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Mukurtu: An Indigenous Archive and Content Management Tool | New Website Announcement

From a December 20, 2010 Mukurtu Project Press Release:

Mukurtu: An Indigenous Archive and Content Management Tool
New Website Announcement

Project Director: Dr. Kimberly Christen; Director of Development: Dr. Michael Ashley; Lead Drupal Developer: Nicholas Tripcevich

In March 2010 the Mukurtu project was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Digital Humanities Start‐Up grant to produce a beta‐version of an open‐source, standards‐based community digital archive and content management platform. As the third phase of an ongoing software production project, the Mukurtu team is aware that indigenous and tribal libraries, archives and museums are underserved by both off‐the‐shelf content management systems (CMS) and open source CMS and digital archive/web production tools. Over the last decade as web technologies have diversified to include user‐generated content and more sophisticated digital archive and content management tools the specific needs of indigenous collecting institutions have been left out of mainstream productions.  Based on long‐term research and collaboration with indigenous communities and collecting institutions, Mukurtu’s development and production has focused on producing a digital archive and content management tool suite that meets the expressed needs of indigenous communities globally. Specifically, Mukurtu:

  1. Allows for granular access levels based on indigenous cultural protocols for the access and distribution of multiple types of content;
  2. Provides for diverse and multiple intellectual property systems through flexible and adaptable licensing templates;
  3. Accounts for histories of exclusion from content preservation and metadata generation sources and strategies by incorporating dynamic and user‐friendly administration tools;
  4. Provides flexible and adaptable metadata fields for traditional knowledge relating to collections and item level descriptions; and
  5. Facilitates the exchange and enhancement of metadata between national collecting institutions and related indigenous communities through robust import/export capabilities.

The Mukurtu software tool suite is under development now with a system demonstration site planned for Spring 2011. Our informational website, development blog, and wiki are now live. These sites allow us to chronicle our development progress, provide updates and engage with users as we move forward to a full launch in August 2011.

Please visit the new site at: and follow the links to learn more about the Mukurtu project goals, development, and collaborations.

Open Folklore at the IU Statewide Information Technology Conference #switc10

Just a quick note to record my appreciation for everyone involved in organizing the Indiana University Statewide Information Technology Conference. This was my second year attending and my second year presenting at the conference and it is a really great event. Today I spoke on behalf of the Open Folklore project team, describing the goals of the project and where we stand in addressing them. Everyone was really nice and it was good to have an additional chance to articulate what the project is and where it is headed as the team prepares to unveil the associated portal site at the upcoming American Folklore Society meetings in Nashville in October. Thanks to all the Open Folklore project team members for your support and your good work.

The Pioneer Age of Internet Video (2005-2009)

The transformation described by Adam Fish in this Savage Minds post can almost certainly be generalized even further to other mediated realms of communication. The Pioneer Age of Internet Video (2005-2009)

OA Tracking Project, Connotea, Nature Publishing Group, Threatened UC Boycott

I wish that the otherwise awesome Open Access Tracking Project (OATP) was not reliant upon Connotea, a product of the Nature Publishing Group (NPG). Peter Suber describes the project and why it uses Connotea here. The problems with NPG are discussed in the recent letter threatening a UC-system boycott of NPG. (See previous post.) Discussion in Insider Higher Education is here.

AcademiX 2010: Learning in an Open-Access World

The second conference of the week was AcademiX 2010, an event sponsored by Apple and (an Apple affiliate organization comprised of people interested in educational uses of Apple technology). The event’s complex structure made it a real learning experience for me. I had not previously participated in an event of this type. I was at Northwestern University, one of two primary sites for the conference. The other main site was at MIT. These two sites were connected with each other, with the Apple HQ in California, and with secondary sites at Duke University, San Diego State University, the University of Kansas, the University of Minnesota, and the University of New Mexico. Beyond these physical conference sites, there were a great many conference participants experiencing the conference online from their desktops. Video and audio linked all of these places and people together.

The focus of the event was “Learning in an Open-access World.” My mandate was to speak about academic open access in the scholarly communications sense relating to peer-reviewed scholarly literature, but the program was broader than this area. John Wilbanks (Creative Commons) spoke of “Commons-Based Licensing and Scholarship: The Next Layer of the Network.” Ben Hawkridge (Open University) presented “New Channels for Learning: Podcasting Opportunities for a Distance University.” Kurt Squire (University of Wisconsin-Madison) discussed the findings of his research on “Education for a Mobile Generation.” Nick Shockey (SPARC) presented “The Digital Natives Are Getting Restless: the Student Voice of the Open Access Movement.” In the final slot, Paul Hammond (Rutgers University and Richard Miller (Rutgers University) co-presented “This is How We Think: Learning in Public After the Paradigm Shift.”

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Help Ted Striphas Make an OA Audiobook of The Late Age of Print

Help Ted Striphas make an open access audiobook version of The Late Age of Print: Everyday Book Culture from Consumerism to Control.

My IUB colleague Ted Striphas published The Late Age of Print: Everyday Book Culture from Consumerism to Control in 2009 with Columbia University Press. Coincident with the release of the copyrighted physical volume last year, Columbia released a free, CC-licensed PDF of the book. The goal of Ted’s next effort is to produce a text-to-speech (T-T-S) version of the book, which will be released freely online under a Creative Commons 3.0 BY-NC-SA license.  Kudos to Columbia University Press for supporting these progressive projects, including the new audiobook making effort.

Describing his project and seeking community help on it, Ted writes:

“Producing a T-T-S version of the book will require a great deal of textual cleanup — more than I can muster given my professional commitments, plus a newborn in my life.  Consequently, I’ve set up a wiki site — http// — in the hopes that I might be able to crowdsource some help.”

“Why do I want to create a Late Age of Print audiobook?  First, I’m trying to promote both the idea and practice of free, open-source scholarly work — an issue that I address at length in an essay just out in the journal Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, on the politics of academic journal publishing.  Second, it seems profoundly unfair to me that people with vision impairments cannot access many scholarly titles, since few ever get transformed into audiobooks.  I’m hoping that my wiki might become a model for similar projects.  Admittedly, the project will serve to promote the book as well.”

If you are interested in helping on this worthy project and, along the way, demonstrating your support for open access scholarly publishing, everything you need to know should be findable on the website for The Late Age of Print.

(PS:  I cannot get the block quote function to work for me today, hence the old fashioned formatting.)

Significant Objects

The material culture studies students at Indiana and I have been engaged in a a very interesting if slow-motion research discussion of Etsy (Your place to buy and sell all things handmade. ™) and its extensions, such Regretsy (Where DIY meets WTF.) Adding to the conversation is Grant McCracken’s recent and interesting post on Meaning Manufacture, Old and New in which he discusses a remarkable project/site called Significant Objects.

Website Visitation Statistics

Website Usage Stats to November 23, 2009

It is Nice to Be Read

There are multiple reasonable points of view on the issues that I raised in the short “Getting Out of the Business…” essay that I posted here on the 12th. Setting those aside, the exercise is a reminder of why access questions matter. As of a moment ago, 520 folks had consulted the essay. While small by New York Times standards, it is quite extensive when compared to most scholarly writings. I want to register my thanks for all of these readers and especially for those of you who have commented to me publicly or privately. If I had published that essay as an editorial in a typical scholarly journal in my fields, it would have taken a considerable amount of time to see publication, could have cost more than $1000 (before in-kind contributions), and then would have hardly attracted any notice. As an illustration of this contention, I can point to  my contribution as editor in Museum Anthropology volume 32, number 1. While I would have been much, much happier not to have experienced the obligation to author such a document (an Expression of Concern), its ramifications for several disciplines is very large. While I know that it was read by some colleagues,  it was largely met by deafening silence. There is more to that than accessibility, but accessibility is definitely one factor. In any event, thank you interested readers and linkers.

Scholarly Society-Library Partnerships Webcast Now Online

The video archive version of the recent Association for Research Libraries (ARL) webcast on “Reaching Out to Leaders of Scholarly Societies at Research Institutions” to which I contributed is now available online.  It can be gotten to for free, all that is required is signing in for ARL headcounting purposes.  Watching it in this way provides the same content experienced when the program was being done live.  The event lasted one hour.  Jennifer Laherty and I were the first of two pairs of speakers.  We present after about five minutes of introduction from the ARL staff organizers who spoke on the general goals of the initiative of which the program was a part.  Q&A follows the second presentation on data projects in astronomy (by Sayeed Choudhury and Robert Hanisch). Find the webcast via a link available here:


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