At Digital Humanities 2016, Sean Morey Smith and I presented on our ongoing work examining GitHub as a platform of knowledge for digital humanities. Our results are still preliminary, but we want to share our presentation (PDF). We’re especially grateful to those who agreed to be interviewed for the study and who took our survey. We expect to produce an article (or two) based on our research.
We welcome any questions or feedback.
W dniach 30 sierpnia – 1 września 2017 roku w berlińskiej Staatsbibliothek odbywać się będzie konferencja Digital Cultural Heritage. Chociaż zakres tematyczny konferencji jest bardzo szeroki, wygląda na to, że obejmuje on jedynie wątki w różny sposób związane ze zdigitalizowanymi zbiorami dziedzictwa – w spisie tematów nie widać żadnego odwołania do kulturowego dziedzictwa born digital.
Koncepcja celów konferencji:
Our special aims:
raise awareness in Society, Science, and Technology fields about importance of the cultural dimensions and the growing potential of Digital Cultural Heritage
promote innovative content analysis from cross-organizational interoperability of digital humanities databases and XML methods, techniques, and approaches
indicate on the central role of spatial concepts enabling synergy for knowledge generation from massive granular digital cultural heritage content
create innovative cross-disciplines / cross sectors partnerships facilitate intercultural and interdisciplinary dialogue
elaborate roles and interest of information society
Strona domowa konferencji: dch2017.net
In an earlier post I speculated about the plateau in ebook adoption. According to recent statistics from publishers we are now actually seeing a decline in ebook sales after a period of growth (and then the leveling off that I discussed before). Here’s my guess about what’s going on—an educated guess, supported by what I’m hearing from my sources and network.
First, re-read my original post. I believe it captured a significant part of the story. A reminder: when we hear about ebook sales we hear about the sales from (mostly) large publishers and I have no doubt that ebooks are a troubled part of their sales portfolio. But there are many other ebooks than those reported by the publishers that release their stats, and ways to acquire them, and thus there’s a good chance that there’s considerable “dark reading” (as I called it) that accounts for the disconnect between the surveys that say that e-reading is growing while sales (again, from the publishers that reveal these stats) are declining.
The big story I now perceive is a bifurcation of the market between what used to be called high and low culture. For genre fiction (think sexy vampires) and other genres where there is a lot of self-publishing, readers seem to be moving to cheap (often 99 cent) ebooks from Amazon’s large and growing self-publishing program. Amazon doesn’t release its ebook sales stats, but we know that they already have 65% of the ebook market and through their self-publishing program may reach a disturbing 90% in a few years. Meanwhile, middle- and high-brow books for the most part remain at traditional publishers, where advances still grease the wheels of commerce (and writing).
Other changes I didn’t discuss in my last post are also happening that impact ebook adoption. Audiobook sales rose by an astonishing 40% over the last year, a notable story that likely impacts ebook growth—for the vast majority of those with smartphones, they are substitutes (see also the growth in podcasts). In addition, ebooks have gotten more expensive in the past few years, while print (especially paperback) prices have become more competitive; for many consumers, a simple Econ 101 assessment of pricing accounts for the ebook stall.
I also failed to account in my earlier post for the growing buy-local movement that has impacted many areas of consumption—see vinyl LPs and farm-to-table restaurants—and is, in part, responsible for the turnaround in bookstores—once dying, now revived—an encouraging trend pointed out to me by Oren Teicher, the head of the American Booksellers Association. These bookstores were clobbered by Amazon and large chains late last decade but have recovered as the buy-local movement has strengthened and (more behind the scenes, but just as important) they adopted technology and especially rapid shipping mechanisms that have made them more competitive.
Personally, I continue to read in both print and digitally, from my great local public library and from bookstores, and so I’ll end with an anecdotal observation: there’s still a lot of friction in getting an ebook versus a print book, even though one would think it would be the other way around. Libraries still have poor licensing terms from publishers that treat digital books like physical books that can only be loaned to one person at a time despite the affordances of ebooks; ebooks are often not that much cheaper, if at all, than physical books; and device-dependency and software hassles cause other headaches. And as I noted in my earlier post, there’s still not a killer e-reading device. The Kindle remains (to me and I suspect many others) a clunky device with a poor screen, fonts, etc. In my earlier analysis, I probably also underestimated the inertial positive feeling of physical books for most readers—which I myself feel as a form of consumption that reinforces the benefits of the physical over the digital.
It seems like all of these factors—pricing, friction, audiobooks, localism, and traditional physical advantages—are combining to restrict the ebook market for “respectable” ebooks and to shift them to Amazon for “less respectable” genres. It remains to be seen if this will hold, and I continue to believe that it would be healthy for us to prepare for, and create, a better future with ebooks.
Ideum will soon introduce a new multitouch hardware solution for museums, trade shows, retail locations, and other busy exhibit spaces. The Portrait Touch & Motion Kiosk is an all-in-one, vertically-oriented kiosk that can stand alone or be grouped together to create an expansive 4K UHD video wall. The Portrait will feature the same 55-inch 4K UHD display with 3M™ projected-capacitive touch technology as our line of touch tables and Presenter touch walls, but in an exciting new form factor.
As with all of our renowned multitouch products, the Portrait is hardened and built out of aircraft-grade aluminum. An exclusive feature of the Portrait is the optional integrated motion tracking system for optimal interactivity and engagement. This makes it perfect for mixed touch and motion applications. The motion-tracking model comes with specialized internal mounting hardware and Kinect® sensor for smooth motion tracking. The interactive functionality of the Portrait is supported by an integrated high-performance Intel® Core™ i7 quad core computer with a dedicated NVIDIA graphics card.
The Portrait kiosk will be available later this summer. Contact our Sales group for more information.
Ideum is raising the bar on the types of multitouch experiences that can be designed and built on our 55” and 65” Ultra High Definition (UHD) 4K Pro, Platform and Duet PCAP touch tables. Our newest SDK, Tangible Engine, is an intuitive and highly optimized authoring package that simplifies the process of building applications with object recognition on multitouch tables. Tangible Engine 1.0 is the first SDK available that works with projected-capacitive touch screens. It does not require cameras or optical devices. If you are a developer or a designer looking to create interactive experiences involving real world objects, Tangible Engine will save you valuable development time and jump start your project.
Our tangibles, also referred to as fiducials, are made with a rubberized polymer material infused with specifically patterned nodes of conductive materials. Tangible Engine recognizes the pattern when the tangible is placed on the touch screen, thereby activating content and creating an innovative way to engage with applications.
Configuring your Tangibles
Tangible Engine consists of a Configurator / Visualizer utility and an SDK which allows developers to quickly and easily train the tangible objects to connect to the touch table surface. The Configurator / Visualizer enables tangible object customization, and developers can introduce new tangibles and edit important attributes, e.g. the name, id, or object radius. We provide the source-code of the Configurator / Visualizer, allowing developers to better understand how the system works. Tangible Engine comes bundled with the tangible object tracker and documentation.
Tangible Engine is for sale with purchase of any of our compatible touch tables, currently the 55” and 65” UHD 4K Pro, Platform and Duet models. Five tangible objects are included with each purchase, allowing developers to get started right away. In addition, instructions for 3D printing, including STL files for two tangibles and a list of conductive printing materials, are provided. Ideum will be adding new features to Tangible Engine in the near future and updates will be readily available.
Tangible Engine in Action
In 2015, Ideum developed a robust version of the software and built an interactive wine tasting experience with JCB Wines. Just prior to the 1.0 release of Tangible Engine, Ideum developed an interactive coffee experience with Starbucks that seamlessly integrates tangibles with gorgeous design.
Learn more about Tangible Engine and see the video here: tangibleengine.com
Contact us to learn more about Tangible Engine software, Ideum multitouch hardware, and how our Creative Services team can work with you to build bespoke multitouch applications and experiences.
At Ideum, we’ve updated our sales showroom to include full videoconferencing capabilities. With the addition of new hardware production space and expansion into another building, we had the opportunity to enhance our sales showroom with a permanent videoconferencing setup. This allows potential clients interested in Ideum products to participate in active demonstrations with our sales staff or software producers. Our team can now easily show not only our multitouch tables and touch walls, but also our custom exhibit projects and interactive software.
Currently on display in the videoconference showroom are a Drafting Table 55 and a Platform 55. To schedule a demonstration with Ideum, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, call (505) 792-1110 ext.1, or call toll-free (855) 898-6824.
Innovation New Mexico, presented by Albuquerque Business First, recognizes New Mexico companies that have created and commercialized innovative new products, processes and services in the past 24 months. Ideum’s Platform 65″ 4K UHD capacitive touch multitouch table was nominated. The event took place Thursday, May 25, 2016 in Civic Plaza in downtown Albuquerque.
What makes our Platform 65″ 4K UHD multitouch table so innovative? Ideum is the first to offer a 65″ 4K touch display with 3M multitouch technology. This expansive screen is water-resistant, supports 60 simultaneous touch points, and allows up to 4 people to easily interact with the table at the same time. It comes complete with a full-featured and powerful integrated Intel® Core™ i7 quad core computer and single push-button power. Designed and built in New Mexico, the display case and chassis are made out of aircraft grade aluminum making the touch table perfect for demanding public spaces. The touch table comes complete with the GestureWorks software framework, a multitouch authoring software development kit developed by Ideum.
Our durable touch tables are changing the visitor experience at museums, schools, in retail, and other public and semi-public spaces. In addition, our Platform 65″ multitouch table supports our proprietary software, which recognizes tangible markers. This technology was recently used in experiences built for Starbucks (see video below) and a Napa Valley Winery.
This coming fall I’m teaching a new course: History of the Appalachian Trail. As envisioned, the class is going to be many things at once (which is likely a structural problem). It is a conventional history of one of America’s longest national parks, it is a chance to introduce students to the basics of digital public history, and it is a chance for me to connect my avocation (long distance backpacking) with my vocation (educator, historian).
Today I want to focus on just one part of the course — the part that in some ways I’m the most excited about. Across the hallway from my office is a long, blank, pale blue wall. When I say long, I mean 82 feet long with not one thing on it except a thermostat sort of a small plastic box. This blank wall has bugged me for years, because we’re a university for goodness sake, and such a wall should be covered with student art, or history student research posters, or SOMEthing besides pale blue paint. Now I’m glad no one ever thought to do any of that stuff with what I now think of as “my wall,” because it is going to become the canvas for my students.
For their final projects, students in the class are going to create an Omeka exhibit for the website I’m developing (no formatting yet, so don’t judge) on the history of the Appalachian Trail. But they are also going to paint the Trail onto my wall. And yes, before you ask, I have permission from the powers that be in facilities to do that. Given that the wall is 82 feet long and the Trail is 2,190 miles long (this year), that works out to a scale of around 27 miles: 1 foot. That seems like a reasonable scale to me. Right now. Today.
Once we get the Trail painted on my wall, students will then attach connection points to their own work — images of people, or places, or texts, or whatever, along with QR codes that let passersby dive into the online exhibits themselves.
That’s the plan anyway. From a technological standpoint, it’s not a complicated plan. From a pedagogical standpoint, I have a fair amount of work to do this summer to make sure mys students have all the tools they need to succeed.
And yes, we’ll be doing some hiking…
Ideum recently installed a series of interactives for a new exhibition at the Lowell Observatory Visitor Center in Flagstaff, AZ. The exhibition takes the form of a fictional school, Space Guard Academy, where visitors register as cadets and learn all about asteroids through a series of interactives and media pieces. As cadets progress through each interactive they add points to their score, earn higher ranks, and gather badges for specific areas of content. Cadets start out by registering for Space Guard Academy. They first choose a cadet name, and then receive a printed ID card they will use throughout the exhibition to scan in to the other activities so that their progress can be tracked.
After registration, visitors can flow freely through the space but often first encounter an application about the orbital resonances of Jupiter. Further on, the asteroid impacts interactive explores the history of asteroids hitting the earth, and then tests cadets’ knowledge of different asteroid types, how frequently they hit the planet, and how much damage they do. Other activities Ideum developed for Space Guard Academy include the asteroid photometry interactive, in which cadets learn to match an asteroid’s size and shape with its light curve. An astrographs activity simulates a blink comparator, a tool for comparing multiple images of the sky used to identify moving objects such as asteroids.
The final quiz checks knowledge about all aspects of the Space Guard Academy, and snaps a picture of the visitor “in uniform.” A final “Hall of Fame” shows off everyone’s picture, rank, score, and badges.
Space Guard Academy opened to the public on May 22, 2016 and will remain at Lowell Observatory for about a year and a half. Ideum designed and developed the tracking system, six interactives, and the “hall of fame” display in collaboration with the team from Lowell. We will share more images and details about the project soon in our portfolio.
At this year’s InfoComm International, June 8-10, we’ll be featuring the Duet 55″, our 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) Coffee Table, in the 3M™ Touch Systems Booth (no. N1947). This 4th generation coffee table redesign utilizes 3M™ projected-capacitive (P-Cap) technology on its expansive 55″ display that is large enough to support up to four users.
We’ll also be demonstrating cutting edge fiducial marker software on the Duet 55″ with our JCB Tasting Salon experience. This wine tasting application uses 3D-printed wine glass bases with capacitive capability that interact with our software to identify individual wines.
Ideum staff will be on-hand in the 3M™ booth on Wednesday, June 8th. Come and meet us and see our amazing new hardware and innovative software. Get a preview of the Duet 55″ Coffee Table below:
Last month I wrote an article for The Atlantic on the state of the digital divide, the surprisingly high rate of device (smartphone and tablet) adoption at all socio-economic strata, and what these new statistics mean for ebooks and reading. An excerpt:
According to Common Sense, 51 percent of teenagers in low-income families have their own smartphones, and 48 percent of tweens in those families have their own tablets. Note that these are their own devices, not devices they have to borrow from someone else. Among middle-income families (that is, between $35,000 and $100,000), 53 percent of tweens have their own tablets and 69 percent of teenagers have their own smartphones, certainly higher but by a lot less than one might imagine.
If we pull back and look at households in general, the gap narrows in other ways. This winter, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop published the first nationally representative telephone survey of lower-income parents on issues related to digital connectivity. The study, conducted by the research firm SSRS, included nearly 1,200 parents with school-aged children, interviewed in both Spanish and English, via landlines and cell phones. It was weighted to be representative of the American population.
In this comprehensive survey, a striking 85 percent of families living below the poverty line have some kind of digital device, smartphone or tablet, in their household. Seventy-three percent had one or more smartphones, compared to 84 percent for families above the poverty line. These are vastly changed numbers from just a few years ago. A 2011 study by Common Sense showed that in lower-income (under $30,000) households with children, only 27 percent of them had a smartphone, compared to 57 percent for households with children and income over $75,000.
It’s worth pondering the significance of these new numbers, and how we might be able to leverage widespread device adoption to increase reading. My conclusion:
We must do everything we can to connect kids with books. Print books, ebooks, library books, bookstores—let’s have it all. Let’s give children access to books whenever and wherever, whether it’s a paperback in the backpack, or a phone in the back pocket.
[Read the full article at The Atlantic.]