πŸ““ I know Twitter is all the things we all know it is now but I still love that some scholars wrote a journal article about the relationship between emojis and identity in Twitter bios.

    A timeline of my dissertation inspirationπŸ““πŸ“

    For AcWriMoments Day 8, Margy Thomas and Helen Sword encouraged us to trace a lineage of the ideas we work on. I decided to do this with my dissertation because I knew it would be fun, but I didn’t realize how fun.

    1984 Kimberly’s mom makes a gorgeous Blue Fairy (from Pinocchio) costume for Kimberly, launching a lifelong delight in dressing up in exquisite costumes (as opposed to whatever’s lying around) and admiring the exquisite costumes of others. Around the same time, Kimberly’s parents take her to the library often.

    1988 Kimberly’s dad starts library school. Kimberly hangs out at the library school, a lot. She loves it there.

    1994 A guidance counselor who is completely at a loss for what extracurriculars to recommend when she asks Kimberly what she’s into and Kimberly answers, “Reading,” suggests volunteering at the library, so Kimberly does.

    1999 W. (then-boyfriend, now-husband) introduces Kimberly to Final Fantasy, a lovely video game series with gorgeous music. O., the then-boyfriend now-husband of one of W.’s housemates, says to Kimberly while they’re in the middle of playing some board game, “You should be a librarian.”

    2007 Completely stressed out by being an early career high school teacher, Kimberly starts researching library schools.

    2008 W. comes home from work and tells Kimberly that his current boss has inspired him to go to library school so they’re going to library school together.

    2009 Kimberly and W. start library school. Kimberly’s advisor is Sandra. Kimberly loves Sandra. Kimberly gets a job as an RA in an outreach program of the School of Education, providing resources and professional development to K-12 educators. (Resources from this department saved her bacon many times when she was a teacher.)

    2011 Kimberly gets a job as a school librarian split between two middle schools.

    2012 Kimberly’s supervisor from her RA job tells Kimberly, “I’m taking a different job so they’ll be posting this one eventually if you want it.” Kimberly does. The school librarian situation she’s found herself in isn’t what she dreamed of. Eventually Kimberly gets that job and starts working for that outreach program full-time.

    2013 Kimberly starts working on projects where she gets to interview teachers about their work. Her office is down the hall from where the School of Ed hosts all of their brown bags and she goes to a lot of them. She decides she wants to pursue a PhD so she can understand what they’re talking about better and maybe publish research about educators', including school librarians', good work. She figures she’ll do it part time with the tuition remission she gets as a benefit of her job.

    2014 The executive director of the outreach program is fired. (Without cause as far as Kimberly knows.) Kimberly decides that instead of doing the PhD part-time, she’d like to do it full-time, since her program is probably going to be dismantled. She talks to Sandra about the PhD program where she got her master’s in library science and says she wants to work on the library as a place for writing and pop culture engagement. Sandra says there’s a model for this and it’s called Connected Learning. Kimberly applies to the PhD.

    2015 Sandra invites Crystle Martin, a scholar of connected learning and leader in the Young Adult Library Services Association, to talk to students at the library school and invites Kimberly to come to the talk and then join them for lunch. Kimberly and Crystle talk about spending way too much time playing video games.

    2016 - 2017 Kimberly messes around with different dissertation possibilities. She includes a chapter on gaming and libraries in her comps plan.

    2017 Kimberly decides to go to Cosplay America, a costuming convention.

    2018 Kimberly starts work on the gaming comps chapter. She attends a Final Fantasy orchestral concert. People have dressed up in gorgeous costumes as characters from the games. They’re so great it kind of makes her want to cry. The next day, she reads Crystle’s dissertation about the information literacy practices of World of Warcraft players. In the conclusion, Crystle suggests that people could replicate her methods to help validate her information literacy model. Kimberly thinks, “I could do that, but with cosplayers!” She bangs out a dissertation prospectus in 2 hours after literal years of hemming and hawing.

    2019 Kimberly writes her comps, now with a changed set of chapters. She assembles her committee, including Crystle. She writes a blog post about the process and uses a Final Fantasy screenshot in it. She writes and defends her comps. She writes her proposal in November for AcWriMo. She attends a local con and introduces herself to the cosplay guests, telling them she may contact them to participate in her dissertation.

    2020 Kimberly defends her proposal. In freaking February. She has this whole plan that involves going to conventions to talk to cosplayers. AHAHAHAHA. There are no conventions. But she interviews the cosplayers over Zoom.

    2020-2021 Kimberly conducts research, scales her design way back, conducts more research, writes, defends, and graduates. She applies for a postdoc at the Connected Learning Lab, where Crystle worked when they first met. She gets the job.

    2022-present Kimberly hasn’t touched the cosplay work in a long time but has worked on connected learning in libraries for the whole postdoc.

    Sparking and Sustaining Connected Learning through Libraries: Insights and Questions at the Connected Learning Summit

    I’ll be leading and participating in a roundtable at the Connected Learning Summit at the end of October. Here’s the description of my session:

    Over the past several years, the Institute of Museum and Library Services has funded multiple projects aimed at promoting connected learning through libraries and building staff capacity to integrate CL into library teen services. In this session, leaders from four of these projects (Transforming Teen Services for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; Transforming Teen Services: Train the Trainer; Future Ready with the Library: Connecting with Communities for College and Career Readiness Services; and ConnectedLib) will share insights from their work and discuss what the next steps are for sparking and sustaining connected learning through libraries. Roundtable participants will discuss the importance of relationships in and beyond the library for building connected learning-based library services, the role of library administration in creating the conditions in which connected learning services thrive, and how communities of practice can support library staff in collective knowledge-building. Roundtable participants will share their insights, discuss key questions about the future of connected learning through libraries, and have a facilitated conversation with attendees.

    My fellow roundtablers include Linda Braun of The LEO Group, Mega Subramaniam of the University of Maryland College of Information Studies, Katie Davis of the University of Washington Information School, and Leah Larson of the University of Minnesota Extension. Amanda Wortman, Research and Evaluation Manager at Digital Promise, contributed to this work, too, though she has a conflict for the roundtable time.

    Here are more details about the summit:

    Registration is open for the 2023 Connected Learning Summit, happening virtually October 26-28! Join a gathering of innovators harnessing emerging technology to expand access to participatory, playful, and creative learning.

    With a unique focus on cross-sector connections and progressive and catalytic innovation, our summit brings together leading researchers, educators, and developers. Our mission is to fuel a growing movement of innovators harnessing the power of emerging technology to expand access to participatory, playful, and creative learning. We offer a variety of sponsorship opportunities for organizations to demonstrate their commitment to connected learning while aligning with their goals and initiatives.

    Our program will start on October 26 with a pre-conference day for conversation around topics of shared interest, including affinity group meetings, as well as meetups for Research Paper and Showcase contributors. The Main Conference, on October 27-28, will include keynote talks from Dr. Luci Pangrazio and Diana Nucera AKA Mother Cyborg, plenary sessions, and workshops and roundtables organized by CLA partners. The majority of the event will be programmed during work hours in North America, but will also include some programming in the morning hours of Asia and Australia.

    CLS2023 will be entirely online, using the Whova platform. Don’t miss out on early access to our platform starting in early October, with showcase and research paper presentations available for viewing prior to the summit and session sign-ups starting in mid-October!

    For more information, please visit our website and sign up for updates about the Connected Learning Summit.

    About the Connected Learning Summit

    CLS was first convened in 2018 with the mission to fuel a growing movement of innovators harnessing the power of emerging technology to expand access to participatory, playful, and creative learning. It was launched as a merger between three community events with this shared vision and values: the Digital Media and Learning Conference, the Games+Learning+Society Conference, and Sandbox Summit. With a unique focus on cross-sector connections and progressive and catalytic innovation, the event brings together leading researchers, educators, and developers. The hosting and stewardship of the event has continued to evolve in tandem with the changing conditions of the global pandemic. The UC Irvine’s Connected Learning Lab, MIT’s Scheller Teacher Education Program and Education Arcade were the founding hosts of the event. As we have moved online and have become a more international event, we are expanding our roster of partners and hosts.

    Don't miss our roundtable at #CLSummit2023! Saturday, October 28 - 12-1 pm PT: Sparking and Sustaining Connected Learning through Libraries: Insights and Questions. Register today at

    πŸ”–πŸ““ Read Six Ways of Looking at Crip Time by Ellen Samuels (Disability Studied Quarterly).

    πŸ“πŸ““ Fascinated by this ethnographic study on youth’s “pocket writing” practices.

    Most fiction I write happens in my pocket now and is mostly private, shared only with very specific people. As a teenager, I did a lot of writing that was tucked away in my backpack, only shared with particular friends.

    πŸ”–πŸ““ Read How Pew Research Center will report on generations moving forward.

    I love some of these alternate ways of creating age groupings. I could especially imagine grouping people according to their age at the time of key historical events or technological innovations producing valuable insights.

    πŸ”–πŸ““ Can ChatGPT Replace UX Researchers? An Empirical Analysis of Comment Classifications

    This is an interesting study with implications for qualitative research beyond UX. Looks like the answer is, “It’s too soon to tell.”

    πŸ”–πŸ““ Read Automated transcription and some risks of machine interpretation.

    Dr. Daniel Turner does a great job illuminating how large language models work and how we need to think about indigeneity and colonialism when choosing our transcription method.


    No dissertation is worth a lifetime of revision.

    William Germano, From Dissertation to Book


    Learn how to revise and you will produce a better first book. Remember it and you will enjoy writing the books to follow.

    William Germano, From Dissertation to Book


    Revision is unromantic, time-consuming, tiring. It is also the only way to make one’s writing better.

    William Germano, From Dissertation to Book

    πŸ““ Read Subjectivity and Reflexivity: An Introduction by Franz Breuer, Katja Mruck & Wolff-Michael Roth (Forum: Qualitative Social Research).

    A quick introduction to a pair of special issues. Interested to see how the conversation’s advanced.


    Writing isn’t a record of your thinking. It is your thinking.

    William Germano, From Dissertation to Book


    Revision is a job for optimists.

    William Germano, From Dissertation to Book


    …the operating instructions of scholarly publishing rarely form a part of graduate training…

    William Germano, From Dissertation to Book


    Write everything you want published as if there are people who make decisions and work within limited budgetsβ€”their checkbooks, or their libraries' acquisition budgets.

    William Germano, From Dissertation to Book

    Turning My Dissertation into a Book in the Open

    It’s been almost two years since I defended my doctoral dissertation. Before it was written, an editor had expressed interest in it. After it was written, I was very tired. I just couldn’t touch it. But we are in a critical moment for information literacy, and I think my research has some good contributions to make, so I’m going to start writing a book proposal.

    For this project, I will be opening up my process and my reflections but not the content of the book proposal (and, if I get a contract, the book) itself. I’m starting by reading (like I always so). I’m going to read about how to turn a dissertation into a book and I’m also going to get myself up to speed on the FanLIS literature.

    Won’t you join me?

    A book cover reading "Where'd You get Those Nightcrawler Hands? The Information Literacy Practices of Cosplayers." The author is Kimberly Hirsh. The cover includes a photograph of a cosplayer dressed as She-Hulk flexing her biceps.

    It took a couple years, but I finally created a page on my website curating all my writing about dissertating in the open.

    πŸ“šπŸ’¬πŸ““ “… being transparent about one’s positionality, and choosing a granularity of analysis appropriate to your actual knowledge and experience, are key choices soneone must make as they enter fan studies.” Henry Jenkins, “Textual Poachers, Twenty Years Later”

    Pro-tip: asking questions about why you’re doing the research in the way you’re doing it and what you originally said you were going to do and how close you’re getting to that and what needs to shift and what that shift will look like is all part of the work. πŸ““

    πŸ’¬πŸ“š “‘Pure,’ ideologically unadulterated consumption/fandom may be a possibility, but it’s not what most media fans experience or enact.” Lori Morimoto, An Introduction to Media Fan Studies

    What’s that? Oh, just a quick pamphlet bind of Lori Morimoto’s An Introduction to Media Fan Studies πŸ“š

    A zine-style book of Lori Morimoto's An Introduction to Media Fan Studies.

    How to Scholar(?)

    In my doctoral program, there was a class that we colloquially referred to as β€œbabydocs.” As it was taught the year I took it, the purpose of babydocs was two-fold: 1. to introduce us to the field of library and information science and the variety of potential research areas and 2. to introduce us to the skills a person needs to be a scholar.

    It’s been over seven years since I started babydocs and I’m still trying to get that β€œhow to be a scholar” part down. Here are the topics and skills babydocs covered in this vein:

    • Theory and methods
    • Literature reviews
      • searching for literature
      • reading other people’s literature reviews
      • managing literature
      • writing literature reviews
    • Peer review
    • Project management
    • Research ethics
    • Diversity, equity, and inclusion
    • Presenting orally
    • Empirical research methods
    • Collaborative & interdisciplinary work
    • Creating posters
    • Writing research proposals
    • Grants and funding
    • Data management
    • Writing referred papers
    • Metrics

    This was a two-semester course and that was only HALF of what we covered, with the other half being specific to our discipline.

    I know how to do all of the things on this list, but I still haven’t created a cohesive framework or workflow that lets me do them in any but the most just-in-time manner. But a just-in-time scholar isn’t really the kind of scholar I want to be.

    (And I do want to be a scholar, even though I’m not interested in tenure-track work.)

    I share all of this because I’m going to try, all these years later, to create such a framework. Something that wasn’t part of babydocs.

    I plan to blog about it and I thought y’all might like to follow along.

    #FSNNA 22 Roundtable: Materiality & Liveness


    Welcoming everyone to the session "Materiality & Liveness"

    Talking about WWE and the impact of it being termed an "essential business" during COVID shutdowns

    Professional wrestling bridges the gap between sports & entertainment

    When both entertainment & sports were shut down, WWE was still available with both athletics and storytelling and thus the potential to appeal to fans of both sports and media.

    Lucas's argument: WWE didn't have live audiences during shutdown like they usually do. They had to have a national audience to stay open for working, but only at facilities closed to the public.

    WWE met both criteria when most other sports couldn't.

    WWE moved toward "cinematic matches" - "like an extended version of a video game cutscene" - wrestlers in story-specific environment with editing, effects, and supernatural elements.

    Matt Griffin:

    Playful Nostalgia: (Re)creating Video Game Spaces as Mods

    Nostalgia for 3D platformer video games from the late 90s/early 00s like Super Mario 64, Sonic Adventure. Newer games are emulating (but not, y'know, ~emulating~) the older games.

    Marketing and branding include a pitch toward nostalgia: "It's just like N64" "It's just like the Gamecube"

    How do players take up this nostalgia themselves? For example, players create environments from old games in newer video games - e.g. creating an area from Super Mario Sunshine in A Hat in Time

    We aren't limited to a single mod, so you could play in A Hat in Time, a Sonic Adventure level, with Sora from Kingdom Hearts as your player, riding a Kart from Mario Kart Double Dash.

    Factors that influence textual meaning: paratexts, plays, fan-made histories, "mods as simulacra"

    "Player-made mods construct nostalgia through remediation and play"

    Emma ✨:

    Talking about authorship in TRPGs (!!! calling @theroguesenna & @friede)

    Looking at changes in D&D and other TRPGs related to race.

    Summer 2021 was the #SummerofAabria when Abria Iyengar was guest DM on multiple actual play shows

    AP has often been associated with the creation of a single DM but when Iyengar's work raised the question: how does authorship change when you have a guest DM? Who has authority?

    Now notions of canonicity are taking root in actual play. How do TRPGs exist as both a transformative and an original work?

    DMs like Iyengar can use their work to critique traditional depictions in fantasy.

    Dylan McGee:

    The cultural afterlife of plastic toys and how they're curated and collected online now

    Fans have to make consequential decisions about material objects (collectable toys) based on digital images

    "attachments and affects can be complicated when realizing that what arrived in your mailbox was not exactly what you bought online"

    Buyers read the materiality through images: What quality is the plastic? How much has it been damaged? Is it authentic? Is the blister packaging still attached?

    During COVID, there's been a boom in the fan economy of vintage collecting.

    A lot of collectors have liquidated their collections because they didn't have enough income during COVID.

    The Japanese Yen to the dollar is at a 32 year low, so lots of Japanese collectors are liquidating them and selling to buyers overseas (mostly in America).

    These collectors then only have immaterial access to their collections - images and memories.

    Matt Griffin:

    There are important distinctions between player-made mods and official re-releases. There's more freedom to mix-and-match. Legality is an interesting question. Mods aren't strict emulations (in the code sense).

    Court case in 2016 found you can't copyright ALL of a game. For example, you can't copyright game mechanics. Player-made mods do give players a sense of ownership.

    People get introduced to older "texts" (video games) through these mods - e.g. you play an area in A Hat in Time, and decide to then go explore the game it's originally from.

    Reproducing a cartridge like Limited Run games does introduces a new materiality that's different from mods. The gatekeepers are different: purchase vs. download from fansite.

    Emma ✨:

    Players of D&D often have a strong intertextual awareness before they even sit down at the table, usually have engaged deeply with fantasy through literature, film, video games.

    There's often either a dissatisfaction with or true love of fantasy media that the player brings to the table and uses as inspiration for their character.

    If the rules are dissatisfying/frustrating (e.g. I want to play as a dark elf and it's wrong of the rules to penalize me for that), this is where homebrew comes in. This leads to players & DMs bring worldview to the game.

    based on personal experience, "play seems to become more valued as you have less recreational time." When work happens at home during lockdown, it can feel like all of life is work so

    Additionally, the interpersonal aspect adds extra value. For example, RPing just hanging out in a pub became a fantasy it was valuable to play out.

    Rules can give real-world obstacles a clear stat block and make it possible to fight these things in a really satisfying way.

    Dylan McGee:

    Unlicensed toys also became part of the market and are often more highly valued by collectors than official, licensed ones.

    #FSNNA22 Keynote: Turn On, Tune In, Get Out: Rethinking Escapism and Domestic Spectatorship

    Caetlin Benson-Allott:

    Beginning Turn On, Tune In, Get Out: Rethinking Escapism and Domestic Spectatorship

    articulates the need for a theory of escapism, specifically as respite

    has never felt the need to get out more than the past few years but where is there to go?

    Theory: escapism as a spectatorial mode, one way viewers interpolate cultural objects

    "Escapism is a desire that viewers bring to media irrespective of its genre, spectacle, exhibition context, or reception culture"

    Viewers bring escapism, not vice versa.

    Critics call things "escapist" when they think media's artistic merit doesn't align with its popularity

    Escapism is frequently deployed in reference to media that has large fan communities

    Historicizing the term "escapist," which was coined in the 1930s. (Benson-Allott is including a lot of detail so look out for her book on this topic later.)

    "Escapism" is used both to argue that art should uphold morals AND that art doesn't need to engage with contemporary issues.

    "Escapist" is used by critics to indicate a disconnect between a piece of art and themselves.

    Previous work (by only 2 scholars) looks at escapism and whose pleasure is marginalized.

    Others have focused on genre but not looked at how or why viewers engage in escapism.

    As a viewer's sensibility changes, the viewer needs different escape.

    If different types of movies can provide escape in a shared geocultural moment, then escapism can't be located in a particular piece of media or genre.

    Escape from what? Not necessarily about a change of locale. "If it were, all fantasy films would supply escape to all viewers."

    "Escape may be hard to achieve, but it is not site-specific."

    Dr. Kimberly Hirsh at #FSNNA22:

    Lots of talk here about how what we're escaping is being ourselves, which makes me think about the Daniel Tiger song: "You can change your hair or what you wear but no matter what you do, you're still you."

    Caetlin Benson-Allott:

    "Because pleasure is a process, it represents an escap-ing, rather than an escape."

    "It cannot be an end, because it ends."

    We can find escapism in media that acknowledges inequity and injustice.

    "Desiring escape is not the same as desiring oblivion or obliviousness..."

    Dr. Kimberly Hirsh at #FSNNA22:

    Seriously this work is super rich and I can't possibly capture it all in a Twitter thread.

    Caetlin Benson-Allott:

    Escape as ex-cendance: getting out so you can go back

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