About | Project Members | Research Assistants | Contact | Posting FAQ | Credits

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

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

Margaret Minsky

Researcher of interest who specializes in “haptic interfaces.”

“Margaret Minsky is an internationally-known researcher in the field of haptic interfaces (computational interfaces that simulate objects what you can touch and feel), as well as a contributor in computer graphics, educational technology, and human-computer interaction. She developed the first technique for creating haptic textures, a Lateral-Force Algorithm, while at the MIT Media Lab. Her comments on haptics have been featured in the New York Times and she now presents invited teaching and lectures in the USA and Japan, as well as serving on program committees and conference review boards.

Holding a doctorate from MIT, she was among the first ten technical staff at Interval Research Corporation, and is now a consultant. She also founded a design/manufacturing company to produce innovative clothing and textile processing. Her previous positions include Research Director at Atari Cambridge Laboratory. Her research has been published in conference proceedings in the fields of computer graphics, haptics, and mechanical engineering, and she served as editor and contributor to a book about the Logo programming language, LogoWorlds.� (From the web site).

Starter Links: Margaretminsky.com

The Tilty Tables Transliteracies Research Report

The Tilty Tables are part of Xerox PARC’s reading experiments of 2000. The experiment consists of three “tilty tables” that explore different aspects of reading. Tilty Table #1, The Reading Table, provides a non-linear interface to a text as a way to explore reading extraordinarily large documents. The second, The Tall Tale Table, uses the syntactical rules of the English language in order to construct nonsense tales. The Peace Table, the third in the experiment, translates the word “peace” into different languages as a way of exploring whether reading can bring about peace on Earth.

“There are three Tilty Tables placed across the front of the gallery. Each Tilty Table is a three-by-three-foot-wide white square resting on a metal podium. The table is attached in such a way as to allow it to be tilted in all directions. Projected on to the white surface of each table is a high-resolution image, so that it appears as if the table is itself a glowing screen. When visitors tilt the table the images on its surface change in direct response.

How does it work? The tables sit on pneumatic shock absorbers, much like the ones used in cars to smooth out the ride. Also under each table is a digital device called “an accelerometer” which measures how quickly something is getting faster or slower. (Acceleration means rate of change. For example, a car going from 0 to 60 is accelerating. A car moving at a steady 60 miles per hour is not accelerating at all.) As it turns out, an accelerometer can also measure tilt, much the same way that the bubble in a carpenter’s level can measure tilt. This is because gravity is really acceleration (as Newton discovered 400 years ago). The tilt information from the accelerometers is sent to computers that use this information to determine the correct image to send to the video projectors. These projectors are mounted in the ceiling and are precisely aligned with the tables beneath them so that the images fill the white surface of the tables.” (Matt Gorbet, 2000)

Starter Links: tilty tables

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Nathan Blake

Text RainTransliteracies Research Report

Camille Utterback and Romy Achituv’s 1999 art installation.

“Text Rain is an interactive installation in which participants use the familiar instrument of their bodies, to do what seems magical–to lift and play with falling letters that do not really exist. In the Text Rain installation participants stand or move in front of a large projection screen. On the screen they see a mirrored video projection of themselves in black and white, combined with a color animation of falling letters. Like rain or snow, the letters appears to land on participants’ heads and arms. The letters respond to the participants’ motions and can be caught, lifted, and then let fall again. The falling text will ‘land’ on anything darker than a certain threshold, and ‘fall’ whenever that obstacle is removed. If a participant accumulates enough letters along their outstretched arms, or along the silhouette of any dark object, they can sometimes catch an entire word, or even a phrase. The falling letters are not random, but form lines of a poem about bodies and language. ‘Reading’ the phrases in the Text Rain installation becomes a physical as well as a cerebral endeavor.” (From the web site.)

Text takes on the behaviors of objects that respond to forces in the real world and also to the physical gestures of viewers. (220) “Similarly to the text in the Poetic Garden, the text here continues to serve its symbolic function as an decipherable code, but also as an ‘object’ viewers can engage with as if it were a real physical entity […] the physical act of catching letters is necessary in order to read the text at all […] Because most of one’s body is visible in the virtual space of the screen as well as in the physical space in front of the screen, a pleasurable confusion results between the screen space and the real space.” (Utterback 2004: 221)

Starter Links and resources: Text Rain | Camille Utterback’s “Unusual Positions–Embodied Interaction with Symbolic Spaces.” First Person: New Media as Story, Performance, and Game. Ed. Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Pat Harrigan. Cambridge: The MIT Press. 2004.

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Nathan Blake

Stream of Consciousness: An Interactive Poetic Garden

David Small and Tom White’s 1997-98 art installation.

“A six foot square garden sits in the middle of an otherwise ordinary computer lab. Water briskly flows down a series of cacsades into a glowing pool. Projected on the surface of the pool and flowing as if they were caught in the water’s grasp are a tangle of words. You can reach out and touch the flow, blocking it or stirring up the words causing them to grow and divide, morphing into new words that are pulled into the drain and pumped back to the head of the stream to tumble down againâ€? (From the web site).

An installation in which texts escapes from the flat screen and spills out into the viewer’s physical space. The installation consists of a garden with rock slabs, plants and water flowing from one level of a multi-tiered fountain to the next. (219) “While the text still carries its symbolic weight as words, it also becomes the physical objects of leaves or detritus carried along by the water’s flow.â€? (Utterback 2004: 220) “The tension between the intangibility of the projected text and its behavior as a tangible object (which you can ‘touch’ via the interface) parallels the tension between the text’s position as a signifier for a real object and the real object it represents.â€? (Utterback 2004: 220)

Starter Links and References: Stream of Consciousness | Camille Utterback’s “Unusual Positions–Embodied Interaction with Symbolic Spaces.” First Person: New Media as Story, Performance, and Game. Ed. Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Pat Harrigan. Cambridge: The MIT Press. 2004.

PVPro Laser Projection Technology (Pocket-Sized Digital Projectors)

New generation of small digital projectors (standalone or built into mobile devices) using
PVProâ„¢ laser projection technology from Light Blue Optics.

“Laser projection using computer-generated holograms (CGHs) represents a compelling alternative to conventional image projection. Video projectors based on this CGH technology are efficient and require only a very few components, which means they can be made very small—and the smaller the CGH, the bigger the image that results. So a tiny projector producing large images could, for the first time, be integrated into a laptop, a PDA, or even a mobile phone.” (from Light Blue Optics home page)

Starter Links: Light Blue Optics home page | Images of projector: 1, 2

Marey’s Graphic MethodTransliteracies Research Report

Considers the implications of Marey’s graphic method as a part of the greater discourse of signification and writing systems.

“The discourse of graph may be considered to be a micro-discourse, a series of signifying practices that loosely–perhaps even unconsciously–organizes meaning not from the standpoint of a unifying discourse such as science or theology that organizes knowledge from the outside in but rather signifies a particular episteme from the inside out. The word and suffix graph appears in the names of many new technologies in the middle and late nineteenth century: photography, cinematography, cardiography, phonautograph, graphophone, heliography, telegraphy, ideograph, phonograph, seismograph, myography, etc. ...Marey’s graphic method modernized the study of physiology by helping to displace quasi-mystical theories of vitalism with a positivistic understanding of the human body. As writing, the indexical traces produced by means of the graphic method evidence a radical cultural transformation of the status of writing from transcendent signifying practice to the machinic writing of life based not upon a higher power but rather the movements of the body as machine. The graphic method takes part in a larger cultural and epistemic project of the scientific secularization of writing and inscription.” (From James J. Hodge’s Research Report.)

Starter Links and References:
Marta Braun’s. Picturing Time: The Work of Etienne-Jules Marey (1830-1904) (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992) | François Dagognet’s Etienne-Jules Marey: A Passion for the Trace (1987), trans. Robert Galeta with Jeanine Herman (New York: Zone Books, 1992).

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By James J. Hodge

Turning the Pages

British Library projects that allows the online user to view items held in the Library’s special collections.

“Turning the Pages is the award-winning interactive program that allows museums and libraries to give members of the public access to precious books while keeping the originals safely under glass. Initially developed by and for the British Library, it is now available as a service for institutions and private collectors around the world.

Turning the Pages allows visitors to virtually ‘turn’ the pages of manuscripts in a realistic way, using touch-screen technology and interactive animation. They can zoom in on the high- quality digitised images and read or listen to notes explaining the beauty and significance of each page. There are other features specific to the individual manuscripts. In a Leonardo da Vinci notebook, for example, a button turns the text round so visitors can read his famous ‘mirror’ handwriting.” (From the Project’s web site.)

Starter Links: Turning the Pages | BBC article on their digitization of Mozart’s diaries as part of the project | BBC article about their digitization of what was to become Alice in Wonderland

Thermo Rewrite

Rewritable thermal recording material developed by Mitsubishi Paper Mills Limited.

“Unlike other rewritable systems, e.g., transparent-opaque types, Thermo Rewrite uses Leuco dye in a coloring/decoloring process for its imaging (Thermo Rewrite is therefore classified as a Leuco type rewritable material). This primary difference from other rewritable materials allows a high-contrast and high-resolution image. Toughness is also a big advantage of Thermo Rewrite. With the use of an adequate printer set, a print/erase durability of more than one thousand times would be possible. Thanks to these great advantages, Thermo Rewrite is expected to be used not only for card applications but also for various other fields.” (From Mitsubishi Paper Mills Ltd.)

Starter Links: Mitsubishi Paper Mill’s Thermo Rewrite | Wikipedia entry on Leuco Dye

Inform.com Transliteracies Research Report

News portal site from Inform Technologies LLC that uses advanced algorithms to sift news, blogs, audio, and video; analyzes them according to structure and relationships through “polytope” mathematical/geometrical relations; and then “channels” the results adaptively (according to evolving “discovery paths”) for particular readers:

“Inform is creating a free online tool that we believe will revolutionize how people read news on the web. We not only provide thousands of news sources, including blogs, video, and audio, in a convenient single interface, we process the news for you, allowing you to get at what you’re interested in more quickly, intelligently, and comprehensively.

Inform’s differentiating technology uses a series of information structuring techniques and natural-language interpretation to auto-categorize and group news stories into thousands of categories, and then shreds the text of the stories to isolate the important elements of each. Once the elements have been identified, you can easily connect and read news on any person, place, organization, topic, industry or product quickly, successfully, and easily right from the article you’re reading, or by utilizing a custom news channel you create, all for free.” (from “About Us” on Inform.com site)

Starter Links: Inform.com | Business Week article discussing Inform.com and related, math-driven information and business technologies (.pdf)

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Lisa Swanstrom


Software program that organizes large lists of citations to help researchers sort the terrain of the literature.

“With this powerful text analysis and visualization software program, you get an intuitive framework for exploring reference collections based on content. RefViz provides an at-a-glance overview and reveals trends and associations in references–now you can retain important references otherwise lost when narrowing a search or skimming a list.â€? (from the Product Info page.)

Starter Links: Refviz

The Virtual Retinal Display

With the VRD a new technique of Head Mounted Displays evolve that don’t produce a real image on a physical screen any more, but project a virtual image directly onto the retina. They promise on the long run, low costs, light weight and higher resolutions which might make convenient reading possible for the first time in the history of HMDs.

“The VRD was invented at the University of Washington in the Human Interface Technology Lab (HIT) in 1991. The development began in November 1993. The aim was to produce a full color, wide field-of-view, high resolution, high brightness, low cost virtual display. Microvision Inc. has the exclusive license to commercialize the VRD technology. This technology has many potential applications, from head-mounted displays (HMDs) for military/aerospace applications to medical society.

The VRD projects a modulated beam of light (from an electronic source) directly onto the retina of the eye producing a rasterized image. The viewer has the illusion of seeing the source image as if he/she stands two feet away in front of a 14-inch monitor. In reality, the image is on the retina of its eye and not on a screen. The quality of the image he/she sees is excellent with stereo view, full color, wide field of view, no flickering characteristics. Using the VRD technology it is possible to build a display with the following characteristics:

* Very small and lightweight, glasses mountable * Large field of view, greater than 120 degrees * High resolution, approaching that of human vision * Full color with better color resolution than standard displays * Brightness sufficient for outdoor use * Very low power consumption * True stereo display with depth modulation * Capable of fully inclusive or see through display modes” (from the NPS Article)

Starter Links:
Microvision|Product video|NPS Article

The IPod as Ebook ProjectTransliteracies Research Report

With better display quality, more storage space and a very sophisticated web infrastructure to support it, the IPod is growing into a multipurpose device for different kinds of media, that exceeds the original intention of a mp3 player by far.

The IPod video is much more than a mp3 player. In fact, it is a full-sized computer that is even able to have a version of linux installed. With video and audio podcasts there is a new way to handle content transfer of any kind. Furthermore, the IPod can be used as a ebook. With the IPodulator websites can be viewed and several books like for example the bible can be heard and read on the IPod on the go.

Starter Links:

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Marc Breisinger

The Book as Landscape: Hypermedia Berlin

New reading inteface which reconfigers the page into a landscape of interlinking information.

“The page itself, one of the most fundamental components of the book, is undergoing a material and conceptual transformation as the static, flat, delimited space of the paper page gives way to the animated, interactive, unlimited, deep space of the digital book. “Hypermedia Berlin”–which grew out of a collaboration between the Stanford Humanities Laboratory (SHL) and UCLA’s Center for Digital Humanities (CDH)–represents an excellent example of the formal innovation made possible by digital media. This project crafts an entirely new kind of page out of a gallery of highly detailed, interlinked, illustrated and annotated map interfaces, which can be navigated with an easy-to-use zoom feature. In other words, the page itself has been re-oriented to “landscape.” This alternative book form organizes its content topographically and chronologically; encouraging readers to interact with and consider its subject differently. History, the map interface tells us, is tied as strongly to place as it is to time.

Presently, the site offers 25 navigable maps, “each map, corresponding to a key date in Berlin’s nearly 800 hundred year history, consists of an array of virtual reality “hotspots,” popup information screens, and critical essays documenting and analyzing significant regions, architectural structures, events, people, and cultural products from that moment in Berlin’s history.” Using the zoom function, students and scholars can study the maps in detail. The overlay function, which makes maps semi-transparent so that one can be placed on top of the other, allows the reader to analyze changes in Berlin’s landscape.” (from next/text)

Starter Links:
project description on next/text

Mark Billinghurst, AR Volcano

“Magic Book” project that employs augmented reality to create three-dimensional images that change with each page.

“Without goggles, someone approaching AR Volcano would only see what looked like a conventional paper book propped (albeit one which is only six pages long) on a podium. With the goggle, the computer software recognizes special patterns embedded in the book and replaces them with photo-realistic 3D objects. In this photo, a volcanic eruption takes place over the course of several minutes. The image will appear no matter where the user positions themselves around the book, and a new image can be seen by simply turning the page.

AR Volcano has a significant feature that sets it apart from Billinghurst’s previous magic books and makes the technology much more suitable for creating learning environments. In earlier books – such as the Black Magic Book, which tells the story of the America’s Cup Race – the user was positioned as a passive spectator in an enhanced “reading” environment. AR Volcano, however, provides an interactive slider that allows the user to control volcano formation and eruption as well as the movement of tectonic plates. In the image above, the slider (a physical slider attached to the book podium), is adjusted so that the volcano is erupting at a rapid pace; in the image below, the slider is adjusted downwards so that the movement of tectonic plates on the earth’s surface occurs more gradually. The audio narrative also adjusts, so that it keeps pace with the user’s movement through the pages of the book.” (from the next/text web site.)

Starter Links: next/text’s works in progress page

Bob Brown, Readies machineTransliteracies Research Report

Avant-garde project described and planned in the early 1930s to create a reading machine that would use cinematic technology to make words move across a reading surface.

Note: The article describing the “Readies” was published in transition (1930) and in the stand-alone publication The Readies (Bad Ems: Roving Eye Press, 1930). It also inspired a collection of short works created for the machine, Readies for Bob Brown’s Machine (1931), which included poems by Gertrude Stein, William Carlos Williams, and Filippo Marinetti.

“The written word hasn’t kept up with the age. The movies have outmanoeuvered it. We have the talkies, but as yet no Readies. I’m for new methods of reading and writing and I believe the up-to-date reader deserves an eye-ful when he buys something to read. I think the optical end of the written word has been hidden over a bushel too long. I’m out for a bloody revolution of the word” (1). (from Bob Brown’s The Readies (Bad Ems: Roving Eye Press, 1930, UCLA Special Collections.)

“Writing must become more optical, more eye-teasing, more eye-tasty, to give the word its due and tune-in on the age. Books are antiquated word containers…. modern word=conveyors are needed now, reading will have to be done by machine; microscopic type on a moveable tape running beneath a slot equipped with a magnifying glass and brought up to life size before the reader’s birdlike eye, saving white space, making words more moving, out=distancing the flatulent winded ones and bringing the moment brightly to us” (13). (from Bob Brown’s The Readies (Bad Ems: Roving Eye Press, 1930, UCLA Special Collections.)

Starter Links or References: The Readies (Bad Ems: Roving Eye Press, 1930) | Readies for Bob Brown’s Machine (1931)

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Jessica Pressman

W. Bradford Paley, TextArcTransliteracies Research Report

Text-visualization and -analysis tool that processes texts (e.g., a novel) to give an overview of networks of repeated words and where repetitions occur; also retains the original text in readable form:

“A TextArc is a visual represention of a text–the entire text (twice!) on a single page. A funny combination of an index, concordance, and summary; it uses the viewer’s eye to help uncover meaning. Here are more detailed overviews of the interactive work and the prints.” (from the TextArc web site.)

Starter Links: TextArc | W. Bradford Paley’s Home Page

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Katrina Kimport

Marumushi.com, Newsmap

A visual representation of the Google News aggregator’s shifting status.

Newsmap is an application that visually reflects the constantly changing landscape of the Google News news aggregator. A treemap visualization algorithm helps display the enormous amount of information gathered by the aggregator. Treemaps are traditionally space-constrained visualizations of information. Newsmap’s objective takes that goal a step further and provides a tool to divide information into quickly recognizable bands which, when presented together, reveal underlying patterns in news reporting across cultures and within news segments in constant change around the globe.

“Newsmap does not pretend to replace the googlenews aggregator. It’s objective is to simply demonstrate visually the relationships between data and the unseen patterns in news media. It is not thought to display an unbiased view of the news, on the contrary it is thought to ironically accentuate the bias of it. ” (from the Newsmap web site.)

Starter Links: newsmap | Marumushi.com | Google News

David Small, Illuminated Manuscript

Interactive, motion-sensitive manuscript in which text responds to the movements of the reader’s hand.

“Combining physical interfaces with purely typographical information in a virtual environment, this piece explored new types of reading in tune with human perceptual abilities.

“A handbound book is set in a spartan room. Projected typography is virtually printed into the blank pages with a video projector. Sensors embedded in the pages tell the computer as the pages are turned. In addition, sonar sensors allow visitors to run their hands over and to disrupt, combine and manipulate the text on each page. The book begins with an essay on the four freedoms – freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from fear and freedom from want. Each page explores a different text on the topic of freedom. ” (from the Illuminated Manuscript description page on the Small Design Firm web site.)

Starter Links: Illuminated Manuscript| Small Design Firm


Browser designed with integrated social-networking features, including integration with Flickr, del.icio.us, and blogs (still in “developer preview” release as of Jan. 2005):

“We believe that it should be easy for everyone to contribute to and participate on the web. To that end, we’ve started with integrating tools that make it easier to blog, publish your photos and share and discover things that are interesting to you.” (from Flock home page)

“Flock did a good job at sticking to the basic structure of a browser and basically looks like a beautified Firefox, but with extra features. The buttons on the navigation bar has the basic back, forward, refresh, and home button. But you also get a few new buttons such as a button to open the blog editor, the favorites manager, and the star button to star a site…. There are only two topbars as of now. The “Flickr Photosâ€? and ‘Blog Topbar.’” (from detailed review of 18 Oct. 2005 on Solution Watch site)

Starter Links: Flock home page | Solution Watch review, 18 Oct. 2005


One of the current, leading open-source blog-engines and content management systems. (The Transliteracies site is created and managed in WordPress):

“Software that provides a method of managing your website is commonly called a CMS or ‘Content Management System.’ Many blogging software programs are considered a specific type of CMS. They provide the features required to create and maintain a blog, and can make publishing on the Internet as simple as writing an article, giving it a title, and organizing it under (one or more) categories…. WordPress is one such advanced blogging tool and it provides a rich set of features. Through its Administration Panels, you can set options for the behavior and presentation of your weblog. Via these Administration Panels, you can easily compose a blog post, push a button, and be published on the Internet, instantly!” (from “Introduction to Blogging” on WordPress site)

Starter Links: WordPress home page

Brian Kim Stefans, “Privileging Language: The Text in Electronic Writing” (2005)

Essay arguing against the perceived tendency in new-media art/literaryworks to reduce language to just an element in a larger, multimedia field:

“The word is not valued in a hierarchy over other media elements…. It doesn’t appear to be of great import to new media writers, especially those involved in interactivity, 3D spaces and multimedia, that they might actually utilize the technology to magnify the impact and specificity of language as we have come to know it through the centuries. Rather, the tendency has been to reduce or evaporate this impact for the sake of something else—experience of language in space or time, for example, or of language as some sort of ambient experience, or, in this case, of language as a participant in a recombinant universe jointly occupied by sounds, images, videos and the user’s interactions…. However, I’d like to argue that one cannot simply say that the word is another element to be treated like a sound or a color if one is to do justice to the notion of language as a very specific ability that humans possess, one that has been shaped by the sediments of conventions and conversations layered over several centuries.” (from section 1 of essay)

Starter Links: Essay in Electronic Book Review, 5 November 2005

Novels for the Cell Phone

Originally Japanese innovation of serial, small-chunk novels and soap operas for cell-phone users:

“While some traditional publishers cling to the belief that consumers will forever prefer paper publications over reading from a PC or a laptop screen, Japanese teens are happily reading novels on some of the smallest screens available: cell phone displays! With millions of Japanese carrying phones with online access, checking and reading email on the go has become common place. This paved the way for novels written especially for phone owners, and sent to them in email installments of up to 1,600 characters.” (from 2004 Springwise Newsletter article)

Starter Links: 2004 Springwise Newsletter article | 2005 Associated Press story | Wired.com article

Noah Wardrip-Fruin, et al., Screen

Project created in 2002-5 in the Brown U. CAVE-Writing Worshop; features dynamic, interactive text in a CAVE environment:

“Screen was created in the ‘Cave,’ a room-sized virtual reality display. It begins as a reading and listening experience. Memory texts appear on the Cave’s walls, surrounding the reader. Then words begin to come loose. The reader finds she can knock them back with her hand, and the experience becomes a kind of play – as well-known game mechanics are given new form through bodily interaction with text. At the same time, the language of the text, together with the uncanny experience of touching words, creates an experience that doesn’t settle easily into the usual ways of thinking about gameplay or VR. Words peel faster and faster, struck words don’t always return to where they came from, and words with nowhere to go can break apart. Eventually, when too many are off the wall, the rest peel loose, swirl around the reader, and collapse…. In addition to creating a new form of bodily interaction with text through its play, Screen moves the player through three reading experiences – beginning with the familiar, stable, page-like text on the walls, followed by the word-by-word reading of peeling and hitting (where attention is focused), and with more peripheral awareness of the arrangements of flocking words and the new (often neologistic) text being assembled on the walls.” (from )

Starter Links: Description with images on Noah Wardrip Fruin’s Hyperfiction.org site | Iowa Review Web Interview with Noah Wardrip Fruin (with videos of Screen) | Brown U. CAVE-Writing Worshop

PieSpy Social Network Bot: Inferring and Visualizing Social Networks on IRC

Software from Jibble.org to visualize the social network created in an IRC channel:

“PieSpy is an IRC bot that monitors a set of IRC channels. It uses a simple set of heuristics to infer relationships between pairs of users. These inferrences allow PieSpy to build a mathematical model of a social network for any channel. These social networks can be drawn and used to create animations of evolving social networks. PieSpy has also been used to visualize Shakespearean social networks.” (from Jibble.org’s PieSpy site)

Starter links: Jibble.org PieSpy page | Visualization of the social network implied in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, treated as a communicational network

E-Ink, E-Paper Displays

Flexible, paper-like display technology based on “eink” concept:

“An Electronic Paper Display is a display that possess a paper-like high contrast appearance, ultra-low power consumption, and a thin, light form. It gives the viewer the experience of reading from paper, while having the power of updatable information. EPDs are a technology enabled by electronic ink – ink that carries a charge enabling it to be updated through electronics. Electronic ink is ideally suited for EPDs as it is a reflective technology which requires no front or backlight, is viewable under a wide range of lighting conditions, including direct sunlight, and requires no power to maintain an image.” (from the E Ink corporation’s page on EPDs)

Starter Links: | E Ink, Inc. home| Business Week Article

OLED’s (Organic light-emitting diodes) and Flexible LCD Screens

Current initiative to create flexible, rollable display screens based on OLED technology:

“The display is functionally similar to the LCD (liquid crystal display) panels used inside TVs and notebooks, but with a crucial difference. Instead of containing glass substrates, the screen features a substrate of flexible plastic, allowing the display to bend.” (from CNET News.com article on flexible screens)

Starter Links: Wikipedia article on OLED | CNET News.com article on Samsung flexible LCD

Digital Humanities Quarterly (DHQ)

Online journal designed to publish peer-reviewed work on digital humanities research in such a way as to establish technical standards adapted to born-digital or hybrid print/digital research (inaugural issue scheduled for March 2006):

“an open-access, peer-reviewed, digital journal covering all aspects of digital media in the humanities. Published by the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations (ADHO), DHQ is also a community experiment in journal publication, with a commitment to:

  • experimenting with publication formats and the rhetoric of digital authoring
  • co-publishing articles with Literary and Linguistic Computing (a well-established print digital humanities journal) in ways that straddle the print/digital divide
  • using open standards to deliver journal content
  • developing translation services and multilingual reviewing in keeping with the strongly international character of ADHO

    DHQ will publish a wide range of peer-reviewed materials, including:

  • Scholarly articles
  • Editorials and provocative opinion pieces
  • Experiments in interactive media
  • Reviews of books, web sites, new media art installations, digital humanities systems and tools
  • A blog with guest commentators
(from DHQ home)

Starter Links: DHQ home | Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations (ADHO)

VectorsTransliteracies Research Report

Experimental online journal from the Annenberg Center for Multimedia Literacy:

“This investigation at the intersection of technology and culture is not simply thematic. Rather, Vectors is realized in multimedia, melding form and content to enact a second-order examination of the mediation of everyday life. Utilizing a peer-reviewed format and under the guidance of an international board, Vectors will feature submissions and specially-commissioned works comprised of moving- and still-images; voice, music, and sound; computational and interactive structures; social software; and much more. Vectors doesn’t seek to replace text; instead, we encourage a fusion of old and new media in order to foster ways of knowing and seeing that expand the rigid text-based paradigms of traditional scholarship. In so doing, we aim to explore the immersive and experiential dimensions of emerging scholarly vernaculars. ” (from Vectors site)

Starter Links: Vectors

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Jessica Pressman

Annenberg Center for Multimedia Literacy

Center focusing on networked, multimedia “literacyâ€?:

“As a project of the Annenberg Center for Communication, the University of Southern California’s Institute for Multimedia Literacy develops educational programs and conducts research on the changing nature of literacy in a networked culture. The IML’s educational programs address students, teachers, and faculty across the educational spectrum: including K-12 teachers, student teachers, and higher education faculty. The IML supports faculty-directed research that seeks to transform the nature of scholarship within the disciplines.” (from Center site)

Starter Links: Annenberg Center home


Java-based tool from the NINEs project and Applied Research in Patacriticism for the comparison of texts:

“Juxta is a cross-platform tool for collating and analyzing any kind or number of textual objects. The tool can set any textual witness as the base text and can filter white space and/or punctuation. It has several kinds of visualizations, including a heat map of textual differences and a histogram that can expose the filtering results. When collations are being executed, Juxta keeps the textual transcriptions keyed to any digital images that may stand behind the transcriptions as their documentary base. Juxta also allows the collations and analyses to be annotated and saved for further use.” (from Juxta site)

Starter Links: Juxta home | NINEs Tools & Interfaces

NINES (Networked Interface for Nineteenth-Century Electronic Scholarship

Project for publishing scholarship on 19th-century literature and create scholarly or pedagogical online reading tools:

“NINES will liaison with interested publishing venues on behalf and in the interests of scholars and educators and the work we produce. NINES will include various kinds of content: traditional texts and documents – editions, critical works of all kinds – as well as “born-digital” materials relating to all aspects of nineteenth-century culture. NINES will be a model and working example for scholarship that takes advantage of digital resources and internet connectivity, while allowing scholars to integrate their contributions fully into their local IT environments. It will provide scholars with access to a federated digital environment and a suite of computerized analytic and interpretive tools. A key goal of NINES is to go beyond presenting static images or transcriptions of manuscripts on-screen. Software tools that aid collation, comparative analysis, and enable pedagogical application of scholarly electronic resources expose the richness of the electronic medium.” (from NINEs site)

Starter Links: NINES home | Tools & Interfaces

Open Journal Systems

Initiative from the Public Knowledge Project to facilitate the creation and editing of open access journals (includes the development of reading tools):

“Open Journal Systems (OJS) is a journal management and publishing system that has been developed by the Public Knowledge Project through its federally funded efforts to expand and improve access to research. OJS assists with every stage of the refereed publishing process, from submissions through to online publication and indexing. Through its management systems, its finely grained indexing of research, and the context it provides for research, OJS seeks to improve both the scholarly and public quality of referred research. OJS is open source software made freely available to journals worldwide for the purpose of making open access publishing a viable option for more journals, as open access can increase a journal’s readership as well as its contribution to the public good on a global scale.” (from Public Knowledge Project description)

Starter Links: OJS site | OJS Version 2 Release Announcement | Public Knowledge Project home page

Public Knowledge Project

Project to develop open-access systems and technologies for scholarly publication:

“The Public Knowledge Project is dedicated to exploring whether and how new technologies can be used to improve the professional and public value of scholarly research. Bringing together scholars, in a number of fields, as well as research librarians, it is investigating the social, economic, and technical issues entailed in the use of online infrastructure and knowledge management strategies to improve both the scholarly quality and public accessibility and coherence of this body of knowledge in a sustainable and globally accessible form. The project seeks to integrate emerging standards for digital library access and document preservation, such as Open Archives and InterPARES, as well as for such areas as topic maps and doctoral dissertations.” (from project website)

Starter Links: Public Knowledge home page | Open Journal Systems (OJS)