[-empyre-] OSW: open source writing in the network

adam adam at flossmanuals.net
Tue Jan 17 08:34:12 EST 2012


> As my current research focuses on emergent network-based creative
> communities, I would like to focus this week’s discussion on “how
> communities of shared-value emerge through open source writing and
> publishing initiatives and how their members are able to identify
> themselves to one another and others.” It would be also interesting to
> explore ideas and views on the relationship between use of open source and
> changing notions of authorship, control and power looking at the role and
> meaning of collaborative authorship for the participants and how they
> communicate within and beyond their community through a multi-voiced
> publication.

Really great, rich and huge topics :) I was just doing a marathon 3 hour 
laundry session contemplating these questions and browsing through 
Divine Art, Infernal Machine (Elizabeth Eisenstein) and realising (of 
course!) there is no simple position on any one of these issues.

So a starting point for me...I think collaborative authorship are two 
terms that should be separated. There is collaboration and there is 
authorship. I tend to see them as two types of book production. 
Authorship denotes a particular model which is closely tied to the 
production of single authored works, usually all rights reserved, and 
published by a publisher.

The authorship model not only has a strong bond to these mainstays of 
publishing culture but we expect certain kinds of texts to emanate from 
this process. We also expect the texts to be static with very little 
changes over time.

Collaborative book production explodes almost every part of this. For 
me, collaboration is most interesting, challenging, and rewarding when 
it is open, and open collaboration cannot exist easily with the ideas of 
author, authority, publishing (as we know it) and all rights reserved.

Open collaboration produces books which can contain a richness of 
(sometimes) radically different experiences, disharmony and discord in 
the text, books that find their ways into other books, fork, merge, re 
contextualise, find their own channels. Book versions disagree with 
parent and sibling versions, and books live through 'asynchronous 
collaboration' over long periods of time possibly even with other 
contributors long dead or not yet born.

 From my experience the transition from authorship to collaborative book 
production is usually a painful process of confronting internalised and 
deeply embedded legacy values especially regarding ownership and control 
of 'the product'. Until we can let go of these internalised values the 
revolution in books will only occur at one end : distribution - and we 
will not experience the entire revolution which is on offer to us and 
which should encompass everything from book genesis, production, and 
distribution through to the nature of textual narrative and the even the 
role that books play in society.

ok...thats enough post-laundry brain dump for now :)


> Best,
> Penny Travlou
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre


Adam Hyde
Founder, FLOSS Manuals
Project Manager, Booki
Book Sprint Facilitator
mobile :+ 49 177 4935122
identi.ca : @eset
booki.flossmanuals.net : @adam


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