how bibliographic description & interface creates users and objects

I’m very pleased I have the opportunity to visit the University of Cincinnati’s English Department on Saturday, April 5th to give a workshop on some of my work in critical work on interface and archives as well as the Media Archaeology Lab as a way to help them think about their growing audio archive of poetry recordings from the Elliston Poetry Room. The outline of the workshop is as follows:

  1. Overview of the history and philosophy of the Media Archaeology Lab (MAL). Discussion about media archaeology as a field and/or methodology appropriate for thinking through the Elliston collection.
  2. Challenges of cataloguing and description in the MAL; drawing on reading by Svenonius and Dublin Core, discussion of how description creates objects and users.
    • Small group activity: listen to the first track of C.K. Williams reading in the Elliston collection from February 2014; with 2-3 people, take 10-15 minutes to come up with an alternative bibliographic description for this event, possibly including fields for information you may not have access to (original medium? who recorded it and how? size of audience? etc.), and making sure you discuss how your description frames the reader’s experience and interpretation of the event; share your results with the larger group.
  3. Discussion of how interface creates objects and users; discussion of the affordances of the interface at Pennsound and Ubu.
    • Small group activity: with 2-3 people, look again at the page for the C.K. Williams reading and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the current interface – what sorts of scholarly and creative interactions does it encourage and discourage? What sort of listening experience does it encourage and discourage? And finally, the harder question: what do you imagine could be the ideal interface either for the collection or for this particular page? Share your results with the larger group.
  4. If there’s time, discussion of the affordances of out-of-the-box digital tools for experimentation/interpretation of audio files.
    • Small group activity 1: download  Paperphone, “an interactive audio application that processes voice and sound materials live and in-context,” along with the recommended Runtime app; try to either load the same first track of the C.K. Williams reading with the app or just explore the limits and possibilities of this tool, paying particular attention to the tool’s interface. In what ways would a tool like Paperphone be useful for the Elliston collection? Report back to the group with your findings on its usefulness.
    • Small group activity 2: now look at Trevor Owen’s blog post “Glitching Files for Understanding” in which he demonstrates different ways to view MP3 files. After reading his instructions, try reading the MP3 file of the first track of the C.K. Williams reading in a text editor; discuss your observations, including what’s gained and what’s lost from this sort of analysis versus the analysis that Paperphone makes possible and report back to the larger group.