Standards in the Making
Standards in the Making
Standards in the Making

Standards in the Making

Essay in a Digital Collection (Forthcoming)

The New Work of Composing

With Matthew W. Wilson, Curtis Hisayasu, and J. James Bono

Design: Jentery Sayers

Full Title: “Standards in the Making: Composing with Metadata in Mind”

Official Description of the Collection

Edited by Debra Journet, Cheryl Ball, and Ryan Trauman, The New Work of Composing (Computers and Composition Digital Press, screen shot left) is a “book-length” collection that examines the complex and semiotically rich challenges and opportunities posed by new modes of composing, new forms of rhetoric, new concepts of texts and textuality, and new ways of making meaning. In particular, this multimodal, digital book will explore how digital media are shaping our understanding of scholarly projects within composition studies. In so doing, it will address the need to re-think what constitutes the “book” in an era of “born digital” scholarship.

Essay Description

“Standards in the Making: Composing with Metadata in Mind” contributes to the collection by arguing for the relevance of metadata (especially folksonomies or descriptive metadata) to the future of new media composition. Using the Library of Congress’ pilot project with Flickr as a case study, we show the various ways that metadata can be interpreted as an ambivalent social practice, which both accommodates and resists formal standardization. Through a non-sequential design (screen shots left), the chapter “animates” or visualizes the processes through which we individually, collectively, and collaboratively authored the chapter.

What I Learned

Given the impulse of The New Work to re-think the book, one of the first things I learned while authoring this chapter was how to design digital humanities scholarship and a humanities interface. I also learned how to design while co-authoring content with three other people (all in different academic fields) from a distance. That is, a bulk of the chapter was written and designed when all four of us were in different physical locations (across countries and states), and that distance necessitated our re-configuring what it means to collaborate. For that reason (among others), the chapter itself stresses the importance of outlining a workflow for digital collaboration and making that workflow transparent for audiences.