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Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (1991)

Book that studies the experience of “concentration and deep experience” as opposed to that of distracted browsing or skimming:

“For more than two decades Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has been studying states of ‘optimal experience’—those times when people report feelings of concentration and deep enjoyment. These investigations have revealed that what makes experience genuinely satisfying is a state of consciousness called flow—a state of concentration so focused that it amounts to absolute absorption in an activity. People typically feel strong, alert, in effortless control, unselfconscious, and at the peak of their abilities. Both the sense of time and emotional problems seem to disappear, and there is an exhilarating feeling of transcendence…. With such goals, we learn to order the information that enters consciousness and thereby improve the quality of our lives.” (from publisher’s blurb on back cover)

Starter Links or References: Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (New York: Harper Perennial, 1991) | Amazon.com “inside this book” excerpts

Writing and the Digital Life

Group blog of writers working in digital new media:

”... collaborative transdisciplinary blog about the impact of digital technologies upon writing and lived experience. We talk about writing and reading in the context of ‘new and old’ media, transliteracy, craft, art, process and practice, social networks, cooperation and collaboration, narrative and memory, human computer interaction, imagination, nature, mind, body, and spirit.” (from home page)

Starter Links: Home page

Electronic Literature Organization (ELO)

Non-profit organization that promotes the writing, reading, publishing, teaching, and preservation of creative “born-digital” works of literature:

“What is Electronic Literature?
The term refers to works with important literary aspects that take advantage of the capabilities and contexts provided by the stand-alone or networked computer. Within the broad category of electronic literature are several forms and threads of practice, some of which are:

  • Hypertext fiction and poetry, on and off the Web
  • Kinetic poetry presented in Flash and using other platforms
  • Computer art installations which ask viewers to read them or otherwise have literary aspects
  • Conversational characters, also known as chatterbots
  • Interactive fiction
  • Novels that take the form of emails, SMS messages, or blogs
  • Poems and stories that are generated by computers, either interactively or based on parameters given at the beginning
  • Collaborative writing projects that allow readers to contribute to the text of a work

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

Ziming Liu, “Reading Behavior in the Digital Environment: Changes in Reading Behavior Over the Past Ten Years” (2005)

Survey-based study of the change in reading practices over time in digital environments:

“Previous studies attempted to explore reading in the digital environment through examining the evolution of reading or observing how people read documents (especially electronic documents) within a specific period of time. The goal of this study is to explore reading in the digital environment from a different perspective. Instead of observing how people read electronic documents, this study attempts to investigate reading behavior in the digital environment by analyzing how people’s reading behavior has changed over the past ten years. Understanding changes in reading behavior would help in designing more effective digital libraries and empower users in the digital environment.” (from introduction to article)

Starter Links: HTML and .pdf versions of article in Journal of Documentation, 61, no. 6 (2005): 700-12

Table of Contents

Browse Objects by General Category

» All Objects for Study
» Related to Project Working Groups:
History of Reading Group
Online Reading & Society Group
New Reading Interfaces Group

1. Hardware

Hardware Innovations Transliteracies Research Report

Hardware Innovations (Historical) Transliteracies Research Report

2. Software (Code Level)

Software/Coding InnovationsTransliteracies Research Report

Text Encoding (Markup)
Historical Encoding & Formatting Inventions

3. Software (Platforms & Applications)

Browser Innovations
Blog & Content Management Systems (CMS) Transliteracies Research Report

Social Networking Systems Transliteracies Research Report

Tools for Online Reading Transliteracies Research Report

Text Analysis Tools Transliteracies Research Report

Search & Data Mining Innovations Transliteracies Research Report

4. Display & Interface Innovations

Alternative Interfaces Transliteracies Research Report

Text Visualization Transliteracies Research Report

Text and Multimedia Transliteracies Research Report

Immersive Text Environments
Codex Book / Digital Text Hybrids Transliteracies Research Report

Text for Cell Phones & Small Wireless Devices

5. Online Journals, Books, and Text Archives

Online Journals (Experimental Paradigms)
Online Text Archives Transliteracies Research Report

Online Knowledge Bases (Collaborative or Innovative)

6. Reading Practices (Past and Present)

Literacy Studies Transliteracies Research Report

Browsing Practices Transliteracies Research Report

7. Writing While Reading

Annotation Tech & Practices (Online)
Annotation Tech & Practices (Historical)
Open Tagging Systems

8. Psychology of Reading

Cognitive Approaches to Reading Transliteracies Research Report

9. Reading and Society / Collective Reading

Collective Reading Transliteracies Research Report

Social Networking Systems Transliteracies Research Report

Online Social Networking (Tools for Analyzing)Transliteracies Research Report

10. History of Reading

Historical Encoding & Formatting Inventions
Past Reading Practices (Classical to 19th-Century)
Annotation Technology & Practices (Historical)
New Approaches to Reading Print Texts Transliteracies Research Report

Historical Multimedia Transliteracies Research Report

11. Related Projects

Related Projects & Centers
Related Blogs
Art Installations Transliteracies Research Report

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

Nora Project

Project to create text-mining, pattern-recognition, and visualization software to enable the discovery of significant patterns across large digital text archives:

“In search-and-retrieval, we bring specific queries to collections of text and get back (more or less useful) answers to those queries; by contrast, the goal of data-mining (including text-mining) is to produce new knowledge by exposing unanticipated similarities or differences, clustering or dispersal, co-occurrence and trends. Over the last decade, many millions of dollars have been invested in creating digital library collections: at this point, terabytes of full-text humanities resources are publicly available on the web. Those collections, dispersed across many different institutions, are large enough and rich enough to provide an excellent opportunity for text-mining, and we believe that web-based text-mining tools will make those collections significantly more useful, more informative, and more rewarding for research and teaching.” (from Nora project description)

Starter Links: Nora Project home page

pStruct: The Social Life of Data

Self-organizing graphing program for visualizing large bodies of data, including Web forum posts; being developed at UCSB’s Four Eyes Lab:

“pStruct enables content to organize itself dynamically, based on similarities to other pieces of data, as well as users’ interaction with the forum. The result is an unstructured graph that responds in life-like ways to the interaction of data and users…. pStruct is built on a multithreaded Java architecture designed to maintain system responsiveness when faced with hundreds of users and millions of pieces of content. Every post to the forum is stored in a database for archival purposes. A subset of the posts are kept in memory as ‘live’ content which users are presented with and can interact with. When a post is no longer live, it is saved to the database for later retrieval. Each live entity runs as a separate thread, maintaining connections to other entities (posts, users, etc.), responding to requests and seeking out new relationships. While pStruct is currently built to act as a web forum backend, the architecture is general enough to allow for management of any data storage and content retrieval system.” (from UCSB Four Eyes Lab site)

Starter Links: UCSB Four Eyes Lab description of pStruct

FogScreenTransliteracies Research Report

New digital projection display device; UCSB’s Four Eyes Lab is currently working on adding interactivity to it:

“The FogScreen is a new invention which makes objects seem to appear and move in thin air! It is a screen you can walk through! The FogScreen is created by using a suspended fog generating device, there is no frame around the screen. The installation is easy: just replace the conventional screen with FogScreen. You don´t need to change anything else – it works with standard video projectors…. With two projectors, you can project different images on both sides of the screen.” (from Fogscreen company site)

Starter Links: Fogscreen home page | UCSB Four Eyes Lab’s Interactive FogScreen project

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Marc Breisinger and James K. Ford

Amazon.com’s “Amazon Pages’ & “Amazon Upgrade”

Amazon.com’s recent extensions of its “Search Inside the Book” feature:

“Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) today announced two innovative programs to benefit readers, authors and publishers. Building on its successful Search Inside the Book technology, which allows customers to search the complete interior text of hundreds of thousands of books, the company is currently developing two new programs that will enable customers to purchase online access to any page, section, or chapter of a book, as well as the book in its entirety.
     The first program, Amazon Pages, will ‘un-bundle’ the physical-world experience of buying and reading a book so that customers can simply and inexpensively purchase and read online just the pages they need. For example, an entrepreneur interested in marketing his or her business could purchase the relevant chapters from several best-selling business books.
     The second program, Amazon Upgrade, will allow customers to ‘upgrade’ their purchase of a physical book on Amazon.com to include complete online access.” (from 2005 )

Starter Links: Amazon.com press release | CNET News.com interview with Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com | LibraryJournal.com article

Google Print (Google Book Search) Transliteracies Research Report

Google’s controversial, large-scale effort in collaboration with several major research libraries to put print books online:

“Search the full text of books to find ones that interest you and learn where to buy or borrow them…. Just do a search on Google Book Search or on Google.com. When we find a book whose content contains a match for your search terms, we’ll link to it in your search results. Click a book title and you’ll see the Snippet View which, like a card catalog, shows information about the book plus a few snippets – a few sentences of your search term in context. You may also see the Sample Pages View if the publisher or author has given us permission or the Full Book View if the book is out of copyright. In all cases, you’ll also see ‘Buy this Book’ links that lead directly to online bookstores where you can buy the book.” (from Google site)

Starter Links: Google Book Search | Google’s “About Google Book Search” | Google’s Blog for the Book Search Project | 2004 Washington Post article | 2005 CNET News.com article on the ensuing copyright controversity with publishers

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Lisa Swanstrom

Micro-Laptop “Flybook”

The Dialogue company’s Flybook computer:

“Among the Asian makers of Windows laptops…the game for some time has been, ‘How small can you go?’... A Taiwan company called Dialogue has placed a new dot along that curve with an intriguing micro-laptop called the Flybook. It’s a full-blown Windows XP computer, complete with touch screen and stylus, that’s not much bigger than a DVD case (9.3 by 6.1 inches, 2.7 pounds).” (from )

Starter Links: Flybook home page | New York Timesreview of the Flybook

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

Text-Encoding Initiative Standard (TEI)

Basic concept of TEI (and of text-encoding in general) as a markup approach to digitizing literary and other texts:

“The TEI was founded in 1987 to develop guidelines for encding machine-readable texts of interest in the humanities and social sciences. Its work was supported by the Association for Computing and the Humanities, the Association for Literary and Linguistic Computing, and the Association for Computational Linguistics, and received generous grant funding from the Mellon Foundation, the EEC, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and other institutions. The “P3” Guidelines were delivered in 1994, and have become the de facto standard for encoding of literary and linguistics texts, corpora, and the like.” (from the TEI FAQ)

Starter Links: TEI home | See also Michael Sperberg-McQueen’s “A Gentle Introduction to SGML” for an overview of the text-encoding or text markup concept

XMLTransliteracies Research Report

Basic concept and implications of XML (and markup language approaches in general):

“Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a simple, very flexible text format derived from SGML (ISO 8879). Originally designed to meet the challenges of large-scale electronic publishing, XML is also playing an increasingly important role in the exchange of a wide variety of data on the Web and elsewhere.” (from W3C Page on XML)

Starter Links: W3C Page on XML | Wikipedia article | See also Michael Sperberg-McQueen’s “A Gentle Introduction to SGML” for an overview of the text-encoding ot text “markup” concept

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Marc Breisinger


Rubrication from the age of manuscripts to that of digital search “highlighting”:

[under construction]

Starter Links or References:


The invention of word spacing and punctuation:

”... the earliest hieroglyphic and alphabetic inscriptions had no punctuation symbols at all. No commas to indicate pauses and no periods between sentences. In fact, there weren’t even spaces between words. Nor did the early Greek and Roman writers use any form of punctuation. Knowing exactly how to read the words, where to put the intonations, pauses, etc., was an art, and one that required practice…. The use of spaces ( ) for interword separation didn’t appear until much later, roughly 600-800 AD. By the seventh century, the convention was quite common. In some early medieval manuscripts, two vertically aligned dots represented a full stop at the end of a sentence. Eventually one of the dots was dropped, and the remaining dot served as a period, colon or comma, depending on whether it was aligned with the top, middle, or base of the lowercase letters.” (from “History of Punctuation,” Complete Translation Services, Inc.)

Starter Links or References: Alberto Manguel, A History of Reading (New York: Viking, 1996): 47-50 | Complete Translation Services, Inc. article on “History of Punctuation”(article on site)

The Alphabet

The historically unique invention of the phonetic alphabet and its later evolution:

[under construction]

Starter Links or References:

MIT Media Lab’s $100 Laptop Transliteracies Research Report

Project to design and produce a $100 laptop to be distributed to users through government programs:

Why do children in developing nations need laptops?
Laptops are both a window and a tool: a window into the world and a tool with which to think. They are a wonderful way for all children to “learn learning” through independent interaction and exploration.” (from MIT Media Lab $100 Laptop site)

Starter Links: $100 Laptop site | CNET News.com articles (1 | 2) | Chronicle of Higher Education article

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Kim Knight

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

Tatjana Chorney, “Interactive Reading, Early Modern Texts and Hypertext: A Lesson from the Past”

Article comparing Renaissance-era reading practices, both individual and collective, to today’s online reading practices:

“Renaissance reading habits and those fostered by the hypertext environment (which has become synonymous with the Internet), are similar with regard to four broad issues: 1. non-linearity; 2. a protean sense of text and its functions; 3. affinity with oral models of communication, and 4. a changing concept of authorship.”

“Interactive reading in the Renaissance was part of the characteristic model of learned reading based on the intellectual technique on collecting ‘commonplaces.’ A reader read texts in order to ‘extract quotations and examples from them, then note down the more striking passages for easy retrieval or indexing,’ or for later use either in writing or in speaking. The ‘reference’ style of reading is symbolized in the reading wheel, ‘a vertical wheel turned with the help of a system of gears permitting the readers to keep a dozen or so books, placed on individual shelves, open before them at one time.’ â€? (from article)

Starter Links: Tatjana Chorney, “Interactive Reading, Early Modern Texts and Hypertext: A Lesson from the Past,” Academic Commons, 12 Dec. 2005

National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL)

Dec. 2005 report by the U.S. Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics on changes in literacy between 1992 and 2003 (including a finding that just 25% of college graduates are functionally “proficient” in reading):

“On the prose scale, the percentage of college graduates with Proficient literacy decreased from 40 percent in 1992 to 31 percent in 2003. For adults who took graduate classes or completed a graduate degree, the percentage with Proficient prose literacy fell 10 percentage points between 1992 and 2003.” (from NAAL report, .pdf)

Starter Links: NAAL Report (.pdf) | Inside Higher Ed article on the report (16 Dec. 2005)

On-Demand, Digital Academic Publishing

Story from Chronicle of Higher Education, 9 Dec. 2005, on digital, on-demand academic publishing:

“Harvard University Press was one of the first academic publishers to use digital printing. After the press found success in reprinting sold-out books that way, officials started doing first print runs digitally about two years ago. ‘It actually changed our whole reprint philosophy,” says John F. Walsh, assistant director of Harvard University Press. “It allows us to keep books in print that normally we wouldn’t be able to keep in print.’ ” (from article)

Starter Links: Dan Carnevale, “Books When You Want Them,” Chronicle of Higher Education, 52.16 (9 Dec. 2005): A27; available online (requires subscription)


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)

Franco Moretti, Graphs, Maps, Trees: Abstract Models for a Literary History (Verso, 2005)

Book demonstrating Moretti’s quantitative, “distant reading” (rather than close reading) approach to novels:

“Professor Franco Moretti argues heretically that literature scholars should stop reading books and start counting, graphing, and mapping them instead. He insists that such a move could bring new luster to a tired field, one that in some respects is among “the most backwards disciplines in the academy.â€? Literary study, he argues, has been random and unsystematic. For any given period scholars focus on a select group of a mere few hundred texts: the canon. As a result, they have allowed a narrow distorting slice of history to pass for the total picture. Moretti offers bar charts, maps, and time lines instead, developing the idea of “distant reading,â€? set forth in his path-breaking essay “Conjectures on World Literature,â€? into a full-blown experiment in literary historiography, where the canon disappears into the larger literary system. Charting entire genres–the epistolary, the gothic, and the historical novel–as well as the literary output of countries such as Japan, Italy, Spain, and Nigeria, he shows how literary history looks significantly different from what is commonly supposed and how the concept of aesthetic form can be radically redefined.” (from publisher’s blurb)

Starter Links & References: Verso, 2005 (ISBN: 1844670260) | Publisher’s blurb for the book | Inside Higher Ed review