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Publishing ASL Poems

In his presentation given at the Center for Humanities at CUNY in September, Dr. Patrick Boudreault discussed the publication of ASL poetry and the steps taken to preserve the spirit and visual nature of this dynamic genre. He introduced several conceptual ideas in place to publish ASL poems on the Deaf Studies Digital Journal (DSDJ) platform and how the platform will support the poems and the poets’ work. He explained two possible publishing methods: gloss scrolling and interactive gloss. Watch the video to see the innovative and creative ideas that are in the works for DSDJ!

DSDJ wants to know what method do YOU believe is the best to publish poetry in ASL?


[00:00:18] Patrick from the Deaf Studies Digital Journal at Gallaudet University to talk about the future of publishing and what they're doing at DSDJ.

Patrick: [00:00:44] Hello everyone. Thank you. Good afternoon.

[00:00:49] I really enjoyed all these presentations today and watching everybody present and now it's time for my presentation regarding the Deaf Studies Digital Journal, or the DSDJ. So the intention of my presentation is hopefully to bring to introduce you to some of our ideas and our approaches.

[00:01:11] This is not just limited to my approach. This is a platform to support the goal of publishing and I'll explain a little bit of the history of the publishing and concepts about what I plan to do and what I am already working on with publishing academic content. Now, I want to switch gears and talk about how to publish creative work. I want this to be a chance to generate ideas and continue the dialogue. We have a group of people working on this project and we received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities in support of our ongoing work.

[00:01:46] I want to mention Ben Bahan and H-Dirksen Bauman historically part of this project but there has been changes over time. Also, that last part is interesting; Clayton Valli, who was famous poet, is included in the DSDJ. Everything is up in the cloud, like Ben said. But it is not limited to the cloud. We also have a collection of poetry in DSDJ; I will show this to you later.

[00:02:15] I want to provide some background of the DSDJ. The DSD has published four issues from 2009 to 2014. We have collected over one hundred and fifty-five articles and about half of what we have done has to do with the humanities and the arts, which is a substantial amount. DSDJ has overlapped academic and artistic publishing. This is interesting because most journals publish one or the other, not both. But DSDJ has brought both of the them together. We have a legacy webpage that has been running since the journal was founded and it is based on flash. This means that it will expire in 2020. I will explain what we have planned. This is open access and is open and welcoming to the community. Anybody can watch the videos. This is a wonderful tool. I will explain how the functionality and how was set-up. The concept for DSDJ came in 2006 and was implemented in 2009 by Ben Bahan, H-Dirksen Bauman, and Melissa Malzkuhn. Gallaudet has many communities that came to together to build this website. You can see that it looks different and I want to show you what it looks like currently to give you the idea. It's a lovely design. There are different sections and below there is information about the artist, their comments or presentation, information about the author. On the upper right there is, it is kind of hard to see, but we came up with a solution for academic publishing. For example, if we take an article in written English and translate it into a signed video, how will the citations work? How can we refer to the author or include the reference information at the end of a paper? Also, in regards to quotations, where would we include a clean direct quote? Also, how to translate the video to a PDF article so that it can be read and how to play the different chapters of the video were considered. On the right, there is a small window that will pop-up; again, this is for visual movement associated with the video. That is the basic idea of what we are working with. We have developed different systems to present to the audience in different formats that were ahead of its time and that pushes the boundaries of publishing in sign language by elevating the study.

[00:04:25] So I'll show you some films or some clips here to show you what the functionality looks like from the webpage that I included here. Go ahead and click (to Bauman)

[00:04:39] So since the 1980s its shown the Deaf people have very, very good peripheral vision. It doesn't mean that deaf people see better than hearing people.

[00:04:50] No it's just from our research. Edward Hall's book said, "People from different cultures. And then there's a break in the video. But then he says Thank you.

[00:05:20] It's important to share that. That's something I'm the interpreter missed but that is culturally embedded.

[00:05:35] You can see the different functions. Really, we want to match the needs of the community for presenting scholarly work.

[00:05:43] It's not perfect, but that is what we have built and the intentions are present. As I said, flash will expire in 2020. So now we have the opportunity to build something better.

[00:05:54] Of course; there is always room for improvement. Now we are looking at taking some of these other concepts and applying them to poetry. We have begun the planning stage and have some pre-concepts to introduce. Those pre-concepts are related to testing the academic side of the journal. Just yesterday, we began considering what ASL poetry publication could be and there is a clear picture in mind for the academic side, but there is not yet a clear idea for ASL poetry. I want to discuss the academic side quickly and then transition to publishing poetry. (figuring out the PPT with Bauman).

[00:06:22] Towards the top, that is our legacy website for DSDJ. We are now migrating to a new webpage that we are building in collaboration with the University of Michigan Publishing, who specializes in digital library catalogues and academic publishing. We will be working together. They are responsible for preserving and continuing the content through technology updates and advancing the server. They are taking care of the technology portion. This means that we can focus on publishing and organizing the content to send to the University of Michigan Publishing, who will then go ahead with it. Before, we did both, but now we have split the responsibility, and we can focus solely on scholarship and artistic and poetic publishing.

[00:06:57] Now I want to explain about one concept that we have come up with and are continuing to work on this Fall. It is the concept of a scrolling transcription instead of captions that would be on the side of the video. This means that what the presenter is signing, we do not want to translate or maybe there would be some translation. It is a balancing game. There may be some who want English to support the ASL; this would help with search engines and would link the transcript with time codes. It would not be a full translation for the entire screen. It would be a fraction of the screen that is close to the poem and that honors, is faithful to, and follows the ASL as a starting point. You can see that we are using time codes the heart of the whole thing. Everything is based on the time codes. You can see in the example that there are some conceptual ideas that we are coming up with that are specific to the Deaf Community. We need to start more brainstorming. On the right, there is “sentence jump” option. What is that? The transcription is linked with the video so you can watch and skip through the video to the next sentence. However, a sentence is not based on the English; it is the based on the conceptual meaning of the utterance. You can jump through until you get to the part that you are looking for.

[00:08:09] This would replace having to scroll around and have everything zip past. That is the first idea. Second, is about speed. You know how YouTube you can double to speed of the video? Most Deaf people can watch it faster than that though. We are always saying hurry up! Maybe to three or four times faster. That is something that Deaf people can do. I tested it myself and I could get up to three and a half times fast, instead of just sitting there watching it. But that is because I am familiar with the content. So that is one thing that is in the mix. On the right side is the transcript. You can see that we have the text in yellow, which means that is what is currently being signed so it is highlighted. The highlight will move down as the video continues. When you hover over the text, it will turn blue; you can then click on it and the video will jump ahead to that segment. This is so that you can read the text and search for what you are looking for. For example, if you are looking for “John,” it would highlight whenever “John” comes up. You could then click on the PDF and it would jump to that part of the transcript. Or click on the transcript and jump to that part in the PDF.

[00:09:07] Also at the top are citations. For example, if the transcript says “Smith” as an in-text citation, it will link to when in the presentation the presenter mentions “Smith” so you can click on the transcript and it will jump to that moment in the video when “Smith” is referenced. There are also images. You can click in the text and it will jump to where it is mentioned in the video. There are figures on the bottom that correlate to what the presenter is discussing. Here it is Aaron William. Pictures will pop-up as they are mentioned. It is an integrated system. As you watch the video, images will appear underneath. There is no separation; everything is integrated together. You can click on the transcript and jump in the PDF and jump in the video. They all communicate with each other. That is what we are figuring out. We welcome any feedback. Setting that academic part aside, now we can discuss poetry.

[00:09:49] It has been a challenge. I want to go ahead and show you what the video looks like. You can see the sentence jump. You get the idea. It's a brief clip there. Periodically, I will send prototype concepts out to the community to get feedback. We are working on that now. We will send everything out via email with the web address. This webpage can be accessed and then the reviewers can type their comments, which we will collect as data make decisions about what is best based on the community of users. So, as I said, we are moving on from the academic side. We selected one poem that has been published in DSDJ already. This is Colin Analco and his poem “A Journey Poetic.” The poem is about a minute and a half and I have just clipped out 15 seconds as a model to show the four different options that we have come up with. Traditionally, when a poem is performed, there is no translation or anything else. Go ahead and watch and enjoy the brief 15 seconds. Then we will go through and watch all four formats so you can get an idea. We don’t need an interpretation.

[00:11:19] That is poetry, you watch and create a mental image and think about it. There is no interpretation. (Next)

[00:11:30] This is a hot topic. Deaf presenters will say we do not need this to be interpreted or that it cannot be interpreted. Unless it is like what Peter Cook and Kenny Lerner did as a team.

[00:11:40] Most times, generally, Deaf people will say that they do not want it interpreted, it is refused, or it cannot be interpreted. Now we want to publish the poems and we still want to honor the spirit of the art and the poem. We do not want to translate it; we want to leave the poem and the original form. But why publish with DSDJ if you can publish it anywhere else? Other platforms are the same; there’s no difference. What is being done to support, uplift, and foster poetry without alteration or translation? It is a fine line. That is something that I want to put out there. It is not necessarily my idea, but it is something to get the conversation started.

[00:12:22] That was one conceptual idea, to have the video with the full transcription on the side. Another idea is to do away with all of that and have gloss instead. It would be a list of words that, for example like the poem we just watched, all the concepts already show up as you can see. This here is fake. It is not recorded; I just clipped out some sections. That video itself would be signed through and as you are watching, you could read the gloss and start to understand their schema and the meaning so you can expand more upon it yourself. (to Bauman-click the PPT)

[00:13:12] Again, if you click on the gloss, it will jump to that moment in the video. That is another concept. Now I would like to show you another concept that is more, really, well, here I use the same video and there are two parts. During the first part, you will see several hot spots light up on the video. Hot spots mean that the video how additional information that can be selected. In the second part, I tested it myself and clicked each hot spot. You will see that as well. The hot spots themselves have three different options as to how to present the information. First is gloss, which is the same as the transcript idea. Second is conceptual representation through images and such. Third is a descriptive narration of what is occurring in the poem. It is not an interpretation, it is a description of what is being signed. We can go ahead and watch now.

[00:15:20] So the description is saying it's like you're flying over the earth at that moment and you're looking down and seeing a bunch of things below you.

[00:15:27] So those are some of the ideas to throw out. We have options, but they are not limited. It means that during the Fall, we will send out examples to collect feedback so we can then pick the best options. We will present these options to our developer to make additional samples with different the selected features available. It is not what will be published, but the additional features specific to the Deaf Community, such as speed, sentence jumping, and the other features discussed so far. We want to provide as many options as possible to best match our sign language community and publication. So we encourage you to sign up for our newsletter, our blog, and Twitter and check out our new webpage. It is not there, but it is easy to remember: deafstudiesdigitaljournal.org. It is the whole thing, the completely full title plus .org at the end. Thank you.

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