Friday, July 31

completely, partially

my latest LibriVox contribution-- The City of Din, by Dan McKenzie-- surprisingly made its final journey through the prooflistening stage rather quickly this week, and I am pleased to announce that it's been officially catalogued here for all the world to enjoy if they so desire.

the most unique part of this audiobook is that our pug Wesley has a role in it. in the middle of section 2, Mr. McKenzie is discussing whether to categorize dogs as noisy or not, and he re-enacts the inner monologue of a man trying to sleep while a dog barks somewhere out in the neighborhood. rather than boringly intoning the word "bark" myself, I conveniently captured some of Wesley's insistent barks and used those instead. it took a lot of editing work, but I think it was worth it.

LibriVox relies on the Internet Archive for the bulk of its hosting needs. everything on that page I linked to above is really pulled in from Internet Archive, where it's all displayed a little differently.

the Internet Archive is undeniably awesome. you probably agree, right? I hope so.

unfortunately the organization is dealing with a pretty awful lawsuit at the moment, one that has some terrible implications. this thread from author Cory Doctorow goes over the issues concisely and forcefully. there's been quite a lot of talk about the lawsuit all over twitter, lately. I very much hope that these greedy print publishers don't succeed in wrecking the Internet Archive's plans for facilitating free circulation of digital books. what an awful world it would be if we had to pay greedy corporations for even the most temporary access to any of media at all.

in all my researching and theorizing about the Internet Archive and similar projects, I've more regularly thought of it as what it has named itself-- an archive. a collection. a carefully stored pile of carefully gathered and curated and digitally infrastructured content. 

libraries are that, too. what's the real difference between a library and an archive? well, some archives are a little more closed-off to the public, but other than that, nothing. they are both, like so much else we humans are about, places to keep things.

sometimes I also think about these digital archives as communities, too. they are collections of things--artifacts, manuscripts, whatever... but those collections of things don't just happen without people. that's what my dissertation was all about: people working together to build archives by building tools that help them build and maintain and expand the archives. LibriVox is a really cool example of that.

smudgy pastels and ballpoint on cerealbox cardboard. "see yourself" "do the work"

I have gotten to know some of the other people who work with LibriVox, a tiny bit. some of them I feel like I know from studying the history of the site and listening to all of the old podcast episodes. some I have interacted with more closely on various projects. it would be fun to meet some of them someday, as I've done with other internet friends. who knows if that will happen or not.

two years ago I read the closing sections of this L. Frank Baum story, Phoebe Daring. the project had been initially started on LibriVox in 2015 as a solo, by a reader who worked on dozens and dozens of LibriVox projects but died before she could finish this one. when the community learned what had happened, they opened her project up and ten of us completed the recording and prooflistening work for it.

thinking about that makes me wonder what I'll leave unfinished. who will finish it. ideally I'll have several decades to keep thinking about that question.

this week, as I approached the end of this month of blogging, I kept coming back to the concept of ...well, I guess of incompleteness. but that word feels overly negative. what I was really thinking of were partly-complete things. partly-done, partly-finished. parts. partialities. my mind has been more or less fascinated lately by the idea of everything always being partial.

in some sense, that can be a negative thing. the partial nature of so much can leave me so unsatisfied. so paradoxically full of what isn't there or what I haven't collected.

in another sense it's comforting. there's still more. it isn't over yet. we have some space to add and grow and keep going. that's the side my wondering wants to be on the most.

July, however, will be complete after today. utterly in the past, over, done, gone, irretrievable. and my month of blogging will be, too. that, at least, is something finished. how I'll look back on everything I've posted in another year, or five years, who knows? but from here, it's done. perfect enough because that's what we (the royal we) decide to call it from this precious, precarious vantage point of now.

Were you thinking that those were the words, those upright lines?
those curves, angles, dots?
No, those are not the words, the substantial words are in the
ground and sea,
They are in the air, they are in you.

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