Archive for the ‘News’ Category

UC Libraries and the budget crisis

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

Yesterday, UCLA Today ran this story about a University of California Libraries effort to confront the looming budget cuts.  The libraries issued a collective letter to publishers, asking them to work aggressively with campuses to price their publications within reach.

The writer’s process and digital archiving

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Writing your life’s work or at least your next masterpiece electronically?  This article from the Chronicle of Higher Education considers the question of how the electronic medium affects what we can learn about the writer’s process from the writer’s own archive.

 Here is a snippet:

The influence of authors’ environments on their writing has always interested scholars. Marcel Proust, for example, is known to have been heavily influenced by the paintings he surrounded himself with when he penned the novel Remembrance of Things Past, between 1909 and 1922. Imagine if Proust had been writing 100 years later, on a laptop: What else we might be able to learn about his creative process.

The implications for scholarship are tremendous, Mr. Kirschenbaum says. Take a great digital-era author: “You could potentially look at a browser history, see that he visited a particular Web site on a particular day and time,” he says. “And then if you were to go into the draft of one of his manuscripts, you could see that draft was edited at a particular day and hour, and you could establish a connection between something he was looking at on the Web with something that he then wrote.”

In some cases, computer forensics can even hint at an author’s influences beyond the screen. Mr. Reside recently mined data from old equipment belonging to Jonathan Larson, the late composer and playwright who earned a Pulitzer Prize posthumously for the musical Rent. In an early draft, Larson had a character suggest that the moonlight coming through the window is really “fluorescent light from the Gap.” In the final draft, the lyric was “Spike Lee shooting down the street.”

“From the time stamp on the digital files,” Mr. Reside says, “I learned that the lyric was changed in the spring of 1992 … when, I believe, Spike Lee was shooting Malcolm X in New York City.”  Read more…

The Catalogue of Digitized Medieval Manuscripts

Friday, February 13th, 2009

The Chronicle for Higher Education posted a story in the Wired Campus column about UCLA English Department faculty member Matthew Fisher’s new project creating a Catalogue of Digitized Medieval Manuscripts. The Chronicle article is available online at

You can find the Catalogue itself at


Monday, January 12th, 2009

If your literature research takes you back any earlier than, say, 1900 or so, you have probably had occasion to try to decipher old type faces, older spelling variants, and blurry, damaged or fading text.  Many of these kinds of texts are being digitized, however, optical character recognition (OCR) scanning has a hard time dealing with anything that is not clearly printed with current spelling or type face conventions.  Even with more current texts, machine digitization (like the Google Books project) introduces a high number of errors to the electronic “copy.”  Having a human go through and correct for these errors is extremely labor-intensive and therefore costly.  A group at Carnegie Mellon has figured out a way to harness human powers of deciphering in order to read and digitize old texts.  Read here for more information about reCAPTCHA.

Some free articles from American Literary History

Friday, November 21st, 2008

Because UCLA subscribes to American Literary History, we already have online access to all its articles, but it’s worth knowing that a handful have been made freely available in honor of the journal’s 20th anniversary.

*Celebrating the 20th anniversary of American Literary History*
To mark 20 years of American Literary History, we have made a
selection of articles from the current anniversary volume available
FREE online. To access the articles, simply click on the links below:

*FREE ARTICLES from the 20th anniversary volume*
What Good Can Literary History Do?
Jonathan Arac

National Treasure, Global Value, and American Literary Studies
Eric Lott

Border Literary Histories, Globalization, and Critical Regionalism
José E. Limón

“Are We There Yet?”: Archives, History, and Specificity in
African-American Literary Studies
Xiomara Santamarina

Re-thinking “American Studies after US Exceptionalism”
Donald Pease

Hemispheric Islam: Continents and Centuries for American Literature
Wai Chee Dimock

Scholarship and the State: Robert Greenhow and Transnational American
Studies 1848/2008
Anna Brickhouse

*Table of contents*
To browse the tables of contents and other articles from the
anniversary volume, visit

*About American Literary History*
Covering the study of US literature from its origins through the
present, American Literary History provides a much-needed forum for
the various, often competing voices of contemporary literary inquiry.

Three more e-journals join Open Humanities Press!

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

Three scholarly e-journals, Postcolonial Text, Image [&] Narrative, and Fast Capitalism, have been added to the open access journals already available at Open Humanities Press.  If you have been reading Open Humanities Press journals, let me know what you think!  I’m involved in helping OHP folks think through strategies for creating sustainable open access scholarly monographic publishing models, so I can easily pass your comments directly on to them.

For Immediate Release, October 23, 2008
Contact: Sigi Jöttkandt: +32 (0)2 792 7346
Open Humanities Press

OPEN HUMANITIES PRESS: MORE JOURNALS PARTICIPATING – Joining the pioneering open access publisher this month are journals specializing in postcolonial literary studies, visual narrative and contemporary media culture.

The major new humanities publishing initiative, Open Humanities Press (OHP) (, has expanded its offerings in peer-reviewed scholarly publishing on the Web. Postcolonial Text, Image [&] Narrative, and Fast Capitalism have been approved by OHP’s editorial board and are joining the international open access humanities publishing collective. The new additions represent OHP’s continued success at attracting high-quality publications to its list of academically-certified online journals. Like all the journals affiliated with OHP, the full text of each of the new additions is immediately available in open access form at no cost to the readers or authors.

John Willinsky, Professor of Education at Stanford University and Director of the Public Knowledge Project that designed and built the open source journal publishing software used by many of the OHP journals said, “I am extremely pleased that Open Humanities Press has recognized Postcolonial Text as a leading journal for its stable of prestigious open access publications.” A founding co-editor of Postcolonial Text and advisory board member of OHP, Willinsky added that, “in its fourth year of publication, Postcolonial Text continues to break new ground in critical analysis and creative writing on a born digital, born open access basis. I’m delighted to see the two initiatives support each other in their shared aim of moving this world forward.” Postcolonial Text was founded in 2004 by John Willinsky and Ranjini Mendis (Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Canada); in 2008 Heike Härting (University of Montreal, Canada) was appointed the journal’s Editor-in-Chief.

“In an era of rampant privatization of ‘intellectual property,’ open access publishing aims to revive the idea of the intellectual commons,” explained Nancy Fraser, Henry A. and Louise Loeb Professor of Political and Social Science at the New School for Social Research in New York, who serves on the editorial board of Fast Capitalism, alongside Fredric Jameson (Duke University), Mark Poster (UC Irvine), Edward Soja (UCLA), Todd Gitlin (Columbia University), and others. “How fitting, then, that Fast Capitalism should join Open Humanities Press.” Fast Capitalism was founded in 2005 by Ben Agger (University of Texas at Arlington) and Tim Luke (Viriginia Polytechnic Institute and State University). It describes itself as “an academic journal with political intent.”

To become affiliated with OHP, journals undergo a rigorous assessment by the press’s editorial oversight group. Once a journal has been approved by the board, OHP works with editors to ensure the new additions meet a number of open technical standards. Jan Baetens, a founding co-editor of Image [&] Narrative explained, “Open Humanities Press represents the new paradigm of scholarly publishing our own journal has been defending since 2000. Becoming part of OHP gives us access to a collective technical knowledge that will help us bring our journal in line with the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH), making our nearly ten years’ worth of publication more easily indexed by libraries and search engines such as Google.” Edited by Jan Baetens (KU Leuven) Anneleen Masschelein (KU Leuven) and Hilde Van Gelder (KU Leuven), Image [&] Narrative publishes writings on visual narratology in French and English.

OHP offers its new additions permanent archiving through a LOCKSS project based at Carnegie Mellon University. The collective also assists its partner journals who wish to migrate to Public Knowledge Project’s Open Journal Systems, which features an electronic submission system with author tracking capabilities, peer review management, and publication of articles in both HTML and PDF formats.

OHP already publishes 7 journals in critical and cultural theory that are run by their own independent editorial boards and external peer-reviewers. The collective expects to add more journals in critical and cultural theory over the coming months. “We are seeing an increasing number of venues where humanities scholars can publish in open access format without risk to traditional academic standards” said Sigi Jöttkandt, a researcher at the Jan van Eyck Academy, The Netherlands and co-founder (with Gary Hall, David Ottina and Paul Ashton) of OHP. She added, “Open access sustains a diversity of critical voices that could otherwise easily be lost in today’s increasingly fragile economic climate.”


Open Humanities Press is an international Open Access publishing collective specializing in critical and cultural theory. OHP was formed by academics to overcome the current crisis in scholarly publishing that threatens intellectual freedom and academic rigor worldwide. OHP journals are academically certified by OHP’s independent board of international scholars. All OHP publications are peer-reviewed, published under open access licenses, and freely and immediately available online at

Happy Open Access Day!

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

October 14 is Open Access Day!  

Check here ( for OA activities happening worldwide.

New e-journal on book history

Monday, October 13th, 2008

The Université de Sherbrooke in Quebec has announced the launch of Mémoires du livres, a new e-journal devoted to the study of book history.  Here is a description of this new publication from the journal’s website:

Dedicated to the dissemination of research in book history, Mémoires du livre welcomes studies pertaining to all types of media for the written word, from manuscript to the screen, without excluding print. This historical perspective can also include research on contemporary phenomena undertaken with a sociological angle, be it library science, statistics or an analysis of the various trades related to the book world. Mémoires du livre will generally opt for interdisciplinarity and the decompartmentalization of the various fields related to book history. Indeed, Mémoires du livre will be open to all corpora and approaches that will provide insight on the “book-system”, the word “book” being understood in all possible meanings.

Co-edited by Marie-Pier Luneau and Josée Vincent, professors at the Université de Sherbrooke and directors of the Groupe de recherche sur l’édition littéraire au Québec, Mémoires du livre is published biannually. Each text is submitted to a reading committee and must fulfill the requirements of an academic journal of the highest quality and of international dissemination. Each article is published in full at no cost, in French or in English; the journal is not published in hard copy.

The call for submissions to its inaugural issue can be found here

Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio wins Nobel Prize for literature

Friday, October 10th, 2008

Never read Le Clézio?  We have lots of his books here at UCLA Library!

Elections 2008: Get Registered, Get Candidate Info, and Get out and Vote!

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

Need election information? Here’s a UCLA Library wiki that is chock full of all kinds of election-related information.

Need to register to vote? There is a voter registration table from noon to 2:00 pm all this week and next week outside Powell Library (aka College Library).

Also, the UCLA Newsroom has set up an election blog to host election-related analysis by UCLA faculty and graduate students.