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English Ballad Archive, 1500-1800

Online archive of ballads from the Samuel Pepys collection.

“Dedicated to mounting online extant ballads published in English from 1500-1800, the English Department’s Early Modern Center at the University of California at Santa Barbara has begun by archiving the 1,857 ballads in the Samuel Pepys collection…The Pepys ballads became the first priority of the EMC’s Ballad Archive because full access to these ballads has until now been extremely limited. Due to their fragility, the Pepys Library has restricted access to the originals. As consolation, it published in 1987 a facsimile edition of the five volumes of Pepys’s ballad collection, which has proved invaluable to scholars. But since most of the ballads are in black-letter or gothic font (a thick print type that bleeds into the poor quality ballad paper), the printed facsimiles are very difficult—at times, impossible—to read. Very few of the ballads, furthermore, have been mounted on the web.” (From the project’s home page.)

Starter Link: The Early Modern Center of UCSB’s English Ballad Archive, 1500-1800.


Online news source that allows readers to contribute and rate content.

“Digg is a user driven social content website. Ok, so what the heck does that mean? Well, everything on Digg is submitted by our community (that would be you). After you submit content, other people read your submission and Digg what they like best. If your story rocks and receives enough Diggs, it is promoted to the front page for the millions of visitors to see.

What can you do as a Digg user? Lots. Every person can digg (help promote), bury (help remove spam), and comment on stories… you can even Digg and bury comments you like or dislike. Digg also allows you to track your friends’ activity throughout the site – want to share a video or news story with a friend? Digg it!” (from the site’s about page.)

Starter Link: digg.com

HP’s Misto Coffee Table PC

“Misto is a coffee table with a large touch-screen display built into the top of the table. The idea is to allow a group to congregate around the table and share pictures, play board games, or peruse a map, said Pere Obrador, project manager in HP’s imaging technology department.” (CNet News.com)

Starter Links: CNet article | Gizmodo post |

PCs for Poets

An Ultra Mobile Personal Computer (UMPC), the PC for Poets was designed by Crispin Jones. With the goal of marrying technology and traditional craftmanship, Jones designed the PC for Poets as both a visual and tactile artifact. It is modeled after traditional Japanese writing boxes, with all surfaces receiving equal design attention. Both the top and bottom are designed to be aesthetically and tactilely appealing and to engage the attention of those surrounding the PC user. The interface has no buttons or keyboard and is operated solely using tablet technology.

Starter Links: The project page at Mr. Jones’ website | we make money not art writeup | UMPC.com

Wacom’s Penabled Pens

Wacom’s Penabled pens replace many standard tablet PC pens. Cordless and battery-free, Wacom’s Penabled technology is pressure sensitive and reacts to a range of pressures. The pen additionally has an erase feature.

Starter Links: Wacom Penabled website

Giselle, Beiguelman, “esc for escape” (2004) Transliteracies Research Report

Online art exhibition that archives error messages from users around the globe.

“esc for escape begun in 2000. It was part of <Content = No Cache>. By that time I invited people to submit error messages asking them: Have you ever read something scary on your screen? Do you understand why programmers suppose they are programming for programmers? Do you fear error messages? I collected these messages for one year. Nevertheless, new operating systems and new forms of connection, inspired me to redesign the project and to update it to Windows Xtra Problems, OS X bugs and to give it a different format (a teleintervention + a DVD documentary).” (from the project’s “Book of Errors” page.)

Starter Links: “esc for escape” | the artist’s home page

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Lisa Swanstrom


Surname is a literary style that describes the celebrations in wedding, birth and circumcision ceremonies in Ottoman Palace. This book is a miniature manuscript based on one of these surnames. In the Surname (1582-1583) of Murat III, Nakkas (the painter) Osman built a documentary of the 55-day long festival organized for the honor of the Shehzadehs (Sultan’s sons.) Although the scene of the festival was represented in a fixed background, the parts of the “décor” were enriched by surprising variations with no particular aim to depict a real space. Therefore, the structural aspects of this manuscript reflect the characteristics of a subjective narration as opposed to a documentary that is claiming to be objective. However this is still not an individual subjectivity but a collective subjectivity that represents the visual attitude formed by the visual culture of the era.

In this project, cinematography was used as a tool of navigation within the miniature environment. The whole scene was divided into layers considering the iconographic narration of the miniatures. A virtual camera travels within the 3D layered space, occasionally focusing on the sub narratives of the celebration. In these sub narratives, a user/viewer can examine the points of view of figures through cinematic visual grammar.

Surname movie (20MB-~ 5-15mins download time)

The Book of Ingenious Mechanical Devices

“Kitab-al Hiyal (The Book of Ingenious Mechanical Devices) documents the mechanical description of various hydraulic machines, written in 1206 by Al Jazari, an irrigation engineer who was employed in the palace of the Artuklu Sultanate in today’s south-eastern Turkey. The book contains approximately 300 automated devices including their construction and usage information — all illustrated with technical drawings in the style of miniature painting.
One of the most important aspects of this book is its visualization techniques such as showing the important parts of mechanisms separately in a bigger scale, constructing mechanisms step-by-step from parts to whole, and cross sectioning for depicting inner layers. Another characteristic of this manuscript as an interface archetype is the attention given not only to the explained mechanisms with their functional structure but also to the outer layer that creates and enhances the illusion of artificial life. The fairytale figures on the outermost layers of the mechanisms further serves the purpose of entertaining the guests of Artuklu Palace.”

Starter Links: Water Pouring Automaton | Elephant Clock


Online tool by Brian L. Pytlik Zillig.

“TokenX: a text visualization, analysis, and play tool” (from the project web site), is an online interface based out of the University of Nebraska’s Center for Digital Research in the Humanities that allows the user to view web page components or file components in alternative organizational formats.

Starter Links: TokenX

Noah Wardrip-Fruin, News Reader

Project that blends news articles from popular and alternative sources.

“News Reader is software for reading and playing the network news environment. News Reader initially offers the current “top stories” from Yahoo! News – which are always drawn from mainstream sources. Playing these stories brings forth texts generated from alternative press stories, portions of which are (through interaction) introduced into the starting texts, gradually altering them. News Reader is an artwork designed for daily use, providing an at times humorous, at times disturbing experience of our news and the chains of language that run through it.”

Starter Links: Project description

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Brooke Belisle

US Presidential Speeches Tag Cloud

Program by Chirag Mehta that tracks the frequency of word usage in presidential speeches dating back to 1776.

“The above tag cloud shows the popularity, frequency, and trends in the usages of words within speeches, official documents, declarations, and letters written by the Presidents of the US between 1776 – 2006 AD. The dataset consists of over 360 documents downloaded from Encyclopedia Britannica and ThisNation.com. Once the documents have been dated and converted to plain-text, my tag-cloud-generation script goes through every text chronologically and makes a list of all the unique words that have been used and counts how many times each word is used.”(From the project web site.)

Starter Links: Home Page

Electronic Literature Collection, Volume I

Published in October 2006, the Electronic Literature Collection, Volume I has been made simultaneously available on free CD-rom and online. The collection is published by the Electronic Literature Organzation and edited by N. Katherine Hayles, Nick Montfort, Scott Rettberg, and Stephanie Strickland.

“The 60 works included in the Electronic Literature Collection present a broad overview of the field of electronic literature, including selected works in new media forms such as hypertext fiction, kinetic poetry, generative and combinatory forms, network writing, codework, 3D, and narrative animations. Contributors include authors and artists from the USA, Canada, UK, France, Germany, and Australia. Each work is framed with brief editorial and author descriptions, and tagged with descriptive keywords. The CD-ROM of the Collection runs on both Macintosh and Windows platforms and is published in a case appropriate for library processing, marking, and distribution. Free copies of the CD-ROM can be requested from The Electronic Literature Organization.” (Electronic Literature Organization).

Starter Links: Electronic Literature Collection, Volume I | Press Release announcing the collection | The original Call for Works |

We Feel Fine

Online exhibit and resource that mines web-logs for emotional phrases and adds them to a navigable database.

“Since August 2005, We Feel Fine has been harvesting human feelings from a large number of weblogs. Every few minutes, the system searches the world’s newly posted blog entries for occurrences of the phrases “I feel” and “I am feeling”. When it finds such a phrase, it records the full sentence, up to the period, and identifies the “feeling” expressed in that sentence (e.g. sad, happy, depressed, etc.). Because blogs are structured in largely standard ways, the age, gender, and geographical location of the author can often be extracted and saved along with the sentence, as can the local weather conditions at the time the sentence was written. All of this information is saved.

The result is a database of several million human feelings, increasing by 15,000 – 20,000 new feelings per day.” (From the web site.)

Starter Links: wefeelfine.org


Online exhibit that presents 100 snapshots from leading news sources in a grid updated every hour.

“Every hour, 10×10 scans the RSS feeds of several leading international news sources, and performs an elaborate process of weighted linguistic analysis on the text contained in their top news stories. After this process, conclusions are automatically drawn about the hour’s most important words. The top 100 words are chosen, along with 100 corresponding images, culled from the source news stories. At the end of each day, month, and year, 10×10 looks back through its archives to conclude the top 100 words for the given time period. In this way, a constantly evolving record of our world is formed, based on prominent world events, without any human input.” (From the web site.)

Starter Links: tenbyten.org | number27.org (the work of Jonathan Harris)

Giselle Beiguelman, the book after the book (1999) Transliteracies Research Report

“The Book after the Book is a hypertextual and visual essay about cyber-literature and the net_reading/writing_condition. Its main focus are non-linear narratives, which reconfigure the literature/book relationship starting from the very notion of volume and works that provide programming language a textual appraisal. Notwithstanding, one is not after the novelty of cyberculture nor striving to reinforce the now tedious discourse of the Internet’s redeeming potential as a computer web able to candidly unite all humanity into a global village. This wouldn’t be more than a chapter in the spectacular history being successfully elaborated in the last ten years by the computer and software industry. The subject here is not the no-book, but the book after the book, the computer not as support, but as a new reading and writing machine: an interface” (net_condition).

Starter Links: the book after the book | Project page at net_condition | Iowa Review Web interview with Beiguelman

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Kim Knight

The Temporary Printing Machine

“The Temporary Printing Machine, one of the latest works by Random International, highlights the ephemeral quality of digital data. The installation functions as a big canvas onto which any kind of digital content can be “printed” out as a monochrome image. Images and text are not printed with ink, but with UV light onto a light reactive surface which allows the content to stay visible for about 45 seconds to 1 minute. The painting then fades away, leaving space for a new one immediately and creating an infinite stream of disappearing data” (we make money not art).

Starter Links: we make money not art post | rAndom International site (includes video)

El MuroTransliteracies Research Report

“El Muro” was developed by Willy Sengewald and Richard The as part of the Digital Media class at the Berlin University of the Arts. The project literally invokes “the writing on the wall” (specifically the Berlin Wall) as a statement about political communication and ephemera.

“”El Muro” is situated in the middle of a room, like a monolith from another planet (the appearance reminds of the alien monolith in 2001 Space Odyssey), and repeats the statements over and over again. These diminish immediately after they’ve been written, just like the political statements (ideas/utopias/protest) in the real world appear and diminish after some time, and just like the way these political graffitos work: people write them to adress the cityzens of their city without even reaching them” (Berlin University of the Arts).

Starter Links: “El Muro” page at Berlin University of the Arts | we make money not art post | Video of “El Muro”

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Kate Marshall


TileToy, an open project available under a creative commons license, makes digital gameplay a tactile experience through the use of puzzle cubes.

“TileToy is a modular, electronic game prototype for tangible LED game tiles. TileToy brings the flexibility inherent in digital software to a physical tile that people can touch and interact with. By arranging the electronic tiles, players can engage themselves in various kinds of game play, ranging from fast-paced arcade style games to puzzle an learning games” (tiletoy.org).

Starter Links: TileToy.org | TileToy on Ultrasound ‘05 website


Okude Laboratory’s Okitegami transmits email between physical epaper and tablet display and composition devices..

“Letters are arguably much richer media for communication than emails. The subtlety of handwriting and the richness of the context in which we read and write letters are what we may be losing in exchange for the convenience and speed of digital communications. Okitagami is another example of trying to bring together the best of both letters and emails” ().

Starter Links: we make money not art post | Okude Laboratory’s Okitegami project page (in Japanese)


Developed by Keio Media Design’s Okude Laboratory, memorylane is a tablet/screen interface for digital photos, which allows users to draw on digital photos and exchange them with friends.

Starter Links: Memorylane project page (in Japanese) | Okude Laboratory website

Aegis Hyposurface

Developed by the Spatial Information Architecture Lab (SIAL) at RMIT University in Melbourne, Aegis explores interactive, indeterminate space.

“The Aegis Hyposurface is an art/architecture device that effectively links information systems with physical form to produce dynamically variable, tactile ‘informatic’ surfaces. Aegis is perhaps the world’s first such dynamic screen…. We therefore think of the Aegis Hyposurface as a giant sketchpad for a new age, a now 3-dimensional absorptive medium that allows all manner of graphic and glyphic sketching.”

Starter Links: SIAL’s Aegis Hyposurface project page | The Junction Hypospace proposal

Transliteracies Research ReportBrown University’s Cave Writing Workshops

Started in 2002, Brown University’s Cave Writing Workshops utilize an immersive environment to explore the intersections of text, sound, visuality, narrative, and space.

“Powered by a high-performance parallel computer, the Cave is an eight-foot cube, wherein the floor and three walls are projected with high-resolution stereo graphics to create a virtual environment, viewed through special “shutter-lens” glasses. The Cave Writing Workshop has introduced a Macintosh sound server to provide positional sound and augment the Cave’s performance potential, surrounding the “reader” with dynamic three-dimensional sound as well as visuals. It has brought text into this highly visual environment in the composing of narrative and poetic works of art, and has experimented with navigational structures more akin to narrative, and in particular hypertext narrative, than to the predominant forms of spatial exploration.” (Cave Writing Workshop website)

Starter Links: Cave Writing website | Brown Center for Computation and Visualization | Brown University Computer Graphics Group Cave Overview

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Nicole Starosielski

Sony E-Reader Transliteracies Research Report

“Slated to debut in the spring of 2006, the Sony Reader marks a key example of the next generation of commercial eBooks. While previous eBooks suffered criticism for their bulky appearances, hard-to-read screens, and limited availability of downloadable works, Sony claims to have resolved these problems through its use of new technologies that include e-ink, “electronic paper,” and a “CONNECT store” from which customers can purchase various downloadable texts. At the time of this writing, the product has not yet been released, but the pre-release reviews of the Reader have been extremely positive across a variety of technology-centered forums.” (from Lisa Swanstron’s Research Report)

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Lisa Swanstrom

Semantic Web Transliteracies Research Report

Innovative method for creating organizational structures and ontologies online.

“The Semantic Web provides a common framework that allows data to be shared and reused across application, enterprise, and community boundaries. It is a collaborative effort led by W3C with participation from a large number of researchers and industrial partners. It is based on the Resource Description Framework (RDF)” (W3C).

Starter Links:
Glossary definition | W3C

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Angus Forbes

Collex Transliteracies Research Report

Developed by ARP (Applied Research in Patacriticism) in collaboration with NINES (Networked Interface for Nineteenth-century Electronic Scholarship), Collex allows a user to access resources from nine different online scholarly resources. Using semantic web technologies, Collex facilitates collaborative research and access to a variety of sources, while retaining the unique characteristics of each source. Resources are added on an on-going basis as they are evaluated by the NINES editorial team.

“Users of the web-based NINES aggregation can now, through Collex 1.0:

  • perform text searches on finding aids for all 45,000 digital objects in the system;

  • search full-text content across participating sites (currently Rossetti, Swinburne, and Poetess);

  • browse common metadata fields (dates, genres, names, etc.) across all objects in a non-hierarchical, faceted manner;

  • constrain their search and browse operations to generate highly-individualized results;

  • create personal accounts on the system to save and share their research work;
    publicly tag, privately annotate, and ultimately “collect” digital objects located through Collex or in browsing NINES-affiliated sites;

  • browse their own and others’ collections in an integrated sidebar interface;
    and discover new, related objects of interest through the Collex “more like this” feature”.
(from the NINES Collex press release)

Starter Links: Collex | NINES website | ARP Collex Blog | ARP Webpage

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Kim Knight

The Coh-Metrix Project Transliteracies Research Report

The Coh-Metrix Project is run by the Institute for Intelligent Systems at the University of Memphis. The project utilizes two computer programs, Coh-Metrix and CohGIT, to assess the difficulty of a given text. Coh-Metrix analyzes a text for its overall “cohesion,” a major factor in textual coherence. CohGIT pinpoints the areas of a text where gaps in cohesion occur. The goal of the project is to provide writers and educators with the ability to match texts with proper target audiences.

“How do you know if something you’ve written is too difficult for your intended audience? How can you tell if your writing makes sense – for the reader you have in mind? Recent advances in the areas of cognitive science, computational linguistics, educational research, and computer science are guiding us toward answers to these questions. These answers are coming to life within a web-based text analysis tool called Coh-Metrix. Using advanced technologies, Coh-Metrix will allow readers, writers, educators, and researchers to instantly gauge the difficulty of written material, based on the target audience. Moreover, CohGIT, our cohesion gap identification tool, will pinpoint where potential problems are hiding within a text.

The potential contributions of Coh-Metrix and Coh-GIT are innumerable. This project will benefit writers, editors, researchers, and policy makers. Our overarching goal is to develop methods and standards for improving academic textbooks, thus improving students’ ability to understand and learn difficult course material” (from Coh-Metrix Project website).

Starter Links: Coh-Metrix Project | Coh-Metrix Demo | Summary of the Coh-Metrix Grant

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Kim Knight

Andrew Elfenbein, “Cognitive Science and the History of Reading” (2006) Transliteracies Research Report

Elfenbein’s article, appearing in the March 2006 PMLA, attempts to bring together the disciplines of cognitive psychology and literary criticism in order to understand historical reading processes.

“Cognitive psychologists, like literary critics, have spent many years wrestling with the complexities of the reading process. Yet psychologists and critics ask fundamentally different questions about reading because their fields have contrasting methods of defining, analyzing, investigating, and evaluating it. As a result, the terms of one discipline do not apply directly to the other. Creating an interaction between the two requires constant, often skeptical translation across disciplinary boundaries. This essay will concern itself with developing such a translation, using it to investigate the history of reading audiences, and drawing conclusions about the significance of the scientific study of reading for literary critics.”

Starter Links and Resources:
Elfenbein, Andrew. “Cognitive Science and the History of Reading.” PMLA. 121.2 (2006): 484 – 500. | Cognitive Science, Humanities, and the Arts.

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Kim Knight

Computing with Words (Lofti Zadeh’s Fuzzy Logic and Natural Language/Perception Processing) Transliteracies Research Report

Fuzzy logic is a system of logic which applies meaning to imprecise concepts. Rather than simply labeling a statement as either “true” or “false”, traditional binary logic does, a statement is instead mapped along a continuum of values. These mappings are interconnected with other mapped statements, ultimately yielding applicable functions and rules despite the imprecision of the concepts on which the rules were based.
Fuzzy logic was developed initially by the engineer Lotfi Zadeh in the late Sixties as a method to create control systems whose inputs were made up from imprecise data. More recently, Zadeh has conceived of a merger of natural language processing and fuzzy logic called Computing with Words, and also of an associated Computational Theory of Perception as preliminary way of thinking about how to compute and reason with perceptual information.

Starter Links: Fuzzy Logic Archive | Lotfi Zadeh’s page at the Berkeley Institute for Soft Computing

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Angus Forbes

Haptic Visuality (Laura U. Marks’s Touch: Sensuous Theory and Multisensory Media) Transliteracies Research Report

A concept developed by Laura U. Marks in the books The Skin of Film and Touch, haptic visuality refers to embodied spectatorship.

“Haptic criticism is a kind of criticism that assumes a tactile relation to one’s object — touching, more than looking. The notion of the haptic is sometimes used in art to refer to a lack of visual depth, so that the eye travels on the surface of an object rather than move into illusionistic depth. I prefer to describe haptic visuality as a kind of seeing that uses the eye like an organ of touch. Pre-Socratic philosophers thought of perception in terms of a contact between the perceived object and the person perceiving. Hence the haptic: looking, we touch the object with our eyes. This image might be a rather painful one, calling up raw, bruised eyeballs scraping against the brute stuff of the world. But I mean it to call up a way of seeing that does not posit a violent distance between the seer and the object, and hence cause pain when the two are brought together. In haptic visuality the contact can be as gentle as a caress.”

Starter Links: Mind the __GAP page on Laura U. Marks | Laura U. Marks’ article on Haptic Visuality in Framework: the Finnish Art Review”

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Angus Forbes

Desktop Theater Transliteracies Research Report

Desktop Theater utilizes 2-d visual chat to stage performances of theatrical texts. In addition to the participants who act out the parts of scripted characters, other users may take part in the performance in unpredictable ways.

“Making a compelling theatrical intervention or engaging group activity in a virtual public space is an adventure. Here, live theater has new parameters: gestures, emotions and speech are compressed into 2 dimensions and computer speech. How can we work within these boundaries to hold peopleís attention long enough to ask some questions? And why should we even want to?”

“There are many hundreds, perhaps even thousands of palaces (networked graphical spaces) that are used for a variety of purposes: social, promotional, conferencing, fan-based, etc. During the course of our Desktop Theater performances we inhabit several high-trafficked social palaces, as well as performing other activities in our own publicly accessible customized palace: the Genetically Enhanced Palace (GEP).”

Starter Links: Desktop Theater | “Clicking for Godot,” a Salon article by Scott Rosenberg

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Jason Farman

MediaBASE Transliteracies Research Report

Collaborative tool for creating and exchanging multimedia compositions

“MediaBASE is a software application for creating, sharing and exchanging media objects and compositions within a delimited social context. It places rich media authorship—ordinarily confined to discrete, resource-intensive media projects—in the hands of casual users, who are able to manipulate and exchange media compositions with the speed and informality of text-centric technologies such as weblogs, chat rooms, instant messaging, discussion forums and e-mail. Because it is built around an associatively-indexed database, MediaBASE allows these media “conversations” or “dialogues” to transcend their original contexts and take on relevance for subsequent users of the system. MediaBASE can be used: to augment existing discourse communities, such as a school, course, museum, local forum or design collective; to provide a common forum for linked classes and remote user groups; to create networks around a given topic or body of material, such as an online art collection or digital archive” (from MediaBASE website).

Starter Links: MediaBASE at Institute for Multimedia Literacy

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Nowell Marshall

History of the GUI

“Today, almost everybody in the developed world interacts with personal computers in some form or another. We use them at home and at work, for entertainment, information, and as tools to leverage our knowledge and intelligence. It is pretty much assumed whenever anyone sits down to use a personal computer that it will operate with a graphical user interface. We expect to interact with it primarily using a mouse, launch programs by clicking on icons, and manipulate various windows on the screen using graphical controls. But this was not always the case. Why did computers come to adopt the GUI as their primary mode of interaction, and how did the GUI evolve to be the way it is today?” (by Jeremy Reimer from ArsTechnica)

Starter Links: Reimer’s Article | History of the Gui at Wikipedia

History of the Button

“The idea: The button is interesting. It has a history, an evolution. It began as a simple on/off device and has become a central part of our human culture. We reach out to manipulate objects. We push buttons and magic things happen. At first, the light goes on. The light goes off. But now, we find our friends and family. We order and ship presents. We launch bombs. The button is the center of our power. This blog/resource/concept is to explore and record the history of the button. That’s all.” (from the History of the Button)

Starter Links: History of the Button


“The Bookworm is a portable Braille reading device in walkman size. It provides easy access to literature in electronic form. Books stored within the Bookworm can be read tactile in Braille with 8 Braille cells. The ergonomic shape of the Bookworm makes reading a real pleasure. The concave Braille cells of the Bookworm follow the shape of your finger tips which makes it ideal for reading.” (from the Handy Tech website)

Starter Links: Handy Tech

Screen Readers

A screen reader or talking browser is software that integrates with an operating system or browser to read the contents of a screen out loud. This assistive technology for the visually impaired relies on speech synthesis to generate an audio output alternative to the traditional computer monitor.

Starter Links: Window’s Narrator | Apple’s Voiceover | Fire Vox

Refreshable Braille Display

A refreshable braille display is a device which attachs to a computer and translates text on the screen into braille. Generally one line at a time, software for the device translates each character into braille by raising raised electromechanical pins on a tactile keyboard.

Starter Links: Refreshable Braille Display on Wikipedia | University of Toronto Adaptive Technology Resource Center


OpenOffice is a multiplatform and multilingual office suite and an open-source project. Compatible with all other major office suites, the product is free to download, use, and distribute. (from the OpenOffice website).

Wiki markup

Wiki markup is a curious text encoding phenomenon: every wiki has it, and they all use markup to produce essentially the same results, but many wikis uses different symbols to produce the same effects. In MediaWiki one surrounds their sub-headings with = like so: =subheading1= or ==subheading2==. The same effect is had in PBWiki with this syntax: !subheading1 or !!subheading2. Similarly, an editor of MediaWiki designates bold words by surrounding them with three apostrophes, while PBWiki editors use two asterisks. Both wikis are coding for the same end result but using different symbols to get the same effect.

Starter links: MediaWiki markup syntax | PB Wiki markup syntax | Meatball wiki’s attempt to address this problem

ProcessingTransliteracies Research Report

Open source programming language.

“Processing is an open source programming language and development environment initiated by Ben Fry and Casey Reas of the Broad Institute and UCLA Design | Media Arts, respectively. The processing language and environment strives to simplify programming for the beginner, such that someone with little or no programming experience can easily experiment and immediately see their results. While processing is capable of simple results quickly, it is robustly integrated with Java and streamlines many tasks that advanced users might expect. Processing runs on any machine with Java, is free and open source, and boasts a very active online community.” (From Mike Godwin’s research report.)

Starter Links:


Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Mike Godwin

Chris M. Herdman, “Research on Visual Word Recognition: From Verbal Learning to Parallel Distributed Processing” (1999)

Introductory essay for special issue of Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology on Visual Word Recognition research:

“Over the past 30 years, research on visual word recognition has contributed greatly to the understanding of how information is processed, represented, and accessed in the cognitive system. Today, word recognition continues to serve as a rich domain for modelling and investigating core issues in cognition. In addition, research on word recognition has been used to improve assessment and instruction of reading for children and adults. The following paragraphs provide a brief overview of some trends and developments in word recognition research over the past few decades. This overview is not meant to be exhaustive (or unbiased). My intent is to give readers from outside the area a feel for why word recognition is such an, important domain for cognitive research. ”

Starter Links & References: Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology (Dec. 1999) | Online version