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Established in 2005, the Transliteracies Project includes scholars in the humanities, social sciences, and engineering in the University of California system (and in the future other research programs). It will establish working groups to study online reading from different perspectives; bring those groups into conjunction behind a shared technology development initiative; publish research and demonstration software; and train graduate students working at the intersections of the humanistic, social, and technological disciplines.

An example of an initiative upon which the Project may work is the design of a technology to improve the community experience of reading while accommodating different experiences of texts according to age, literacy level, nationality or background, professional or personal interests, and so on. Technological development will be integrated with humanistic and social-science research (empirical, historical, interpretive, critical, aesthetic) that explicitly questions what “improve” or “community” might mean. The idea is to exploit cross-disciplinary expertise to approach online reading from multiple angles simultaneously, rather than just as an engineering problem, just as a hermeneutical problem, or just as a social problem. The goal, in other words, is avoid producing a quick-fix extra “feature set” for online reading, but instead to create a demonstration technology founded upon deep, wide reflection on the issues.

Tranlisteracies is a UC Multi-Campus Research Group with funding from the University of California Office of the President as well as from its host campus with the UC system, UC Santa Barbara.