SpokenWeb Meeting #9 Minutes

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SpokenWeb Meeting #9 – August 16th, 2011 4:00PM


Present: Jason Camlot, Jared Wiercinski, Annie Murray, Celyn Harding-Jones, Deanna Fong


-Brainstorm for Insight Grant (Fall 2011)

Insight Grants: General Information

Duration of grant: from 3 to 5 years. We can better assess the duration of our project once specific research goals have been articulated—a topic for the next meeting.

Deadline: October 15, 2011—though internal deadline may be earlier.

Research Groups: SpokenWeb would apply to be adjudicated in Group 1, which includes literary research fields.

  • For this reason, in this application our literary research goals should be defined more strongly (comprise 2 out of 4 or 5 research axes)
  • Create a set of questions that pertain more closely to the material in the archive

Draw from our previous grant application to summarize research.

Possible Research Axes

1)      Annotation: What is the best way to annotate audio corpora? What ways have been used in the past? What methods of annotation have been used in other audio genres?

2)      Sound visualization: How do we visualize sound? What (should) we look at while we listen? How does the visual representation assist (or hinder) the processing of audio information?

  • Best practices for digital spoken word archives
  • Chart out existing features for spoken word archives—ethnography/user behaviour
  • How do technologies open up or obstruct new venues of research?
  • See Research Axes #2 and #5 in Jared and Annie’s document: “Usability study of existing web-based spoken word audio archives” and “What (should) we look at when we listen?”

3)      Oral history: Create an oral history that contextualizes the series by interviewing students, readers, faculty and AV technicians that were affiliated with the Poetry Series. Working with history students/scholars who are working with digital and oral history.


4)      Digital Bricolage: Propose a theory of archive building that assembles many different out-of-the-box components. In this way, the interface is easily replicable, accessible and ultimately more sustainable. At the same time, this could also leave room for customized programming for certain aspects.


5)      “Building it”: Reassess our “wish list” of features and see which would be worth developing ourselves, i.e. an open source audio player, discovery tools, etc.

  • See Research Axis #2 in Annie and Jared’s document: “Usability study of existing web-based spoken word audio archives”


6)      Scope and scale: Look ahead towards making this into a massive national archive, building a map of poetry performance across Canada/North America. This axis relates to the survey—what sort of archives exist? Where are they? How accessible are they?

  • See Research Axis #1 in Annie and Jared’s document- “Survey follow-up: state of recorded collections in Canada.”


7)      Living/Dead/Hidden Archives: Collaborate with ongoing reading series (i.e. Synapse) to examine the silences in our closed archive when viewed alongside an ongoing, digital-born collection. Examine these in relation to the “Archive Speaks” turn in scholarship—is there still such a thing as a dead archive in the digital age? Performing the archive: Possibility of Synapse hosting archival events or incorporating archival material into live readings. Hidden archives: more dead than “dead archives” due to lack of access, physical loss, non-navigable/non-searchable.


8)      The Event: how can we engage with/theorize/construct the lost event in relation to the archive? Should archives strive to recreate the event? Possible future body of material: Véhicule Art Gallery Archive- a combination of recordings, video poetry, visual and performance art, photos and posters.


9)      Media: Are we satisfied with digital media for the preservation of our archive? Closer look at the tapes and editing process used in the original SGWU recordings. Photograph original materials (i.e. Library of Congress Jukebox). Why did we record all these readings for SGWU in the first place? Media history of AV in universities in general/Concordia specifically – history of media


10)  New Technologies for Spoken Word Capture and Dissemination: How do new technologies such as amateur music publishing sites, social networking sites (i.e. Soundcloud, Twitter, Audioboo) and geolocation services (i.e. Google maps, Four square) have implications for new directions in poetry publishing? How do they affect the role of the poetry reading and/or the literary recording? Shift focus onto the capture, production and dissemination of audiotexts in relation to these new technologies.

  • See Research Axis #4 in Annie and Jared’s document- “Implications of new technologies for spoken word capture and dissemination”


11)  Copyright: Characterize and contrast existing models. Impact of copyright legislation when it impedes institutional preservation and scholarly access to materials.

  • See Research Axis #3 in Annie and Jared’s document- “New thinking about copyright and spoken word collections”


Three Literary Axes (Jason)

1)      Audiotext: Critical analysis of different iterations of poetic texts- What is the relationship of a performed verbal text to its literary artifacts?

2)      The Problem of the Reading Series

3)      North American Poetry in the 1960s and ‘70s

To do:

-All members: Write up narrative paragraphs on research axes in our respective areas of specialization.

-Look at successful Insight Grant applications to see how they are structured

Next meeting: Tentatively Thursday, August 25th, 2011. Time TBA.

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