Philly’s Own FSRDC Coming in April

Last week’s announcement that Philadelphia will host a Federal Statistical Research Data Center (FSRDC) in April of 2017 was exciting news. To be located in the Federal Reserve fed_bank_philadelphia-2e16d0ba-fill-735x490Bank of Philadelphia, a secured facility at Ten Independence Mall, qualified researchers will be granted access to confidential data at the facility.  The Center is a partnership of the University of Pennsylvania (lead by associate professor of economics, Iourii Manovskii), Penn State University, Drexel University, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. There are 24 of these centers already dotted around the country; six more are on the way, including Philadelphia.

I went to the information session at the Wharton School on Friday, December 2, to learn more about the contents of the archive as well as access procedures which are formal and take between four and twelve months to complete.

This network of data centers provide researchers with access to restricted data from the Census Bureau, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics(BLS).  Microdata from these four sources on individuals or businesses include detailed geographic identifiers to allow merging of city, county, or state information. Details on personal and institutional characteristics–place of birth,date of birth, occupation, income, firm or plant size–is also available. What’s more, most Census datasets can be cross-linked with other datasets, including external ones. Most of the microdata that will be available locally as of next April has been heretofore suppressed by the Census Bureau.  Manovskii believes this is a “big deal for us. Until now, such detail and high-quality US data was impossible to get.” (PennCurrent, December 1).

nawrokipsaTo access data researchers must submit a proposal after having contacted an RDC administrator.  It is important to get a clear idea of what is available and how it can meet expectations.  It’s also good to establish that the sought after data it’s not publically available somewhere else. After submitting the proposal there is a security clearance and an “SSS” (special sworn status) to obtain–all these steps take time so it is good to get the process started as soon as possible. Maximum project time once approved is five years.

For a complete list of available datasets at each of the four centers click here.

 

Journal Feature: Radio

A couple special issues on radio are worth noting.

e16fcaa6130dae19fd5b0c30e4e314daThe Journal of Radio & Audio Media (Volume 23, Issue 2, 2016) features a 15-article symposium on preserving radio and audio culture, which grew out of the February 2016 Radio Preservation radioTask Force conference in Washington, DC. Issue editors are Drs. Amand Keeler, Josh Shepperd, and Christopher Sterling. Articles include “Networking the Counterculture: The 1970 Alternative Media Conference at Goddard College,”Illicit Transmissions: Engaging with the Study and Preservation of Pirate Radio,”Educational Radio, Listening Instruction, and the NBC Music Appreciation Hour,”Destination Freedom: A Historic Radio Series About Black Life,” “Tripping Down the (Media) Rabbit Hole: Radio Alice and the Insurgent Socialization of Airwaves,” “Archives, Advocacy and Crowd-Sourcing: Towards a More Complete Historiography of College Radio,” among others.


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Radio Journal: International Studies in Broadcast & Audio Media
 (Volume 14, Issue 1, 2016) devotes a special section to podcasting in which authors in the section offer “both similarities and differences in how we read and analyse podcasts compared to radio stories or shows.  In the words of Richard Berry, ‘radio is an evolutionary animal’ adapting to the world around it. Berry argues that using the term ‘radio’ might only be useful as familiar shorthand for our understanding of podcasting; however, he suggests we must also acknowledge the distinctiveness of podcasts as from and medium…one major difference is radio’s ephemeral nature, with its programmes designed for a single, often distracted, audition. Podcasts can be saved and heard many times over, with programmes that listeners seek out and which they give their full attention. Through technologies like smartphones and headphones, the listening experience has moved from a secondary to a primary exercise.” So observes editors Mia Lindren and Michele Hilmes in the Editor’s Introduction to RJ 14:1 Podcast 2016 (p. 4) Articles include “Podcasting: Considering the Evolution of the Medium and Its Association with the Word ‘Radio,” “Making ‘Maximum Fun’ For Fans: Examining Podcast Listener Participation Online,” “How Podcasting is Changing the Audio Storytelling Genre,” and “Personal Narrative Journalism and Podcasting.”

 

YouTube-8M

Everyone’s looking for large datasets these days and Google is here to help with its recent release of YouTube-8M which is comprised of 8 million videos tagged with over 4800 visual labels (I contenthaven’t looked but surely there are tags for that perennial genre of viral video involving inter-species animal friendships). Let the video analysis begin as this trove hosts over 500,000 viewing hours!  According to Google, all videos selected are public and have over over 1000 views.

content2There are large-scale image datasets out there (such as ImageNet) but this YouTube-8M is the fist of its kind for video.  The precursor to this newly minted dataset is Sports-1Mcontaining over a million video URLs tagged with 487 labels. (Sports-1M is actually included in Youtube-8M.) You can learn more about this new open access resource from the recent Google Research Blog announcement, or just dive right into the dataset itself here.

Speaking of YouTube research, check out these titles:

The Impact of YouTube on U. S. Politics by LaChrystal D. Ricke (Lexington Books, 2014).

Unruly media: YouTube, music video, and the new digital cinema, by Carol Vernallis (Oxford, 2013)

Out online: Trans Self-Representation and Community Building on YouTube, by  Tobias Raun (Routledge, 2016)

The YouTube Reader, edited by Pelle Snickars and Patrick Vondera (National Library of Sweden, 2009) 
Front Cover

Echoes of Cultural Indicators at the Geena Davis Institute on Gender and the Media

screentimeThese days George Gerbner must be smiling down in the direction of  Mount Saint Mary’s University, home of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender and the Media which, since 2008, has built up a lot of research on gender prevalence in family entertainment.  To boost their mission of tracking gender and minority inequality on the screen (with financial assistance from Google.org) they are turning to cutting edge software, the Geena Davis Inclusion Quotient (or GD-IQ), comprised of video- and audio-recognition technology matched with algorithms “to identify gender, speaking time and additional details about characters presented in films, television shows and other media.” Automating this kind of data collection really changes the playing field from back in the day, i.e. the 1970s and 1980s when this sort of pioneering media research relied on video tape and manual coding.

Long before anyone was thinking about casting inequities, before celebrities were making speeches about such at award ceremonies, Gerbner was documenting the disconnect between populations inside and outside of the television set.  He noticed, and then systematically tracked, how the race, age, and gender of characters did not match the reality in the “real” world. To study this dynamic, he built an ongoing landmark research project called Cultural Indicators (1972-1996), amassing a cumulative database describing many thousands of characters and programs by key features, many of them demographic.

Check out a good summary of a 10-year study of TV demographics (based on the analysis of 19,642 speaking parts appearing in 1,371 major network prime time and Saturday morning children’s programs) as revealed by the Cultural Indicators Project in this 1982 piece written for American Demographics, The World According to Television” (Gerbner, Signorelli, October, 1982). 

Over 10 years later Gerbner observed, in a chapter called “Casting and Fate: Women and Minorities on Television Drama, Game Shows, and News” that appeared in Communication, Culture, Community (edited by Ed Hollander, Paul Rutten and Coen van der Linden, 1995):  subpage

“A general demographic overview finds that women comprise one-third or less of characters in all samples except daytime serials where they are 45 percent and in game shows where they are 55 percent. The smallest percentage of women is in the news (28%) and in children’s programs (23%). Even that shrinks to 18 percent as the importance of the role rises to ‘major character’.

While all seniors are greatly underrepresented, visibly old people, roughly 65 and above, are hardest to find on television. Their representation ranges from none on the youth-oriented Fox network and about 1% on network daytime series to less than 3 percent in the other samples. In real life, their proportion is 12% and growing. African-Americans are most visible on Fox and in game shows. On major network prime-time programs they are 11% and on daytime serials 9% of all characters. They are least visible on Saturday morning children’s programs. (Many cartoon characters cannot be reliably coded for race.)

Latino/Hispanic characters are rarely seen. Only in game shows do they rise significantly above 1 percent representation. Americans of Asian/Pacific origin and Native Americans (‘Indians’) are even more conspicuous by their absence. Less then 1 percent (in the case of Native Americans 0.3 percent) is their general representation.

Almost as invisible are members of the ‘lower class’ (judged by a three-way classification of the socio-economic status of major characters). Although the U.S. census classifies more than 14 percent of the general population, 29 percent of Latino/Hispanics, and 33 percent of African Americans as ‘poor,’ and many more as low-income wage-earners, on network television they make up only 1.3 percent of characters in prime time, 1.2 percent in daytime, half that (0.6 percent) in children’s programs, and 0.2 percent in the news.” p.126-127

Fast forward to the Geena Davis Institute and the GD-IQ, and we have, as reported in The New York Times, How Long Is an Actress Onscreen? A New Tool Finds the Answer Faster (Melena Ryzik, Sept. 14, 2016), Dr. Shri Narayanan, an engineering professor at the University of Southern California, studying the 200 top-grossing, non-animated films of 2014 and 2015 to find that “overall, in 2015, male characters were both seen and heard about twice as much as female characters. Parity on paper does not help: In films with male and female leads, the men nonetheless appear and speak more often than the women. Even in films with female leads, the men still get nearly equal screen and speaking time.”  

This new, emboldened-by-technology research is asking the very same questions Gerbner and his team of researchers here at the Annenberg School first posed so many decades ago.  There is even talk, once the software gets more fine-tuned, to look at STEM fields—how characters who play scientists and engineers are cast in screen roles,  how much speaking do they get to do, etc.  Sound familiar?  See Scientists on the TV Screen (Gerbner, Gross, Morgan, Signorelli) in Society May/June 1981).

Let’s hope today’s research on screen diversity can be the change-agent in the 21st century that George Gerbner hoped his would be in the previous one.

 

What’s New With BrowZine?

browzineThird Iron’s BrowZine started out as an app designed for tablets and phones to enable users to browse, save, organize and read journal articles.  That was great but things are even better because BrowZine is now fully web-based so users have access to it at the office (desktop computer) as well as on the train (mobile platforms). BrowZine is for anyone who is serious about keeping abreast of their discipline in an disciplined fashion.

And I am told by local Annenberg adopters that Third Iron is very responsive to its community of users.  If they don’t carry a journal you are interested in, just write them and there is a good chance they will add it. 

To get started with the mobile version simply download it from the app store on your phone–it’s free. After that, look for University of Pennsylvania among the intitutions in the Library List.  You will then be prompted for credentials. Once you’ve cleared that hurdle you are free to roam the BrowZine Library which is divided into interlocking disciplines. For Communication folk most any can apply–besides the obvious Sociobehavioral Sciences, you may want to check into Arts and Humanities; History, Philosophy and Religion; Law and Legal Studies; or Biomedical and Health Sciences. Users can also search individual journal titles by typing in the search box at the top of the screen. When you come across a title you want alerts so simply add it to your “My Bookshelf.”  brow

When viewing a journal, the current issue is automatically displayed. There is also a tab to Available Issues which go back a various amount of years (not the full subscription range of the institution necessarily). Public Opinion Quarterly, for instance, loads issues as far back as 2005. Within any issue being viewed, users can select articles of interest to save in either “Saved Articles” (the storage facility within the app) or to email, Refworks, Zotero, Endnote, or Mendeley.  Links to articles can also be uploaded into Facebook or Twitter.

BrowZine shelf space is limited.  Once you’ve filled up four book shelves you’ve hit the limit, 64 journals to be exact.  I’m thinking Third Iron could be petitioned in the future to “build” another bookshelf or two but for most the current “shelf space” is sufficient.

Call me silly, but the colorful journal covers and book shelf furniture of BrowZine is mood enhancing!  If you want a little more info about this alerting/reading/storage service check out this Penn Libraries Guide which includes an informative video from Third Iron. Or go to the Annenberg Library homepage (center column) to see what your  Communication bookshelf might look like.

Enjoy keeping up with the literature in a most pleasant and empowering fashion!

A Bittersweet Communication Yearbook 40

The recent publication of Communication Yearbook 40, the flagship reference annual for the field since 1977, marks the final volume of this longstanding series. For four decades the cy40International Communication Association-sponsored annual has published state-of-the-discipline literature reviews and essays, as well as original research in  handsome monograph format. It has hosted fourteen different editors over the years and Elisia Cohen, editor since CY37, including the sunset Volume 40, does a nice job in CY40‘s Epilogue tracing the history of the publication via these fourteen “eras” which bear the individual stamps of their editors.  The evolution of the field in many ways mirrors that of CY as different editors over the years implemented changes in the peer review process and sought to internationalize representation of the field–including comparative perspectives and cross-cultural communication topics, as well as  reviews of research in languages other than English.

According to Cohen, the Yearbook will actually be morphing into a journal, mentioned here in the Epilogue’s summation:

“Communication Yearbook published in its book format (although it has also transitioned to full digital e-book available during my editorship) has found itself challenged to be relevant to scholars and authors in the new “digital” era. Put simply, in this era the ICA and its scholars place a premium on the ability of authors to be discoverable, internationally accessible, with its research published in a timely manner. Numerous editors examined these issues in their reports to the ICA Board, and to address this historical but growing challenge, Francois Heinderyckx (University libre de Bruxelles) led the publications committee and the ICA Board to prepare for a transition of the series to a journal.

Given the need for an electronic manuscript submission system to support the next editor, and the demand for Communication Yearbook to have a global access, reach and scope, the ICA Publication Committee’s discussions to transition Communication Yearbook to an online journal format, with an annual print compendium for libraries, will preserve its history while providing an audience for ICA as international in scope as its members. In 2015, David Ewoldsen was selected by the ICA Board to leave the development of Communication Yearbook‘s successor publication. Although when I assumed the editorship I did not do so intending to be the last editor of the Communication Yearbook series, David Ewoldsen’s vision for the re-branded “Annals” of the International Communication Association will include the best of Communication Yearbook‘s tradition while extending its reach and impact in service the ICA membership.” –p. 474 Epilogue, CY40

 

commyrbk1Communication Yearbook 40 (along with the rest of the set beginning with Volume 1) is available here in the Annenberg Library.  Pulling down old volumes is a good way to reminisce about the field or, for newbies, it’s a good way to bone up on how the field has emerged into its current state. As for the last volume, fifteen review pieces comprise its four thematic sections:                            commyrbk27

Part I: Media Framing, Structure, and Reception

Part II: Personal and Strategic Communication in Social Interactions

Part III: Place, Boundaries, and Exchange in Organizational Communication

Part IV: Emerging Issues in Communication Research

 

Cheers to Communication Yearbook and to what follows ahead of (not behind or inside of) its deep footprints!

 

 

 

 

Art Platforms and Cultural Production on the Internet

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Olga Goriunova gave a stunning presentation a few weeks ago at the PARGC 2016 Symposium, Convergence and Disjuncture in Global Digital Culture. It was called Idiot, Lurker, Troll: Conceptual Personae in Digital Media and it got me looking up her work. Art Platforms and Cultural Production on the Internet (2012) does not disappoint. In it Goriunova provides a new way of looking at how cultural forms on the Internet are developed. To this end she deploys the concept of “art platforms” which does a lot of heaving lifting throughout the book. I’ve pulled a few excerpts from the Introduction that tease out what she means by it. This book is part of the  Routledge Research in Cultural and Media Studies which has a lot of other great titles though, sadly, they all have the same cover designs (less work for artists).

from INTRODUCTION: Departing from an Art Platform

“…Everyday digital objects, gestures, and the assemblages, such as file uploads and downloads, form filling, data handling, searches and postings, protocols, scripts, software structures, and modification parameters are all plugged in to contemporary aesthetics and coconstruct the ways in which the individual, cultural, and social spheres are produced, organized, and disrupted. Art platforms both conform to and are part of this overall development, but they also stand out from it in very striking ways.

…an art platform can be a stand-alone website that, together with other actors, forms an ecology of aesthetic production, but might also take place as a subconnection of a large platform, or even as a space between a corporate service, artists’ work, hacking, collaborative engagement, and a moment of aesthetic fecundity. An art platform engages with a specific current of technosocial creative practices and aims at the amplification of its aesthetic force.

…As a process of emergence, an art platform is an assemblage of structures, notes, codes, ideas, emails, decisions, projects, databases, excitement, humour, mundane work, and conflict. Here an art platform is best understood through the metaphor of a railway platform, as an element that unfolds in its arriving and departing trains, in tracks that cover vast spaces, in the forests those rails run through and the lakes they pass by, in the hills and sunsets forming the landscape, in the rain on the train’s window, in the mechanics of an engine, logistics of rolling stock, semaphores, encounters, but it is a resonance, a movement, an operation. The capillaries of aesthetic emergence in art platforms draw from the technical materiality of networks, databases, and software; from grass-roots, folklore creativity; from forces of repetition and sociality; from conflictual border zones and disjuctures between normality, capitalism, politics, quotidian labour and despair, escape, and creation.”  –pp. 1, 2, 3

MEF Streaming Videos

Did you know that Media Education Foundation movies can now be streamed from Penn Libraries? MEF produces and distributes documentary films and other educational resources to develop critical thinking and promote conversations in the culture about the social, political, and cultural impact of the mass media. “From films about the commercialization of childhood and the subtle, yet widespread, effects of pornography, pop-cultural misogyny and sexism, to titles that deal with the devastating effects of rapacious consumerism…,” MEF’s mission is to help students understand “the hyper-mediated world around them.”  killingus

Penn’s collection of MEF titles stands at 148 videos. Instead to coming to the ASC Library or the Van Pelt Circulation desk to borrow the DVDs students and faculty are a few clicks away from viewing them anytime anywhere at this link.

Look for “best sellers” as: Killing Us Softly 4: Advertising’s Image of Women; Tough Guise 2: Violence, Manhood & American Culture; Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood; The Mean World Syndrome; Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People; Mickey Mouse Monopoly: Disney, Childhood & Corporate Power; Stuart Hall: Representation & the Media; Brand New You – Makeover Television and the American Dream; Pornland: How the Porn Industry Has Hijacked Our Sexuality; The Codes of Gender: Identity and Performance in Pop Culture.

More broadly, the MEF collection resides on the Kanopy platform that includes over 14 thousand educational films from other suppliers such as PBS, the BBC,  The Teaching Company, New Day Films, Media Policy Center, HBO, Sport Videos, and Soundworks (which features political speeches).   In addition to film directors and suppliers, Kanopy titles can be searched by categories–Media & Communications, Social Sciences, Film and Popular–and sub-categories within those.  Within the Arts category is an Experimental/Alternative Media section.  So it’s worth clicking around a bit. 

 

Introducing Black Quotidian

AmsterdamnewsAn exciting new digital history project, Black Quotidian: Everyday History in African-American Newspapers,” is being launched by Matt Delmont. Made possible by Proquest’s Black Newspapers collection, Delmont plans to post at least one newspaper article daily from that date in history with a brief accompanying commentary.  The project commences on Martin Luther King Day 2016, and the entry for that is already posted (as of 1/4/2016).  The post includes four articles published on January 18, 1969 from the Philadelphia Tribune, the Pittsburgh Courier, and the New York Amsterdam News. Explains the curator, Black Quotidian “is designed to highlight everyday moments and lives in African-American history…By emphasizing the ordinary or mundane aspects of history I hope both to call attention to people and events that are not commonly featured in textbooks, documentaries, or Black History Month celebrations, while also casting new light on well-known black history subjects.” His hope is to not be the only curator of the site and invites others to contribute.  No stranger to creating culturally rich websites, there’s  The Nicest Kids in Town digital project, that accompanies his book on American Bandstand and  Why Busing Failed  built to accompany his book of the same title (Why Busing Failed: Race, Media, and the National Resistance to School Desegregation).