Friday, 13 April 2018

Open Access, Collaboration, Interdisciplinarity...

Open Access, Collaboration, Interdisciplinarity...

The Universe and I are working towards a better relationship, in some areas at least.  For example, I am trying to persuade the Universe that if it wants me to read something it must not put too difficult obstacles between me and that text.  Money is an obstacle.

So, we look for useful things in Open Access resources, useful books and articles - though sometimes those Open Access resources are hard to find, hidden deep within academic or commercial publisher web sites.  Come along, Universe, make things easier...

And, of course, funding bodies need to think again - is it really Open Access if it is so hard to find...?

I have already mentioned two aggregating web sites, OAPEN and DOAB, and you can browse those web sites, and, back-tracking, see how funding decisions and scholarly decisions have made books available there - very often through European academic publishing houses and funding bodies...  But the net is spreading wider...

'The OAPEN Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation based in the Netherlands, with its registered office at the National Library in The Hague. OAPEN is dedicated to open access, peer-reviewed books. OAPEN operates two platforms, the OAPEN Library (, a central repository for hosting and disseminating OA books, and the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB,, a discovery service for OA books...'
Directory of Open access Books is provided by OAPEN Foundation

Very often we can find material of Irish interest, and Irish Diaspora interest, within DOAB and OAPEN - and I will return to that at a later date.  Again, I have already mentioned here on Fiddler's Dog the lovely (money-saving) discovery of Mícheál Briody's lovely book about The Irish Folklore Commission, and Séamus Ó Duilearga (James Hamilton Delargy) - which became freely available on OAPEN just when I needed to cite it...  Thank you, Universe.

The Irish Folklore Commission 1935-1970: History, ideology, methodology Briody, Mícheál Finnish Literature Society / SKS, Helsinki 2008

Let me now cite something from an overlapping area of interest - interdisciplinary studies.  Often, usually at the funds-seeking part of a project, I get asked to advise on the 'interdisciplinary' part of the bid - and I tippy-toe in. 

Noting, for example, a remark by Amy E. Earhart - about p.28, 'The blurring of interdisciplinarity with collaboration...'
Challenging Gaps: Redesigning Collaboration in the Digital Humanities
The American Literature Scholar in the Digital Age Edited by Amy E. Earhart and Andrew Jewell
Series: Editorial Theory and Literary Criticism

(This book is free to read and download on yet another Open Access site, digitalculturebooks, an imprint of the University of Michigan Press...  Not that easy to find, unless you already know it is there.)

But let me look briefly at an 'interdisciplinary' moment, one that is almost the opposite of collaboration - I can look briefly because the text is open access on the OAPEN web, and you can read it at your leisure.

I read this splendid book by Karl Widerquist and Grant S. McCall as a study of that moment when we try to be interdisciplinary, but realise that first of all we have to be critical - one discipline must offer a critique of another discipline.  In this case Widerquist and McCall ask how and why do modern philosophers use and perpetuate myths about prehistory?  (I might add that economists and theologians do it too...)

Widerquist, K., & McCall, G. (2017). Prehistoric Myths in Modern Political Philosophy. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Would I have come across this book if it were not for DOAB, OAPEN and Open Access?  Thank you, Universe.

Patrick O'Sullivan

25 years of the Irish Studies Review

25 years of the Irish Studies Review

There is to be a reception to commemorate 25 years of the Irish Studies Review, plus a presentation of postgraduate prizes from the British Association of Irish Studies at the Embassy of Ireland, London, on 23rd May 2018.

Looking back, those of us who were there at the beginning of the Irish Studies Review, and the founding of the British Association of Irish Studies...

I have put most of my Irish Diaspora Studies material on my MediaFire archive...

There is a little cluster of items which first appeared in Irish Studies Review, from 1992 onwards.

A number of writerly names are perhaps over-represented in the early issues of Irish Studies Review. 

The Founding Editors were, in those years, still finding their way - seeing quite where to pitch the journal - and a number of us were supportive, and did what the Editors asked us to do.

For example, the Editors decided to publish a short story of mine, 'The Fiddler's Apprentice' - the text, as published, complete with errors, is in that MediaFire archive.

I am told that the Editors were later to bitterly regret publishing that short story - for, they say, they were thereafter swamped by unsolicited short stories.

What can I say?  Not my fault, not my fault...

That story, 'The Fiddler's Apprentice' was later picked up by BBC Radio - I have put an audio file here...

Later Irish Studies Review was to morph into a standard academic journal...  Quite right, too...

And here is an opportunity to congratulate the Irish Studies Review team...

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Visualising the Emigrant Letter‪ ARTICLE FREE ONLINE

Moreton, E., O’Leary, N., & O’Sullivan, P. (2014). ‪Visualising the Emigrant Letter‪. Revue Européenne Des Migrations Internationales, 30(3), 49–69.

This article is now freely available on line...

Specialists will recognise that there is, as it were, a 'ghost article' in there, waiting to be written - the more firmly Irish version of our work on Emigrant Letters, looking at our historiographic tradition, Arnold Schrier, Kerby Miller, David Fitzpatrick and so on.  This would also now look at more recent developments, which I still track - for myself and on behalf of Emma Moreton and her networks.  Yes, looking at our tradition, and specific Irish problems - always that issue of looking at only Irish material, in isolation.  So, also connecting with the wider literature, and with other interests of mine, like literacy/orality, writing as an exploration of the self, writing as a creation of the self, identities, language choices.

But it is nice to see that Revue Européenne Des Migrations Internationales (REMI) article online - and see how they have displayed the visual material.  Note all the work that goes into the creation of Digital Humanities visualisations.  One question for me, as we explored that Digital Humanities approach to Irish material, was:  Does all that work pay dividends, does it open up new approaches to existing research questions, and open up routes to new research questions?  The answer is, Yes.

Patrick O'Sullivan

Visualising the Emigrant Letter
Propositions pour une visualisation graphique de correspondances de migrants
Propuestas para una visualización gráfica de las correspondencias de emigrantes

Emma Moreton, Niall O’Leary et Patrick O’Sullivan

Emigrant letters are a rich resource for teaching and learning, transcending disciplinary and methodological boundaries. They are expressive and indicative of correspondents’ identities, values, preoccupations and beliefs, providing a powerful source of information about migration issues and shedding light on processes of language change and variation. Although many emigrant letter collections have now been digitised, not all are properly archived; some are reduplicated and others are in danger of being lost. The documentation and preservation of such letters is, therefore, a particularly pressing need. In 2013, an AHRC research network was established to look at ways of improving interconnectivity between digital collections of migrant correspondence. This paper reports on work carried out so far, focusing on how emigrant letter projects might move beyond the digitisation stage to exploit text content and enhance usability and searchability through the use of visualisation tools.

Index terms
Keywords :correspondance, lettres de migrants, TEI markup, outils de visualisation graphique, TEI, visualisation graphique de données, geotagging
Keywords :correspondence, emigrant letters, TEI markup, visualisation tools, TEI, data visualisation, geotagging

Further information, about policy - to make the contents of the journal available to a wide range of readers (researchers, teachers, students, etc.), and to promote the accessibility of the journal to the Anglophone public through the International Cairn platform...

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Tolkien in Oxford - 50 years ago

Stuart Lee, Merton College, Oxford, has written to me, noting that it was exactly 50 years ago this week - 5th to 9th February 1968 - that the cameras and crew came to Oxford, to film Tolkien, in Oxford.

Stuart says, 'I am sure you knew...'  Well, I did not.  Thank you, Stuart...

Now, on to the next rescue...

Patrick O'Sullivan
February 2018