting “Happy Birthday” copyright find their “smoking gun”. ArsTechnica.
- Creative Commons
Oct 10: (Thanksgiving)
- no class
Oct 17: Production processes
- 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).
- William J Turkel. 2013. History 9877A: Digital Research Methods.
- Alan Liu. 2013. Digital Humanities Resources for Student Project-Building.
- Alan Galey. 2013. The Enkindling Reciter: E-Books in the Bibliographical Imagination. Book History 15.
- Knauff, M., Nejasmic, J. 2014. An Efficiency Comparison of Document Preparation Systems Used in Academic Research and Development. PLoS ONE 9(12): e115069.
- Richard Ishida. 2012. An Introduction to Writing Systems and UniCode. rishida.net.
- XML Workflow Diagram. Chicago Manual of Style
Oct 24: Production concepts
- 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.
Oct 31: Distribution & Discovery
- Hugh McGuire. 2013. A Publisher’s Job Is to Provide a Good API for Books. O’Reilly TOC.
- 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.
- 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.
- Herrman, John. 2015, December 3. Access Denied. The Awl.
- Friedman, Jane. 2013. The Importance of Metadata in Book Discoverability. Sprint Beyond the Book.
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.
- Twitter network analysis
Nov 7: Guest Speaker
- metadata and book distribution
Nov 14: Measuring & Tracking
- Madrigal, A. 2012, Oct. Dark Social: We have the whole history of the Web wrong. The Atlantic.
- Rhomberg, Andrew
- 2016, January 28. Reading Fast and Slow – Observing Book Readers in Their Natural Habitat. dbw.
- 2016, March 17. Data Vs. Instinct – The Publisher’s Dilemma. dbw.
- 2016, August 18. The Fear of Data. dbw.
- Rhomberg, Andrew
- Goel, Vindu. 2014, June 29. Facebook Tinkers with Users Emotions. New York Times.
- Poulsen, Kevin. 2014. How a Math Genius Hacked OK Cupid to Find True Love. Wired.
- Carr, David. 2013, Feb 24. Giving Viewers What They Want. New York Times.
- Simon, Phil. 2013, March. Big Data Lessons From Netflix. Wired.
- Fathom Information Design. The Preservation of Favoured Traces.
- Vooza. Big Data. vooza.com
- Vooza. Bullshit Metrics. vooza.com
- Pornhub Stats (Super Bowl & World Cup)
Nov 21: Digital reading
- Konnikova, Maria. 2014, July 16. Being a Better Online Reader. New Yorker.
- PewResearchCentre. 2014. Report on Reading.
- Genner, Noah. 2014, March 7. Canadian Readers by the Numbers. BookNet Canada.
- Plate, S. Brent. 2015, December 16. Marginalia and Its Disruptions. LA Review of Books.
- 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.
- Manjoo. Farhad. 2013, June 6.You Won’t Finish This Article: Why people online don’t read to the end. Slate.
- 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.
- 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.
Nov 28: Interacting & socializing with text
- Keep, Christopher, McLaughlin, Tim, & Parmar, Robin. 1995. The Electronic Labyrinth.
- Namakura, Lisa . 2013. Words with Friends: Socially Networked Reading on Goodreads. PMLA 128 (1)
- Hoffelder, Nate. 2013. There’s A Reason That No One in Publishing Bought Goodreads. The Digital Reader.
- Liu, Alan . 2013. From Reading to Social Computing. In Price & Siemens (ed.) Literary Studies in a Digital Age: An Evolving Anthology.
Dec 5: 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
- McGuire, Hugh & O’Leary, Brian, eds. Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto.
- McGuire, Hugh. 2013, February 1. A Publisher’s Job Is to Provide a Good API for Books. Tools of Change for Publishing
- 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.
All seminar materials and will be publicly accessible. Similarly, all student writing must be made publicly available and openly licensed. Some written 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 everything in the open, and wherever possible, it licenses any content produced with open licenses.
Assessment is based on a combination of assignments, as follows.
- 40-60% – 2 essays. due before Nov 28.
- 10% – 2 peer review of student essays. due week after essay submitted. (5% each)
- 5-10% – Participation (in classroom)
- 10-15% – Participation (hypothes.is)
- 0-5% – Lead class discussion (at most two people per week)
- 0-5% – Mini-lesson on a tech topic
- 0-10% – Wikipedia page edit and summary
- 0-5% – Something you propose
You must decide on your personal percentage breakdowns and due dates before submission. The percentage points must obviously total 100%.
You must submit all work in the form of a post/publication on any website of your choosing. This may be your own blog, someone else’s blog, this site, The Winnower, or any other web-accessible location. There is no exam. Essay topics should be negotiated in advance.
You can decide if the percentage total of each of your essays, as well as the dates when you choose to submit them. The first essay should tackle the relationship between the Web and the area of the publishing industry that you are most interested in. The second essay topic is entirely up to you, but must be negotiated with the instructor in advance. To negotiate a topic, submit a 350 word abstract (will not be graded) that summarizes your core idea. If necessarily, the instructor will contact you to arrange a time to discuss your abstract. Essays must put forward a core idea or thesis, they must substantiate that idea, and they must be compelling. Essays have no word limits, although essays must be long enough to warrant the percentage weight you’ve chosen. (As a very rough guide, it is suggested to allot 75-100 words per percentage point.) All essays, but especially longer ones, will likely involve a research component. The use of good Web practices (i.e., hyperlinks, images, etc.) are expected. Citations do not need to follow a particular style, but must be hyperlinked in both the body of the text and in the reference section.
You must do two peer reviews of a colleague’s essay (randomly assigned). Note that reviews are not summaries, but are commentaries, elaborations, or reactions to the ideas of the reading. In this sense, they are much more akin to an academic book review. As with essays, there are no word limits for reviews, but they are suggested to be around 400-600 words.
You can both earn and lose participation marks. You will earn marks by making meaningful contributions to our class discussions. However, you will lose marks if you cannot contribute because of insufficient familiarity with the readings (i.e., if you have not actually read them fully and carefully) or because of class absences.
Participation must be both online and in-class. To participate online, install this version of the Hypothes.is Chrome Extension or bookmarklet and join this group. Then start making annotations (you’re encouraged to add tags as appropriate).
Good participation, both online and in-class, includes (but is not limited to): inserting new ideas for discussion, responding to other’s ideas, posing questions, highlighting interesting passages, explaining a tricky concept, offering an informed opinion, and bringing in additional resources.
Class Leadership (optional)
To facilitate discussion in the classroom, one or two students must lead the discussion each week. This might involve summarizing some of the readings for the week, preparing some discussion questions, or just monitoring and encouraging conversation in class. Sign up for a week by leaving an annotation on the week you wish to lead.
Tech Mini-lessons (optional)
If there is a tech skill you think your class would find useful, or a topic that you would like to introduce to the class, you can do so in a 10-20 minute lesson. You can opt to assign readings or “homework” to your classmates. You will be evaluated on the appropriateness of your topic, and how well your lesson was conveyed/understood.
Wikipedia Summary + Edit (optional)
Wikipedia is one of the most successful crowd-sourced projects of all time. It is a terrific resource, but it could be better at being inclusive (to put it nicely). Get first-hand experience at making a significant contribution to a topic of your choice (preferably related to the course content). Make edits/additions to a page on Wikipedia and then summarize the page in a short presentation in class. Those who choose to make this component worth 10% should be writing a significant portion of an entry, or editing/modifying multiple pages on a related topic.
The program expects that the grades awarded in this course will bear some reasonable relation to established university-wide practices with respect to both levels and distribution of grades. In addition, the School will follow Policy T10.02 with respect to “Intellectual Honesty,” and “Academic Discipline” (see the current Calendar, General Regulations Section).