Archive for September, 2008

Twit lit?

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

In case you missed this earlier in the month, I came across this blog entry about people who write fiction on microblogging services like Twitter.  Since microblogging involves messages of 140 characters or less, these “stories” end up sounding more like haiku than fiction; some are cute or witty, but the best are remarkably telescopic in nature, suggesting far more than they actually say.

3rd Annual Los Angeles Archives Bazaar

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

It’s that time of year again.  The Los Angeles Archives Bazaar is coming up in about a month.  In the past two years, the bazaar took place at the Huntington Library. This year it is moving to USC.  See the announcement below for details. I really recommend this event to Southern California history and literature scholars. 

Southern California history comes alive in exhibits by 65 historical collections and archives on Saturday, October 25 at the USC -Davidson Conference Center.  Browse rare collections, consult with experts, learn about family genealogy, preserving your own history, and numerous other topics.  Presented by L.A. as Subject, a research collective hosted by the USC Libraries, the Bazaar offers a wealth of resources for exploring Los Angeles history, including educational programs, panels and book signing by authors, and documentary films about the hidden stories of Los Angeles neighborhoods will be shown throughout the day.

FREE Admission.

Archives Bazaar visitors receive FREE admission to Exposition Park museums, including the California African American Museum, the California Science Center, and reduced admission to the Natural History Museum (NHM).  The NHM provides Teachers, Active Military and USC students FREE admission with photo ID, courtesy of NHM.

For more information visit

Location: USC -Davidson Conference Center, 3415 S. Figueroa St. (at Jefferson Blvd), Los Angeles, CA 90089.  Suggested Parking is Parking Structure D, immediately east of Davidson Center.

Date: Saturday, October 25, 2008

Time: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Admission: FREE

Welcome back! and Companion to Digital Literary Studies

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

The new academic year is almost upon us and I will be increasing the frequency of my blog posts from here on out, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, I wanted to pass on a link to Blackwell’s Companion to Digital Literary Studies, edited by Ray Siemens and Susan Schreibman, and now freely available online.  We also have one non-circulating copy of the print edition of this book at UCLA.

Can I use this text in my course pack?

Friday, September 5th, 2008

When I was teaching English and history courses during my grad school days, I always had this nagging question as I prepared my syllabi and reading lists:  Can I use this text in my course pack without needing to ask permission or worry about copyright infringement?  If you have similar questions as you prepare your own syllabi or as you consider using particular materials in your published research, I just came across this handy tool for figuring out whether something is copyrighted or in the public domain.  It’s the Digital Copyright Slider, put out by the American Library Association’s Office for Information Technology Policy.  Seems to me it would also be a useful tool for teaching students about copyright.

Of course, if you play with the slider, you will notice that the answer to the question “Is this work protected by copyright?” is either “No” or “Maybe.”  More information about the “Maybe” response is available if you click on the word “Maybe.”  For a lot of our educational purposes, Fair Use doctrine allows us to reproduce copyrighted works without seeking permission.  However, Fair Use is only really a set of guidelines for a risk assessment, not clear-cut legal protection for educators, and there have been recent efforts on the parts of some publishers to challenge educators’ rights to put copyrighted material in course packs.  

If you are reproducing something in a published format (in print or on the web), a “Maybe” could well turn out to be a “Yes, you do need to seek permission.”  

Complicated? Yes, but the slider makes it a lot easier to track.