Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Please read: Our ebook is PUBLISHED!!

Writing About Literature in the Digital Age is officially self-published. You can find all three versions the book (PDF, Mobi, and ePub) at Internet Archive's site for it here and at our Goodreads page for it (yes, you can download it there) here.

In addition, you are all now authors on Goodreads - congratulations! To edit your author page, go to the page for our book, click on the link with your name under authors, and click on the link that says "is this you?" and send goodreads an email asking for author status. You will have to be a member of goodreads to do this. I seriously recommend you do this and review our book on goodreads - it will only take a second, for real.

Also, for those who have kindles, please email Derrick (or check his upcoming blog post on how-to) to double check the process of downloading our ebook onto a kindle. I think there are also directions on how to access an ebook from Internet Archive on your kindle here.

Good job everyone!

Webinar Tomorrow

Our class is putting on a webinar tomorrow to talk about how we created an ebook about literature, learning, and technology (in 2 weeks, no less). Anyone is welcome to join. We'd love to see you there!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Learning Outcomes

 How did you meet the stated learning outcomes for the course?

Learning outcome #1: Consume:

I believe I demonstrated my ability to analyze literary texts in my final chapter for the ebook. I showed my ability to gather, search, filter, sample, bookmark, and research wtihin academic and general sources through the following posts:

Here is a list of sites I bookmarked and tagged and sorted relating to my literary research. It also shows my ability to gather a lot of general sources about Huckleberry Finn. I then created a google document that shows how I sampled and processed that information.

You can see how I used different places to search out much of this information when I narrate my process of searching: Twitter, Creative Commons Images on Flickr and Google, Google Blog Search, Open Educational Resources, and Goodreads.

As for doing research within Academia, I posted about learning about and exploring library tools, using these tools to complete research on my chosen literary work, compiling all my academic research with research found for me by fellow classmates, and finding more social research online through an academic article.

Learning outcome #2: Create

I posted about my process of creating an online persona here. That link will lead you to my many different profiles, content outlets, and social networks as would my google profile which I newly updated this semester.

I made a personal learning plan here, some of which I followed pretty closely as it fit the domains of the course. I have documented my learnign efforts throughout the semester on this blog and even my personal blog here and here. I created an attempt at a multimedia composition here. As for creating and publishing more formally developed work in a public and durable format, I contributed a chapter to our class ebook and published it online for the class at internet archive and goodreads.

Learning outcome #3: Connect

I felt I connected meaningfully outside of the class on several occasions which I have narrated on my blog here, here, and here. I also advertised our ebook and webinar to several people who I thought had a vested interest in the project. These individuals are listed at our class wiki under my name.

I also worked collaboratively with our class to create our ebook and in a team to publish our ebook. It was a lot of work but ended up being a very rewarding process.

The Class

I believe our class met these outcomes together by consuming materials related to our literature on the web, narrating our process, creating informal and formal writing about literature, and connecting with both each other and outside of the class. I believe we could have done better on a whole with the create portion. Though we created an ebook as a class collaboratively, we did not do much in creating multimedia which is a legitimate form to use to talk about literature in the digital age.

Publishing a FREE ebook: Narrative of a very frustrating process

The Publishing Team ran into a few glitches today that would be important for you to know:

Problem: little known fact: As an independent publisher, you cannot publish to the Kindle store via Kindle Direct Publishing KDP (as has been our plan since we conceived of publishing our little ebook) and put it out there as "free" (ie. using a Creative Commons License). You must charge at least $0.99 unless you are a small publishing company, so that the big bad Amazon Kindle Co can charge a royalty on your product. (grin)

Solution: We shall instead publish our book (I believe in w/e format we want but this is still to be experimented with as soon as I receive a copy of our ebook) at the less-well-known Internet Archive under their text archive page. I tested this out today by publishing a PDF version of a homework assignment I recently did on Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown. Derrick will write a post about how to access these published versions of our ebook on a Kindle or an iPad at his blog.

Problem: Several of the sites we considered distributing our ebook through require an ISBN number. Did you know that you can only get an ISBN number through one of 160 publishing companies and that it takes 15 days to process your request as well as having a service fee?

Solution: We're just not gonna publish at those sites. :P so there.

So in the end our plan is to publish to the Internet Archive and possibly Goodreads.

(added 6/13 4:38 pm)

Answers to Dr. Burton's questions:

What did your team do?

First, I created a diigo list of research I and fellow classmates had done about publishing our ebook. This list, all about publishing ebooks, might be useful to future classes or individuals who are concerned with this process.

Then, I read through and summarized this research for the class on my blog.

Next, I read through information on publishing via KDP and ran into quite a few glitches which are narrated here and here. You can also read through my notes that help you understand my process at a googledoc I kept open as I read to use to present about publishing later for our class.

What tools did you use? 

Diigo, google docs, google search, blog search, and eventually I will use Internet Archive and Goodreads to publish our ebook.

How did this coordinate with the overall effort?

Kept the class informed via posts on my blog and kept in touch with the editing and design team in order to make sure formating was correct for what we were publishing and getting a copy of our book. 

What went well or could go better?

See my the beginning of this post narrating the frustrating process of trying to publish an ebook and share it for free. 

Worries about Publishing

I've created a document of things we'll need to talk about with regard to publishing our ebook today. Too be honest, after reading the publishing handbook for Amazon KDP today, I'm a little concerned about whether we're able to publish our ebook as a free ebook. We'll need to discuss this and other issues today in class.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Places to Publish

We can publish to four different online publishers with our book in ePub format: 

  1. Kindle Direct Publishing - best option in my opinion, most readers. There is a GREAT how-to guide here.
  2. Barnes and Noble PubIt - We might actually have to have a "dumbed down format" like a Word, HTML, RTF, or TXT file, because this site's intention is to put it into ePub for you, but that would be easy with Calibre. Also I am not totally positive we can do it here because they take a 35% royalty so I'm not sure they'll take free ebooks
  3. iTunes connect - this requires an application process and may take a long time so doesn't really work too well for our class. 
  4. and Lulu which would get us into the iBookstore and Lulu's store which claims to have a large community of readers; I don't know how many of those readers will be our intended audience though.
Other options: 

Ashley Lewis also suggested we publish to Goodreads. I don't know what format Goodreads takes since they told her to contact them again "once the ebook is ready" before we could proceed, but it doesn't seem like it'd be too difficult a process. 

Ben had suggested we publish to Gutenberg but I don't think they'll take our book as it doesn't fit within their qualifications:

"Confirm the eBook has already been published by a bona-fide publisher (i.e., not self-published or unpublished). Project Gutenberg generally is not suitable for unpublished work. In cases where a work was published by a very small publisher or not widely distributed, Project Gutenberg might request copies of published literary reviews or similar documentation to demonstrate recognition of the work's literary value."  - Project Gutenberg publishing
 Publishing to Google books might also be a fairly easy option, but they will require both an ePub and a PDF version of the book. We would only have to follow steps 14 and 15 here after creating our book in both formats. This writer says it's a fairly simple process.

My suggestions: 

I think we should publish with Amazon Kindle, Goodreads, and Googlebooks. I believe this will reach the widest audience as a free ebook. Kindle will of course reach the most people, but those who don't use Amazon very frequently and want to read on their computers without an ereader will probably be able to just read it at googlebooks or if they're a big social reader, goodreads. Goodreads might take a little longer so we should have our book ready as soon as possible to complete the process.

If you didn't get the email

This job looks like perfect for someone from this class. I don't know if you all get the English dept emails or open them, but I had to post it in case you hadn't seen. Pretty awesome.

Company: CEO.com
Job Title: Associate Editor
Location: Lindon, UT

Work closely with the managing editor on site strategy, editorial voice, editorial calendar and overall digital initiatives for the CEO.com.

Helping to manage all content on our constantly updating Web site

Oversee selection, publication and promotion of articles and resources related to CEOs

Update CEO profile database and keep current information and news stories

Manage CEO.com social media accounts (twitter and facebook)


Strong writing, editing, and copy editing skills

Strong organizational skills and solid work ethicKnowledge of Word Press, a plus

Knowledge of SEO best practices, a plus

Experience with Web site administration or publishing

Speedy decision-making and quick reactions to newsworthy topics

Great understanding of twitter and facebook

Bachelor's Degree (Journalism, English or Communications preferred)

Knowledge of current business news and technology trends

Greg Olson
Corporate Recruiter
Work: 801-805-9456
Cel: 801-319-0323

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Final Draft

My Final Draft is here including pictures in the correct sizes/ dimensions. Where do we send it to and in what format? Anyone know? (I wasn't in class Monday.)

Tweetable Thesis

I wasn't in class Monday, so I didn't know we were doing this but here's my attempt:

1st thesis: Students of literature must read and engage in a process of social inquiry and discovery, enabled by the richness of online resources, in order to properly engage with a text as it exists in today’s world.

Tweetable thesis: Students of literature must engage in a process of online social inquiry in order to properly engage with a text as it exists today.

What do you think? Still make sense?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Possible Images

The title of my chapter is Big River: The Socialization of Reading and Research in the Digital Age.
You can read my chapter here.
Here are some images I am considering for use:

CC licensed. Found here.
CC licensed. Image found here

CC licensed. Found here. (Writing may be too small to read on Kindle for this image)
CC licensed. Image found here
CC licensed. Image found here

CC licensed. Image found here
 Ok, this one has nothing to do with my chapter, but it's just so cute. :) Found here

Monday, June 6, 2011

Draft Two - In process

Here is a link to my second draft for the ebook.  Please do your critique of this draft.

Today's Class

Hey there fellow students,

I am sorry to miss class today; I realize we're all really depending on each other in the final stages of our project. I don't know how to write an excuse note sufficient to explain the reasons for my absence today but they can be summed up by one word: pregnancy. Any more detail than that would be too personal, and I'm not looking for a pity-me party.

I am hoping, as I've missed a few other classes today and won't have time to listen to a recording of the class, that one of you will be willing to take notes for me today. Is anyone willing to help me out? I would really appreciate it.

Thank you for your understanding.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Pic for Social Reading

Looking for some feedback on this picture? What do you think of it as a header for my eBook chapter?

Creative Commons | HikingArtist.com

Social Reading and Research (first draft of ebook chapter)

Prominent literary critic Harold Bloom writes that “real reading is a lonely activity and does not teach anyone to become a better citizen” (Richter, 226). Yet in this same epilogue to his book The Western Cannon: The Books and School of the Ages he claims that “such a reader” reads to “enlarge a solitary existence” (Richter, 226). I find these two statements somewhat at odds with each other and tend to agree more with the later than the former, especially within today’s reading population. Reading is no longer “lonely” and has so much more capacity to “enlarge a solitary existence” by the connections one is able to make with others simply by sharing what one reads online. In the digital information age, individuals and the information they produce are increasingly connected not only by social ties, but ties of information and interest.  Online research of a theme in a book is only a few clicks away from the individual who produced that research. Knowledge is becoming socialized in a way it never has before and literary knowledge is swept up in that bundle as well. I would argue, through my experience this semester, that readers are not only limited when they do not allow themselves access to this socially connected knowledge, but, further, that they are not fully informed and cannot experience the text as it exists socially today. Students of literature must read and engage in a process of social inquiry and discovery, enabled by the richness of online resources, in order to properly engage with a text as it exists in today’s world.

Traditional literary reading and research would have us read the paper copy of the text in isolation, ask several questions about it and do a close reading explication of it, and find a few articles to corroborate our interpretation. Depending on your method or your instruction, you can rearrange the order of those tasks.  I started my academic journey in this way, reading my copy of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and going to the library to search out articles about the subject I was primarily concerned with in the book: the censorship of the N word in Alan Gribben’s latest edition. This is a hot topic in academic circles right now. I found an article that interested me from the Chronicle of Higher Education entitled The Redacted 'Huckleberry Finn': 'Chronicle' Bloggers Respond. Intrigued by the summary of several different arguments revolving around the N word issue, I followed this lead to the Chronicle’s blog (2011). Here I found academic and internet community collide. On these posts academics wrote, posted these articles online, and anyone who wanted could respond via the comments section.  There were even dissenting arguments! I followed one comment to the commenters blog and sent him an email asking more about his opinions. This is just one way information can lead to people who can lead to more information.

It reminds me of a theme in the very novel I was researching. Huckleberry Finn and his friend Tom Sawyer put a lot of stock in “book learnin'”.  At several points in the novel, Tom wants to do everything by the book, at one point chastising his friend Ben when he asks why they can’t play a their game a certain way. Tom says: “Because it ain't in the books so -- that's why. Now, Ben Rogers, do you want to do things regular, or don't you? -- that's the idea. Don't you reckon that the people that made the books knows what's the correct thing to do? Do you reckon you can learn 'em anything? Not by a good deal” (Twain, 11). But in reality, Huck doesn’t begin to really learn until he gets away from a structured school environment and associates with others.  It is in long discussions with Jim, his socially acquired knowledge, that Huck learns the most important lesson and decides not to give Jim up; he discovers that doing what society says is “right,” doesn’t always feel right and decides he’d rather “go to hell” and help a good man become free, than betray his friend (Twain, 217).

Just as Huck has to search outside of books to learn the most important lessons of the novel, readers and students of literature must take off on a wider river of information in order to understand the current social significance of what we read. In my own research journey, I found a plethora of resources that increased my understanding of the novel and involved me in ongoing discussions about it. Listening to the audio version of the novel contextualized the sounds of the dialects I was reading. Searching for syllabi online helped me understand the controversies and issues currently being discussed about the novel. I found a hypertext version of the novel that linked to pictures of the action that helped me as a reader to visualize the plot.  Searching the social streams (such as twitter) that were discussing the novel helped me to find interesting things others were doing with the novel and author such as google maps all the important locations Mark Twain’s life, literary pilgrimages one could take to explore the novel and Twain’s life, photos of original copies of the novel, and even a version of the book translated into bar codes. I also found plenty of blogs and groups discussing themes from the novel. All of these resources and more enriched my study and more fully contextualized my understanding of the issues I was researching. I could not have engaged with the novel to the same degree without using these methods of digital and social inquiry and it is necessary for students of literature today to do the same, because knowledge isn’t isolated anymore. The internet makes even reading a social process.

Richter, David H. Falling into Theory: Conflicting Views on Reading Literature. Boston: Bedford, 2000. Print.

"The Redacted 'Huckleberry Finn': 'Chronicle' Bloggers Respond." Chronicle of Higher Education 57.21 (2011): B4. Print.

Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. New York: Barnes and Noble Books, 2003. Print.

Academic Inquiry leads to Social Inquiry

Remember how an academic article in the Chronicle for Higher Ed led me to their blog? Well I was scrolling through the comments on one of their blog posts and found an interesting comment with a link to this person's fascinating blog. I wanted to see if he had written anything more about the Huck Finn censorship issue discussed in the article, but his blog didn't have a way to search past entries and his comment was from three months ago. So I clicked over to his information and sent him the following email:

Granite Sentry,

I followed an interesting comment you made here to your even more interesting blog. I couldn't find a blog history and wondered if you had written any posts of your own on the Huck Finn censorship issue. I am a English student and for a current assignment I am trying to find online discussions of literary issues, like the one posed in the article from the Chronicle. Thanks for your help! 

Bri Zabriskie

I'll let ya know if I hear anything back. :)

----- update at 2:45 pm 03 Jun 2011 ------

His response:

Hi, BZ. Thanks for your interest, but I haven't touched on the Huck Finn thing so far. Fascinating topic though. Good luck!

Ah well! Better luck in other social endeavors!

One Week of Huck's Digital Life

Ok so this screen shot is actually just of the Twitter feed about Huckleberry Finn in the last 9 hours, but if you follow this link, you can see all the tweets about Huckleberry Finn in the last week or longer. I've found it to be a great resource for social discovery!


Probably the most interesting/ unique thing I've seen done with Huck Finn so far is to turn the entire book into barcodes... Why? Who knows. But it is pretty cool, you gotta admit.

Here's a screen shot:

Hey it worked!

I commented on that quotes blog that I mentioned in my last post and the author commented back already! Here's our short but relevant conversation!

I wrote: "I find it almost ironic, after reading this quote by the author, that Alan Gribben’s latest edition of Huckleberry Finn has replaced the word “nigger” in a new edition of Huckleberry Finn with “slave” so as not to offend potential readers."

And Richard Scott replied: "Hi, Bri, and welcome to Uphill Writing. A lot of what is going on with Mark Twain’s work would not fit with his philosophy, I think. But then, he DID stipulate that his autobiography should not be released until a hundred years had passed."

Yay for social discovery!

Mark Twain

I found this blog with a number of quotes by Mark Twain through Google Blog Search. I thought this particular quote was somewhat relevant (and slightly ironically) related to my subject of study, the censorship of both Twain's novel and/ or the N word in his novel. The quote?

“Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” - Mark Twain

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Huck Finn Reading Group

That's right! On goodreads. It's private, but I've sent a request to join along with a message about my interest in joining and a link to my blog (forgot to copy the message so I could paste it here before I sent it via goodreads). Thought that'd be an awesome social discovery connection to make especially in relation to my thesis for my chapter of our ebook (see my previous post on my chapter).

Review of Wiesel's Night

Night (Night, #1)Night by Elie Wiesel

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a difficult book to read, but I think it is really important to read. It's actually my second time reading I'd really like to read Victor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning to get a little different perspective.

I feel like I read this book very differently this time around then when I read it in high school. I paid attention to the themes of faith, self-denial, survival, and character development for the class I am in. I wonder what we will talk about in class tomorrow. Discussing a book like this is always interesting in a religious environment like BYU.

View all my reviews

Processing Huck Finn Research

I thought I'd share my process of gathering all my research in and trying to formulate it into an outline with you all. Here is my google doc in process. We'll have to see if this embed feature works. If not, check out the external link to my document here.


bleh. Please ignore that embeded doc and just to to the actual document. It is UGLY.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The N Word

This is truly the hot topic among scholars surrounding Huck Finn and education right now, the censorship of the novel itself, the offending N word, and racism and where I plan to focus my research. The article Aly found for me addresses the attempt by teachers of Huckleberry Finn to teach in an anti-racist way that often brings up subconscious or unnoticed racism. Thus the teaching of the novel itself is under severe debate.

One noted Mark Twain scholar, Alan Gribben, has produced an edition of the book that replaces the word "nigger" in a new edition of Huckleberry Finn with "slave" so as not to offend readers and open up potential audiences (i.e. high schoolers) that the book might not have had before. Research I did previously in the Chronicle of Higher Education reveals intense academic debate about the censorship issues this presents. 

 The article Taylor provided for me addressed the N word/ censorship issue as well stating that on the American Library Association's banned- books list on the Web, Huck Finn is right up there in the top ten. I think the fact that this novel and the censorship of it are so controversial is a perfect subject to discuss in an ebook for educators who may be interested about where the conversations about Huck Finn are happening online, what the general public has to say about them (and so their possible students), and even a summary of what is being said. This is a potential aim for my article. I think it would not only interest educators, but i could also write in such a way that it could act as an avenue for the average Joe to become interested in the novel.

HTML converter (if we must)

As far as I can tell, most HTML converters are really imperfect and would require some knowledgeable clean up afterward, so I'd rather avoid them by using Mobipocket and Calibre if we can (see Sam's post and my comment) or Nyssa's idea for Adobe InDesign. But if we must use one, text fixer is an example of one that works more cleanly than most and will keep structure/ formatting. It won't keep images though. Word to Clean HTML is another option. I don't think any free online converters will keep images.