A Gentle Introduction to Manifold for CUNY Instructors
Over the last few weeks, I have given some brief demonstrations of the basic components of CUNY’s installation of Manifold, the open source digital publishing platform we have been creating with the University of Minnesota Press and Cast Iron Coding with generous funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This project is part of our fifth session to demonstrate ingesting a Google Doc and a series of Google Docs using a manifest.
APRIL 7: A Brief Introduction to Manifold
I gave a general overview of CUNY's Manifold instance:
I talked briefly about the collaboration with CUNY GC, University of Minnesota Press, and Cast Iron Coding (the development firm founded by Zach Davis, a CUNY English PhD)
We looked at the overarching organization of the interface
- Home page library view
- Featured collections
- All projects
I did a brief dip into a couple examples:
- Structuring Equality, a seminar's end of term collected edition of student work
- Building Open Infrastructure at CUNY, a collection of essays by the GC TLC
- Selections from Petrarch's Canzoniere, an enriched edition of public domain text created by Julie von Peteghem at Hunter College
I referenced project organization
I talked briefly about how projects are the main container of material on Manifold -- a project may be a single text with many chapters (as in the CUNY Student Editions, which I haven't shown but will) or multiple texts (as in some course readers). I mentioned that you could have a resources only project.
I previewed Reading Groups
I demoed how you can highlight text to annotate, share or cite passages if you're logged in. Manifold collects your private annotations and lets you see other people's public annotations. Further demo of reading groups is slotted for April 21 at 1.
Can you turn off annotations?
Not currently, but it is planned development (you can see the open issue on the project's Github development)
How does Manifold handle copyrighted material?
Manifold holds whatever metadata (including license) you supply. If you wish to present material that is still in copyright, you need to request permissions from the authors (or authors' estates).
Will Manifold add an ISBN?
Manifold does not create ISBNs, but you can add one if you have other means of acquiring them.
How do I make my text visible in Google?
Adding metadata helps and making sure you enter your project into OER Commons and CUNY Academic Works. Search Engine Optimization is not my area of expertise, but based on today's questions, I will try to set up a Mini session on Metadata and Getting Found. I'll see if some librarians and maybe someone from the press can come.
Can you annotate video?
You can leave comments on any resource, but you cannot at this point annotate audio and video (as you can on other platforms like Scalar)
Can you download any resource type?
All added resources (added manually or in bulk to a project) may be downloaded. If you wish to provide a download of any file (an offline copy of the text, for instance), you can add a button on the home page. Video and Audio files can be viewed within Manifold. Other resource types will appear as downloads.
Can resources be added directly, or must they be embedded?
Resources can be added to a project separate from texts. Any resource that has been added to a project may be anchored in the project's text by anyone with the necessary permissions (project creators and editors). Google and Word doc images will render inline in Manifold. For inline interactive resources, you need to create the text using Markdown, EPUB, or HTML.
Can you reingest parts or do you have to reingest the whole?
To make changes on a text, you need to reingest the text. If you have created a project with multiple texts, you can reingest only the text you have altered. If you wish to change a chapter of a text ingested with a manifest (more on this when we get to Publishing with Manifold), you would need to rezip all the component parts. One of the planned features is a text editor for minor edits, but it will be a while before this feature is complete.
Are Google Docs preferable to Word Docs?
Yes. Google Docs and Word Docs are often the easiest document types for new users, but they offer the least control of the outcome. Google Docs are made for web viewing so what you see there will be more closely reflected in Manifold. Word does a lot of hidden work that doesn't take kindly to non-Microsoft settings. Because both softwares are WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get), it can be easy to expect that what you create in these programs will easily convert to web-friendly flowable text. Working with Markdown, HTML, or EPUB require more work but offer much more control of formatting. Manifold follows the structure provided by the documents you ingest.
APRIL 14: OER in Manifold
CUNY OER on Manifold
I walked the group through some examples of the amazing OER built on cuny.manifoldapp.org. Anyone teaching or studying at CUNY is welcome to use Manifold. OER, Open Educational Resources, are meant for free classroom use of openly licensed material. Manifold allows for any license, but if you create a project, you are responsible for assigning the license.
- Ethnographies of Work (Guttman) – chapters by individual professors, edited by a smaller group
- Facciamo un giro in carosello (Queens) – Italian language textbook created by two GC PhD candidates
- ENG 302: Remappping the Modern (Lehman) – using many texts rather than a single text with chapters
- ENG 111: Literature and Composition (Hostos)
- Journal of the Plague Year (John Jay) – single text with chapters and table of contents on project homepage
- Selections from Petrarch’s Canzoniere (Hunter) — example of how you can incorporate audio resources
Manifold is a great place to put a group copy so that you know everyone is reading the same version. In addition to controlling the text everyone’s reading from in class, Manifold can be a place for out-of-print texts you wish to reintegrate. CUNY Student Editions (started by 18th century Americanists) are meant to widen the canon as well as providing good working texts of commonly used texts.
- The Negro and the Nation (GC) — shows how to use homepage for instructions
- CUNY Student Editions (Queens) — ongoing project which invites contributions
STUDENT EDITED COLLECTIONS:
- “Gender and Society” and us in the classroom (Brooklyn) — good example of how to let students opt in for publication (named or anonymous)
Then we discussed how to get started.
Get Some Guidance:
- OER Starter Kit Workbook by Abbey Elder and Stacy Katz
- City College English Department OER Guide
- Building Open Infrastructure at CUNY
Assemble Your Materials
- Gather texts and choose the format
- Gather resources
- Prepare texts
Create Your Account:
Can I use copy-righted sources on Manifold for teaching purposes? Or is reserved only for public domain books?
As long as you receive permission to use sources, you can use them on Manifold. The platform has no mechanism to hold you to copyright law and depends on users to adhere to fair use and disciplinary guidelines. If you have questions about specific materials, I recommend speaking with your campus OER representatives and librarians.
If copyrighted, can you make the Manifold publication private as a condition of permission from an author/publisher?
Currently, there are no access restrictions on Manifold, though that feature is currently under development (See plan in V6.0 on Manifold Github Roadmap). It is possible that closed projects will be available in the future.
Are comments moderated?
Whatever a reader adds to the text (annotation on text or comment on an annotation or resource) belongs to them. Teachers are encouraged to use private Reading Groups (which I will discuss further next week) to manage student annotations. You still cannot delete your students’ comments (unless you delete your whole project, in which case everything goes). Inappropriate comments may be flagged.
APRIL 21: Reading Groups
How Reading Groups Work:
I used today to show what sort of information and description is readily available on the Manifold Documentation site. I wanted to show how sections like the documentation on Reading Groups and annotation are geared toward front end users of Manifold. The descriptions go into detail about how different privacy and visibility settings work and include helpful images of the relevant buttons in the user interface.
This quick guide on the CUNY Learn page provides a brief overview of why annotating in class might prove useful and includes some assignment ideas. I’ve included a pdf of slides I used for a presentation at John Jay that list three Assignment ideas (Annotation Types, Discussion Questions, and Role Play).
Sample assignment listings:
These projects are examples of course readers that include instructions about annotation on the project home page (in a Markdown content block)
Because my meeting was the smaller of two sessions, we had more of a discussion about how Reading Group development is going. The whole development process is publicly posted on Manifold Scholarship on Github and discussions come up on the Manifold Community Slack Channel. Feel free to address your questions there where the development team and the digital editor from the University of Minnesota Press are also chiming in daily.
APRIL 28: Resources
To get started, I described Manifold’s initial motivation to create a digital book that would expand scholar’s capacity to share the vast collections of resources that come with writing a scholarly monograph. When Matt Gold and The University of Minnesota Press first teamed up with Cast Iron Coding to create a digital edition of Debates in Digital Humanities, the idea was to take advantage of the ways the internet works within scholarly networks. Sharing the resources that authors painstakingly assemble was important from the very beginning.
First in the demo, I took participants to the Manifold Documentation about Exploring and Placing Resources. While showing the helpful sections complete with screenshots and references, I described how Resources can be “placed” within a text (by the Project Creator and Editors) for all readers to see and comment on.
We looked at Metagaming on The University of Minnesota Press’s instance of Manifold to see how Resources appear (small cube icons with thumbnails in the margin that link to the Resource page).
- I used Metagaming to demonstrate the difference between Resources and inline images coded into an EPUB (which would hold true for images pasted into a Google Doc).
- I pointed out how resources can be viewed from the reader or from a Resources content block on a project home page.
- I showed how Resources can be organized in Collections
- I showed how Resource Collections appear in larger blocks on the project home page
- Resource Collections may also be placed in the text with the cube icon
I mentioned two other projects, Using Primary Sources from Liverpool University Press, and Selections from Petrarch’s Canzoniere, which take advantage of Manifold’s ability to display visual and audio resources. In general, the goal of the Resources is to have them available as supplements (readers can choose to have Resources invisible while reading) and accessible within the Manifold project.
Before I ended the session, I briefly showed what it looks like to add resources in the back end. For Project Creators, I recommend looking at Customizing Projects, Adding Resources in Manifold documentation, and following the Quick Guide on Adding and Embedding Resources on the Learn page of cuny.manifoldapp.org.
Could a reader comment on a resource with a link, therefore sort of adding a resource?
A reader can add a link in an annotation that does become live. This is a great way for students to link to other resources without needing Project Creator permissions. Control of the project resources remains with the authors of the project.
What are the types of resources? Are they limited by format (video/audio/.doc/PDF/etc)?
The ten resource types (image, video, audio, file, link, pdf, document, spreadsheet, presentation, interactive) each have different specifications which are described more fully in the documentation (Preparing Resources). Images and videos are viewable within the Manifold interface whereas some of the other resource types are made available as downloads.
Can you ever have a link that goes external-outside of Manifold?
The link resource type provides a page with metadata about an external resource. The resource page allows readers to comment on relevant resources within Manifold, even if they are exiting Manifold to view those resources.
How do you embed a resource in the text itself? How do you create a hyperlink that takes you to this resource?
To place resources, users with necessary permissions (see documentation) highlight text within the reader and then select “resource” from the dropdown menu. Once a resource is “placed” or “anchored”, Manifold will display an icon within the text and thumbnail in the margin. These are linked to the resource page.For inline images or other resources, you need to follow the requirements of the type of file you are ingesting. To see what file types support which resources, visit the documentation on Preparing Texts.