User:Simon/pre and post lockdown overview

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state of the project before the lockdown

The project revolved around a public program of events in various locations. This summary provides an overview of the project as it was at lockdown on March 13th, 2020.

state of the project now

As it is not possible to continue with publicly programmed events in the way they were organised before, I have turned my focus to documentation of the project as it ran from July 2019 to March 2020.

written documentation

My thesis Tasks of the Contingent Librarian is an active text, describing the tasks executed by one such "contingent" librarian, myself. Published in the form of an index of printed A6 cards, it was used in bootleg library sessions to elicit conversation amongst participants. I plan to continue writing further documentation on technical, conceptual and social aspects of the project.

the index

A central focus is on the index. The thesis text I produced is in the form of an index of A6 printed cards, and my plan is to leave behind an index when the library closes (see below).

A large part of the project revolved around the use of the PDF file format, both as commonly included file in the digital library, as well as one produced to republish printed books for the physical bootleg library.

I am currently working with scripts that work with the digital library's metadata.db file, calibrestekje, ReportLab and platypus to produce PDFs of A6 index cards.

Scripts that Michael is helping me with are to be found here:

https://git.xpub.nl/simoon/bootleg

The cards document on one side a text included in the library, and on the other a text produced by the reader(s) connected to it in the form of their annotations. I am working on a script with Michael that uses Etherpad as a sandbox for annotation - readers can be invited to annotate the cards in the pad, and the exported text can then be included on the cards.

The library is a collection of texts and also the readers collected around them. The bootleg library is a social infrastructure which represents knowledge and readers on an equal footing in a reciprocal relationship. My plan is to include both of these in the index that I will publish. I am interested in using PDF as a format that includes contingencies for both print and hypertext.

what were the next steps you were planning to take before the lockdown

Before lockdown, my plan was to continue the three main activities of the bootleg library:

1) bootlegging, republishing and distributing printed books

2) conducting bootleg library sessions in various locations

3) producing texts

These three activities are intertwined. The bootlegged and republished books are used at bootleg library sessions to activate discussion, and produce texts (here I am using the word "text" to mean not only written words, but also conversations that are elicited and metadata written for books that are uploaded at bootleg library sessions).

My plan was to continue organising and participating in public events (mostly in the form of bootleg library sessions), at least one each month. I had been invited to take part in several public events that were also to add to the project, prior to the lockdown:

  1. Events as part of Onomatopee's Meeting Grounds project, including a bootleg library session, a Marginal Conversations workshop, a radio show interview and a joint workshop with representatives of Varia and XPPL, which we called the "Boekstekje Bureau". These were to take place throughout March. I conducted one bootleg library session at Onomatopee on March 6th, before the entire public program (as a series of meetups) was postponed due to the lockdown. Meeting Grounds then moved to an online series of events focusing on online public spaces, and an upcoming publication. I was invited to contribute to this publication, for which I have written an essay, titled text, tbc, that examines the editorial, technical and social perspectives on text, and Etherpad as an exemplar of these.
  2. An exhibition in Amsterdam, curated by de Appel. The exhibition could not go ahead due to the lockdown, but they have expressed interest in curating a different kind of format of a publication, for which I have suggested publishing my thesis text "Tasks of the Contingent Librarian". I am waiting on a response as to whether this will be accepted.
  3. A bootleg library session at Page Not Found, a cultural space in the Hague. This was to happen on May 15th. It is assumed that this event is now cancelled.
  4. Participation in AMRO, a media art festival in Austria from May 20-23rd. I am unsure if this will still go ahead, perhaps it shall in an online format.

what are the next steps you need to take with your project given the new situation

The bootleg library was never intended to exist in perpetuity. Prior to the lockdown, my plan was to close the library. This has not changed.

Practically speaking, the library may continue to operate, however, this gesture of "closure" is to mark an end to the project. It is also to assert that no library is encyclopaedic and what is important is not the impossible feat of complete documentation of all knowledge, but of the collection (of both texts and readers) that existed at this particular time.

What I need to do now is to make sure that in the remaining time for the project to run, that the documentation is clear, and at a standard that I am satisfied with, in substance and medium. My plan is to produce an index. What form this will take depends on the actions of the remaining few months.