For our last question, I would like to ask you to consider the act of publication for this blog carnival. How could we best capture the interplay, the multimedia experience of blogging as a more formalized publication? What would be the best outcome for this collection of insights from archaeological bloggers?
This week’s question is two questions which makes it harder to answer. I’m not sure a formalised publication is the best outcome. It’s not a bad idea though, so I’ll tackle that in this post.
My first reaction was like Shawn Graham, a Kindle Single — but that’s because a Kindle is my new toy. A Kindle single could work, I liked this article on hydrofracking, which was free to download when I got it. It has some permanence and it would collate the various entries. The reason it might not be the best solution is that first it helps to know why you’re collating the entries.
If you want to give blogging a degree of credibility among people who don’t value electronic media then an electronic output is a perfect way to be ignored. You could try and self-publish via something like Lulu. I’d be against trying to cover up the self-published nature of the book by adding a spurious imprint — unless the publication were part of a long-term project involving several books. Still, I’m not sure to what extent this is a good idea. I can’t see a technophobe buy a book about archaeological blogging. This is why I think Colleen Morgan’s approach is clever. She’s putting the session into a mainstream conference. Both John and Matthew Law raise the possibility of publication via an SAA related publication. If that’s possible then this is a sensible outreach component of publication. Additionally then, a Kindle Single would be the electronically permanent version — the advantage of the Kindle Single being that you can embed links in them. Add a CC licence and drop a big hint to Amazon that you’re making available free on the web and Amazon could make it available free on their site, like Hydrofracked was.
In terms of how the content of the book could look, a good model that comes to mind is Philosophy and Archaeological Practice. Perspectives for the 21st Century by Cornelius Holtorf and Håkan Karlsson. Each paper in the book comes with at least one response by another author. A common observation is that the comments have added value to the carnival. I think Kandinsky adds something to my post here, and I’m hoping this adds value to the previous posts I’ve linked back to. Jonathan Jarrett is leaving some excellent comments in various places. I think adding these to the publication demonstrates that blogging can be part of a reflective process and need not be a static output, even if by pinning it into a publication the posts become static on paper.
I think collating the blog posts in some way is better than not collating them, so I don’t want to run down the idea. I do wonder if it’s going to be terminal. Freezing the posts marks an end. It could be possible to start a new project in a few months, but it would be starting from scratch again. Colleen has put in a huge amount of work getting the SAA session to work. She’s been e-mailing people for several months organising this, and the visible part is really just a fraction of the effort. It would be a shame if someone else looking to start a group project had to replicate all that work again. Terry Brock has raised the possibility of using this as a spur to something more ongoing, like a group blog. Mick Morrisson has also been asking what people think about the future of Four Stone Hearth, an anthropological carnival with a large archaeological component — with little success by the looks of it.
An ongoing event is not exclusive to also formalising this current carnival, but it is a different problem, so I’ll tackle that in another post. For now my response for Colleen is “formalise the carnival however you like”, but in a cheery and enthusiastic tone of voice.Google+