In a previous post I was discussing the issues of copyright and peer review relating to the publishing of academic work online. Well, I’m delighted to report a lovely example of some progress in my own subject area, Music.
Daniel Leech-Wilkinson has been undertaking an AHRC-funded research project for CHARM (the Centre for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music), the outcome of which is a book entitled The Changing Sound of Music: Approaches to Studying Recorded Musical Performances.
It’s a serious and in-depth study of its subject, and contributes new knowledge and debate to our discipline, as all good research must. And it has been published in online-only form – there is no physical book version. I emailed Daniel to congratulate him on successful publication, and he mentioned in his reply that some of his academic contacts were rather alarmed that he hadn’t ‘published’ his book in the print media sense.
Daniel shares my view that the economic arguments for an academic being supported by a print publisher are negligible – sales of such specialist texts being inherently small in number. And he believes that the best way to share his research with the academic/musical community is to publish it in unprotected form online. The peer review/quality issue is taken care of (presumably by the AHRC funding application process, and the support of the three august institutions that make up CHARM – Royal Holloway, King’s College London and the University of Sheffield.
And most pleasingly of all, his work is not based around music technology or musical e-learning – he’s a self-proclaimed ‘traditional’ academic researcher working in ‘classical’ music – a specialist in, among other things, Medieval European music. So if colleagues like this are becoming early adopters of online research dissemination, the future for e-research looks very bright indeed.
Contrast this with the print equivalent – Daniel’s list of publications is formidable, but if you want to read his work now, you will run into another locked gate in print-only cases. He’s done his best to circumvent the copyright issues too, by putting as much of his work online as he can, and deleting audio/score examples that are still in copyright.
So Daniel, and all e-researchers like him, still needs to tiptoe carefully around the niceties of copyright. In his multimedia (presumably HTML/CD-R?) publication Multimedia Music of Fourteenth-Century France (1997) he describes “editions of music, recordings, maps, charts, facsmiles of manuscripts, tables and translations” that are unavailable in the online version for copyright reasons. What if he did publish these omitted excerpts online? Who really would be harmed economically?
This work, which is about as specialised/specific as music research gets, has a great academic significance but not an economic one. And the latter has hamstrung the former, as he acknowledges;
UK institutions of higher education are entitled to receive a copy for the cost of the copying. At the moment, again for copyright reasons, it’s not available elsewhere. But if there’s enough interest a commercial release may be developed later.
We need a change in copyright law – some academic version of ‘fair use’, where the knowledge benefit to society outweighs the negligible economic loss to the copyright owner – in cases when the book version of the research is uneconomic to publish. Or better still, some form of digital watermarking/tracking (like YouTube’s previously-used mechanism for paying PRS royalties for music) so that academics, students and copyright owners can benefit from the ‘Long Tail‘ principles of remuneration that only the Internet can provide.
The status quo doesn’t help anyone – new knowledge is effectively suppressed if its dissemination (in print form) is uneconomic or unfunded. We have an opportunity to change this from the inside by simply publishing our research online as a matter of habit. And Web 2.0 tools (blogs, wikis etc) make this as easy as saving a Word document.
You’ll recall that the roof was damaged. Carl has found a replacement unit – here’s an excerpt from his latest email;
…with the old damaged roof free from the K6 it was an ideal time to ensure the replacement was exact. This replacement salvaged roof was from an old K6 that was originally located at a local racecourse (Fakenham).The last picture shows both ‘lids’ being compared.
With the hole now drilled in the roof it was necessary to remove the 2 ton clasp on the block & tackle to expose the chain link. This granted additional height to remove the domed roof. The chain was then bolted to the roof. Making sure the old bolts securing the dome were free, I carefully positioned the kiosk directly under the gantry, thanks to my ‘dolly skids’. These ‘skids’ allow me to move a K6, weighing 750 kgs, with ease on flat smooth ground. With a few grasps at the load chain the damaged roof was lifted clear of the transom rails, to which the roof section was pulled clear of the K6 on the gantry. The K6 was then pushed clear of the beamed gantry.
Back to the phone box story. Carl at Remember When UK has started work again on my K6 (for the full story click the ‘Red Telephone Box‘ category on the right, or go back to the first post. Helpfully, Carl’s emails are practically a blog entry in themselves, so I’m going to paste some of his commentary in here.
[Carl wrote] The roof section is heavy & awkward & as the old GPO papers stipulate, two to three persons, tressles & scaffolding are required for fitting or removal of the dome panel. Fortunately the aid of the kiosk gantry eliminated [the need for] all but one person (me!) and no scaffolding in sight – by boring an 8 mm hole in the centre of the damaged roof.
Here’s a wonderful piece of theatre from Bobby McFerrin, proving a psychological point about the power of pentatonic melodies in songwriting.
The ADA8000 problem has been solved! Josh came round and took a look at the studio (and also, I might add, gave me an excellent idiot’s guide to tuning drums). We pondered the reasons that the ADA8000 was chucking out digital crackles and pops on input channels 9-16, and narrowed it down to three possible causes.
- Faulty ADA8000
- Dodgy optical cable
- Something we haven’t thought of yet
The ADA8000 was acting as a digital slave to the Digi002 using the ADAT protocol for digital sync, so the Digi002 was to provide audio input channels 1-8 and the ADA8000 channels 9-16, giving me the option of 16 simultaneous inputs (albeit with only 12 of them through the M1F, it being a 12-channel analogue desk).
After various attempts to fix the clicks & pops problem, including rebooting everything with the ADA8000 acting as master, we decided, as a last resort, to try swapping the optical cables. The Digi002 was firing the sync information down its Optical Out, and the ADA8000 was firing audio signals back into the 002′s Optical In. And swapping the cables over completely cured the problem. It turns out that the clicks and pops were not syncing errors – they were corruptions in the audio data coming back into the 002. So it was option 2 all along. Soon I’ll get another (high-spec) optical cable, because although the master>slave info is being carried accurately by the weaker cable, it’s not desirable to have it in there permanently. This is not an uncommon problem, according to Josh – optical cables are not as reliable as some people assume they are, even though they carry digital information.
So even if you’re not a studio geek (I was actually quite excited writing the two techy paragraphs above), the result of Josh’s intervention is simple – I can now have 16 live mics in the studio during a take instead of 8. To test the studio I’ve tentatively agreed to record one of my grads’ bands in September. They get a free demo, and I get to try out all the inputs properly before I need to use them on a time-sensitive project.
I don’t know if anyone caught Peter Day’s In Business on Radio 4 this week. It dealt with the implications of e-learning and social networking for the management of organisations, and made some interesting points about the formation of strategies around staff training.
Helpfully, because of its relative lack of copyright-sensitive content, you can download most of the episode as an MP3 file.
Download BBC podcast from BBC.co.uk
I don’t know how long the BBC will leave this link up – let’s hope for quite a while. Here’s a local version of the same file (any BBC representatives reading this – it’s posted here for educational purposes only but will be taken down on request).
Download BBC podcast from this site.
Day also summarises the programme on his own blog.
Among other things, the programme discusses the issue of asynchronous online interaction, as discussed in my previous post.