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  1. 1. Communicating Digital Scholarly Editions: a reader's perspective Elena Pierazzo King’s College London Text Encoding Initiative 1
  2. 2. Reading, digitally It is a truth universally acknowledged that people don’t like reading from a screen This convincement, although universally acknowledged, is nevertheless wrong People read from screens. A lot. Much more than they read on paper. And they enjoy it. [http://www.nngroup.com/articles/ipad-and- kindle-reading-speeds/] 2
  3. 3. A growing market 3
  4. 4. Not for all… 4
  5. 5. The reader • New actor in the scholarly editing landscape • Impact is potentially revolutionary • But what do readers read, how, and from which support? • Who are they? • What do readers want? 5
  6. 6. O’Reilly: Print and Digital 6
  7. 7. What people reads • Newspapers and Magazines • Handbooks and learning literature • Academic Articles • Academic monographs • Novels • Poetry • Messages (emails, texts, status updates, tweets) 7
  8. 8. How people read 8 0.00 20.00 40.00 60.00 80.00 100.00 120.00 Magazine Newpapers Handbooks Dictionaries Journals Monographs Novels Poetry Messages print digital
  9. 9. Sources • http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2012/sep/12/ digital-newspaper-readerships-national-survey • http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/one-two-brits-now- reading-digital-magazines-says-survey • http://observatory.jiscebooks.org/ • http://www.scholarlyediting.org/2013/essays/essay.port er.html • http://jiscpub.blogs.edina.ac.uk/final-report/ • http://www.vancouversun.com/entertainment/books/Po etry+motion+Poems+join+ebook+revolution+progress/ 8409590/story.html • http://mashable.com/2012/08/01/email-workers-time/ 9
  10. 10. Length? • It seems that the length of the text is inversely proportional to the readers' keenness to have it in digital form • But what about poetry? 10
  11. 11. Different types of Reading • Reading for pleasure • Close Reading • Skimming • Scanning 11
  12. 12. Reading for pleasure Reading as an hobby, a form of relaxation, recreation: linear reading, focused on the plot, more than on the language, structure, etc. Novels, poetry 12
  13. 13. Close Reading/Studying • Is not reading, but careful and purposeful re-reading • When you want memorise • When you want learn • Close reading = study – Handbooks – Articles – Scholarly Editions 13
  14. 14. Skimming Reading very quickly to grasp the content as fast as you can (you don’t know the content, you are try to understand it) – Articles of newspaper – A scholarly monograph (ehm …) – A report
  15. 15. Scanning Looking for something specific, an information on a given written text (you know the content or you don’t care about it, you are only interested in a specific information). Not necessarily linear – Dictionary – Encyclopaedia – Scholarly edition
  16. 16. From which support do they read 16
  17. 17. Digital Scholarly Editions • Some have long text, some short • They provide more than text: tools and interactivities • They respond to one or more research questions • Their editors have agendas 17
  18. 18. What do you do with (digital) scholarly editions? • Do you read them? • If so, in which way? • Do you use them? • Both? • Nothing? 18
  19. 19. What do readers want? • Porter 2013: Print editions! (Scholarly Editing) • Vanhoutte 2010: Paperbacks sold with newspapers 19
  20. 20. So, shall we give up? Case Study: Touchpress [http://www.touchpress.com/] Small team (25 people), no international marketing, a few good ideas But not scholars involved. 20
  21. 21. 21
  22. 22. Which readers for Digital Scholarly Editions? • Editors, specialist of the text edited • Other academics, looking for an authoritative text • Students, because they are told to • General public We are still a bit short on this 22
  23. 23. If you build it, they will come And what if they do not? Since when we care? Is this a concern of ours? Why? Because the funders wants it? Which is the price to pay to make it accessible? In some countries, for some funders Public Engagement is a dirty word… 23
  24. 24. Digital Scholarly Editions • Let’s face it: they are not paperbacks sold with newspapers. They responds to scholarly needs • Scholarship and research don’t need to be accessible to the large public to be legitimate • We started to do digital editions because the web offered research opportunity • Moving scholarly edition on the web doesn’t need to demote them 24
  25. 25. Digital Scholarly Editions • But we can take into consideration a more broader readership with simple tricks (ePub for download) • Scholarship and Public Engagement can share the same space: there is scholarship in doing PE, but perhaps it is not the same scholarship to make editions • Make digital editions more accessible can be a research project in itself • But they don’t have to: running after readers at all costs may make us to loose sight of the scholarly purpose of edition 25
  26. 26. 50 Shades of Mr Darcy? • It seems unrealistic to transform digital scholarly editions into best sellers • Democratising culture, outreach is Research in its own right and you cannot improvise it • The first purpose of the editor must be “Securing the Past” in a scholarly manner 26
  27. 27. Let’s get it straight • Each edition, scholarly or not, chooses its own target audience, and not all possible audiences • Each edition, scholarly or not, has a purpose, and not all possible purposes • Each edition represent a partial point of view on a text and not all possible points of view Say NO to Digital Ur Editions! 27
  28. 28. Who is our target? • The fact that we put editions on the web does not mean they have to appeal everybody • The target of scholarly editions are, well, scholars • We can lower the threshold to appeal other categories, such a students and scholars of other disciplines, if this does not compromise the “scholarshipness” 28
  29. 29. To Conclude • If we want to reach the general public, we need to understand who they are and what they like, and do it without compromises • If we want to pursue a scholarly purpose, let’s do it, without compromises • If we want to do both, we need longer projects, more money and different type of expertise 29
  30. 30. Thank you Elena Pierazzo elena.pierazzo@kcl.ac.uk 30