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Notes on the Importance of Guidelines for Citation of Comic Art in the Digital Age(Comics Forum 2011)
Back to the Source: Notes on the Importance of Guidelines for Citation of Comic Art in the Digital Age Dr Ernesto Priego
"There are in fact several reasons, apart from purely autobiographical ones, why I am writing about comics. I have been bothered for a long time that it is nigh on impossible to see the original materials being analysed in most critical studies. Too many critics expect to take their descriptions on faith. Often they tell us their conclusion with only fragmentary quotations. When studying pieces of popular culture, very often they do not bother to note their sources. No dates, no edition numbers. It doesn't seem to matter, since their description must be accepted. This is not a matter to be taken lightly. The way critics look at their materials is already conditioned by their theories of ideology and influence. If we want to question those theories, it is vitally important to be able to re-view those original materials." Martin Barker, Comics: Ideology, Power and the Critics , 1989:5.
How to integrate comics scholarship within the larger scholarly community whilst retaining its specificity? How to enable its growth and maximise its impact?
Citing Sources is Not Enough! (but it's the beginning) "Comic Art in Scholarly Writing. A Citation Guide" < http://www.comicsresearch.org/CAC/cite.html > Allen Ellis Chair, Comics Citations Committee Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association
Citing, Showing, Connecting Citing/Embedding/ Referencing/Linking/ Networking Hyperlinking transforms citation into active networking The Comics Grid
"What is interesting is always interconnection. Not the primacy of this over that, which has never any meaning. " –Michel Foucault, 1982 ( Foucault 1999:141).
"The new culture of hypermedia has given rise to even more interaction between text and image. The ease with which we can manipulate images, combine them with text, and reproduce them instantaneously is changing the old order of readability, forcing us to rethink the concept of textuality. The literary text, if it is to have a future, will no longer be able to evade these new challenges." –Christian Vandendorpe, 1999 (Vandendorpe 2009:96).
Citation is a synthetic and analytic process Citing is a way of describing content Ciation standards express cultural & scholarly values (ideology)
"The Definitional Project" Still Matters What is a comic?
In the digital age, form = content content = form "content is king"
Comics Scholarship / Librarianship Information Literacy as Basic Scholarly Skill
" A major reason that there are not enough histories, analyses and reference books about comics is that collecting comics is a very difficult job, and libraries have not been collecting well enough." Randy Scott, Comics Librarianship. A Handbook , 1990:9.
"[Comics librarianship] is very difficult if you don't know that you have everything related to something when you're trying to get it organised" -L ucy Caswell, Subject Librarian of the Ohio State University cartoon collection ( Tauber 2009).
Image / Word In comics as in contemporary multi/hyper/trans/digital media, image and word = text image and word = single object of study
Print / Digital The "standard" format of comics is no longer (only) print. The "technical unit" might not always be the comics page, not even the panel. The "standard" academic output is no longer (only) print.
Comics research is increasingly conducted online. Comics scholars rarely have access to all the primary sources they need in physical formats.
The elephant in the room is not Google; it's access to materials through illegal torrents.
Vocabulary Control <ul><li>"to avoid the ambiguities and confusion that arise from the use of natural language </li></ul><ul><li>to improve consistency in indexing by reducing the number of variant terms available </li></ul><ul><li>to support interoperability and the exchange of information by the use of common standards </li></ul><ul><li>controlled vocabularies may also be used to support searching and retrieval by working behind a user interface </li></ul><ul><li>a classification scheme is a kind of controlled vocabulary that manages these problems by using codes to represent concepts" </li></ul><ul><li>(Fran Alexander, taxonomy manager, BBC) </li></ul>
CBML <ul><li>An agreed vocabulary of the standard features of comics <http://www.tei-c.org/index.xml>. Developed by Walsh and Dalmau (Indiana University, 2002-2006), Comic Book Markup Language, or CBML, is a TEI-based XML vocabulary for encoding digitized comics, comic books and graphic novels. </li></ul>
CBML <ul><li>It provides a vocabulary for encoding metadata and content present in some comic books, particularly American serialised single-issue comic books: panels, speech and thought balloons; narrative captions, sound effects, advertisements, credits, letter columns, etc. </li></ul>
CBML <ul><li>CBML is still in stage of development and a viable interface has yet to be created, but represents a viable, even if incredibly laborious and expensive, method for describing and enabling the preservation of comic book collections and archives (Walsh and Dalmau 2006a and 2006b). </li></ul>
Guidelines? Why? Enabling Access to Knowledge Effective Resource Sharing Enabling Collaboration Ensure Academic Rigour Maximise Research Impact Licensing / fair use / copyright awareness Sustainable Preservation Interoperability; common frameworks Compliance with digital standards
If it can't be found, it does not exist! Only those who already know what they are searching do find it Comics scholars can facilitate access to primary sources through citation standards that allow their location to third parties
Comics Scholarship's Arch-Enemies Copyright (or ignorance of) Lack of citation & classification standards (taxonomies; metadata) Lack of ease of access to primary sources, particulary to non-insiders
Licensing/Fair Use for Teaching, Conference Presentations & Publications
Benefits and Challenges of Standarisation <ul><li>Benefits </li></ul><ul><li>Effective navigation </li></ul><ul><li>Efficient communication </li></ul><ul><li>Shared understanding </li></ul><ul><li>Systems interoperability </li></ul>
Benefits and Challenges of Standarisation <ul><li>Challenges </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of engagement/ resistance from community </li></ul><ul><li>Enforcement </li></ul><ul><li>Maintenance </li></ul><ul><li>Policies </li></ul><ul><li>Training </li></ul>
Information Literacy <ul><li>"Information literacy is a set of abilities requiring individuals to "recognise when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information." </li></ul><ul><li>American Library Association. Presidential Committee on Information Literacy. Final Report .(Chicago: American Library Association, 1989.) </li></ul><ul><li>< http://www.ala.org/ala/acrl/acrlpubs/whitepa- pers/presidential.htm > </li></ul>
<ul><li>"Increasingly, information comes to individuals in unfiltered formats, raising questions about its authenticity, validity, and reliability [...] information is available through multiple media, including graphical, aural, and textual, and these pose new challenges for individuals in evaluating and understanding it. The uncertain quality and expanding quantity of information pose large challenges for society. The sheer abundance of information will not in itself create a more informed citizenry without a complementary cluster of abilities necessary to use information effectively." </li></ul><ul><li>ALA , Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education , (2000) </li></ul><ul><li>< http://www.ala.org/acrl/ilcomstan. html > </li></ul>
"New" Literacies <ul><li>"What is central to new literacies is not the fact that we can now “look up information online” or write essays using a word processor rather than a pen or typewriter, or even that we can mix music with sophisticated software that works on run-of-the-mill computers but, rather, that they mobilize very different kinds of values and priorities and sensibilities than the lit- eracies we are familiar with. The significance of the new technical stuff has mainly to do with how it enables people to build and participate in literacy practices that involve different kinds of values, sensibilities, norms and procedures and so on from those that characterize conventional literacies" (Lankshear and Knobel 2006:7). </li></ul>
Communities can produce comics-specialised "foksonomies"; standards can be gradually introduced
Information Literacy Standards Association of College and Research Libraries American Library Association http://www.ala.org/
The Comics Scholar as Information Professional Creation of interoperable <metadata> as textual scholarship
Discoverability: if it can't be found, it can't be studied; the less it's studied, the less it's found "Online, there is only metadata" -Graham Bell, Editeur/HarperCollins, 2011
Since 2008, The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum at Ohio State University has been digitising specific comic book collections using Encoded Archival Description as an online finding aid, finally making them browsable and searchable by image and text. < http://osu.pastperfect-online.com/ >
Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI) Creative Commons & the Association of Educational Publishers to establish a common learning resources framework aimed at improving education search and discovery via a common framework for tagging and organizing learning resources on the web. < http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/27603 >
Conclusions <ul><li>Scholarly-rigorous citation of comic art can contribute positvely to the integration of comics research to "mainstream" academia. </li></ul><ul><li>Citation is a synthetic and analytic task which reveals conceptions of cultural products. </li></ul><ul><li>Comics scholarship cannot only cite its objects of study; it needs to show and reference comic art, embedded within the academic writing itself. Electronic publishing facilitates this. </li></ul>
Conclusions <ul><li>Comic art citation and the vocabulary/taxonomies used to describe comics are conceptually and pragmatically related. </li></ul><ul><li>Standards for citation and description (metadata) of comic book publications facilitate access and maximise reach and impact. </li></ul><ul><li>Comics scholars are a community of practice and new literacies such as copyright awareness, text encoding (CBML or alternative schemata) can be included within its scope. </li></ul>