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Breakout IIc: Online Reading and Research Environments

Page history last edited by Lindsay 10 years ago

Breakout II.c (Bren 3526): "Online Reading and Research Environments"



Recently, there has arisen a new generation of experimental online reading and research environments, ranging from scholarly or open-source efforts such as Collex, CommentPress, PreE (Professional Reading Environment), Open Journal Systems, etc., to Google Books and other innovations in the private sector. Amazon Kindle, the iPhone, the Apple "tablet" and other hardware platforms for onlline reading also introduce new issues about digital and networked reading. Many of these developments raise issues that are simultaneously technological, social, cognitive, educational, aesthetic/design, etc. Many also currently constrain the issues through metaphors such as "document," "book," "file," "edition," "archive," "repository" that are no longer fully adequate to describe what these new distributed, aggregated, selected, and interactive "things" actually perform.


  • What are the top-ten research problems/opportunities in this area?
  • And is there a recommendation for a particular issue for RoSe to pursue?


Reading and Research Experience Group

Questions we were asking to assist RoSE in next steps/going ahead:

1) How can RoSE position itself in the existing universe of tools that exist at the intersection of digital scholarship and social networking?

2) Is the language we are using to describe what RoSE does adequate or do we need to add new terminology to shift some of the conceptual assumptions of the project?

Other questions:

What is the reading that RoSE does an analysis of? Confusion between the social networking analogy as a way to tease out connections in an existing corpus of materials (Early Modern, Modern, Contemporary) vs. the network of relations drawn by a reader/researcher or recorded from such activity for future reader/researchers to enter into?

RoSE is a network of relations within which things you read are circulating.

Can we imagine RoSE as an environment in which we combine:

    Computational/machine reading – pull out relations in existing corpus through analysis of citation indices, metadata records, NLP of full texts, bibliometrics etc.


    Those aspects of reading/relations best done by individuals – structuring/relations/analysis etc. in the RoSE environment.


    Authoring/scholarship – capturing the data trail of writing, linking, searching, annotation etc.

Final activity: what going forward:   

1.    More reading tools to promote exchange and dialogue

2.    User scenarios – road maps and points of entry

3.    Focused studies_ constrained approaches to micro scale (a single relation expanded) or macro scale to see what we can expose

4.    Playful/pleasure aspect to promote the research question generator aspect

5.    Limit some of the uses and functionality instead of expanding

6.    Shift the vocabulary from documents/people/entities to search terms and search structures –

7.    Rethink the menu/controlled vocabulary of relationship terms and instead, put things in relation to each other (“next to”) and annotate the relation and let that give rise to language or relations

8.    More flexibility about what and how relations are created. The system is antagonistic to the data – length of titles, lack of dates, anonymity – could be gotten around with the proximity and search approach

9.    How is the collaborative aspect of editing and version control to be managed.

10.    Use of narrative and metaphors of relations in grammatical terms could be opened up to increase understanding of narrative.

11.    Visualization as an active interface – place in which to work on relations and rework directly – shift emphasis from the back end to an interface.


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