Sunday 31 August 2008

More on Scholarly Publishing: MediaCommons

As a result of following up some links on Alexandra Juhasz's great blog, Media Praxis: Integrating Media Theory, Practice and Politics, I decided to set up a new list of weblogs, on Film Studies For Free, which discuss digital scholarship in useful ways, I believe, for Film Studies researchers in an age in which we struggle not only with issues of research quality but also with evolving forms of research audit.

One of the blogs I've listed, MediaCommons: A Digital Scholarly Network, took me off to the following resource of interest: an article published as a work-in-progress on MediaCommons in March 2007: 'MediaCommons: Scholarly Publishing in the Age of the Internet'. It covers the emergence of digital scholarly publishing, MLA Taskforce Recommendations, the 'Born-Digital Monograph', Trackback, Versioning, Comments, Peer Review, and Peer-to-Peer Review.

MediaCommons, a project-in-development with support from the Institute for the Future of the Book (part of the Annenberg Center for Communication at USC) and the MacArthur Foundation, is attempting to establish a network in which
scholars, students, and other interested members of the public can help to shift the focus of scholarship back to the circulation of discourse. This network will be community-driven, responding flexibly to the needs and desires of its users. It will also be multi-nodal, providing access to a wide range of intellectual writing and media production, including forms such as blogs, wikis, and journals, as well as digitally networked scholarly monographs. Larger-scale publishing projects will be developed with an editorial board that will also function as stewards of the larger network. (Quotation from HERE)

Through the MediaCommons site I also found a link to the following fascinating posting about Open Access publishing, 'Open-access is the future: boycott locked-down academic journals', on the blog apophenia by Danah Boyd. The posting contains links to further discussions about Open Access, too. These include the highly useful piece 'Six things that researchers need to know about open access' by Peter Suber, with plenty of great links to further sites of interest.

David Sterritt's Online Writings, and an ethical declaration

A quick post to note that I've added a new site to Film Studies For Free's list of 'Individual Authors' Online Writing Of Note'. David Sterritt, author of notable books on Hitchcock, Godard, Gilliam, Altman, has a personal website which has an articles page containing all manner of links to excellent online publications of his on Godard, Coppola, cinephilia, and other topics.

On behalf of FSFF, I will continue tirelessly to fossick in search of such online gems as this, but I am always grateful for any information about similar resources from readers.

I end on an ethical note, as these are the early days of this blog: my recommendations in FSFF posts will always abide by the principles of 'full disclosure' of any relevant (personal, professional, or commercial) connections.

Thursday 28 August 2008

Which are the best scholarly film and media blogs?

Over the next two months or so, Film Studies For Free is running a little poll to gather views about the best of the scholarly film and media blogs currently out there. Perhaps the identity of the very best scholarly blog is a foregone conclusion... But I hope, along the way, to generate some fruitful discussion about what scholarliness (see below for some definitions) can be in the blogosphere. I hope also to discover some more 'film blogs of note'.

So, to this end, please vote on the (so far) twelve websites I've listed on the right of this blog (all of which already appear FSFF's Blog Roll). If any film and media weblogs you value highly do not appear in the list, please email FSFF with your suggestions or use the comments options at the foot of this post. I will add all relevant sites both to the poll listing and to the blogroll (to which new items are added pretty frequently anyway).

By the way, of relevance HERE is a link an online article, which I have just added to my list of Open Access websites: it's a discussion piece entitled 'Open Access 2.0: Access to Scholarly Publications Moves to a New Phase' by Joseph J. Esposito. It sets out what may or may not be possible in emerging versions of scholarly web publishing.

And HERE's a link to a similarly interesting set of discussions about blog scholarliness in general by Alex Halavais.

Get voting!

S C H O L A R L Y (adj.) - characteristic of scholars or scholarship; "scholarly pursuits"; "a scholarly treatise"; "a scholarly attitude"

critical - characterized by careful evaluation and judgment; "a critical reading"; "a critical dissertation"; "a critical analysis of Melville's writings"
intellectual - appealing to or using the intellect; "satire is an intellectual weapon"; "intellectual workers engaged in creative literary or artistic or scientific labor"; "has tremendous intellectual sympathy for oppressed people"; "coldly intellectual"; "sort of the intellectual type"; "intellectual literature"
profound - showing intellectual penetration or emotional depth; "the differences are profound"; "a profound insight"; "a profound book"; "a profound mind"; "profound contempt"; "profound regret"
unscholarly - not scholarly

Sunday 24 August 2008

On the Director's Cut

Three very worthwhile items on the concept of the Director's Cut, of clear interest (inter alia) to researchers of film authorship like me, have appeared recently, in two regularly excellent online resources. First, Jonathan Rosenbaum's increasingly unmissable website carried an article of his on 'The Perils of the Director's Cut' that recently appeared in French translation in Le Mythe du Director’s cut (Paris: Presses Sorbonne Nouvelle, 2008), a collection coedited by Michel Marie and François Thomas, and was also adapted from a lecture he gave at a conference about “directors’ cuts” that was held at the Toulouse Cinémathèque in early 2007.

Rosenbaum attempts to distinguish between 'aesthetic and business ways' of dealing with Director's Cuts, and in so doing he also broaches some useful ontological questions more generally. He concludes the bulk of his discussion with Ridley Scott's comment about the 1992 'director's cut' version of his film Blade Runner: “The so-called Director’s Cut isn’t, really. But it’s close. And at least I got my unicorn.” To this, Rosenbaum adds:
Scott’s philosophical acceptance of this version as “close” significantly resembles the usual position of publicists regarding such matters–which is that in the final analysis, chaque film a deux versions, une version correcte et une version plus correcte [each film has two versions: a correct one and a more correct one]. The notion that any version might be incorrect is one that belongs to history and aesthetics, but not to business.

Rosenbaum notes, in his online introductory blurb, that while his article examines the first two versions of Blade Runner (1982 and 1992), it was written prior to the release of Blade Runner: The Final Cut. Ridley Scott's multiple versions are the subject of another useful and provocative meditation on the Director's Cut (published by the online Bright Lights Film Journal) by Erich Kuersten. In his article, Kuersten alights upon what may become quite common forms of film 'replicanting' in this age of exaggerated hypertextuality and concludes thus:
If Orson Welles was working today, I wonder how many different versions of Touch of Evil or Citizen Kane there would be? Perhaps what was once considered indecision and fussiness will soon be a strength — as hypertextuality and increased bandwidth continue to dissolve the boundaries between memory and "reality," the finished and the forever open, the retro and the futuristic, and the impossibility of a cut ever being truly "final."

In the same issue of Bright Lights (no.61), in which a number of other pieces on film remaking and revisioning appear (incuding an interesting look at Michael Haneke's two versions of Funny Games, 1997 and 2007-8), Jason Martin Scott discusses John Cassavetes re-editing of his 1976 film The Killing of a Chinese Bookie and the release of his new version two years later. In his article, 'A Real Director's Cut', Scott argues that the fact that Cassavetes was prepared, very unusually for the time, to re-edit an already released film is indicative of his determination to change direction at this point in his work:
the re-edited Bookie is the most fully realized of all Cassavetes' films, and a viewing of both it and its prototype provides a rare opportunity to witness a great director's substantive and formal evolution in the making.
I'd be very interested to hear of any more useful online references to the director's cut and to film 'revisionings' and 're-versionings' more generally.