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Design: Thesis Prep: Digital Publishing and Hosting Resources

Digital Scholarship Support

The Library Publishing Service (LPS) of the CMU Libraries offers consultations and resources to help incorporate online, interactive elements or create digital exhibits as part of producing and sharing research. Our immediate focus is to help students and faculty preserve interactive narratives and online assets as part of the digital publishing process. Digital publishing elements might include data visualizations, crowd-sourced data, interactive annotations or web-based objects, non-linear and multimodal narratives, or prototypes. LPS is primarily working to preserve and provide online access to these interactive objects as part of the production of a thesis, dissertation, or other scholarly publication.

We would also like to support students who use digital storytelling or publication platforms to journal or document their ongoing efforts to complement their final research product. LPS can provide support for open-source web publishing platforms to share online narratives, digital research collections, and media-rich online exhibits.

Resources and Services

The CMU Libraries Publishing Service can consult with you on how to use and host Omeka and Scalar platforms for digital exhibitions and storytelling. LPS will provide access and give the user privileges to administer and customize their instance. LPS will provide basic training for using the platform and consultation on platform potentials, best practices, and available resources for the user. LPS does not provide support for design, customization, or modification of the platform features. For digital narratives using Twine or similar tools, LPS may be able to provide basic web-hosting of the completed digital narrative to preserve the work as a digital publication.

To contact LPS and schedule a consultation, please email librarypublishing@andrew.cmu.edu.

Digital Publishing Elements

  1. Data Visualization used to generate static images of a digital asset or interactive element included in a thesis, but which must remain available for reviewers, referees, and readers to access. The use case here is more if scholarly discussion considers the interactivity of the data visualization, tool, or module it may require preservation through library-hosting as a complement to research in a manner similar to the deposit of a dataset or source code in the KiltHub repository.
  2. Crowd-sourced data include possibilities such as an interface to collect crowd-sourced transcriptions, user-generated data similar to oral histories, crowd-sourced translations that help discover dialects and slang, user-response to an interface, user-specific experience and response to an interactive object or exhibit.
  3. Interactive Annotation might be applied to websites, online digital scholarly editions, web-based narratives, user interface, web-based prototype, or non-linear narratives. Tools used could include Hypothes.is or a similar tool or methodology.
  4. Interactive Digital Objects range from interactive data visualizations and interactive 3D visualizations to interactive activities such as a user disassembling a digital object or a responsive analysis that offers commentary or multimedia.
  5. Multi-modal Digital Interactives incorporate sound, video, animation, and other elements in a digital object or narrative.
  6. Non-linear Digital Narratives could be an interactive scholarly narrative that offers non-linear explorations of different themes, divergent narratives (choose-your-own-adventure or argument using Twine [https://twinery.org/], for example). Another variant might allow the user to combine or recombine modules or segments to create alternative experiences.

Digital Exhibit Platforms

Omeka

Omeka is a content management system (CMS) that allows the quick creation and management of archives and digital exhibits either individually or as part of a class or research group. The user creates items, content that represent the objects or materials used in digital research and exhibits.  Basic items can have files such as images associated with them, as well as contextual information created as metadata. Items are typically integrated into exhibits for sharing.  Digital exhibits in Omeka allow a user to add or visualize their interpretation of the relationships between items. Omeka exhibits allow this without altering the basic items, leaving the item-level data and metadata unchanged.

Documentation: https://omeka.org/

  1. Omeka Classic: the original, single-instance digital exhibit platform
    Omeka.net provides hosted Omeka sites, with a limited free plan and several levels of paid Omeka site services.
  2. Omeka S: This platform supports a cluster of Omeka instances using the same code and database infrastructure.
    The University Libraries can provide access to an Omeka-S instance for student or faculty research as a digital publication.

Scalar

Scalar is a free, open-source authoring and publishing platform that’s designed to make it easy for authors to write long-form, born-digital scholarship online. Scalar enables users to assemble media from multiple sources and juxtapose them with their own writing in a variety of ways, with minimal technical expertise required.

Documentation: https://scalar.me/anvc/scalar/

Sample Sites:

  1. Pathfinders: Documenting the Experience of Early Digital Literature
    https://scalar.usc.edu/works/pathfinders/index,(Scalar 2)
  2. Performing Archive: Curtis + “the vanishing race”
    https://scalar.usc.edu/works/performingarchive/index, (Scalar 2)
  3. Hearing the Music of the Hemispheres
    http://scalar.usc.edu/anvc/music-of-the-hemispheres/index, (Scalar 1)
  4. Database | Narrative | Archive: Seven Interactive essays on digital nonlinear storytelling
    http://dnaanthology.com/anvc/dna/index, (Scalar 1)
  5. Freedom’s Ring: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, animated.
    http://freedomsring.stanford.edu/?view=Speech, (Custom Scalar)
  6. The Knotted Line: A richly interactive visual interface combined with a deep pedagogical resource, both powered by Scalar.
    https://knottedline.com/, (Custom Scalar)

Digital Narrative Tools

A digital narrative is linear or nonlinear hypertext narratives including text and multimedia for browser-based interactivity or augmented reality experiences and games as digital storytelling. Scholarship designed for non-linear consumption or experience may also be created and delivered using these technologies, sort of a “choose-your-own-research-question” if the author integrates alternate content and decision-forks. Digital narratives can also be in the form of a sequence of linear or nonlinear webpages or topic, keyword, or theme-sorted blog posts on a platform such as WordPress.

Twine

Twine is an open-source tool used for creating interactive hypertext stories, often in a nonlinear form. It can be used to create poems, stories, games, and interactive narratives or art. It is browser-based and can be used on a tablet, laptop, or desktop computer.

Get Twine from twinery.org:  http://twinery.org/2

Twine Documentation:

Twine Guidance and Tutorials

WordPress

The CMU Library Publishing Service will provide access to a WordPress instance for a student or faculty member to produce a sequential narrative, such as an ongoing research log, as part of conducting research or publishing the final research output or scholarly discussion. The intent of this service is to better collect and preserve the scholarly output of our students and researchers. We will not provide hosting or support for blogs unrelated to research or pedagogy.

Documentation

WordPress Codex, the online manual for WordPress and a living repository for WordPress information and documentation [https://codex.wordpress.org/]. The Codex explains how to get started with WordPress, learning its features, administering the instance, and offers tutorials in using Plug-ins and Themes.