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AFS Review: Notes

The Future of Folklorists’ Communications at the 2014 AFS Meeting

Friday, October 3, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lorraine Cashman
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by Moira Marsh -- 

We folklorists, both academic and public, live in interesting times. Our forebears never had to think about open access, predatory journals, defensive publishing, or social media but today’s folklorists must navigate these shoals even in graduate school. The opportunities for sharing our work with each other and with wider publics have become more varied and confusing. This year’s AFS meeting includes several interesting events that speak to this state of affairs.

On Thursday morning, the Open Folklore team will present a paired panel and forum devoted to "Exploring Open-Access Folklore Scholarship.” The first session (01-03) bears the tongue-in-cheek title "How Open Folklore Can Help You to Be a Smarter (!) Folklorist, and features an overview of the Open Access movement in academic communication, and Open Folklore’s role in it. Panelists will demonstrate how to use openfolklore.org in your research, future plans for the project, and most importantly, how you (yes, you) can contribute your own work or nominate the work of others. The paired event is a forum (02-03), "Myths and Opportunities of Open Access,” that features the editors of six leading open access folklore journals.

As folklorists, we also communicate with the public, and in this arena too online tools provide exciting new opportunities. Folklorists not only do online ethnography, but they also take advantage of online spaces to communicate with the general public. On Friday morning Monica Foote will talk about "Leaving Academia for Buzzfeed: Academic Discourse in Public Popular Spaces” (5-17). Her paper explores how intellectual communities arise around academic writing for the general public in online spaces such as blogs and open-access magazines.

Finally, two diamond sessions include reports on open-access digital projects. In a Thursday afternoon session on current digital projects in ethnographic museums (03-04), Marsha MacDowell and Mary Worrall will both talk about the wonderful online Quilt Index (quiltindex.org), a searchable online database of images, documents, and other resources representing over 70,000 quilts and quiltmakers, all fully accessible to the public. Daniel Swan will talk about the collaboration between a museum and the Kiowa Black leggings Warrior Society, who are using defensive publication to protect their intellectual property.

A diamond session on Saturday afternoon, "At the Crossroads of Tales and Computers: Visualizing Fairy-Tale Wonder through Filmographies and Computational Folkloristics” (09-06) consists of reports on several digital humanities projects concerning fairy tales. Among them is Pauline Greenhill’s presentation of a new, online, open-access fairytale filmography.


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