Transliteracy Workshop

IMG01008.jpgToday is the day!
Following on from last year's transliteracy unconference we're holding a transliteracy workshop. Last year the vote was to have a day where we could put into practise our ideas of transliteracy in order to *make* transliterate objects.
We have piles of string, coloured papers, digital cameras, computers, scanners, robot lego, old answering machines, playstation and more.
As a reminder, the definition of transliteracy (so far) that we're using is:

"The ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks."

The aim of making transliterate objects will help us understand *why* something is transliterate as right now we seem to have an innate idea of what transliteracy is but how to we begin to describe it in words, images, sounds etc…?

Continue reading

Indigenous people using YouTube

I've written before about tribes like the Brazilian Asheninka who have chosen to limit the emphasis on print literacy in their communities. Here's an interesting post about an Australian aboriginal tribe the Warlpiri who have chosen video as their preferred literacy. Ethnologist Kimberly Christen writes:

Check it out. Warlpiri men at Lajamanu have recorded and posted a video up on YouTube about recent events during which a female police officer went onto men’s ceremonial grounds. Their critique is lodged in the cultural protocols and law that surround gender specific ceremonies. The fact that they are making their complaint and their call for police to understand their law on YouTube marks a new mode of communication with (or at least an attempt at communication with) police and the wider non-Aboriginal public. And it looks like the police were listening…they are going to apologize and meet with the community about the incident.

Long Road | Warlpiri take their complaints to YouTube

Worth how many words?

A really fascinating project called "80 Million Tiny Images" attempts to colour map every noun in the English language via Google Image Search.
80million tiny images example
The authors have used Wordnet, an online thesarus, to create semantic groupings (e.g. plants) and then sub-groupings in which the nouns were arranged. Each noun was then the subject of a Google Image search, such as that shown by "Eastern Poison Oak" in the example above, and the dominant colour in the most popular images was determined.
The semantic grouping means that pixels close to each other are closely semantically related while those further away are not. As can be seen, this semantic grouping is often visible through colour similarities – it is relatively easy to guess where the plant grouping is placed.
This kind of visualisation might also prove of interest when exploring tagging and other web2.0 devices. I wonder what the colour of Linux, Microsoft or Apple would be. If I could find money in 80 Million Tiny Images, what would it's colour be and what might that tell us about the collective intelligence?
Originally from Smart Mobs.

Literacy/Transliteracy video

Gena Haskett over at BlogHer has posted
Are You Literate/Transliterate? | BlogHer in which she argues that 'In order to survive in the information age we will become transliterate. It is not as scary as it sounds. We do this intuitively on a daily basis.' Her post includes this interesting video from The Literacy Project. This is especially timely because on Monday 28th Jan we're holding a one day workshop on making transliterate objects, and we'll be recording some video during the day. I'll be curious to see how the two compare. It's also somewhat comforting to see that whilst we struggle to define transliteracy there's still a lot of uncertainty around the root word itself!

Blog Comments vs Peer Review

"What if scholarly books were peer reviewed by anonymous blog comments rather than by traditional, selected peer reviewers?
That's the question being posed by an unusual experiment that begins today. It involves a scholar studying video games, a popular academic blog with the playful name Grand Text Auto, a nonprofit group designing blog tools for scholars, and MIT Press.
The blog is read by many of the same scholars he sees at academic conferences, and also attracts readers from the video-game industry and teenagers who are hard-core video-game players. At its peak, the blog has had more than 200,000 visitors per month, he says.
"This is the community whose response I want, not just the small circle of academics," Mr. Wardrip-Fruin says.
So he called up the folks at the Institute for the Future of the Book, who developed CommentPress, a tool for adding digital margin notes to blogs (The Chronicle, September 28, 2007). Would they help out? He wondered if he could post sections of his book on Grand Text Auto and allow readers, using CommentPress, to add critiques right in the margins.
The idea was to tap the wisdom of his crowd. Visitors to the blog might not read the whole manuscript, as traditional reviewers do, but they might weigh in on a section in which they have some expertise.
Each day he will post a new chunk of his draft to the blog, and readers will be invited to comment. That should open the floodgates of input, possibly generating thousands of responses by the time all 300-plus pages of the book are posted. "My plan is to respond to everything that seems substantial," says the author."

From Blog Comments and Peer Review Go Head to Head to See Which Makes a Book Better
JEFFREY R. YOUNG in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

xposted from Musings.

Mobile Texts are Tops for Japanese

From the New York Times:

"TOKYO – Until recently, cellphone novels – composed on phone keypads by young women wielding dexterous thumbs and read by fans on their tiny screens – had been dismissed in Japan as a subgenre unworthy of the country that gave the world its first novel, "The Tale of Genji," a millennium ago. Then last month, the year-end best-seller tally showed that cellphone novels, republished in book form, have not only infiltrated the mainstream but have come to dominate it.
Of last year's 10 best-selling novels, five were originally cellphone novels, mostly love stories written in the short sentences characteristic of text messaging but containing little of the plotting or character development found in traditional novels. What is more, the top three spots were occupied by first-time cellphone novelists, touching off debates in the news media and blogosphere.

"Will cellphone novels kill 'the author'?" a famous literary journal, Bungaku-kai, asked on the cover of its January issue. Fans praised the novels as a new literary genre created and consumed by a generation whose reading habits had consisted mostly of manga, or comic books. Critics said the dominance of cellphone novels, with their poor literary quality, would hasten the decline of Japanese literature.
Whatever their literary talents, cellphone novelists are racking up the kind of sales that most more experienced, traditional novelists can only dream of.
One such star, a 21-year-old woman named Rin, wrote "If You" over a six-month stretch during her senior year in high school. While commuting to her part-time job or whenever she found a free moment, she tapped out passages on her cellphone and uploaded them on a popular Web site for would-be authors.
After cellphone readers voted her novel No. 1 in one ranking, her story of the tragic love between two childhood friends was turned into a 142-page hardcover book last year. It sold 400,000 copies and became the No. 5 best-selling novel of 2007, according to a closely watched list by Tohan, a major book distributor.
"My mother didn't even know that I was writing a novel," said Rin, who, like many cellphone novelists, goes by only one name. "So at first when I told her, well, I'm coming out with a novel, she was like, what? She didn't believe it until it came out and appeared in bookstores."

Continue reading

David Lynch on watching movies on your phone

YouTube – David Lynch on iPhone Self-explanatory!

Strangely Addictive – WikipediaVision

It's strangely addictive, watching annonymous adjustments to Wikipedia blink on an off my screen.
"WikipediaVision is a visualization of edits to the English (and the German, French, Spanish) Wikipedia, almost the same time as they happen. The idea came after seeing flickervision and twittervision, both created by David Troy. WikipediaVision, however, was designed and implemented by me alone [László Kozma.]"

Transliterate Trees?

I've just come across Dan Stober's interesting article from the Stanford Report. He tells us about Vladlen Koltun, an assistant professor in computer science at Stanford, who decided he wanted to make virtual worlds more realistic. To that end he decided to add trees to his virtual landscapes. Although 3D designers are few and far between, Koltun was able to tabulate the significant information botonists have regarding trees creating a highly detailed catolgue of attributes. Taking that info. Koltun was able to design a "powerful mathematical engine that creates trees using about 100 different tree attributes, all of them almost infinitely variable. How thick is the trunk? How big the leaves? How are the limbs spaced?" The result? Well, besides a much nicer virtual landscape is the idea that users who do not live and breathe 3D programming can "create unique trees by simply using a mouse to seamlessly navigate through the entire "space of trees," changing appearances by changing direction. Koltun's software, Dryad (a tree nymph in Greek mythology,) lets users move through the 100-attribute tree space in a fashion similar to navigating city streets on Google Maps." Does this mean that trees are now transliterate – moving from one mode (life) to another (virtual)?

Courtesy Vladlen Koltun

By navigating with a mouse through an infinite number of trees on Dryad, virtual-world enthusiasts can create the trees of their dreams. The software, created at Stanford, is named after the tree nymphs in Greek mythology.

Photo and Caption from "Building a Better Virtual World, One Tree (or Millions) at a Time" by Dan Stober.