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How to build a book: Notes from an editorial bricoleuse | HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory: Vol 7, No 3
"This piece offers an editor’s reflections on the ethos and craft of writing. General suggestions, words of encouragement, and detailed tips emerge through a discussion of unexpected affinities between writing and building. An annotated list of further readings accompanies the text.

Ce texte offre les réflexions d’une éditrice sur l’ethos et l’art de l’écriture. Des suggestions générales, des encouragements, et quelques conseils précis se dégagent d’une discussion sur les affinités inattendues entre l’écriture et la construction. Une liste annotée de lectures complémentaires accompagne ce texte."



"The inevitable risk in writing a document like this one is that authors will interpret my advice as an example of editorial fascism that is appeased only when others subsume their ambition to conformity. I would hate for that to be the lesson of this meditation (which is, in itself, something of an oddity).

Times change, architectural styles go through inevitable change and recombination, and books change too. No intelligent person would demand that every room conform perfectly to a single model or that every book do the same. Variation is one cornerstone of beauty. So, please, surprise me. But do so from a position of intimate understanding. Mastery of tradition, in writing as in other crafts, is the first condition for innovation."

[via: https://twitter.com/npseaver/status/944918352773951494

"Some nice, not obvious advice in this piece on writing academic books (aimed at anthro, but more broadly relevant), from @priyasnelson: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/full/10.14318/hau7.3.020 … (I especially like the “finding the center” metaphor.)

Not that anthropologists are unique snowflakes, but I wish we had more writing advice like this aimed at us particularly: we have some particular strengths and weaknesses that generic academic writing advice doesn’t appreciate."]
writing  editing  craft  2017  priyanelson  variation  conformity  innovation  citation  anthropology  srg  neologisms  socialsciences  academia  revision  publishing  serendipity  details  planning 
december 2017 by robertogreco
'Such freedom is unthinkable today' – my life making television with John Berger | Television & radio | The Guardian
"I still have all the versions of the four scripts for Ways of Seeing. Looking at them now, after 45 years, I’m struck and moved by two things. The first is how much John wrote and rewrote – either at home in Geneva or in a back room of his parents’ flat in London – right up to the moment of filming, and then further modified during the edit, when something wasn’t quite right or we thought of a better idea. The second is John’s beautifully fluid and legible handwriting, which is very revealing about the way he thought – tentative and exploratory, never dogmatic, just trying to get something clear in his mind. He always used a fountain pen, with black ink, and the pages are full of crossings out, with single words added or sentences rephrased and stuck on with Sellotape.

On one script he wrote: “Dear Mike, here’s script No 2. Please remember all I said about it on the phone. Criticise, improvise, change, improve, cancel out, as much as you want or see how to. Or even we can begin again. All I would stand by is the essential idea …”

This exemplary approach to collaboration perfectly characterised our relationship on Ways of Seeing and on subsequent films together. That does not mean the process was always easy and free of tension – with John it was never like that – but the arguments when they arose were always open and equal (he never pulled rank), and ultimately resolved, not by theory, but by trying out an idea to see if it worked. And I often remember us laughing. John, I will miss you."
johnberger  2017  mikedibb  collaboration  writing  howwewrite  revision  criticism  relationships  handwriting  editing  clarity  howwethink  thinking 
january 2017 by robertogreco
Superpowers Take Time | Hapgood
"This process, beginning to end takes about 3-5 minutes. I’ve done it hundreds of times since November, and now have a library of stuff which produces neat connections about half the time I use it. It took a long time to get here, a lot of work, but I am not kidding when I say it’s a superpower. Or as I said to David Wiley a while back, “My main pitch for this thing is this — it’s made me smarter. A *lot* smarter.”

It does that by forcing me to suspend my reaction to things until I’ve summarized them and connected them to previous knowledge. It forces me to confront contradictions between new knowledge and previous knowledge, and see unexpected parallels across multiple domains. It forces me to constantly review, rehearse, revise, and update old knowledge.

What do other social media solutions do? They allow you to comment on it, to share it. They ask you to react immediately, preferably with a quick opinion. They push you to always look at the new — never connect or revisit the old. They treat your reaction — your feelings about the thing — as the center of your media universe.

Can any of this be good for learning? For empathy? For innovation?"

[via: http://jslr.tumblr.com/post/147233355828/this-process-beginning-to-end-takes-about-3-5 ]
mikecaulfield  2016  wikity  learning  process  howwelearn  empathy  thoughtfulness  revision  reflection  thinking  howwething  online  tools  connections 
july 2016 by robertogreco
How an Archive of the Internet Could Change History - The New York Times
"A few years ago, the Brooklyn Museum put on a Keith Haring exhibition, with a focus on his early career. There were videos of Haring at work, feverishly painting his way across an enormous scroll, and a room filled with drawings he illegally chalked in subway stations. But most stunning, at least to me, were Haring’s notebooks. They were displayed under clear cubes, their well-worn sheets pinned open for visitors to study.

The notebooks were sublimely surreal, filled with dogs crawling beneath bulbous U.F.O.s and penises ejaculating alongside concave cylinders that looked like nuclear cooling towers. By the time I first encountered Haring’s work as a teenager, his artistic legacy had been reduced to catchy imagery of colorful, blocky bodies hugging and dancing on T-shirts. But the notebooks showed what nagged at the artist, what motivated him. I saw someone so suspicious of government surveillance that he often wrote in secret code, someone obsessed with the subversive power of gay sex and someone working to merge his skepticism of capitalism with a deep-­rooted desire for fame and commercial appeal.

I left with an urgent curiosity about what sort of artifacts we would display a few decades from now, for future generations to discover. Our contemporary analogues to the personal notebook now live on the web — communal, crowdsourced and shared online in real time. Some of the most interesting and vital work I come across exists only in pixels. Tumblr, for example, contains endless warrens of critical theory about trans identity politics and expression, one of the few havens on the web where that sort of discourse exists. Many of the short videos on Vine feel as though they belong to an ever-­evolving, completely new genre of modern folk art. Some of the most clever commentary on pop culture and politics is thriving deep in hashtags on Twitter. Social media is as essential to understanding the preoccupations and temperature of our time as Haring’s notebooks were for his. But preserving materials from the internet is much harder than sealing them under glass.

Building an archive has always required asking a couple of simple but thorny questions: What will we save and how? Whose stories are the most important and why? In theory, the internet already functions as a kind of archive: Any document, video or photo can in principle remain there indefinitely, available to be viewed by anyone with a connection. But in reality, things disappear constantly. Search engines like Google continually trawl for pages to organize and index for retrieval, but they can’t catch everything. And as the web evolves, it becomes harder to preserve. It is estimated that 75 percent of all websites are inactive, and domains are abandoned every day. Links can rot when sites disappear, images vanish when servers go offline and fluctuations in economic tides and social trends can wipe out entire ecosystems. (Look up a blog post from a decade ago and see how many of the images, media or links still work.) Tumblr and even Twitter may eventually end up ancient internet history because of their financial instability.

There are scattered efforts to preserve digital history. Rhizome, an arts nonprofit group, built a tool called Webrecorder to save parts of today’s internet for future generations. The Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine has archived hundreds of billions of web pages. But there’s still a low-grade urgency to save our social media for posterity — and it’s particularly urgent in cases in which social media itself had a profound influence on historic events.

In August 2014, Bergis Jules, an archivist at the University of California, Riverside, traveled to Washington for the annual meet-up of the Society of American Archivists. The day before the conference began, Michael Brown was killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo. Jules, along with millions of others, found himself glued to Twitter for news, reactions and commentary. In the days that followed, hashtags like #IfTheyGunnedMeDown challenged the narratives presented by the mainstream media and prompted a national dialogue about racial stereotypes and police brutality. Jules teamed up with Ed Summers, a software developer in attendance, and started collecting tweets that included the word “Ferguson.”

As an archivist, Jules was struck by the way Twitter — and all social media, for that matter — is permanently altering the way we think about history. “We’re thinking ahead to how we’ll look back,” Jules says. He offered the example of how their project, DocNow, collected tweets tagged with #SayHerName, a campaign that emerged within the Black Lives Matter movement to make the movement more gender inclusive. For now, DocNow is focused mainly on Twitter, but Jules hopes it may be built out in the future to work elsewhere.

Social media might one day offer a dazzling, and even overwhelming, array of source material for historians. Such an abundance presents a logistical challenge (the total number of tweets ever written is nearing half a trillion) as well as an ethical one (will people get to opt out of having ephemeral thoughts entered into the historical record?). But this plethora of new media and materials may function as a totally new type of archive: a multidimensional ledger of events that academics, scholars, researchers and the general public can parse to generate a more prismatic recollection of history.

In March, I participated in a talk at the Museum of Modern Art about racial and gender disparity among Wikipedia contributors and how it influences the texture of the site. (Roughly 80 percent are men, and minorities are underrepresented.) Print out everything about the “Star Wars” universe, and you’ll have a heavy tome, but many notable abolitionists and female scientists are practically nonexistent. Considering that Wikipedia is the sixth-­most-­visited site in the world and increasingly treated like the encyclopedia of record, this problem seems worth considering. After the discussion, Kyra Gaunt, a professor and social-­media researcher, approached me. In her spare time, she maintains the “twerking” entry on Wikipedia, which is embroiled in a never-­ending debate about how to define the dance move. Is it more crucial to highlight its roots in black culture or Miley Cyrus’s impact on its mainstream popularity? Even new historical records like Wikipedia can be derailed by old biases reasserting themselves. At least Wikipedia publishes each page’s edit history, so as long as it can keep its servers running, there will be a rich catalog for future historians to see what we argued about and why.

The internet is pushing us ­— in good ways and in bad — to realize that the official version of events shouldn’t always be trusted or accepted without question. And historians are constantly updating the record by looking for primary sources that were overlooked in earlier eras, often from marginalized figures. These days, such omissions will still happen, but we can catch them faster. Oversights that would have taken decades to correct are now resolved in weeks, even hours. We now get a kaleidoscopic view of events as they unfold, often in real time, on our screens and devices. History is not neutral or synonymous with truth, but the internet affords us a newfound vantage on the totality of passing time — the profound implications of which we are just now beginning to grasp.

Last year, two scientists presented a theory in quantum mechanics that they called “entangled histories.” They argue that the existence of a particle in space is fractured along many alternate timelines, all of which must be considered to understand the full chronology of its life cycle. It is baffling and exhilarating in the way only quantum physics can be, but one idea stood out as particularly resonant. Jordan Cotler, an author of the paper and a graduate student at Stanford Univer­sity, has said, “Our best description of the past is not a fixed chronology but multiple chronologies that are intertwined with each other.” We’ve long known that this is how human history works — an unimaginable number of small stories, compressed into one big one. But maybe now we finally have the ability to record and capture them all, and history can become something else entirely: not a handful of voices, but a cacophony."
jennawortham  internet  web  archives  internetarchive  twitter  socialmedia  keithharing  history  preservation  technology  2016  revision  bergisjules  blacklivesmatter  docnow  tumblr  wikipedia  controversy  cacophony  blogs 
june 2016 by robertogreco
Kay Ryan on creative writing "workshops" - Austin Kleon
"Kay Ryan on creative writing "workshops" [http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/article/171211 ]
Workshop. In the old days before creative writing programs, a workshop was a place, often a basement, where you sawed or hammered, drilled or planed something. You could not simply workshop something. Now you can. You can take something you wrote by yourself to a group and get it workshopped. Sometimes it probably is a lot like getting it hammered. Other writers read your work, give their reactions, and make suggestions for change. A writer might bring a piece back for more workshopping later, even. I have to assume that the writer respects these other writers’ opinions, and that just scares the daylights out of me. It doesn’t matter if their opinions really are respectable; I just think the writer has given up way too much inside. Let’s not share. Really. Go off in your own direction way too far, get lost, test the metal of your work in your own acids. These are experiments you can perform down in that old kind of workshop, where Dad used to hide out from too many other people’s claims on him.


See also: Brian Kitely on the subject [http://www.austinkleon.com/2009/06/24/how/ ]:
The standard American workshop is a lazy construction. The teacher asks students to bring in stories or poems to class, sometimes copied and handed out ahead of time, sometimes not. The class and its final arbiter (usually the teacher) judge the merits of the story or poem. Few ask the question, “Where does a story come from?” The standard American workshop presumes that you cannot teach creativity or instincts or beginnings. It takes what it can once the process has already been started. Most writing teachers say, “Okay, bring in a story and we’ll take it apart and put it back together again.” I say, “Let’s see what we can do to find some stories.” The average workshop is often a profoundly conservative force in fiction writers’ lives, encouraging the simplifying and routinizing of stories….I use exercises in my workshops to derange student stories, to find new possibilities, to foster strangeness and irregularity, as much as to encourage revision and cleaning up after yourself, and I don’t worry much about success or failure.
"
austinkleon  2010  kayryan  briankitely  writing  workshops  sharing  process  peerreview  storytelling  strangeness  makingthestrange  irregularity  discovery  revision  howwewrite 
october 2014 by robertogreco
9/15-9/28 Unit 1: Why We Need a Why | Connected Courses
"Title: The End of Higher Education

Description: As shrinking budgets, skeptical publics, and rising alternatives continue to threaten the end of higher education, we host this conversation as a contemplation of what the end – or purpose – of higher education should be. We will also reflect on how individual teachers might find their own core reason for teaching a specific class, and ways to build buy-in to that reason among students."

[Direct link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFcjrwaJV0E ]

"Why We Need a Why:

As we design our courses, we have to address three questions:

What is to be taught/learned?

How should it be learned?

Why should it be learned?

We usually start by addressing the “What” question first. We have a course title or subject area and we begin populating our syllabus with the “whats” to be learned. Or, we peruse textbooks looking for the text that we think best covers the field. If we have time, we address the “How” question by considering how we can best teach the material. We sharpen our teaching technique, seek out better examples for the more difficult concepts, compile photos and videos to improve our presentations, and seek other ways to get the students engaged with the material. We may jump to incorporate the latest tools and techniques, whether it is social or interactive media or a new technique like a flipped classroom. Our syllabus, teaching materials, and educational technology in order, we rush into the semester, rarely asking, “Why?”

Starting with “Why” changes everything. When I, Mike Wesch, first started contemplating the “why” of my digital ethnography course, I realized that what I was really hoping to do was to teach my students “critical thinking.” I place “critical thinking” in quotes here because I had not yet given a great deal of thought about what I meant by the term, but I did immediately recognize that my previous “how” was completely inadequate to the task. I had spent most of my time thinking up elaborate and memorable performances (like the “shake your tailfeather” dance featured in this video) so that they would remember the concepts. Their task in my class was to simply memorize the material as performed by the authority (me) at the front of the room. Indeed, all of my teaching to that point had been in service of a very thin, unquestioned, and ultimately wrong notion of learning as the simple acquisition of knowledge.

As I contemplated the “real why” of my course further, I soon recognized that anthropology was not a bunch of content and bold faced terms that can be highlighted in a text book, but was instead a way of looking at the world. Actually, that is not quite right. It is not just a way of looking at the world. It is a way of being in the world. To underscore the difference, consider that it is one thing to be able to give a definition of cultural relativism (perhaps the most bold-faced of bold-faced terms in anthropology which means “cultural norms and values derive their meaning within a specific social context”) or even to apply it to some specific phenomenon, but it is quite another to fully incorporate that understanding and recognize yourself as a culturally and temporally bounded entity mired in cultural biases and taken-for-granted assumptions that you can only attempt to transcend.

To adopt such an understanding is often transformative and psychologically disruptive. It is not to be taken lightly, and no student will dare take on such disruption if it is not clear that there is a good reason to do so. As Neil Postman has noted, you can try to engineer the learning of what-bits (The End of Higher Education, Postman), but “to become a different person because of something you have learned — to appropriate an insight, a concept, a vision, so that your world is altered — is a different matter. For that to happen, you need a reason.” This also means asking hard questions about how new technology and techniques can support real student transformation and not simply reinforce old patterns with new tools."
michaelwesch  cathydavidson  randybass  2014  highered  highereducation  purpose  education  colleges  universities  pedagogy  theywhy  learning  howwelearn  why  howweteach  teaching  crits  studioclassroom  criticism  designthinking  design  critique  constructivecriticism  writing  howwewrite  revision  peerreview  learningcontracts  classconstitutions  student-ledlearning  mooc  moocs  authenticity  tcsnmy  ownership  lcproject  openstudioproject  contracts  cv  classideas  deschooling  unschooling  community  communities  communitiesoflearning  learningcommunities  profiteering  difficulty  economics  engagement 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Deploy / from a working library
"What if you could revise a work after publishing it, and release it again, making clear the relationship between the first version and the new one. What if you could publish iteratively, bit by bit, at each step gathering feedback from your readers and refining the text. Would our writing be better?

Iteration in public is a principle of nearly all good product design; you release a version, then see how people use it, then revise and release again.…

Writing has (so far) not generally benefited from this kind of process; but now that the text has been fully liberated from the tyranny of the printing press, we are presented with an opportunity: to deploy texts, instead of merely publishing them…

where fixity enabled us to become better readers, can iteration make us better writers? If a text is never finished, does it demand our contribution?…

Perhaps it is time for the margins to swell to the same size as the text."
publishing  marginalia  readingexperience  reading  unfinished  editing  fixity  elizabetheinstein  change  permanence  impermanence  stability  metadata  revision  print  productdesign  design  deployment  contentstrategy  content  digitalpublishing  digitial  process  writing  2012  unbook  iteration  mandybrown  aworkinglibrary 
february 2012 by robertogreco

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