Digital Scholarship Incubator Reflections: L. Kelly Fitzpatrick

This post is part of a series of reflections from 2017 Digital Scholarship Incubator participants.

L. Kelly Fitzpatrick: A Starting Point in Twine for Institutional Repositories

Graphic of a document icon over a digitized game board.
A graphic for the project using a digitized game board from the Met’s collections.

Research sharing is supported by actions moved forward by authors, institutions, and scholarly infrastructures. In the context of university libraries, these actions are centered around the institutional repository – a central location where authors affiliated with the university can share their scholarship – created with the goal of sharing, preserving, and supporting research produced by the university. For this incubator I’m going to look at how an open source game engine may be adapted to support the institutional repository deposit process.

In looking at the author facing tasks that surround the institutional repository deposit process, there’s the actual point of deposit, but there are also secondary actions that may accompany it. Examples of these tasks may include registering for an ORCID identifier, or outlining how authors may find metrics for the work they’ve shared. How can we take these author-facing tasks into a process built on existing library infrastructure? Furthermore, how can we create a solution that is, in itself, open, and can be adopted across institutional settings? Through the duration of this incubator, I’m going to explore Twine as tool to unify institutional repository deposit workflows for authors.

Twine is an open source game engine, publishing works in HTML format on both in-browser and desktop platforms. In the games space, Twine has been used to create popular works of interactive fiction and digital storytelling which use the modular structure of Twine to guide their players through paths of playable content. Adapting Twine for use outside of gaming isn’t a new idea, with notable uses including the Smith College Twine Tour, “a historical mobile tour of the Smith College campus, featuring photos and other primary sources from Smith College Archives.” While options for adapting Twine as a tool for digital scholarship are as flexible as a platform itself, we can begin to extend these possibilities to the infrastructures that support that scholarship.

At this stage I’m working on defining what a tangible end product of incubator should look like for this project. This is largely a scope question of what can realistically be addressed within the set duration of the incubator, and what can be reserved for a later point. In recognizing obstacles of scope present in all projects, setting occasions to reflect on what those goals are, and where a project is going will help prevent moving targets in the future.

In looking at Twine as a tool to support institutional repository deposits, the current goal of the project is to build an author-facing deposit path using Twine, and document each stage of the process. Following the incubator, the tentative next stage will be compiling this information as an detailed outline for institutional adoption.