Commit aacecf2f authored by Geoff Cox's avatar Geoff Cox

Update readme.md

parent 70464863
......@@ -45,9 +45,9 @@ More to the point, text is in code (in the ways that it is made human-readable)
There are clearly many precedents for such an overtly collaborative approach in software production, and clearly free and open source principles underscore our thinking. It is worth emphasising that FOSS development is a collective practice that challenges the normative relations of production associated with commercial development -- such as a narrow definition of authorship and copyright -- which can be extended to the production of books and the associated reputation economy of academic publishing. But we also recognise that the release of source code and open access books represents a number of ambiguities related to the sharing economy, free market capitalism and opportunities to capitalise on free labour. However we persist in the hope that our efforts challenge reductive logic, and our publisher, Open Humanities Press, broadly reflects FOSS principles of transparency and reproducibility in its commitment to radical open access for scholarly work.<sup>[16](#myfootnote16)</sup> As such this book can be downloaded for free or purchased as a hard copy at a reasonable price.
This nothing particularly original in this. We acknowledge other numerous experimental publishing initiatives and even *anti-platforms* such as dokieli for decentralised article publishing.<sup>[17](#myfootnote17)</sup> There are also plenty of other examples that have picked up on the perversity of writing books about programming where you have to type out the examples to run them, and live coding platforms demonstrate alternatives (e.g. Jupyter Notebook). Our use of print and associated software repository is our way of managing this problem. This also has informed our choice of designers for the book: Open Source Publishing collective (OSP) design using only free and open source software -— "pieces of software that invite their users to take part in their elaboration" as they put it<sup>[18](#myfootnote18)</sup> -- and make all files freely available through the use of a Git versioning system that contains all the files for the project (the following chapter introduces this).
This nothing particularly original in this. We acknowledge other numerous experimental publishing initiatives and even *anti-platforms* such as dokieli for decentralised article publishing.<sup>[17](#myfootnote17)</sup> There are also plenty of other examples that have picked up on the perversity of writing books about programming where you have to type out the examples to run them, and live coding platforms demonstrate alternatives (e.g. Jupyter Notebook). Our use of print and associated software repository is our way of managing this problem. This also has informed our choice of designers for the book: Open Source Publishing collective (OSP) design using only free and open source software -— "pieces of software that invite their users to take part in their elaboration" as they put it<sup>[18](#myfootnote18)</sup> -- and make all files freely available through the use of a Git versioning system that contains all the files for the project (the following chapter introduces this), distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License version 2.
The use of a Git repository for our writing further emphasises these working principles, and how by treating writing as software, or indeed software as writing, allows us to formalise the production of the book as an iterative process, in need of timely updates, forking and endless reversioning. In allowing for new versions to be produced by others, we hope in a modest way to challenge commercial publishing conventions and illuminate our capacity to understand some of the infrastructures through which we encode our ideas and distribute them over networks. In this way, we aim to do something similar to what Adrian Mackenzie has identified as “auto-archaeology” to indicate how the object of study is fully integrated into the analysis, and demonstrated in the associated GitHub site for his 2017 book *Machine Learners*.<sup>[19](#myfootnote19)</sup> This helps us as readers to understand something of the iterative process of writing a book about code in the spirit of how software developers work together, host and review code, and build software together. Git, as a dynamic repository in this way collapses the distinction between storage and production.<sup>[20](#myfootnote20)</sup>
The use of a Git repository for our writing further emphasises these free and open source working principles, and how by treating writing as software, or indeed software as writing, allows us to formalise the production of the book as an iterative process, in need of timely updates, forking and endless reversioning. In allowing for new versions to be produced by others, we hope in a modest way to challenge commercial publishing conventions and illuminate our capacity to understand some of the infrastructures through which we encode our ideas and distribute them over networks. In this way, we aim to do something similar to what Adrian Mackenzie has identified as “auto-archaeology” to indicate how the object of study is fully integrated into the analysis, and demonstrated in the associated GitHub site for his 2017 book *Machine Learners*.<sup>[19](#myfootnote19)</sup> This helps us as readers to understand something of the iterative process of writing a book about code in the spirit of how software developers work together, host and review code, and build software together. Git, as a dynamic repository in this way collapses the distinction between storage and production.<sup>[20](#myfootnote20)</sup>
Finally we might add that the book is not simply a physical object that you might be holding in your hands as you read these words, but a computational and networked object too, distributed across various other spaces and temporalities, and made available to both readers and writers alike. In saying this we make reference to Benjamin again, and his essay “The Author as Producer": “The reader is always prepared to become a writer, in the sense of being one who describes or prescribes. [...] And writing about work makes up part of the skill necessary to perform it. Authority to write is no longer founded in a specialist training but in a polytechnical one, and so becomes common property.”<sup>[21](#myfootnote21)</sup> (And interestingly, for Benjamin, cultural production requires a pedagogic function.)
......
Markdown is supported
0% or
You are about to add 0 people to the discussion. Proceed with caution.
Finish editing this message first!
Please register or to comment