Tag Archives: archive

Punctum Books Helps Build Streamlined System for Archiving Open Access Monographs

Since its founding in 2011, punctum books has been an independent, scholar- and queerled open access (OA) press committed to reshaping the way knowledge production is shared in academia and beyond. 

Now, it is also a key player in the development of technology that’s making it easier for publishers to archive open access monographs. 

The idea behind the open access movement is that scholarly research is a public good that should be made available to everyone in order to remove some of the technological and financial barriers to research and to accelerate education and research across the planet. Open access monographs are long-form scholarly publications released in the public domain under a Creative Commons or comparable license, which allows readers to freely access them without paywall. Authors of open access publications retain the copyright to their work.

“We strongly believe that publicly funded knowledge should be publicly available.”

Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei, co-director of punctum books

“We strongly believe that publicly funded knowledge should be publicly available,” said Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei, co-director of the non-profit publisher, along with Eileen A. Fradenburg Joy. “This is an ideological commitment — and, for us, this has been a guiding light in all our publishing work.” 

Recently, punctum published its entire catalogue of close to 400 books to the Internet Archive’s online collection. It includes books about queer studies, film and media studies, Anthropocene studies, recuperative work and titles dealing with the Medieval period. 

Streamlining open access publishing

Not only did the publisher make its items freely available, it was also part of an effort to develop an open metadata management and dissemination system – known as Thoth – to encourage other open access publishers to do the same. 

The automated deposit system was built as part of the Community-led Open Publication Infrastructures for Monographs (COPIM) project, an international partnership of researchers, universities, librarians, open access book publishers and infrastructure providers. The open source platform, funded by Arcadia and Research England, is designed to streamline the sharing of open access books.

Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei, co-director, punctum books

“We wanted to make the management of metadata more convenient, especially for small-scale publishers,” Van Gerven Oei said. “The systems to get digital publications into the world are very opaque and difficult to navigate. We developed a tool that makes everything easier. We hope that by offering this service the discoverability of open access books will be much better.”

Along with punctum, other scholar-led, open access publishers such as Open Book Publishers are using Thoth for their daily metadata management. Van Gerven Oei said there is never going to be one single solution to the distribution challenge for small open publishers, but he hopes this effort will redirect traffic to the Archive.

“The Internet Archive, as a central repository not only for publications, but for the entire history of the internet, is of vital importance,” Van Gerven Oei said. “I am happy that the Internet Archive is one of the first repositories connected to our work with Thoth.” 

In addition, punctum is working with other libraries to develop open community-owned infrastructure to offer an alternative to commercial publishing infrastructures. 

See recent COPIM blog post about the experimentation with automated archiving at Internet Archive.

“We see libraries as our allies in our fight for open knowledge,” Van Gerven Oei said. “Knowledge is a public good that should not be a private enterprise at all.”

The Library-Publisher partnership

The founders of punctum believe the press has a moral obligation to provide its materials for free and allow authors to share, remix, and reuse. 

Incorporated and based in Santa Barbara, California, punctum has a partnership with the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) Library

The UC Santa Barbara Library. Photo credit: UC SANTA BARBARA

Together, they conducted a two-year pilot project from 2018-2020 to test a no-fees open access book publishing model for the humanities and social sciences. 

“The goal was to develop best practices, protocols and infrastructure, technical and otherwise, around punctum’s digital catalog, and create a Library Membership Program,” said Lidia Uziel, associate university librarian for research resources and scholarly communication at UCSB Library. The objective was to support punctum’s operations while advancing the library’s interest in no-fee OA book publishing.  

Lidia Uziel, associate university librarian, UCSB Library

“It was a natural collaboration for the library,” said Uziel. “The University of California, Santa Barbara is very committed to opening up scholarship created by UCSB researchers to be freely available to the scholarly community globally. Making good on this commitment requires the investment of time, effort, and money toward transforming the current, very closed, scholarly publishing system for both journals and books.”

Many faculty members publish with punctum, because of shared values. UCSB community and punctum are both passionately committed to the mission of the public research library and to scholar-led, community-owned, and economically sustainable open science and publishing. The project was an opportunity for the library community, students, and faculty to learn about open access publishing through the lens of the pilot project and the partnership with punctum.

“Making good on [a commitment to open access] requires the investment of time, effort, and money toward transforming the current, very closed, scholarly publishing system for both journals and books.”

Lidia Uziel, associate university librarian, University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) Library

The relationship was mutually beneficial, as it was also a chance for punctum to broaden its distribution network.

“The partnership with UCSB has been a lifesaver,” Van Gerven Oei said. ”To get books out into the world – from publisher to readers – it’s not easy. UCSB Library helped us in understanding the landscape, finding allies, and getting metadata records in shape. In turn, we have provided students and faculty with knowledge of OA publishing.”

One of the outcomes of the pilot was the creation of punctum’s Supporting Library Membership Program.  It now works with other libraries around the world on open access publishing.

“The library and scholarly communities have long advocated for free and unrestricted access to scholarly literature. The open science movement as a whole is gaining momentum, not only in the U.S., but also internationally,” Uziel said. “Open access publishing will continue to grow thanks to the implementation of OA policies by funders and institutions and the development of new innovative publishing models and open source platforms that facilitate the publication of OA content at a reduced cost. National and international library organizations are endorsing the OA policies and initiatives, and open access publishing is increasingly integrated into standard library operations.”

The road ahead

Experimentation on how to disseminate born digital books is happening across all sectors of publishing, with efforts like punctum books helping make systemic change across a field that has historically prioritized commerce over access, according to Maria Bustillos, editor of The Brick House.

“Free-thinking people are all involved in the same democratic, egalitarian project of building culture, whether they are librarians, academics, readers, students, journalists, artists or authors,” she said. “The sooner we all join forces to expand and protect the global commons, the better our world will be.”

Van Gerven Oei said he’s optimistic about the future of open access, but there needs to be policy and political will to support knowledge as a public good. In the meantime, he sees potential with providing online access to open access monographs. 

“We have a deep understanding and love for all the forms of archives,” Van Gerven Oei said. “From the moment that the Internet Archive existed, we have been great fans of its omnivorous drive and applaud the enterprise. We are very happy to contribute even more data and become sustenance for future archivists.”

LEARNING FROM RECORDED MEMORY: 9/11 TV News Archive Conference

LEARNING FROM RECORDED MEMORY: 9/11 TV News Archive Conference

Co-sponsored by Internet Archive and New York University’s Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Program, Tisch School of the Arts

Wednesday, August 24, 4:00-6:00 pm; reception follows

New York University, Tisch School of the Arts, 721 Broadway, 6th Floor, Michelson Theater, New York, NY 10003

This conference highlights work by scholars using television news materials to help us understand how TV news presented the events of 9/11/2001 and the international response. Our collective recollection of 9/11 and the following days has become inseparable from the televised images we have all seen. But while TV news is inarguably the most vivid and pervasive information medium of our time, it has not been a medium of record. As the number of news outlets increases, research and scholarly access to the thousands of hours of TV news aired each day grows increasingly difficult. Scholars face great challenges in identifying, locating and adequately citing television news broadcasts in their research.

The 9/11 Television News Archive (http://archive.org/details/911) contains 3,000 hours of national and international news coverage from 20 channels over the seven days beginning September 11, plus select analysis by scholars. It is designed to assist scholars and journalists researching relationships between news events and coverage, engaging in comparative and longitudinal studies, and investigating “who said what when.” What kinds of research and scholarship will be enabled by access to an online database of TV news broadcasts? How will emerging TV news studies make use of this service? This conference offers contemporary insights and predictions on new directions in television news studies.


4:00:  Welcome: Richard Allen, Chair, Department of Cinema Studies, Tisch School of the Arts, NYU
4:05:  Brewster Kahle, Founder and Digital Librarian at the Internet Archive
4:15:  Brian A. Monahan, Iowa State University
4:25:  Deborah Jaramillo, Boston University
4:35:  Marshall Breeding, Vanderbilt Television News Archive
4:45:  Mark J Williams, Department of Film and Media Studies, Dartmouth College
4:55:  Carolyn Brown, American University
5:05:  Michael Lesk, Rutgers University
5:15:  Beatrice Choi, New York University
5:25:  Scott Blake, Artist
5:35:  Discussion
6:00:  Reception (Remarks by Dennis Swanson, President of Station Operations, Fox Television)


Welcome: Richard Allen, Chair, Department of Cinema Studies, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University


Brewster Kahle, Internet Archive

“Introducing the 9/11 TV News Archive”

Brewster Kahle is the founder and Digital Librarian of the Internet Archive in 1996.   An entrepreneur and Internet pioneer, Brewster invented the first Internet publishing system and helped put newspapers and publishers online in the 1990’s.  


Brian A. Monahan, Iowa State University

“Mediated Meanings and Symbolic Politics: Exploring the Continued Significance of 9/11 News Coverage”

In-depth analysis of television news coverage of the September 11 attacks and their aftermath reveals how these events were fashioned into “9/11,” the politically and morally charged signifier that has profoundly shaped public perception, policy and practice in the last decade.  The central argument is that patterned representations of 9/11 in news media and other arenas fueled the transformation of September 11 into a morality tale centered on patriotism, victimization and heroes.  The resulting narrow and oversimplified public understanding of 9/11 has dominated public discourse, obscured other interpretations and marginalized debate about the contextual complexities of these events. Understanding how and why the coverage took shape as it did yields new insights into the social, cultural and political consequences of the attacks, while also highlighting the role of news media in the creation, affirmation and dissemination of meanings in modern life.

Brian Monahan has extensively researched news coverage of 9/11, resulting in a number of scholarly presentations and a book, The Shock of the News: Media Coverage and the Making of 9/11 (2010, NYU Press).



Deborah Jaramillo, Boston University

“Fighting Ephemerality: Seeing TV News through the Lens of the Archive”

The experience of watching the news on TV as events unfold is often complicated by the space of exhibition — typically, the domestic space. When hour upon hour of news is catalogued and archived — placed in a space of focused study — the news and the experience become altogether different. What was meant to be ephemeral acquires permanence, and what is usually a short-term viewing experience becomes a rigorous, frame-by-frame examination. In this presentation I will discuss how the archive challenges researchers to adopt new ways of seeing and explaining TV news.

Deborah L. Jaramillo is Assistant Professor in the Department of Film and Television, Boston University.


Marshall Breeding, Vanderbilt Television News Archive

“An Overview of the Vanderbilt Television News Archive”

Marshall Breeding will give a brief overview of the Vanderbilt Television News Archive and how it carries out its mission to preserve and provide access to US national television news.   He will relate the incredibly diverse kinds of use that the archive receives, including: academic scholarly research; individuals seeking coverage of themselves or family members that may have appeared on the news in life-changing events; those needing historic footage for current journalism, documentaries or other creative works; or corporations or non-profits researching news coverage of their vested topics.  Breeding will also outline some of the constraints it faces in how it provides access to its collection.

Marshall Breeding is the Executive Director of the Vanderbilt Television News Archive and the Director for Innovative Technology and Research for the Vanderbilt University Library.


Mark J. Williams, Department of Film and Media Studies, Dartmouth College

“Media Ecology and Online News Archives”

Online TV news archives are a crucial digital resource to facilitate the awareness
of and critical study of Media Ecology.  The 9/11 TV News Archive will fundamentally
enhance our capacity for the study of historical TV newscasts. Two significant
research and teaching outcomes for this area of study are A) to better understand
the role of television news regarding the mediation of society and its popular
memory, and B) to underscore the significance of television news to the goal of
an informed citizenry.  The 9/11 TV News Archive will enhance and ensure the continued
study of the indelible tragic events and aftermath of 9/11, and make possible
new interventions within journalism history and media history, via online capacities
for access and collaboration.

Mark J. Williams is Associate Professor in the Department of Film and Media Studies, Dartmouth College.


Carolyn Brown, American University

“Documentation and Access: A Latino/a Studies Perspective on Using Video Archives”

This talk will explore the possibilities and potential of using accessible video news archives in two areas: immigration research in the field of communication and documentary journalism. I will speak of the significance of video news archives in my current film, The Salinas Project, and discuss my continuing research on Latino/as and immigration in the news.

Carolyn Brown is Assistant Professor in the School of Communication and Journalism at American University. She produced daily news shows for MSNBC News and Fox News Channel, and has worked as a producer and senior producer in local news in San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Phoenix.


Michael Lesk, Rutgers University

“Image Analysis for Media Study”

Focusing on television news coverage of the 9/11 attacks, this talk will outline strategies for automatic quantitative analysis of television news imagery.

After receiving a PhD degree in Chemical Physics in 1969, Michael Lesk joined the computer science research group at Bell Laboratories, where he worked until 1984. From 1984 to 1995 he managed the computer science research group at Bellcore, then joined the National Science Foundation as head of the Division of Information and Intelligent Systems, and since 2003 has been Professor of Library and Information Science at Rutgers University, and chair of that department 2005-2008. He is best known for work in electronic libraries, and his book “Practical Digital Libraries” was published in 1997 by Morgan Kaufmann and the revision “Understanding Digital Libraries” appeared in 2004.  He is a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery, received the Flame award from the Usenix association, and in 2005 was elected to the National Academy of Engineering. He chairs the NRC Board on Research Data and Information.


Beatrice Choi, New York University

“Live Dispatch: The Ethics of Audio Vision Media Coverage in Trauma and the Legacy of Sound from Shell Shock to 9/11”

What experiential narratives—sensory, aesthetic and political—are invisible to those exposed to traumatic events? Considering September 11, 2001, the media coverage of the event is predominantly visual. People drift in and out of news footage, covered in dust and ash as they exclaim that witnessing the attacks was like watching a movie . In contrast, the wailing of sirens, the staccato thud of feet running from the stricken towers, and the chaotic overlap of voices break through—sometimes even swallow—the visual narratives spun for 9/11. For contemporary American traumatic events, this inquires into how porous the sensory modalities are in experiencing and remembering shock. How, after all, do sensory representations of traumatic events leave in/visible marks on documentation? I address these questions by exploring sound as an alternate modality, evoking a different level of traumatic indexicality. First, I draw attention to the sensory discrepancy between audio and visual content dispersed for American traumatic events, taking 9/11 as the focal event. By investigating the most highly represented media vehicles in the event—television and radio—I delve into a critical visual-acoustic analysis, looking specifically at FDNY radio transmissions and NY1 Aircheck news footage. Finally, I examine the discursive legacy sound imparts in moments of American crisis from shell shock accounts in the late 19th – 20th century to post-9/11 narratives of post-traumatic symptoms. In delineating this legacy, I hope to reveal the ways in which these documented discourses evolve past preconceived sensory boundaries in the experience of trauma.

Beatrice Choi is an NYU MA Graduate from the Media Culture Communication program. She has worked with the 9/11 archives for a year as a Moving Imagery Exhibitions Intern at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, and recently completed a thesis on Post-Traumatic Landscapes, focusing primarily on post-Katrina New Orleans.


Scott Blake, artist

“9/11 Flipbook and Quantitative Media Study”

Scott Blake has created a flipbook consisting of images of United Airlines Flight 175 crashing into the south tower of the World Trade Center. Accompanying the images are essays written by a wide range of participants, each expressing their personal experience of the September 11th attacks. In addition, the authors of the essays were asked to reflect on, and respond to, the flipbook itself. Not surprisingly, the majority of the essayists experienced the events through news network footage. Blake is distributing his 9/11 Flipbooks to encourage a constructive dialog regarding the media’s participation in sensationalizing the tragedy. To further illustrate his point, Blake conducted a media study using the 9/11 TV News Archive to count the number of times major news networks showed the plane crashes, building collapses and people falling from the towers on September 11, 2001.

While best known for his Barcode Art, Scott Blake has created new works that are scandalous, witty, fun, pornographic, humorous and about a thousand other adjectives viewers might use when seeing them for the first time. A self-described “frivolous artist,” he mows over conceptual and visual boundaries to make work that is as thought provoking as it is entertainingly tongue-in-cheek.


Remarks by Dennis Swanson, President of Station Operations, Fox Television


We thank the many people at New York University and Internet Archive who have helped to make this conference possible.