Introduction and Greetings from David Meurer

My name is David Meurer and I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Joint Graduate Program in Communication and Culture at York and Ryerson Universities in Toronto, Canada.

My dissertation research focuses on the compatibilities and incompatibilities between long prose narrative fiction and digital communication practices. I look at popular and scholarly discourse surrounding the various deaths and futures of the book, print, literature, and literacy with a specific interest in the novel. How can and how is prose narrative fiction production in electronic literature and other cultural fields being adapted to digital communications technologies and practices? And to what extent do these literary works and practices reproduce the production, circulation, and reception models of the novel?

I am also a senior research assistant in a research project known as Artmob. In this project we are developing digital collections-building software modules for the Drupal Content Management System. These modules are shaped to the principles of fair dealing (copyright exceptions that are similar to fair use in the US). They are designed as a fair and balanced solution to some of the challenges encountered by cultural institutions and organizations that seek to make cultural works available online for non-commercial, educational purposes. Perhaps the centerpiece of this CMS is a “rich attribution” input and display system that enables the rights holders of constituent works in a composite work to manage and license their works independently (think of a theatre program that contains numerous photographs, designs, advertisements and texts, or a video of a literary reading by one author of several different authors’ works). This is particularly important for orphan works (works whose rights holders cannot be identified or located) as the system invites dialog about the creation of cultural works, and the identification of rights holders by the public, and therefore offers a viable means for completing clearance and licensing processes.

My professional background, (going back a while!) is in libraries and the book trade, and then subsequently (and currently) in Web production and development. The intersections between literacy and digital communications are really an enduring and ongoing influence for my intellectual curiosity and academic research.

I look forward to dialoging with and learning from the HASTAC community. Thank you for having me!

David