New York 2013

Research Foundations for Understanding Books and Reading in the Digital Age: E/Merging Reading, Writing, and Research Practices

A Birds-of-a-Feather Gathering

26-27 September 2013.

Humanities Initiative at New York University
20 Cooper Square, Fifth floor [at East 5th St]
New York, NY  10003
Registration at

Digital technology is fundamentally altering the way we relate to writing, reading, and the human record itself. The pace of that change has created a gap between core social/cultural practices that depend on stable reading and writing environments and the new kinds of digital artefacts – electronic books being just one type of many – that must sustain those practices now and into the future.

This gathering explores research foundations pertinent to understanding new practices and emerging media, specifically focusing on work in textual and extra-textual method, in itself and via exemplar, leading toward [1] theorizing the transmission of culture in pre- and post-electronic media, [2] documenting the facets of how people experience information as readers and writers, [3] designing new kinds of interfaces and artifacts that afford new reading abilities, [4] conceptualizing the issues necessary to provide information to these new reading and communicative environments, [5] reflecting on interdisciplinary team research strategies pertinent to work in the area, and beyond.  Presentations addressing these and other issues in relation to emerging / transforming (digital) infrastructures, in regional, national, and international contexts are also most welcome.

Featured events include leading talks by Lisa Gitelman (NYU), Bob Stein (IF:Book), Susan Brown (U Guelph / U Alberta), and Stan Ruecker (IIT Institute of Design).

We invite paper proposals that address these and other issues pertinent to research in the area.  Proposals should contain a title, an abstract (of approximately 250 words) plus list of works cited, and the names, affiliations, and website URLs of presenters; fuller papers will be solicited after acceptance of proposals, for circulation in advance of the gathering to registered participants. We are pleased to welcome proposals in all languages in which our community works, and note that the chief working language of past gatherings has been English.  Please send proposals before 15 July 2013 to Ray Siemens,

Sponsors of the gathering include the NYU Humanities Initiative, the Implementing New Knowledge Environments (INKE) research group, the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing (SHARP), and the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

Earlier gatherings of this group have taken place in conjunction with

[2012] the THATCamp Caribe group and Red de Humanidades Digitales (RedHD), the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organisations (ADHO), the Society for Digital Humanities / Société pour l’étude des médias interactifs (SDH/SEMI), and the Public Knowledge Project (PKP); sponsored by the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH), INKE and SSHRC,
[2011] the Second International Symposium on Digital Humanities for Japanese Arts and Cultures (Kyoto, November 2011; sponsored by the Japanese Association for Digital Humanities, the Digital Humanities Center for Japanese Arts and Cultures at Ritsumeikan U, INKE, and SSHRC),
[2010] the conference Texts and Literacy in the Digital Age: Assessing the Future of Scholarly Communication (The Hague, December 2010; sponsored by the National Library of the Netherlands, the Book and Digital Media Studies department of Leiden U, INKE and SSHRC), and
[2009] at U Victoria (October 2009; sponsored by INKE and SSHRC).


Thursday 26 September

Session 1, Plenary Session. 4.00pm-6.00 pm.

Chair: Constance Crompton (U British Columbia, Okanagan)

  1. Ray Siemens (U Victoria): Welcome, Opening Remarks.
  2. Thomas Augst (New York U):  Welcome, Opening Remarks.
  3. Lisa Gitelman (New York U): “Considering the Page Image.”
  4. Bob Stein (IF:Book): “A Book is a Place Where Things Happen.”

The Plenary Session will be followed by a light reception.

Friday 27 September

Session 2, Plenary Session.  9.00am-10.30 pm.

Chair: Jentery Sayers (U Victoria)

  1. Susan Brown (U Guelph): “Editing Interfaces.”
  2. Stan Ruecker (IIT Institute of Design) and Gerry Derksen (Winthrop U): “Analyse, Discuss, and SWOT: 3 Student Projects in Design and DH at INKE’s Interface Design Group.”

Session 3, BoF-style: Reading, Writing.  10.45am-12.00pm.

Chair: Jon Bath (U Saskatchewan)

  1. “Readers Read, Readers Write: A Methodology for The Study of Reading Practices in Media Convergence.”  Élika Ortega (U Western Ontario), Javier de la Rosa  (U Western Ontario), and Juan Luis Suárez (U Western Ontario).
  2. “Unlocking the digital crypt: An exploratory framework for cryptographic reading and writing.”  Quinn DuPont (U Toronto).
  3. “Ways of Reading, Models for Text, and the Usefulness of Dead People.”  Yin Liu (U Saskatchewan).
  4. “’In a book that all may read’: Contemplating E-pubs at the William Blake Archive.” Ashley Reed (UNC Chapel Hill).
  5. “Reading what others read: Methods and consequences of mining annotations and scraping social media for what to read.” John Simpson (U Alberta) and the INKE Research Group.
  6. “’All data is credit data’; or, on Close Reading as a Reciprocal Process in Digital Knowledge Environments.” John Hunter (Bucknell U).
  7. “Insights and On-sites: Examining e-Book Usage Data in Ontario University Libraries.”  Ravit H. David  (U Toronto) and Klara Maidenberg (U Toronto).

Session 4, BoF-style: Modeling, Prototyping.  1.30pm-3.00pm.

Chair: Susan Brown (U Guelph)

  1.  “Touch Here to Begin: Paper Interfaces and Legible Circuits.”  Matthew Wizinsky (UIC Innovation Center).
  2. “Re/collections: From Books to Blogs.” Ethna D. Lay (Hofstra U).
  3. “Situating the Topos (or Place) of Topic Modeling.”  Collin Jennings (New York U).
  4. “Exploding, Centralizing and Reimagining Critical Scholarship through the NewRadial Prototype.” Jon Saklofske (Acadia U) and the INKE Modeling and Prototyping team.
  5. “Visualizing Knowledge Networks: The Glass Cast Prototype.” Ernesto Peña (U British Columbia), Teresa Dobson (U British Columbia), and the INKE Research Group.
  6. “Prototyping Personas for Open, Networked Peer Review.” Nina Belojevic (U Victoria), Jentery Sayers (U Victoria), and the INKE Research Group.
  7. “The Pace of Academic Prototyping: The Case of the DTOC.” Nadine Adelaar (U Alberta), Susan Brown (U Guelph), Teresa Dobson (U British Columbia), Ruth Knechtel (U Alberta), Andrew MacDonald, (McMaster U), Brent Nelson (U Saskatchewan), Ernesto Peña (U British Columbia), Milena Radzikowska (Mount Royal U), Stan Ruecker (IIT Institute of Design), Geoff G. Roeder (U British Columbia), Stéfan Sinclair (McGill U), Jennifer Windsor (U Alberta), and the INKE Research Group.
  8. “The Renaissance English Knowledgebase / Renaissance English Knowledge Network (REKN): Networking Early Modern Scholarly Resources, v2.0.”  Daniel Powell (U Victoria).

Session 5, BoF-style: Text, Crowd, Collaboration.  3.15pm-4.30pm.

Chair: Teresa Dobson (U British Columbia)

  1. “Capturing the Visual Interpretation of Non-Textual Information.” Milena Radzikowska (Mt Royal U).
  2. “Curating Scholarly Commentary in the Age of Google.” Sarah Neville (West Virginia University).
  3.  “Crowdsourcing Literary Theory: The Brown Stocking and He Do the Police in Different Voices.” Adam Hammond (U Toronto), with Graeme Hirst (U Toronto) and Julian Brooke  (U Toronto).
  4. “Call and Response:  The Social Edition in Community Context.”  Constance Crompton (U British Columbia, Okanagan) and William Bowen (U Toronto Scarborough).
  5. “Social Knowledge Creation and the Humanities.”  Alyssa Arbuckle (U Victoria) and Matthew Hiebert (U Victoria), with Nina Belojevic, Shaun Wong, Ray Siemens, Alex Christie, Jon Saklofske, Jentery Sayers, Derek Siemens and the INKE and ETCL Research Groups.
  6. “Building and Sustaining Long-term Collaboration – Lessons at the INKE Mid-way Mark.”  Lynne Siemens (U Victoria).

Session 6: Closing.  4.30pm.

  1. Ray Siemens (U Victoria)