Monthly Archives: January 2013

Global Monitoring Report Releases New Policy Paper

UNESCO’s Global Mornitoring Report ( has released a new policy paper, “Private sector should boost finance for education.” [Click on title to download PDF].

There’s also an excellent write-up and commentary on the World Education Blog (

Thought it would be interesting to MLA members.

En Español y en Inglés: Global DH/HD Globales

Spanish announcement followed by English.

En nombre de la Alianza de Organizaciones de Humanidades Digitales (o Humanística Digital) (ADHO por sus siglas en inglés), es un placer anunciar la creación de nuestro primer Grupo de Interés Especial: Perspectivas Globales a las Humanidades Digitales (GO: DH por sus siglas en inglés) y a invitarles a participar.

GO: DH es una comunidad de intereses cuyo propósito es superar las barreras que limitan la comunicación y colaboración entre investigadorxs y estudiantes de los sectores del arte digital, las humanidades, o herencia cultural en economías de alto, medio y bajo nivel de desarrollo.

Las actividades centrales del GO: DH son el descubrimiento, construcción de comunidades, investigación y promoción. Su objetivo es vincular las fortalezas, intereses, habilidades y experiencias complementarias de sus participantes a través de proyectos especiales, eventos, acciones promocionales, y al apoyar la colaboración entre individuos, proyectos e instituciones. Se funda en el principio de que este trabajo se está haciendo en muchos países y regiones y tenemos que aprender mucho de modo mutuo.

La participación en el GO: DH está abierta a todas las personas que compartan estos objetivos. Si tienes interes en participar, puedes visitar la web del GO: DH, unirte a la lista de correo y/o seguirnos en Facebook o Twitter (@globaloutlookdh).

Spanish text is a slightly-modified version of the translation kindly provided by Yasmín Portales Machado.

The Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations (ADHO) is an umbrella organisation whose goals are to promote and support digital research and teaching across arts and humanities disciplines, drawing together humanists engaged in digital and computer-assisted research, teaching, creation, dissemination, and beyond, in all areas reflected by its diverse membership. (Read more about the ADHO here).

The ADHO has announced  the creation of its first Special Interest Group (SIG): Global Outlook::Digital Humanities (GO::DH).

GO::DH is a Community of Interest whose purpose is to address barriers that hinder communication and collaboration among researchers and students of the Digital Arts, Humanities, and Cultural Heritage sectors across and between High, Mid, and Low Income Economies.

The core activities of GO::DH are Discovery, Community-Building, Research, and Advocacy. Its goal is to leverage the complementary strengths, interests, abilities, and experiences of participants through special projects and events, profile and publicity activity, and by encouraging collaboration among individuals, projects, and institutions. It is not an aid programme. Instead it recognises that work is being done in many countries and regions and that we all have much to learn from each other.

Participation in GO::DH is open to all who share its aims. If you are interested in participating in this initiative, you can visit the GO::DH website, join the GO::DH mailing list (, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter (@globaloutlookdh).


Please help us spread the word in any way you can. Every little helps. If you know other languages apart from English do spread the word as well. This is a community effort and it will only achieve its true goal if we make it reach those we don’t already know of or those who don’t already know of us. Thank you.

On a related note, you might be interested in reading my interview with Alex Gil, who is part of the GO::DH group, at 4Humanities.

Reclaim the Stream: Why Community Behaviour Matters

Shortly after I shared this blog’s first post the #MLA13 stream on Twitter started to get badly spammed.

This is a basic, clear post explaining why spam happens (please do ignore the comments, though, which miss the point).

#MLA13 getting spammed is not surprising. Any busy hashtag will attract spam. (Spam is automated: it does not care if you are an academic or a Lady Gaga fan, or both).

Spam does not appear randomly and it does not get sorted by itself: it is important not to ingore it. A hashtag stream can be completely ruined by spam. We must not let this happen and we cannot just leave it to spammers and move somewhere else (this has happened in other conferences).

It is very important Twitter users are able to distinguish spam accounts and do not follow them or engage with them; spam accounts must always be reported for spam.

You can also help by reporting the problem to Twitter Support:

We need educated community behaviour, if many hahstag participants take the time to report accounts for spam as soon as they start appearing it is possible to control the problem and even erradicate it for good. Communities of Twitter users that take care not to follow spam accounts and other spam applications tend to have spam-free timelines, even when they mention popular spam-attracting keywords like iPad, video-games or sex.

Can we please all get together and help ensure the backchannel fulfills its purppose? Let’s reclaim the #MLA13 stream! For some of us, following remotely, it is the only stream…


Not There, Yet Here


“…to know that writing compensates for nothing, sublimates nothing, that it is precisely there where you are not– this is the beginning of writing.”

―Roland Barthes, A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments



Welcome to MLA Commons. This is the first post I make on Far Away, yet Close, a site I thought I would set up to try to encourage or at least document some ideas/discussion on how those of us that for various reasons weren’t able to make it physically to the conference can still participate.

It is a cliché to say that online mobile communications are changing nearly every aspect of culture. Following the #MLA13 backchannel provides an (always partial) glimpse of what the conference is like. The distinction between those here/there blurs: “are you here?”

How can the MLA conference engage with remote participants? Can it be avoided? Should it?

I personally believe that remote participation and online engagement is not a challenge to conferences but a perfect ally. I know some people disagree. It is true that online communications are disrupting the way academic events are taking place. I believe there are some good things about that disruption.

As attitudes to and levels of social media adoption vary wildly, it can be said that the academic backchannel is still relativelly a minority phenomenon, and those who choose to engage in the conference backchannel without being physically there might be an even smaller group. Nevertheless, no one can deny that (not only in the case of the MLA) remote engagement and participation with/in academic events via Twitter is rapidly increasing.

I just wanted to leave these quick notes as a my pinch of salt.

Greetings from London!