Monday, April 25, 2005

Upcoming event on digital literacies

UKLA (United Kingdom Literacy Association) Research Day on Digital Literacies is coming up on 7th July 2005 in Bath, UK (followed by the International Conference).

This event brings together Mizuko Ito, Julian Sefton-Green, Keri Facer, Valerie Walkerdine and Carey Jewitt to speak about the impact and potentials of digital literacies and new communications technologies.

What makes this particular event particularly interesting is it's focus on new literacies and children. If you're a researcher, educator, publisher in the fields of childhood, education, literacy, ICT this is a key event for 2005.

For more information, contact me, email or go to the UKLA site!

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Global Voices Online

In Manchester recently, Vint Cerf was talking about the future of the internet. He had some interesting things to say about the ways in which the internet is having a social and political impact. While there are always links to the repertoires of literate skills and practices each of us needs, his talk has prompted me to think more closely about the changing nature of political engagement in contemporary societies and the ways in which online cultures and technologies may be involved. One positive example of the potential of the internet to facilitate social and political change is Global Voices Online: "an international effort to diversify the conversation taking place online by involving speakers from around the world, and developing tools, institutions and relationships to make these voices heard". Check it out.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Agrrrr pirates ahoy!

I move between the UK and Australia frequently. In both places i have legitimately purchased (and continue to legitimately purchase) DVDs. I tell myself that i am collecting 'classics' (anything that contains Oliver Platt; anything that Tarantino has ever touched; 'Lake Placid' (believe me, it will one day be appreciated). The point is, no matter why i think i buy DVDs, i buy them, i have a receipt, i use them in line with the rules/regulations.

Why then can i only play them a few times on my laptop/computer before a big, scary screen comes up telling me that i am about to have my area fixed in perpetuity?? For more info on DVD zones, see DVD Zones and Maps.

Apparently this is because there are pirates who must be stopped from copying DVDs from one area and selling them in another. I AM NOT A PIRATE. Like millions of other people, i buy DVDs, i travel, i have a laptop. My right to view the product i have legitimately purchased is being unfairly restricted.

Makes me wonder who the real pirates are.

BTW: Pirates still sail the seven seas. The Weekly Piracy Report has an update on current piracy. A little more attention to this kind of piracy might be useful.

And ... speaking of pirates, don't forget ... September 19 is International Talk Like A Pirate Day

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Must-use terms

Must-use new words from

to lose one's job because of one's website

"mac guyver'd"
to make something useful out of a multitude of completely useless things (finally, a term to describe my life's mission)

"habbo hotel"
a virtual hotel used for chatting to and meeting other people on the internet

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Safe blogging

BBC News online recentlly carried a story about an Iranian blogger jailed for 14 years for posting critical comments on the Iranian authorities' treatment of other bloggers. Associated with this imprisonment is a government crackdown on access to blog sites.

Its timely, then, that Electronic Frontier Foundation has released advice on how to blog safely How to blog safely (About work or anything else)

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Textual landscapes

Examples of urban textual landscapes. These are from the Mission District in San Francisco.

Orphaned works

I have been writing a paper on blogs. When I attempted to contact the copyright holders of each blog, it turned out that they were 'orphaned'. This has made getting copyright permission a little tricky.

This has led me to spend more time thinking about copyright in academic works than, I have to admit, would be usual. The use of printed texts in academic works has been relatively straight forward - correct citation, limited amount of text, academic purposes etc. etc. As we move further into online research, the issues are becoming a little more difficult.

There's the issue of orphaned works, described by the Stanford law School Center for Internet and Society as "works whose copyright has not expired but which are no longer available" are a growing issue for those of us whose research focuses on digital texts and technologies.

As well as this, there are issues to do with the different copyright conventions applying (in the non online world) in relation to the use of graphics/pictures than those applying to print. As more and more texts now blend graphic and print to make meaning, the issues of copyright become more pressing.

Kahle versus Ashcroft is an important US based case where copyright extension and renewal are being challenged -- with massive implications for online and orphaned works.

The outcome of Kahle versus Ashcroft has implications for us all. In case you're interested in the background to this case, Brewster Kahle is on a mission to create a digital archive that has been compared to the ancient library at Alexandria.