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Printed Ethnographic Notebooks

June 25th, 2010 by gileslane

Last summer I collaborated with James Leach (Anthropology Dept, University of Aberdeen), Lissant Bolton and Liz Bonshek (Ethnographic Dept, British Museum) to help document the visit to London of two people from Reite village, Papua New Guinea – Porer Nombo and Pinbin Sisau. Porer and Pinbin had been invited to come to the British Museum to help identify and provide information about hundreds of the objects from their locality which are in the BM’s collection. It was an amazing privilege and an education to spend time with them watching how their knowledge of their world was rooted in a multi-sensory memory, triggered as much by touch as by seeing. Several eNotebooks were completed which were immediately scanned and printed to make further copies for Porer and Pinbin to take back home with them, and were published on our diffusion site.

On Sunday (June 20th) I got an email from James asking if it was possible to have some copies of the eNotebooks we made last year printed up via bookleteer’s PPOD service for him to take to Reite village on his next trip to Papua New Guinea in July. I just had to remake the scanned-in versions into new eBooks with bookleteer (which took about an hour for all 4), and I then sent the eBooks to press first thing on Tuesday morning. In a super quick turnaround time, I collected the printed versions this morning (Friday 25th).

Porer & Pinbin’s visit was part of the larger Melanesia Project, a conference for which happens next week (June 28th & 29th) at UCL’s Anthropology Department. We’re looking forward to sharing the printed eBooks with colleagues there and getting their feedback and ideas on using bookleteer and the eBooks as innovative ways to capture and share field work, both with each other and with the communities they work with and study.

We’d love to hear from other anthropologists and ethnographers (and any other disciplines too) interested in using bookleteer and the eBooks as creative and shareable notebooks for fieldwork – please get in touch.

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