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Thursday, May 28 • 1:05pm - 2:05pm
Digital Makers, Critical Takes

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A session of lightning talks:

"Adventures of Hack": The Creation of a Mobile Application for Creative Gameplay Using Nineteenth-Century British Literature
Elizabeth Chang and Nathan Boyer

Our paper will introduce our project "Adventures of a Hack,” a mobile application that uses Victorian short fiction in an immersive creative game. "Adventures of a Hack" specifically draws on George Gissing's 1891 novel New Grub Street for its content and form to tell the story of frustrated authors caught between creative authenticity and the compromising demands of the literary marketplace. Produced in collaboration by the University of Missouri's Departments of English and Art and the University IT's Application Development Network, the project builds on new practices of game design to introduce players to both the richness of the late-nineteenth-century publishing world as well as to concepts of literary analysis. Gameplay leads players through the process of modifying a story from a database of texts tagged by content and form, while also presenting Victorian visuals that shift in response to user choices as the player's avatar seeks to find writing locations and publication venues for her/his modified game. The modifications that user choices can impose draw on established academic language but also invite creative variation, encouraging transformations of key story elements by, for instance, allowing users to change the gender of the story's protagonist, or allowing users to change the historical era in which the story is told. In the full version of the app, currently still under development, crowd-sourced tags will add to the story database and multiply the number of possibilities for transformation.

The Arrival Fallacy: Collaborative Research Relationships in the Digital Humanities
Alix Keener

As discussion and debates on the digital humanities continues among scholars, so too does discussion about how academic libraries can and should support this scholarship. In February 2014, the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) published a report titled “Does Every Research Library Need a Digital Humanities Center?” (Schaffner and Erway 2014), meant to guide library deans and directors in deciding whether or not to “sink resources” into a digital humanities center. The report immediately generated intense discussion and even backlash and controversy among bloggers and users of Twitter (consisting mostly of academic librarians or academic staff). Criticisms of the report included that it strips agency from librarians, assumes incorrectly that digital humanities scholars always know for what they are looking, and misses the insight that sometimes librarians are actually the digital humanists. The OCLC report serves as an example of the tensions underlying collaborative research relationships between faculty and librarians (or other academic staff, including postdoctoral researchers or support staff).

Teaching Gamers and Non-Gamers: Lessons from GamerGate
Irene Chien

Prominent game designer Eric Zimmerman recently declared the 21st Century “The Ludic Century.” He argued that gaming has replaced the moving image as the dominant cultural form, and that the “systems thinking” inherent to gaming is becoming the primary mode through which we navigate art and culture as well as technology, education, finance, and global politics. If videogames are becoming such a powerful material and ideological force, and gaming literacy is becoming essential to cultural fluency, how then do we who teach videogames in a way that reaches those who have long been systemically excluded from the category of “gamer”? These questions animate my undergraduate teaching on videogame theory, culture, and design to diverse learners with different levels of not only language and writing skills, but gaming and technology skills as well. My lightning talk will put the theme of games and gaming for learning in relationship to both issues of access and equity in technology education and in relationship to the theme of gender and race in technology. 

Big Data and "Little" data: marrying methods for better mobile insights
Christina Spencer

How does mobile fit in with the online research workflow? This is the question we were asking ourselves at JSTOR. JSTOR is an online, scholarly research resource that serves millions of visitors every month. We wanted to understand what devices people used to access JSTOR and what role devices play in the online research workflow.

Analytics (big data) usually tells us WHAT people are doing; qualitative data can provide insight into the WHY behind those actions. Understanding the motivations behind actions is key, this can be particularly difficult in the realm of mobile. You may have run across (as we did within our own organization) assumptions about mobile usage. Some of the misconceptions we have encountered are “people using mobile are one the go” and “only digital natives are using mobile for research”. 

This case study describes how we used a combination of analytic site data and contextual inquiry in order to unearth relevant trends and better understand our users. We’ll describe the myths we dispelled and the “a-ha!” moments we had and how we used “mobile” as both topic and tool. We’ll also talk about how to make research practical by describing how insights can feed directly into business and design decisions leading to a better overall experience.

avatar for Nathan Boyer

Nathan Boyer

Associate Professor, University of Missouri

Irene Chien

Assistant Professor, Muhlenberg College
avatar for Alix Keener

Alix Keener

Digital Scholarship Librarian, University of Michigan
University of Michigan
avatar for Christina Spencer

Christina Spencer

Director, User Insights, https://www.ithaka.org/
I lead a multidisciplinary insights team leveraging qualitative and quantitative research methods to enhance JSTOR & Artstor. We generate rich, meaningful, and actionable data about the behaviors, motivations and desires of our users.

Thursday May 28, 2015 1:05pm - 2:05pm EDT
Auditorium Kellog Center

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