This week focuses on the issue of oral history and the commons. We will start with a short discussion on the commons, especially the question: “who owns history?” We will be particularly concerned with two interrelated problems. The first concerns the balance between authority, expertise, and public engagement in digital humanities work. The second concerns the institutions of authority and power and what role they play in shaping and defining the practices of the digital humanities. In the second half of our meeting, we will focus on best practices in oral history, looking at the ways that the digital humanities might reshape our approaches to oral history.
I. Discussion: The Commons (1 hr 15 min)
II. Break (10 min)
III. Discussion: Oral History and the Commons (1 hr 15 min)
Assignments (due before class)
- Complete the Week 4 Wikipedia Assignments.
- Boyd, Douglas A. 2014. Oral History and Digital Humanities: Voice, Access, and Engagement. Edited by M. Larson. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Oral History Association. 2009. “Principles and Best Practices.” Oral History Association.Shankar, Guha. 2010. “From Subject to Producer: Reframing the Indigenous Heritage through Cultural Documentation Training.” International Journal of Intangible Heritage 5 (1): 14–24.
We will begin our reading by examining the classic article, “The Tragedy of the Commons” by Garrett Hardin in 1968. While there have been many responses to Hardin, one of the most influential writers on the commons was Elinor Ostrom. We will read her reflections on the literature on the commons, published in 1999, as well as an essay on collective action.
- Garrett Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Science 162, no. 3859 (December 1968): 1243-48.
- Elinor Ostrom, et al., “Revisiting the Commons,” Science 284, no. 5412 (April 1999): 278-82
- Elinor Ostrom, “Collective Action and the Evolution of Social Norms,” Journal of Economic Perspectives 14, no.3 (2000): 137-58.
Transitioning to the notion of “digital commons,” we will read a chapter about the so-called “knowledge commons,” which defines some of the problems facing the digital commons. Then, we will read a recent article which discusses the digital as a common pool resource as well as the idea of community governance.
- Charlotte Hess and Elinor Ostrom, “Introduction: An Overview of the Knowledge Commons” in Understanding Knowledge as a Commons, ed. Hess and Ostrom (MIT Press, 2006), 3-18.
- Mélanie Dulong de Rosnay and Hervé Le Crosnier, “An Introduction to the Digital Commons: From Common-Pool Resources to Community Governance” (Hyper Article en Ligne – Sciences de l’Homme et de la Société, 2012).
Next, we will turn our attention to the practice of history in the context open knowledge and the commons.
- Brian Whalley, “Wikipedia: Reflections on Use and Acceptance in Academic Environments,” Ariadne 69 (28 July 2012).
- Roy Rosenzweig, “Can History Be Open Source? Wikipedia and the Future of the Past,” Journal of American History 93, no. 1 (2006): 117-46
- Susan Cairns, “Tag! You’re It! What Value Do Folksonomies Bring To The Online Museum Collection?,” in Museums and the Web 2011: Proceedings, ed. J. Trant and D. Bearman (Toronto: Archives & Museum Informatics, March 31, 2011).
- Jack Dougherty and Candace Simpson, “Oral history interviews—Who Owns Oral History? A Creative Commons Solution,” (11 August 2012).
Finally, we will to a debate over open access that took place around the American Historical Association’s “Statement on Policies Regarding the Embargoing of Completed History PhD Dissertations.” Here is a piece that I wrote in August 2013: “Open Access and the Historical Profession.” It covers the history of open access before turning to the AHA statement. The readings below were selected for the September 2013 edition of Perspectives.
- William Cronon, “Why Put at Risk the Publishing Options of Our Most Vulnerable Colleagues?“ AHA Today, July 26, 2013.
- Stacey Patton, “Scholarly Group Seeks Up to 6-Year Embargoes on Digital Dissertations,” Chronicle of Higher Education, July 24, 2013.
- Stacey Patton, “Embargoes Can Go Only So Far to Help New Ph.D.’s Get Published, Experts Say,” Chronicle of Higher Education, July 30, 2013.
- Scott Jaschik, “Embargoes for Dissertations?” Inside Higher Ed, July 24, 2013.
- Noam Cohen, “Historians Seek a Delay in Posting Dissertations,” New York Times, July 28, 2013.
- Rick Anderson, “Dissertation Embargoes and the Rights of Scholars: AHA Smacks the Hornet’s Nest,” The Scholarly Kitchen, July 26, 2013.
- Adeline Koh, “Publishing Your Dissertation Online: What’s a New Ph.D. to Do?” Profhacker, July 26, 2013.
- Jason M. Kelly, “American Historical Association Statement on PhD Dissertations: an Initial Point-by-Point Response,” author’s blog, July 23, 2013.
- “Academic Publishing, the AHA, and the Ratchet Effect,” American Science: A Team Blog, July 24, 2013.
- Michael J. Altman, “Why I Embargoed My Dissertation,” author’s blog, August 5, 2013.
- Creative Commons
- “Week 1: Building a Digital Project with Local Communities,” ed. Jordan Grant, Public History Online (5 March 2012).