About Us

The SpokenWeb Partnership

The SpokenWeb partnership is organized as a federation with a governance structure that involves a system of regular accountability with sets of interlocking roles, consisting of the SpokenWeb Network, Team Members, the Board, the Governing Board, the Student Advisory Committee, and project-oriented Area Task Forces. The SpokenWeb Board consists of all co-applicants and community partners. The Student Advisory Committee consists of all active, program-funded students and postdoctoral fellows. The SpokenWeb Team refers to all co-applicants, collaborators, students and community partners. The SpokenWeb network represents the broadest body of constituents engaged in program activities and deliverables, including invited speakers, scholarly and technical contributors, contributing artists, oral history interviewees, and workshop participants.

Governing Board

The SpokenWeb Governing Board is the main body overseeing all project activities. The Governing Board establishes high level goals and project deliverables, and is responsible for the financial management and oversight of the SpokenWeb research program. The Governing Board consists of selected Co-Applicants who are affiliated with partner institutions and who bring knowledge from a specific area that is especially relevant to the overall research program of the partnership. The Governing Board may, at its discretion, consult with the Board on certain matters pertaining to the advancement of the SpokenWeb research program. The Director and Principal Investigator of the SpokenWeb Project is also the Chair of the Governing Board. The SpokenWeb Project Manager is a participant in all Governing Board meetings and serves as an important communications link between the Governing Board, and all other constituent structures of the program.

The 2017-2019 Governing Board members are: Jason Camlot (Director and Governing Board Chair), Yuliya Kondratenko (Project Manager), Deanna Fong (Student Representative), Mike O’Driscoll (Literary Studies and Poetics), Michelle Levy (Digital Humanities) , Tanya Clement (Audio Signal Analysis), Ian Ferrier (Community Collections), Annie Murray (Libraries and Archives), Karis Shearer (Pedagogy).

Task Forces

Project activities of the larger SpokenWeb program are executed through the work of area-specific Task Forces. Task forces are comprised of SpokenWeb Board members and members from the Student Advisory Committee who have the expertise necessary to plan and complete the relevant project tasks. The following list indicates the present, active SpokenWeb Task Forces, in alphabetical order. Additional Task Forces will be activated in relation to research needs throughout the lifespan of the program.

Metadata Task Force

Metadata Task Force objectives are to develop and implement an agreed upon SpokenWeb metadata schema. Using metadata specifications, it will develop and test SpokenWeb cataloguing procedures and a controlled vocabulary to be used in cataloguing all collections. The Task Force will also develop a change management plan on how changes to cataloging procedures/ controlled vocabulary documents will be requested and approved. It will also advise on the development and implementation of an access system for ingesting metadata, and will assist in the development and implementation of preservation requirements for the metadata that will be collected throughout the program.

2018-2019 Task Force members are: Jason Camlot (Concordia University), Rebecca Dowson (Simon Fraser University), Deanna Fong (Simon Fraser University), Roma Kail, Metadata Controller (Victoria University  in the University of Toronto), Sean Luyk (University of Alberta), Tomasz Neugebauer, Metadata Controller (Concordia University), Melissa Salrin (Simon Fraser University), Felicity Taylor (University of Ottawa), and Jared Wiercinski (Concordia University).

Pedagogy Task Force

The Pedagogy Task Force aims to produce research outputs (conferences, publications, and workshops) that enhance engagement with existing digital audio archives or analog collections. Our research and projects can be described by the following five categories: 1) development of pedagogical training modules & resources that can be shared amongst partners as well as with the public, 2) development of digital tools for use in classroom and public pedagogy 3) development of a bank of pedagogical activities and resources that can be used by members of the SpokenWeb team and by teachers in a variety of settings 4) knowledge production and mobilization on pedagogical theory and practice, 5) identification and tagging of pedagogical content of recordings within the SpokenWeb member collections.

2018-2019 Task Force members are: Jason Wiens (University of Calgary) , Michelle Levy (Simon Fraser University), Karis Shearer (UBCO), Deanna Fong (Simon Fraser University), Jentery Sayers (University of Victoria), Deserae Gogel (UBCO), and Cole Mash (Simon Fraser University). 

Podcasting Task Force

The primary goal of the Podcast Task Force is to produce serialized podcasts that promotes and mobilizes the research of the SpokenWeb team, while also providing participants an opportunity to experiment with oral forms of scholarship (such as audio essays). This podcast will focus on professional production values to increase listenership and ideally encourage uptake of episodes by platforms like CBC. To this end, the Podcast Task Force is focusing on developing workflows and infrastructure to facilitate episode creation by participants across the research network that will maintain a consistent quality and style that makes the podcast enjoyable for non-academic listeners.

2018-2019 Task Force members are: Jason Camlot (Concordia University), Hannah McGregor (Simon Fraser University), and Karis Shearer (UBCO).

Research Data Management Task Force

The Research Data Management Task Force works to develop a plan and process document for the management, organization and long term preservation of the many forms of research data that will be produced during the course of the SpokenWeb research program.

2018-2019 Task Force members are: Marjorie Mitchell (UBCO) and Felicity Tayler (University of Ottawa). 

Rights Task Force

The Rights Task Force has been formed to examine a wide range of legal and ethical questions pertaining to copyright and terms of use of collections of literary sound recordings.  This work will play a key role in establishing recommendations, processes and practices around the use of our collections and will inform our decisions about degrees and ways of making our audio collections accessible to researchers, students and the general public.

2018-2019 Task Force members are: Jason Camlot (Concordia University), Geoff Harder (University of Alberta), Michael O’Driscoll (University of Alberta), and Annie Murray (University of Calgary).

Sound Signal Task Force

Using computational tools for large-scale or distant-listening methods in analyzing multiple audio recordings across multiple collections requires a good understanding of what it means to listen closely to a single recording. In large-scale data analysis parlance, this “close listening” determines what features are used to create models for machine learning. In order to decide what audio features to use for large scale analysis, scholars first have to better understand the features of audio that can be measured by computers such as silence or pitch or the presence of vocal performance and how and if these features are generally accurate and meaningful. Learning to work with computational approaches to sound studies can be difficult, however. Which analyses are appropriate? Which are accurate? The sound analysis workflows that we will develop will include basic steps for employing common, free and open-source, python libraries for accessing, processing, analyzing, and visualizing audio data. These workflows will be presented as Jupyter notebooks that users can easily adapt and run from local computers. By using these easy-to-use workflows, SpokenWeb participants will better understand audio analysis (in the short term) and eventually create data sets from SpokenWeb recordings for large-scale analysis over all the collections.

2018-2019 Task Force members are: Tanya Clement (University of Texas), Adam Hammond (University of Toronto), Marit MacArthur (UC Davis), Lee Miller (UC Davis), Brian McFee (NYU), and Miles Thorogood (UBCO). 

Systems Task Force

A key goal of the Systems Task Force is to study the numerous repository and content management systems presently available for large scale archival and humanities oriented research projects, to crosswalk these systems with the goals of SpokenWeb, and to make recommendations on the implementation and development of the systems we will use to structure, use and present collections of literary audio.  The work of this task force is closely linked with the work of the Metadata Task force and with research and development around GUIs and tools for the presentation of collections of audio files online.

2019-2020 Task Force members are: TBA

Community Collections Task Force

The purpose of the SpokenWeb Community Task Force is to acquire community collections of literary audio to be added to the project. We will build meaningful relationships with existing community organizations, while both collaborating with and contributing to scholarly and literary communities, locally and nationally. When dealing with community collections, these ethical considerations are amplified by the power imbalance that is unavoidable in relationships between well-funded government institutions and grassroots or organic community organizations. We will look to explore and engage with the aesthetics and choices that made the collection what it is, and, in collaboration with the creators and curators of the collection, get a picture of the community it reflects, and its place in our literary and cultural history. Thusly, we will forge relationships that are mutually beneficial to both communities and community partners, and recognize that community collections have different demands than university archives, as they are often personal ‘labours of love’ and typically have involved a tremendous amount of (unpaid) work. Finally, we will foreground diversity and inclusion in our collection practices, cataloguing writers and communities from marginalized subject positions, including but not limited to: differing physical and mental abilities, LGBTQ+, racialized communities, lower socioeconomic backgrounds, women writers, and writers of all ages.

2018-2019 Task Force members are: Ian Ferrier, SpokenWeb Artist and Curator-in-Residence (Wired on Words) and Cole Mash (Simon Fraser University).