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Ditorialisation Et Nouvelles Formes De Publication

These are my live notes about the ÉDITORIALISATION ET NOUVELLES FORMES DE PUBLICATION symposium put together by Marcello Vitali-Rosati, Michael E. Sinatra et Benoît Melançon.

The symposium was held in French so these notes will be limited to what I understood and VERY ROUGH. I'll try to clean them up later.

Day 1: April 21st, 2015

1st Panel: Nouvelles formes de circulation de la connaissance

Gérard Wormser (MSH Paris-Nord): L’éditorialisation et la réplication. Vers une dialectique de l’information

Wormser gave a fascinating philosophical talk. He talked about how traditional politics and social organizations have been bypassed by digitization. Who owns the future? Arab spring or Facebook?

He went on to discuss how the idea of the individual will has been replaced by a aggregation of statistics. He talked about replication being the way we should understand unities/institutions/subjects. Like DNA one lives and survives by replicating. One then gets change through replication.

He talked about types of democracy:

  • Aristocratic democracy that focuses on merit
  • Educational democracy that tries to educate all
  • Democracy of conservation that conserves wealth and privilege
  • Democracy of creation that allows for participation

In the context of the changing forms of democracy he asked how is humanity possible?

He also questioned whether the digital revolution is a revolution or an ongoing projection of desire (for revolution). Modernity is a consensus that there is something like progress and justice. In digital society that consensus is surpassed by something statistical where the stocastic (not the humanly managed) is what matters. Digital society is not deterministic but random. It isn't organized the way modernists imagined, but allowed to be the site of potential.

Geoffrey Rockwell (U of Alberta): Publishing Tools: A Theatre of Machines

I gave a paper talking about the ways that tools are published or made public (shared, curated and so on.) I subtitled it "A Theatre of Machines" as I presented a survey of text analysis tools and the ways they present themselves.

André Gaudreault / Nicolas Dulac / Richard Bégin (Université de Montréal): Le projet de partenariat TECHNÈS : pour une nouvelle histoire technologique du cinéma

This team talked about a project just starting called TECHNÈS. They are developing an encyclopedia of cinema which will have articles and parcours (trails). TECHNÈS isn't yet online - they talked about some of the technologies their are thinking of. I couldn't help think they should just inject their content into the Wikipedia, but they seem wedded to an editorial structure that guarantees a certain authority and voice. The reality is that one doesn't get grants to inject into Wikipedia - one gets grants to build scholarly editions of knowledge.

They drew our attention to the new tools for mobilogrpahie - or mobile writing as in life-logging. They showed a device called memoto and now Narative Clip 2 that allows one to do life logging discretely.

We ended on the question on what is cinema.

Paul Bertrand (Université catholique de Louvain): Édition (critique) numérique : enjeux et mise en pratique. Autour du Centre de ressources numériques TELMA

Bertrand gave us a nice tour of critical editing. He talked about the TELMA project that publishes critical editions online.

2nd Panel: Diffusion, visibilité et accès libre

Jérôme Valluy (Université Paris I): Comment assurer indépendance et développement des éditions en accès libre ?

Valluy asked about what we are losing with the shift to digital publishing. He believes we are getting two forms of publishing, each with their own problems:

  • Mercantile platforms that often publish our information for free, but make money off the aggregation, analysis and marketing of our data
  • Editorial platforms (like Open Edition?) that are open, but dependent on national funding that could disappear

We are losing the ecology of lots of little publishers. Publishing is being concentrated in scary ways that have implications for freedom of thought. These big commercial and academic platforms and institutions may be more fragile than we think. When they fall or change it affects a lot of publications.

A lot of the publishing systems are based on paper models (book/journal) and therefore we are likely to see more change in models. He gave some examples of what is emerging including Wikipedia and Candide Ou L'Optimisme, a hypermedia edition.

His talked about I.D.E.A.L., an editorial federation of independent authors. They are trying to use crowdfunding to fund editing and publishing.

Dominique Bérubé (Érudit-Université de Montréal): Érudit comme infrastructure pour la diffusion en libre accès et au soutien de la recherche

Bérubé talked about Érudit, which is an example of the sort of editorial platforme that is supported by institutions and open. Their system has a fairly constrained workflow that keeps costs down. They can't support a lot of experimentation while keeping the value of centralization. They got some 7.1 million visits in 2013 which over 60% coming from outside of Canada. They get a high average of hits per journal, more than many others who are not open. She talked about how Erudit is an important social science and humanities platform funded by CFI. One of the few. Erudit is developing new open access financing models with the journals they support.

They are now trying to imagine a partnership with PKP to create a pan-Canadian system and they are thinking about how Erudit could also be thought of as a corpus for study and analysis.

There was an interesting discussion about how bibliometrics gets used to assess and manage people (researchers). This then makes it important for people to manage how they appear in an open publication network.

Valluy talked about all the changes needed to have an open system. One has legal, financial, management, software issues. He things there will be entrepreneurial innovations that surprise us.

Diane Sauvé (Université de Montréal – Direction des bibliothèques): Les bibliothèques de recherche : partenaires dans l’aventure

Sauvé talked about the evolution (not revolution) of the library. One effect is changes in the type of positions at libraries and thus changes in the education librarians get. She talked about ARL SPEC Kits about digital humanities and scholarly publication.

The characteristics of library initiatives are:

  • Collaboration among libraries and with others
  • Many have different publication initiatives with partners. Libraries are getting into editing/publication as part of managing content
  • Space is becoming important - Libraries are creating learning spaces, exposition spaces ...
  • Libraries are creating guides and workshops
  • Libraries are becoming institutional depositories and running different software packages - for that matter they are preserving siftware tii
  • They are offering services like: DOI services, editorial services, conference services ...
  • Some libraries are getting involved in lobbying and public affairs. They can become archives for public events
  • And they are involved in the needs analysis of scholarship

The big problem is that everything keeps changing. Free software is like free kittens - it takes work to nurture (and isn't really free.) Long term access is not helped by free and ephemeral tools.

She was accessed if she is doing the same sort of job as that of librarians at the Library of Alexandria. She says the providing of access is the same - the same objective.

Pierre Mounier (EHESS – Open Edition): Du livre au carnet de recherche, et retour : phénomènes d’hybridation entre édition et web social

Mounier talked about academic blogs as a form of editorialization. He is interested in the relation of the academic blog and the contexts from which they come. The blog comes from a crisis in scholarly publication. It is not an economic issue, but a matter of a creeping specialization that has constrained what can be written and the style of writing. Researchers wanted to find a freedom from the constraints of specialization. Blogging brings back the pleasure of writing.

The blog is a type of un-journal (like a un-conference).

In this context he talked about Hypotheses - a platform for academic blogs that he is involved in. Few of the blogs in Hypotheses fit his idea of un-journals. Many of institutional - forms of communication to support projects. Many are supplements to publication rather than opposing traditional publications.

Christian Jacob, for example, uses his blog to discuss publications after the fact. You have people who use blogs to write books building a reading community before publication. Some use blogs to provide reviews of publications.

He talked about Media Commons and MLA Commons and Press Forward - experiments in social publishing. Mounier has an interesting project called GRASP to try more social publishing. Another project is OpenAire that has a lot of parts. Mounier is going to try a open peer review experiment through Open Aire?.

My sense is that many people blogged as a way of handling the flow of stuff. When Twitter came along they switched to tweeting things. For them the blog and then Twitter was a way of curating the flow. To some extent I am one of these.

Day 2, April 22

Xavier Lemarchand (Institut National de l’Audiovisuel): La diffusion en ligne des documents audiovisuels à l’INA : nouvelles pratiques de l’archive

Lemarchand started by talking about the history of INA and its audiovisual archive.

  • Between the flux and the stock
  • Between the media and the archive
  • Between the producer and consumer
  • Between the rare and overabundance

There are issues of credibility of images/video in an environment of decontextualization. This is partly a matter of authenticity and veracity, where the second has to do with the truth of what is represented. A memory institution should guarantee the authenticity and leave interpretation of veracity to others.

The audiovisual is a temporal object. By contrast, the digital is non-linear, multimedia, ubiquitous, processable, and dynamic.

He talked about the variety of uses of audiovisual materials and accession issues. They archive not just art, but all sorts of entertainment, nostalgia, cultural, history, media studies and pedagogy. They accession materials that are retroactive - shots of someone who becomes famous after. They don't just archive and preserve but they also editorialize:

  • They make selections, curate
  • Index specific things
  • Transcribe
  • Research associated materials
  • Contextualize the history, media scene, or pedagogy

Their web site ( is a galaxy of sites and he gave us a nice tour of their different approaches.

René Audet (Université Laval): Brouillon, publication, archive : circulation et effacement du statut des documents de recherche numériques en SSHAL

Audet started by problematizing the idea of the document or object that is editorialized. The document is taken to be the fundamental unit. We can set that against "donnée" (data) or knowledge (savoir). He gave an amusing example of how the given (data) on the Internet is not the same as knowledge.

Project DÉCALCQ is Quebec literary studies web site that Audet is building that, among other things, archives hard to get materials like zines. He seems to be using Scrip D? to show documents. He used this to discuss questions about status, verifiability, and usage of documents. Can a document declare its authenticity?

He talked about balisage - tagging - possibly creating the conditions for knowledge.

Another project he talked about is Project Orion-QC which gathers different readings of contemporary narrative works. This led to talking about internal wikis and whether these should be made public as they often capture the processes of a project. This foregrounds the genetic, but can become aberrational. What is an aberrational use? Is it an unethical use of data. He was questioning how we appropriate (for scholarly or other needs) data and reinterpret the data.

Stefan Sinclair (Université Mc Gill?): D’une pierre deux coups : Vers une intégration des plateformes de diffusion et d’analyse dans Voyant Tools

Sinclair talked about the Early Modern Conversions project for which he is building a version of Voyant.

He took us through the realities of the EEBO-TCP texts that are messy, but encoded. It is a remarkable and open corpus of English literature from 1500 to 1700. He talked about normalization and dirty metadata. They are working with other projects to link to authority files.

Then he got to the analysis and showed how he was frustrated by the library-style interface available from Michigan, Hathi Trust, Erudit and Gallica. He has developed DREaM (Distant Reading Early Modernity) - a system built on Voyant 2.0. They have a facade that lets one select a subset of the full EEBO corpus of 145,000 texts and analyze with Voyant. He gave the example of students using the system to study the Early Modern period.

Louise Merzeau (Université Paris X): Autorité pervasive. Vers des logiques de certification environnementales

Merzeau talked about the logic of authority. The idea of authority is woven into the book, the library and the archive. The digital challenges the traditional sources of authority. She talked about how the digital isn't really a media, but an experience transmediatique. She talked about the role of plateforms and it is in these platforms that we create regimes of authority. We create unifying fictions.

She also talked about topological authority. Think of the authority that pages that rank higher in Google have. Influence and visibility becomes authoritative. We now calculate authority (and in citation rank ...)

Editorialization reintroduces the political - collective action. This is human action, not algorithmic. She looked back at questions about writing and the loss of authority of the written which can't be engaged.

We are in a regime of citation and subscription. We always write after someone or something. This following is part of what gives authority to a writing.

Vincent Larivière (Université de Montréal): Pratiques alternatives de l’évaluation par les pairs

Larivière started by talking about the social correspondence networks of researchers - how the Republic of Letters managed information and review. He talked then about the live demonstrations of the Royal Society and the journals they set up. He gave a neat example of Einstein pulling a paper that was criticized by a reviewer.

He talked about the problems with peer review. He gave as a counter-example of F1000 Research. With F1000 articles go up and then get reviewed. One can have a discussion. Once reviewed, those accepted go up to be indexed by Google Scholar.

He talked about Pub Med? Commons where you need to be published in Pub Med to comment.

Larivière talked about crowdsourcing evaluation with Twitter and gave some examples to show the strange things that pop up. There can be problems with articles getting attention for non-scientific reasons.


It seemed to me that the idea of editorialization is similar to the idea of curation and curation strikes me as postmodern form of (pseudo) choice. We are encouraged in so many digital environments to think of the ability to curate and remix as a freedom rather than a limitation of creativity. We don't make music, we choose what music to curate into a playlist. We are flaneurs whose character is made up of our taste (selection) rather than our creation. Editorialization likewise foregrounds the curation as formative. In this regime it is the judgement of the scholar/sophist that legitimizes the artist.



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