Skip to content

Posts from the ‘New Publications’ Category

The Free-to-Readers Edition of Material Vernaculars: Objects, Images, and Their Social Worlds

As I discussed in a previous post, works in the Material Vernaculars series are being made available in a free-to-readers PDF edition via IUScholarWorks. The eponymous edited collection Material Vernaculars: Objects, Images, and Their Social Worlds was posted today and you can find it here: http://hdl.handle.net/2022/20925

If you think that high quality open and/or free access editions of scholarly monographs are a good thing, and if you have the means to do so, I urge you to purchase copies of the companion print or ebook editions as a way of supporting the cause and subsidizing the access of others, including those who cannot otherwise afford to obtain the book. If you really want to make a difference, consider donating to the not-for-profit publishers and libraries behind such efforts. In our case, you can contribute to the Indiana University Press (co-publisher of the Material Vernaculars series with the Mathers Museum of World Cultures) here: http://www.iupress.indiana.edu/pages.php?CDpath=12

Here is a screen shot showing you where to click to download Material Vernaculars. The image should link to the page in IUScholarWorks where the book is found. (The link is given above as well.)

slide1Happy reading!

Open Access Book: Indiana Folk Arts

IFA CoverThis year is a big year for the Mathers Museum of World Cultures in a number of respects. Two of these weave together. Its the state bicentennial for Indiana and we are engaging with it in a big way through the exhibition Indiana Folk Arts: 200 Years of Tradition and Innovation. That exhibition is now traveling across Indiana along with with a deep roster of presenting artists and craftspeople. The exhibition and associated in-person demonstrations are happening at state parks and festivals around Indiana and the exhibition will also be presented at the Indiana State Fair, later this summer. The exhibition brings together more than a decade of research by Traditional Arts Indiana and was also an project worked on by the Laboratory in Public Folklore graduate course taught in the IU College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology. Working with TAI Director and MMWC Curator of Folklife and Cultural Heritage Jon Kay, a large number of students have been involved in all aspects of the exhibition and associated programs, products, and events.

2016 is also slated to be a big year for book publishing at MMWC. We have a number of books in the cue for fall. The first to become available is the catalogue for Indiana Folk Arts. Edited by Jon Kay with chapters authored by a large and talented group of graduate students, the volume enriches the exhibition while also standing alone as a contribution to scholarship on Indiana craft and art. At exhibition events and here at the MMWC, the book is being distributed for free in a beautiful full-color print edition. In keeping with our institutional commitment to increased and open access to scholarship, the volume is also available electronically and permanently via the IUScholarWorks Respository. Licensed under a CC-BY license, it can be found online here: https://scholarworks.iu.edu/dspace/handle/2022/20893. Its the first MMWC publication for which we obtained an ISBN number (two actually, one for the print edition and one for the PDF edition), which is also pretty neat.IFA Front Page

Congratulations to Jon Kay, the volume’s editor, to all of its contributors, and to the talented artists, craftspeople, and tradition bearers featured in the book. Welcome readers–72 beautiful pages await you, wherever in the world you live. If you like the book and support the work behind it, spread it widely. Tell your friends and colleagues so that they can enjoy it too.

Reflections and Reports on Open Access Published in the New Issue of Cultural Anthropology (@culanth)

The new, May 2014 issue of Cultural Anthropology is out now. It is the second issue of the journal to be made freely available online, which means anyone with internet access can read it. (Hurray.) In support of the journal’s commitment to understanding and pursuing open access approaches to scholarly communication, the new issue has a dedicated section of peer-reviewed contributions focused on open access in the journal publishing realm.

I am happy be one of the contributors to this section. Ryan Anderson and I revised and updated an earlier interview on open access that we did together. We calibrated the new version to contemporary circumstances, included specific discussions of the Cultural Anthropology case, and sketched a critical anthropology of contemporary scholarly communications practices. It was exciting not only to revise the interview but to improve it on the basis of appreciated peer-review. We think of the piece as an experiment in genre too, as the interview was a textual co-construction in which we revised and altered each others’ words with the goal of creating the most useful resource that we could. It began as a true interview, but did not end there. (In this, its inspiration was an earlier Cultural Anthropology piece on open access “Cultural Anthropology of/in Circulation.”) The interview’s primary function among the other pieces is as an introduction to open access practices. We hope that it is useful in this role. We appreciate everyone who has already expressed kind appreciation for the piece.

There are many great pieces in the open access section (see list below). I am only now reading the other articles in the issue. Charles’ Briggs’s “Dear Dr. Freud” is compelling.

A key thing about the way that the Society for Cultural Anthropology is doing its journal and website is that the site is a rich hub for content both in support of the journal and extending well beyond it. Articles are often richly supplemented with interviews, images, and media and there are also opinion pieces, shorter works, photo galleries and much additional content. While Chris Kelty is present in the open access section of the journal, I want to call attention to his even newer opinion piece, which was published today. In it, he makes a strong case for the adoption of Creative Commons licenses for Cultural Anthropology going forward. I share his views.

There is lots to read in the new issue. Here are the open access pieces.

I really like the Glossary. It allowed me to get a definition of FUD into the pages of Cultural Anthropology! (Learning the term was the only good thing about the PRISM fiasco, an episode that seems so long ago now.)

The issue is receiving a good bit of discussion on Twitter but, as so often happens, there will probably be only a tiny amount of commenting on the journal site–even though there is great infrastructure in place to allow for it. I invite everyone to prove me wrong. Be brave and leave a comment on any of the papers.

Thank you to @culanth editors Anne Allison and Charles Piot for their hard work and for including the piece that Ryan and I did. Thanks as well to @culanth Managing Editor Tim Elfenbein for his hard work on the issue.

On the New Volume of Museum Anthropology Review

Museum Anthropology Review (MAR) has just published a new double issue—its first themed collection. Volume 7, number 1-2 of MAR collects papers originally presented at a January 2012 workshop titled “After the Return: Digital Repatriation and the Circulation of Indigenous Knowledge.” Hosted by the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution and funded by the (U.S.) National Science Foundation and the Understanding the American Experience and World Cultures Consortia of the Smithsonian Institution, the workshop was organized by Kimberly Christen (Washington State University), Joshua Bell (Smithsonian Institution), and Mark Turin (Yale University). The workshop brought together scholars from indigenous communities, cultural anthropology, folklore studies, ethnomusicology, linguistics, and collecting institutions to document best practices and case studies of digital repatriation in order to theorize the broad impacts of such processes in relation to: linguistic revitalization of endangered languages, cultural revitalization of traditional practices, and the creation of new knowledge stemming from the return of digitized material culture. Like the workshop itself, the peer-reviewed and revised papers collected in MAR ask how, and if, marginalized communities can reinvigorate their local knowledge practices, languages, and cultural products through the reuse of digitally repatriated materials and distributed technologies. The authors of the collected papers all have expertise in applied digital repatriation projects and share theoretical concerns that locate knowledge creation within both culturally specific dynamics and technological applications.

Find this special issue of MAR online at: http://scholarworks.iu.edu/journals/index.php/mar/issue/view/233

As it has always been, MAR is an open access, peer-reviewed journal free to all readers. With volume 8, to be published in 2014, MAR is becoming the journal of the Mathers Museum of World Cultures. It will continue to be published in partnership with the Indiana University Libraries with assistance from the IU Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology and other partners.

2014 will bring new enhancements to MAR. To keep up with the journal, please sign up as a reader, follow it on Twitter @museanthrev, and/or like it on Facebook.

On The Journal of Folklore Research in 2013

2013 was a very busy year for me. It was a great year, but it was overly full at work and so-called work-life balance thus was not much in evidence. I am hardly unique in this regard and I continue to count myself among the very lucky–fully employed doing (scholarly) things that I both love and that I am reasonably good at.

One opportunity that made 2013 overly full was my appointment as Interim Editor of the Journal of Folklore Research (JFR). My work on JFR actually began in fall 2012, when I had worked in the role of (this is a mouthful) Interim Editor-Designate. In fall 2012 I was asked to step in as interim editor to span the end of Moria Marsh’s long editorship and the start (in January 2014) of Michael Dylan Foster’s more permanent editorship. (Michael was committed overseas during 2013.) What was needed was a faculty member in the Indiana University (IU) Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology who already knew about journal editing and who could hit the ground running. That seemed to describe me and, although editing another journal was not something I was trying to do (I was already editing Museum Anthropology Review), it was clear that the team needed me. JFR is a key journal in folklore studies and I care about its future even if I had not anticipating having a direct role in that future.

(Parenthetical notes on JFR and open access… My advocacy for open access projects is pretty well known, thus observers may wonder about my having gotten entangled with a toll access journal. My work on JFR ran in parallel with my work on the Open Folklore project, my involvement in campus open access efforts at IU, and my role as a faculty advisory committee member for the IU Office of Scholarly Publishing (OSP), the new campus organization that encompasses the Indiana University Press alongside IU Library-based campus open access efforts. JFR is published by the IU Press and relies on Project Muse and JSTOR. While JFR did not magically become a gold OA journal during 2013, its alignment with OA goals did increase to a degree. In 2013 JFR got a new author agreement that allows JFR authors some self-archiving rights. More importantly, larger conversations relating to the OSP will, in time, impact JFR and other IU Press journals. We do not know what this will look like with much certainty, but it is clear that JFR will change to accommodate changing publishing norms and scholarly practices. Serving JFR for just a year, my main assignment was to hold things together under the inherited model. I think that this goal was accomplished, but I would not have undertaken this stewardship role if I did not believe that JFR has a promising–and more open–future ahead of it. How to accomplish this is a big task for the future. In the meantime, I was devoting labor to a journal that was (at least) operating on a not-for-profit basis and one that was, as I took it on, being published by a new campus unit that has open access aspirations at its core.)

I had the honor of serving as JFR’s editor during its 50th anniversary year. I did not work alone. JFR 51(1) will include a published appreciation from me. Here I will just note the wonderful support that JFR has enjoyed from outgoing editor Moria Marsh, former managing editor Danille Christensen, current managing editor Steve Stanzak, current editorial assistant Miriam Woods, Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology (FOLK) chair Diane Goldstein, FOLK fiscal officer Sheri Sherrill, FOLK accounting associate Michelle Bright, the IU Press journals staff, and the IU ScholarWorks staff. Many people help make JFR a success. They deserve our collective thanks.

What got done on my watch as Interim Editor of JFR? When I took over the journal it was two issues behind schedule, thus two issues for 2012 needed to be published in 2013 alongside the three current numbers for 2013. (As journal publishers know, such a situation is dreaded but not uncommon.) This was accomplished and the first issue for 2014 also went to press during 2013. This means that the staff and I engaged with editing and production work on the following:

JFR 49(2)   132 published pages, six published items
JFR 49(3)   120 published pages, four published items
JFR 50(1-3)   299 published pages, eleven published items
JFR 51(1)   117 published pages five published items

In total this means that we did editorial work on 668 typeset pages of JFR content spread over 26 published items. During my interim editorship, JFR produced two years of content in the space of one year. The journal is now on track and on schedule to be handed off to its new editor in a few days.

On the editorial throughput side, JFR was somewhat challenged in 2012 due to a lack of accepted content. This contributed to (but not was not solely responsible for) the journal being behind when my work with it began in fall 2012. This difficulty was also addressed during my time as interim editor. During 2013, we read and processed fifty article manuscripts divided as follows.

20   Reviewed and Rejected in 2013
16   Reviewed and Accepted in 2013
14   Received in 2013 and Still in Process (ex: “revise and resubmit”)

At an average page length of 35 pages in manuscript form, this throughput for 2013 is approximately 1750 pages. Throughput is a very dynamic matter. It is easy for a journal to have too few submissions and too little accepted content and it is actually possible (especially, but not solely, with print journals with their fixed issue lengths) to have too many accepted articles (leading to long waits for authors). The sweet spot is hard to find and, once found, hard to stay in.

Every editor wants abundant submissions of excellent, field-defining quality, but even here it is possible to have too much. As in so many areas, attention is even more of a limiting factor than money. Authors of articles submitted to, but not accepted by, JFR during 2013 did not get from me the kind of careful feedback that JFR-submitting authors of the past benefitted from. I apologize here for this lack. Given other duties and the scale of the JFRs own work overall, it was not possible to provide meaningful developmental editing to all submitting authors. Given the changing scale, pace, and nature of scholarly publishing overall, I am doubtful that any medium scale journal will be able to consistently provide such feedback. On the smaller scale, it should remain possible for journals such as Museum Anthropology Review. On the larger scale, we see the rise of developmental editing as a fee-based, a la carte service. (We live in interesting times. Consider the example of Rubriq.)

Returning to words of thanks, I want to thank all of the authors who JFR worked with during 2013. Thank you for your engagement with the journal and the fields that it serves. Thank you for your patience and goodwill during a time of change. Thanks finally to the many peer-reviewers without whose labor and careful judgement the work of JFR would falter. Your contribution to the gift economy of academic publishing is priceless.

Good News Roundup

There is way too much stuff going on in my life and work these days. Most of it is really good stuff, but it is hard to keep up. Before moving on to new reporting, here are some good news highlights from recent weeks.

Colleagues and I shepherded into print the 50th volume (=golden anniversary) of the Journal of Folklore Research, for which I serve as Interim Editor. JFR 50(1-3), a triple issue (!), is a special one titled Ethnopoetics, Narrative Inequality, and Voice: The Legacy of Dell Hymes and is guest edited by Paul V. Kroskrity (UCLA) and Anthony Webster (Texas). The guest editors contributed a post about the issue for the IU Press Journals Blog and the triple issue itself is can be found on the Project Muse and JSTOR digital platforms. Thanks to all who have supported JFR over its first five decades.

The Open Folklore project recently released a new version of the OF portal site. The new site incorporates a range of new features and is built upon the latest version of Drupal. I hope that it is already helping you with your own research efforts. If you have not seen it yet, check it out at http://openfolklore.org/

In September, two scholars whose Ph.D. committees I chaired finished their doctorates. Congratulations to Dr. Flory Gingging and Dr. Gabrielle Berlinger!

I noted the award quickly previously, but I had a great time attending the Indiana Governor’s Arts Awards where Traditional Arts Indiana, led by my friend and colleague Jon Kay, was recognized.

The new issue of Ethnohistory is out and it includes a generous and positive review of Yuchi Indian Histories Before the Removal Era. The reviewer is Marvin T. Smith, author of several key works on the archaeology and ethnohistory of the Native South. Find it (behind a paywall) here: http://ethnohistory.dukejournals.org/content/60/4.toc

A while back, the Mathers Museum of World Cultures opened a fine exhibition curated by IU Folklore graduate student Meredith McGriff. It is Melted Ash: Michiana Wood Fired Pottery and it is a sight to behold. If you have not seen it, stop by the museum and check it out.

Open Access week just kicked off and there are a lot of activities planned for the IUB campus. To get things started my friend and collaborator Jennifer Laherty did an interview with WFHB. It is about 8 minutes long and it can be found on the station’s website: http://wfhb.org/news/open-access-week/

The very talented Bethany Nolan was kind enough to talk to me about Yuchi Folklore and to write about our discussion for her Art at IU blog.

The Euchee (Yuchi) Tribe of Indians just held its 17th (!!!!) annual Heritage Days festival. A few years ago a Miss Yuchi/Euchee was added to the festivities and the young women chosen have been great representatives of their nation. This year another awesome young woman was selected. Congratulations to A.S. on being selected for this big honor and big responsibility.

Yuchi Folklore: Cultural Expression in a Southeastern Native American Community

A quick note to report that Yuchi Folklore: Cultural Expression in Southeastern Native American Community is now in print and available from the University of Oklahoma Press (its publisher), Amazon.com, and other booksellers. Any royalties that the book might generate will be forwarded directly from the publisher to the Euchee (Yuchi) Tribe of Indians for its use in its cultural and historical preservation efforts. (So anyone who purchases the book is helping a not-for-profit university press with special interest in the peoples and histories of Oklahoma, and (if the book can first cover its production costs), also contributing in a small way to the cultural work of the Euchee people.)

Cover of Yuchi Folklore

Two of the book’s chapters were co-authored with Mary S. Linn, whom I want to thank for joining me in the effort. We both have benefited tremendously from the kindness and support of numerous Euchee (Yuchi) individuals and their help is hopefully meaningfully represented in the volume. None of our Euchee friends are responsible, of course, for the book’s shortcomings.

Chairman Andrew Skeeter (Euchee [Yuchi] Tribe of Indians) and Daniel Swan (Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History) provided generous blurbs appearing on the book’s back cover and two smart reviewers for the press provided great feedback which, I hope, was meaningfully put to use in my revision of the book. Thanks to them all as well.

The University of Oklahoma Press was a joy to work with and I very much appreciate its great efforts on my behalf.

Rather than summarize the book here, feel encouraged to check out its page at the University of Oklahoma Press.

Last but Not Least: Hacking the Academy–the Print and Ebook Editions

I am pleased to note that the University of Michigan Press has now published the print and ebook editions of Hacking the Academy: New Approaches to Scholarship and Teaching from Digital Humanities. This volume was organized and edited by Daniel J. Cohen and Tom Scheinfeldt and is part of the press’ Digital Humanities series.

Followers of the project will know that this is just the latest iteration of a multimodal effort. The history of the project is narrated in numerous places, including in the preface to the free open web version (made available earlier by the Press’s Digital Culture Books unit). Very instructive is the more primordial version (inclusive of much content not in the book) at http://hackingtheacademy.org/

I was trilled to participate in the project with an abridged version of a blog post that first appeared here (still a best seller after several years). That original post was called “Getting Yourself Out of the Business in Five East Steps” and it promotes resisting the increasing enclosure of scholarly publishing by large multinational firms. (In the new book, it appears on pages 13-14.)

Everyone reasonably wonders about the point of a print edition of a “book” born out of twitter links and weblogs posts. Here is how the editors address this point.

Finally, the reader may legitimately ask: Doesn’t the existence of Hacking the Academy as a book undermine its argument? Why put this supposedly firebrand work into a traditional form? The answer is that we wanted this project to have maximal impact and especially to reach those for whom RSS and Twitter are alien creatures. Moreover, one of the main themes of this volume—and of digital technology—is that scholarly and educational content can exist in multiple forms for multiple audiences.

A review of the book edition, but someone new to the effort (who missed the earlier instances), has been published on the Education Technology and Change (ETC) blog.

Thanks to all of the editors, contributors, readers, and publishers involved in this experimental work.

Review: A Companion to Folklore

Today the Journal of Folklore Research Reviews (JFRR) published my review of A Companion to Folklore edited by Regina F. Bendix and Galit Hasan-Rokem. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012). It was an honor to be asked to review such a key volume in the field. Find the  review online here: http://indiana.edu/~jofr/review.php?id=1416

Two Reasons to Love the University of Nebraska Press @UnivNebPress

Visitors to this site will know that I am involved in a range of projects relating to reform in the scholarly communication system. University presses are a key part of that system. They bring to the current moment a lot of durable skills, values, and useful practices and they have the potential to play a key role in innovating the future.

In this note, I want to put on my author hat and celebrate two modest practices–one a tradition and the other an innovation–in the work of the University of Nebraska Press, the press that I have historically worked most closely with.

Part One: Some Things Never Go Out of Style

As an editor of a small scholarly journal with a reviews program, I spend a lot of time with what used to be called (and sometimes still are called) tear sheets. The term’s origins are in commercial advertising, but it extends logically to journal-based publishing of things like book reviews. When a publisher sends a new book to a journal in the hopes that it will be reviewed, it asks (among other things) that a journal that actually does publish a review send a copy of the final published review to the press’ attention. In the older days (and, in some cases, still today) the obligation was to send two (sometimes more) paper copies of the review to the press’ attention. These days, this task is most often accomplished electronically by sending a PDF of the published review to the attention of the relevant press’ marketing staff. The old name tear sheet refers to actual sheets of paper (with advertisements to send to buyers or reviews to send to publishers) torn from the relevant print edition so that they could then be mailed. (BTW: Shame on those journals who do not live up to their end of this bargain.)

When the reviews get to the press, there are a number of things that can be done with them. It is common for them to be harvested for favorable quotes that get added to a book’s page on the press’ website. In more elaborate operations, such quotes get pushed out to sites like Amazon. A acquisitions editor can use the incoming reviews to guide the development of their “list.” In aggregate, reviews tell editors what kinds of works (and which authors) are being well received. Such intellectual indicators complement quantitative measures as sales numbers.

At the University of Nebraska Press a tradition that many other presses have abandoned is also maintained. It is one that promotes tremendous goodwill with authors and, by extension, furthers the press’ reputation among potential authors. Judging by my experience (I have never discussed the practice with UNP staff.), the UNP marketing staff forwards incoming reviews to authors for their interest and use. Even in an era of such things as Google Alerts, this is a tremendous help to authors. In the wake of the publication of Yuchi Ceremonial Life, copies of these reviews–neatly annotated by press staff with date and place of publication–were mailed to me as they came in. Today, via email, I got from the press a PDF copy of the Chronicle of Higher Education book note appearing in the wake of Yuchi Indian Histories Before the Removal Era. This is such a wonderful courtesy. If the new (edited) book is reviewed, I will really appreciate learning of this from the press. Even today, not all journals are richly woven into the digital infrastructure and thus the press will sometimes know of a review before I will. When I mention that UNP does this for authors, all my colleagues are jealous, as few of them have experienced such attention from the presses with which they work. This service is especially valuable to pre-tenure scholars for whom reviews are a crucial resource in route to their tenure cases.

In a time in which academic author have new choices, old courtesies like this can go a long way in maintaining strong relationships with authors.

Part Two: New Things Done the Right Way

Increasingly, university presses aim to promote awareness of their titles by making sample chapters available for free via their websites. This is an inevitable outgrowth of broader practices, such as the views inside books available on sites like Amazon. Typically university presses simply (and it is not exactly simple, of course) make this material available as a PDF download from inside the press’ website on the book’s page. This is a logical thing to do, but it is also a very temporary thing to do, as press websites (like most websites) are very unstable and ephemeral things. They are breeding grounds for link rot and they just do not measure up as preservation environments.

If a press is going to let a sample chapter loose into the digital world, it should do this in a way that advances all of the goals of scholarly communication. This means that if content is going to be freely available, it should be made freely available according to professional best practices. This means curated carefully in a digital environment with attention directed to preservation, metadata, stable URLs, etc.

Kudos and thanks, in this context, to the University of Nebraska Press for working with DigitalCommons @ University of Nebraska-Lincoln (the university’s institutional repository) to make such samples permanently and properly available (with a great cover sheet and good metadata) for the long haul.. I was happy to learn about this effort when I found the introduction to Yuchi Indian History Before the Removal Era deposited there. As such samples clearly generate sales, these practices are self-interested as well as in the interest of the public good.

In a word, thanks to everyone at the University of Nebraska Press for your work to preserve what is good about university presses while we discover new paths forward.

%d bloggers like this: