unjapanologist: (fetchez la vache)
The Ada Initiative is having a donation drive! I'll be lazy and quote ahorbinski because this is what it comes down to: TAI is a non-profit that works to increase the participation of women in open stuff, including open culture initiatives like fandom and Wikipedia editing. These have just as much validity as open source and open technology, and The Ada Initiative's willingness to cross those streams is part of what makes AdaCamps, and TAI itself, so awesome.

ada initiative donate button

I had the pleasure of attending an AdaCamp for the second time last June and it was indeed awesome. As [personal profile] ahorbinski details in her post, the Ada Initiative is working on much good stuff for women in tech and open culture, and it's all extremely relevant to fandom. Check out their website.

unjapanologist: (Default)

Sorry for the lack of an update yesterday, I fell asleep.

  • Added about 40 words to the list of Japanese <-> English fandom terminology.
  • Answered three calls for papers.
  • Re-read digital_humanities (pdf) and added some quotes and structure to the methodology and tools sections based on that.
  • Updated front page of wiki with a longer message in Japanese after there was a sudden spike in visitors from there during the weekend. Many thanks to Yukiko Yokohata for language-checking the text.
  • Made arrangements to attend SGMS: Mechademia in Minneapolis at the end of September. Hoping to see many people there who were digital only up to now!
unjapanologist: (Default)

Or more like the last three days, though I spent most of the weekend with the Pacific Rim novelization and nursing a sudden fascination for Herc Hansen. The novel is not very well-written, but it satisfied that fannish craving for ALL THE DETAILS.

  • Solved display issues with list of Japanese-English fandom terminology
  • Added quotes, sources, structure and/or random sentences to various pages, including research ethics, history of dojinshi, and the lit review (oh just see the recent changes page)
  • Added some quick Japanese to the front page of the wiki because there was a sudden flood of visitors from Japan after someone posted a link to it on 2channel. Whee!
  • Added comments section to main page of wiki in case people want to use that for general remarks. Not quite sure it's a good idea, but I can always remove it in the unlikely case that it's trolled by unhelpful people.
  • Read the Association for Internet Researchers' 2012 Ethical Decision-Making and Internet Research report for research ethics section. Good that there's an updated version of this, I only had the older version at the start of the research.
  • Re-gathered old sources on research ethics in fan studies. Can't find anything in Japanese though, just English. Hmmm.
  • Spent a lot of time trawling through Google Books and its suggestions to dig up Japanese how-to books about doujinshi and other fanworks that I hadn't found before. These books are so useful - they're basically "here are all the details about how doujinshi work, researcher person", and there are enough of them that you can get many different POVs. And the Japanese is accessible enough that I can read it very easily. I can read academic articles too, but they still require an amount of concentration that's just on this side of unpleasant.
unjapanologist: (Default)

  • Got halfway through inserting bits and pieces from Fanwork as a test case for open source cultural goods into the right chapters on wiki. This article is much longer than I remember. Good, less dissertation text left to write then.

  • Began reordering chapter outlines to make the whole thing into more of a coherent story, and make sure it won't be too monumental a task to turn this thing into a book.

  • Discovered more layers of thrilling administration that have to be dealt with before I can get a PhD. Whoooo.

unjapanologist: (Default)

  • Finally, finally finished uploading all presentations into university repository. Though I forgot to add keywords to several. I suppose I should go back and fix that.

  • Bibliography fiddling is paying off! Finally got a nice display and working import and export. Hopefully I can upload everything next week.

  • Read From Dissertation to Book by William Germano. Interesting but repetitive.

  • Re-read Fanwork as a test case for open source cultural goods, an old but highly relevant conference paper that never got published properly, and started chopping it into pieces that can go straight into the dissertation draft.

unjapanologist: (Default)
  • Read those bits of Frederik L. Schodt's Dreamland Japan that are relevant to dojinshi research. Unfortunately for my ability to take this serious and quite useful book seriously, one of the first sentences I landed on was "At (the doujinshi convention) Super Comic City, however, I had the slightly disorienting but by no means unpleasant experience of being surrounded by tens of thousands of virginal females in their late teens and early twenties." (loc 480)
  • Added a bunch of sources on dojinshi to bibliography, tested various ways to import it into wiki. Am hoping to use the BibManager extension, but only if I can clean up the way it displays stuff (example of messy display).
  • Scrubbed some unnecessarily complex code from wiki templates and forms.
  • Finished reading 「同人界」の論理-行為者の利害-関心と資本の変換- (Logic of the fan community) by Nobushige Hichibe, now rereading to put quotes in wiki.
  • Added more presentations and publications to institutional repository while mailing to and fro with administrators on how to input things like translations of academic articles published in things that might be either books or journals. Apparently a lot of my output is weird.

Hoping to get more done tomorrow, today I tried to catch up on sleep and then friends came to visit.

...Tens of thousands of virginal females. Want icon.

unjapanologist: (Default)
  • Added about 35 words to the glossary of Japanese <-> English fandom terminology.
  • Started reading 「同人界」の論理-行為者の利害-関心と資本の変換- (Logic of the fan community) by Nobushige Hichibe, which is about the motivations of doujinshi creators.
  • Added a few presentations to university repository. This took so much time that I left the rest of the presentations for tomorrow because I could feel my brain shriveling up. You'd think that since we have bibtex, all repositories or services aimed at academics would allow bibtex import and export, and we'd be done with endlessly hand-copying academic output to wherever it needs to be listed. I suppose that would be too convenient or something. (Academia.edu also has no bibtex import and export, by the way. A few other academic networking services can handle bibtex, but everybody in area studies and fan studies seems to be on Academia.edu. *grumble*)
  • Started work on the section on doujinshi exchange infrastructure, specifically doujinshi conventions. Not linking to wiki because the page looks weird because of a random baffling Semantic Mediawiki glitch. Nggggh. Really, I love learning new software, and getting to the bottom of Mediawiki myself instead of asking someone else to set up a wiki has taught me so much. But why does it always break. (Because I'm not good enough at Mediawiki administration yet, I know, but.)
  • Did a good deal of research on how to rework a dissertation into a book, sent inquiry to publisher to see how they feel about book manuscripts based on dissertations that have been published open access.
  • Agreed to submit something for Console-Ing Passions 2014, ruminated on good topic. Unfortunately too tired to ruminate properly today.
....I didn't sleep very well last night, can you tell. On the plus side, the heatwave in Belgium is over! Normal temperatures <3
unjapanologist: (Default)
I was going to put these updates on my Tumblr only at first, but apparently people might like them here too. It always feels like these sorts of quick Tumblr updates are somehow not substantial enough for Dreamwidth or LiveJournal, but maybe crossposting here will encourage me to do more substantial things as well. Win-win?
  • Organized references to prepare dojinshi research bibliography for publication on wiki, probably get to that next week
  • Read Market Transformation in Transformative Works: The Effects of Introducing Incentives in Markets for Fanfiction by Hannah Yung
  • Had long discussion with advisor about research progress and publishing a book, agreed that I’ll submit the final text of the dissertation by April 2014. Not the half a year earlier than planned that other prof proposed, thankfully, but still, umm… five months earlier than I’ve been planning for the last three years. This is going to hurt.
  • Gathered list of CFPs for fall conferences to submit things to - must keep self motivated to write thesis bits in quick succession
  • Spent over an hour trying to figure out university repository rules because I need to upload all my stuff there as well for a job application. Sent helpdesk a long list of questions along the lines of “can I submit *newfangled online format* please because I did actually make it as part of my research activities". I was very unimpressed with the repository when it was launched a few years ago, but now it's much better and more informative about open access. (On the less handy side, they now work with a journal lookup system instead of letting you enter the name of the journal by hand, and of course TWC isn't in there yet.)
unjapanologist: (fetchez la vache)
The new academic book Manga's Cultural Crossroads is very shiny and has several chapters on fans, including one by me on Harry Potter fan comics on deviantART and pixiv. Writing this one was as fun as it was hard, and I'm terribly pleased with how it turned out *cuddles book*

I can't upload the actual chapter for the usual copyright reasons, but here's an earlier unpublished, non-peer-reviewed version of the text that I hope you may enjoy. Please poke me with any thoughts or suggestions - what's published is published, but I hope to use a lot of this in my PhD dissertation as well.

It has become commonplace for English-language studies about Japanese- and English-speaking fans of manga to mention that the Internet in general and social networking services (SNSs) in particular play a crucial role for the functioning of contemporary "transcultural" fan communities. DeviantART and pixiv, for instance, are two famous image-based SNSs that have become hubs for very active fan communities centered around the exchange of fannish visual media. Such services are not just convenient places to socialize and maintain fan communities, but also distribution systems whose functionality is geared exactly towards what fans want to do with the works they create: share them, and have them appreciated and talked about by other fans.

Several recent studies have focused on how fans use SNSs as communication hubs or as distribution platforms. However, it may be misleading to present these two functions as wholly separate, as no more than the “Internet versions” of pre-digital forms of communication and distribution. Research on the nature and effects of interactions around media on SNSs shows that the “digital conversations” that take place on SNSs have their own particular characteristics that influence what can be said, who can say it, and what the results of the conversation can be. These characteristics profoundly influence not just the interpretations of media distributed through these services, but also the very content of the media themselves.

In this chapter, I make a first attempt at clarifying the complex ways in which the particular nature of digital conversations (boyd and Heer 2006) works to influence fannish interactions on SNSs, with a special focus on how these digital conversations on SNSs help or hinder transcultural interactions between Japanese- and English-speaking fans of manga, comics and other media. I conduct a comparative case study of digital conversations around a particular kind of fanwork that is often distributed and discussed through SNSs: fan-created comics and manga (also called doujinshi). More specifically, I focus on "Harry Potter"-based fan-created comics and manga distributed via deviantART and pixiv.
unjapanologist: (fetchez la vache)
I've got a little more than a year to go with my PhD on dojinshi, so it's high time to start writing the final dissertation and put more concrete results out on the internets. It's more motivating to write in public, and of course I also hope that people will come in and poke me with corrections or suggestions while there's still time to take those comments into account. (Please do, I will love you forever and credit you all over the place. And make thank-you drabbles/drawbles if you want any.)

My online presence has changed quite a bit over the last few years, so I thought I'd give a quick update about where to get info or updates about the research:
  • I've started writing the dissertation and am posting short daily updates about progress on Tumblr, with links to the stuff that's been done.
  • Unjapanologist's Dojinshi Research is the wiki where I'm drafting my dissertation.
  • This Dreamwidth journal is updated only now and then when there's something bigger to report, and I don't forget to report it - times are busy. My apologies for the sparse updates here. Please check out the wiki or Tumblr for the most recent stuff.
  • Shorter or more incoherent things go into Twitter
  • Various notes and quotes for research that haven't been processed anywhere else yet are in an online notes and quotes book.
  • Other academic works and projects I've done up to now are on Academia.edu, with full text copies of articles, links to all presentations etc etc.
Quick basics: my PhD research focuses on doujinshi, Japanese print fanworks that are often sold for money with the tacit approval of copyright holders. I frame doujinshi exchange as a hybrid economy that straddles fannish gift economies and commercial economies. By comparing these fanworks with other kinds of works that are exchanged in such “hybrid” economies, like open source software, I’m developing a vocabulary for explaining fanworks as a sort of “open source cultural goods” that fit in very well with many other “open” movements today. Open source is already a well-known and well-understood mechanism for “non-professionals” to create valuable things for the sake of fun and community instead of for profit, while still interacting in a mutually beneficial way with the commercial economy as well. I’m convinced that framing fanworks as part of an “open” movement should be very helpful in explaining (also to non-fannish open culture activists, policymakers, and so on) what role fanworks play in the broader cultural economy.

*ties on victory bandana*
unjapanologist: (Default)
(One day I will make a post that is actually about what I've been up to and not just a crosspost of something I blathered about elsewhere, but today is not this day. Crossposted from Fanhackers.)

As reported by Anime News Network and others, Japanese animation studio TRIGGER's Kickstarter campaign to make a sequel episode to their Little Witch Academia OAV met its goal of $150.000 in less than five hours. The Kickstarter is at $285.000 right now, with a whopping 28 days still left to go.

Read more... )
unjapanologist: (Default)

Hi! Sorry about the months of silence, I hope everyone's doing well... Dreamwidth seems quiet these days. More soon about the ten million things I've been busy with. First though, a crosspost of a quick analysis thing I wrote for Fanhackers about Amazon's new great idea. The tone of this post is restrained because Fanhackers is not a private soapbox, but my personal objections to the idea of Amazon trying to revolutionize fanfic distribution are, um, extreme.


PaidContent reports that in June this year, Amazon will be launching Kindle Worlds, a legal publishing platform for fanfic. According to Amazon's announcement, Kindle Worlds will start out by allowing fanfic based on Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and The Vampire Diaries.

It's not necessarily bad news that companies are trying to create options for "licensed" fanfic, and I'll leave the in-depth analysis of the legal aspects of this to professionals. Legal issues aside, though, I certainly hope that Kindle Worlds won't become a model for other attempts to legalize fanfic. This concept seems to repeat a lot of fan-unfriendly aspects of previous forays by companies into the weird world of fic monetization. Kindle Worlds would allow fic authors to sell works "without hassle", as PaidContent says, but apparently also without many rights, and within the boundaries of extremely strict content guidelines.

The platform refers to fandoms as "Worlds". Copyright holders can give Amazon Publishing a license to allow fic writers to upload stories about licensed media to Amazon Publishing, which will then offer the stories for sale. Since this is not a self-publishing platform, Amazon Publishing will be setting the prices:
Read more... )Again, I'm not against the idea of "licensed" fic in and of itself, and those who want to agree to Amazon's terms certainly have the right to do so. However, something like Kindle Worlds can be only one option among many for licensing fic, and it definitely shouldn't be a model for other "solutions" to the legal uncertainties surrounding fanworks. The only option for publishing fic legally can't be a platform that takes or licenses away many rights, doesn't give fic authors the option to set prices, and excludes large numbers of fans with its content guidelines. Hopefully, alternatives that strike a better balance between the rights of fans and copyright holders will emerge soon to counter this.
unjapanologist: (Default)
New post by me on the OTW's main blog, about the importance of open access for fan studies and what I think open access really means. It also includes a small teaser for an upcoming project that I and a few other OTW folks have been hammering away at for months. (Why yes, I am kind of preoccupied with this open access thing.)

Many thanks to everyone who helped improve the text!
unjapanologist: (Default)
Note: the blog post linked below is a joke, and I very much regret that pointing that out is necessary. Real academic publishing is so nuts and so close to this that I can almost imagine it happening.

Academic Publisher Unveils New Journal Which Prevents All Access To Its Content
unjapanologist: (Default)
I'm preparing to move back to Belgium in a couple of months, and one of the things that needs to be sorted out is what the best data plans for smartphones are over there. It's been two years and everything is different. To my great annoyance, Belgium still hasn't invented the unlimited data plan; the most I can get per month is 2 gig, which is just low enough to make me worry about overshooting it and paying an arm and a leg for using an extra 30 megabytes or something. (My first experience with this came a few years ago when I visited my grandmother in the hospital. I decided to download her favorite CD from iTunes on the spot so she'd have some music to listen to. Grandma was successfully cheered up for a while, but apparently I'd overshot my monthly data allowance already, and my good deed turned up on my mobile bill to the tune of 80 euros a few weeks later.)

Read more... )
unjapanologist: (fetchez la vache)
Remember Aaron Swartz, the information freedom activist who set off a broad online discussion about academic databases in 2011 when he downloaded about four million articles from JSTOR to make a point about how knowledge shouldn't be locked away from the public?

Swartz never put those four million articles online anywhere, or did anything else with them besides downloading, but the way he downloaded them (edit: better link) was in violation of JSTOR's terms of service. JSTOR recognized that they were dealing with an activist doing a stunt, not some kind of pirate who wanted to deny them income; they declined to press charges. However, a federal prosecutor decided to make an example of Swartz and pursued him relentlessly, threatening to slap him with a million-dollar fine and up to thirty-five years in jail. With the upcoming trial looming over him, Swartz hanged himself on January 11 at the age of 26.

We often point to examples of incidents that show how broken copyright law is, but this is just too enraging for words. Karl Fogel at QuestionCopyright.org and Lawrence Lessig say best exactly how shameful the prosecutor's behavior was, regardless of whether or not Swartz' actions were wrong (they differ on that). This guy did not deserve what he was being threatened with. The people who wasted public money hounding him to his death instead of dealing with actual crimes should be too ashamed to ever look in the mirror again.
unjapanologist: (internethygiene)
HuffPo brings a pile of bizarre with 50 Shades of Grey in Scientific Publication: How Digital Publishing Is Harming Science. A scholar called Douglas Fields argues against open access, mainly by attempting to paint it as a dastardly government takeover of science that will mean the end of rigorous research. I was a little disappointed that he didn't actually call open access communist.

The article is plenty strange and sad in and of itself; anyone who can write with a straight face that "A corporate/government financial alliance is replacing scholarly publication once organized and run by scientists and academics" has a very, very idealistic view of the sort of traditional academic publishing that open access is trying to revolutionize.

And then comes this comparison:

Similar changes are eroding literary publication as direct electronic publication by authors on the Internet has led to erotic and reportedly pornographic works like Fifty Shades of Grey and spinoffs sweeping bestsellers lists for months. The issue is not whether erotica or pornography is or should be popular; rather, one wonders what literary work might have filled those slots on the bestsellers lists if traditional mechanisms of editor-evaluated publication had been applied, which consider more than simply the potential popularity of a work in deciding what to publish.

One wonders indeed.

This man lives in a very strange reality. But I love, love, love the idea of equating open access with 50 Shades! It means that advocating for open publication of my research is just like polluting my pure academic environment with BDSM porn. I feel totally all right with conceptualizing my work in that way. Maybe I should make some mugs and t-shirts for other open access-loving fan studies people.
unjapanologist: (Default)
The European Fandom & Fan Studies Conference took place on November 10, 2012 at the University of Amsterdam. It was a relatively small one-day conference, but great in terms of content and people present. I was especially pleased to see so many researchers going beyond English-language online fandoms, tackling offline fan activities or doing comparative studies with other online fandoms that communicate in different languages. There was also a strong emphasis on how fans interact with media industries and deal with fannish activities that involve money, which is one of my favorite topics. I heard a ton of interesting ideas, and others clearly did too.

But I'll let our past selves speak for themselves. Here's a Storify with all the tweets from the #eurofandom tag, grouped by presentation as much as possible.

There were a couple of participants tweeting at least semi-regularly, and I'm surprised at how much of what happened at the conference comes across pretty well by looking at the tweets. With just a handful of Twitter-happy attendees plus Storify, it's very easy to leave a permanent record of the goings-on at any conference for anyone who wants or needs to see what was said there.

It's not a perfect system. The technology has to work, obviously; I attend plenty of conferences were wifi is still not assumed to be necessary, and even at this one, the network was a bit troublesome. Conferences with parallel panels also need at least a small group to cover everything more or less thoroughly. There were a couple of presentations during which all the really active tweeters happened to be in a different room, or temporarily comatose because of jetlag in my case, and these presentations are conspicuously absent from the timeline. Perhaps conferences should make a bigger deal out of live-tweeting to encourage more people to pick up the slack? And designate a conference historian to make the Storify later on.

(Crossposted from the Symposium blog)
unjapanologist: (hey ozai)
At the European Fandom & Fan Studies Conference at the University of Amsterdam right now. The one-day conference just started and is being livetweeted with the hashtag #eurofandom. Drop in if you're interested! (No conference program online, alas.)

I'm just attending, not presenting, so I can spend all free mental time learning and tweeting and enjoying jetlag. Bliss.
unjapanologist: (fetchez la vache)
Yes, you get what you deserve when you ego-google. But since I'm building a career and all that, I like to check what pops up first when a grant committee or someone I might want to collaborate with searches for my name.

Read more... )


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