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Announcement: Research Produced in Courses

Supplemental research focuses on items produced in conjunction with Transliteracies Project-sponsored courses. While not directly bearing upon specific objects for study or research reports, these projects are sufficiently related to the project to warrant inclusion in the site. Supplemental research entries are ordered on this page by date of original posting, with the most recent entries at the top.

Announcement: Research


Working Papers


Founded in late 2005, Inform.com is an online news synthesizer that allows its users to design and customize “news channels” according to their individual interests. While there are many sites that provide access to multiple news sources, such sites frequently rely upon RSS (really simple syndication) feeds for the bulk of their information. Inform.com is distinct because it actively crawls each news item it hosts in order to more effectively categorize and sort its contents. While Inform.com initially received some very critical reviews from the digerati at large, it has since ironed out many bugs and continues to refine its interface. At the time of this writing, Inform.com seems to be generating positive feedback, gaining momentum, and remains in its beta testing phase. (more…)


6. Illuminated matter or work; a picture in an illuminated manuscript, an illumination. In early use also: the action or process of rubricating letters or of illuminating a manuscript.” (From the OED.n.6)


3. A sheet of paper printed on one side only, forming one large page.” (From the OED.n.)


Research Report by Garnet Hertz
(created 5/15/06; version 1.0)
[Status: Draft]

Related Categories: Online Reading and Society, Social Networking Systems

Original Object for Study description

MySpace, as one of the top five most popular English-language websites in the world, is an increasingly influential part of teen popular culture in North America. As of March 2006, MySpace was more popular than the websites of CNN, The New York Times, and Amazon, and – unlike “the news” – MySpace embodies an emerging breed of Internet communication in which individuals both create and consume content, freely blend text, images, video and audio, and easily transition between online and real-world social interaction. (more…)


“A leaf of paper (in OE. called bóc, BOOK); a legal document or ‘deed’ written (usually) upon a single sheet of paper, parchment, or other material, by which grants, cessions, contracts, and other transactions are confirmed and ratified.” (From the OED.n1)


1. Paper, parchment, or other writing material designed to be reusable after any writing on it has been erased. b. In extended use: a thing likened to such a writing surface, esp. in having been reused or altered while still retaining traces of its earlier form; a multi-layered record.” (From the OED.n.A,1-2)


1. a. A piece of animal skin, esp. from a sheep or goat, dressed and prepared as a surface for writing; a scroll or roll of this material; a manuscript or document written on this.” (From the OED.n.I,1)


1.The book containing the service of the Mass for the whole year; a mass-book. 2. A Roman Catholic book of devotions, esp. when illuminated; an illuminated book of hours, etc.” (From the OED.n1.I,1-2)


A book printed using moveable type prior to the year 1501 AD.

Ruthwell Cross

7-8th century stone cross in Ruthwell, just south of Dumfries, Scotland. Latin and Runic inscriptions as well as pictorial images on each face of the cross.


A manuscript from which another is copied.


“A book containing a set or collection of antiphons.” (From the OED.n.)


I. 1. The Book of Psalms, as one of the books of the Old Testament b. A translation or particular version (prose or metrical) of the Book of Psalms c. A copy of, or a volume containing, the Psalms, esp. as arranged for liturgical or devotional use.” (From the OED.n.II.1, b-c)

Book of Hours

An illuminated manuscript used primarily from the 13th through 16th centuries; a personal prayer book for the laity to abide by the Christian church’s daily protocol of devotional prayer.


6. a. The embellishment or decoration of a letter or writing with bright or luminous colours, the use of gold and silver, the addition of elaborate tracery or miniature illustrations, etc.: see ILLUMINATE v. 8. b. with pl. The designs, miniatures, and the like, employed in such decoration.” (From the OED.n.6,a-b)


1. a. Antiq. An instrument made of metal, bone, etc., having one end sharp-pointed for incising letters on a wax tablet, and the other flat and broad for smoothing the tablet and erasing what is written. 1. Also applied to similar instruments in later use.” (From the OED.n.1,a)


“A word inserted between the lines or in the margin as an explanatory equivalent of a foreign or otherwise difficult word in the text; hence applied to a simliar explanatory rendering of a word given in a glossary or dictionary. Also, in a wider sense, a comment, explanation, interpretation. Often used in a sinister sense: A sophistical or disingenuous interpretation. b. A collection of such explanations, a glossary; also, an interlinear translation of, or series of verbal explanations upon, a continuous text. 2. A poetical composition in which a stanza of some well-known poem is treated as a text for amplification, each of the successive stanzas of the ‘gloss’ being made to end with one of the lines or couplets of the text.” (From OED.n.1-2)


“A writer; one whose business is writing. In various specific or limited applications; 3. Used as the official designation of various public functionaries performing secretarial duties. 4. a. One who writes at another’s dictation; an amanuensis. Obs. 5. A copyist, transcriber of manuscripts; now esp. the writer of a particular MS. copy of a classical or mediæval work.” (From the OED.n1.1, 3-5)


“A writing-room; spec. the room in a religious house set apart for the copying of manuscripts.” (from the OED.n.)

Paula McDowell

Visiting Associate Professor of English, New York University. (more…)


MUVEES: Multi-User Virtual Environment Experiential Simulator

“MUVEES are an engaging way to improve educational outcomes using museum-related multimedia and virtual environments for teaching and learning science. The purpose of this research project, funded by the National Science Foundation, is to build a multi-user virtual environment experiential simulator (MUVEES) in order to find an engaging way to teach science in a manner that draws on curiosity and play. The environment is enriched with digitized historical museum artifacts to enhance middle school students’ motivation and learning about science.” (From the MUVEES web site.)

Starter Links: MUVEES | An abstract from Museums and the Web | Paper from the IEEE Virtual Reality Conference 2003 | Related article

Fan-Made Music Videos Transliteracies Research Report

Digitized objects that re-configure text, sound, and images from different originals, in order to create a new, sometimes satirical or subversive, art object.

“The basic concept behind fan-made MV (music videos) is to match the rhythm (and lyrics, if using a song) of a piece of one music with the pictures from a different visual object, such that the music and pictures vitalize each other, in order to initiate a fresh mutual understanding. The resulting hybrid work offers a distinctly different art object from either of the original pieces, one that can function paradoxically as both as satire and homage.” (From Weiwei Ren’s Supplemental Research.)

Starter Links: www.youtube.com

Supplemental ResearchSupplemental Research By Weiwei Ren

Fan-Made Music Videos

Supplemental Research by Weiwei Ren

(created 2/21/06; version 1.0)
[Status: Draft]

Related Categories:

Original Object for Study description

The basic concept behind fan-made MV (music videos) is to match the rhythm (and lyrics, if using a song) of a piece of one music with the pictures from a different visual object, such that the music and pictures vitalize each other, in order to initiate a fresh mutual understanding. The resulting hybrid work offers a distinctly different art object from either of the original pieces, one that can function paradoxically as both as satire and homage.

To fully understand the future of this burgeoning global phenomenon, many more questions need to be raised and addressed—especially questions related to issues of copyright, collective and individual authorship, and digital appropriation and reconfiguration of analog works. (more…)

Weiwei Ren

Graduate Student, Comparative Literature Program, UC Santa Barbara (more…)

Mediawork Pamphlet Series

Research Report by Jessica Pressman
(created 2/26/06; version 1.0)

Related Categories: Codex Book / Digital Text Hybrids

Original Object for Study description

“Mediawork Pamphlets pair leading writers and contemporary designers to explore art, literature, design, music, and architecture in the context of emergent technologies and rapid economic and social change.” Published by the MIT Press, Mediawork Pamphlets “are ‘zines for grown-ups, commingling word and image, enabling text to thrive in an increasingly visual culture.” “Mediawork Pamphlets transform private theory into public discourse, visual experimentation into cultural intervention” and strive to “launch these hybrids out into a greater public” (Mediawork Website).

Peter Lunenfeld is Editorial Director of this innovative series that is inspired by such artistic collaborations as Marshall McLuhan and Quentin Fiore’s The Medium is the Massage and War and Peace in the Global Village. The pamphlets are small, beautifully designed objects in which art and theory intersect. (more…)


Online tool that allows user easy access to a dictionary of medieval Latin abbreviations.

“Abbreviationesâ„¢, the first electronic dictionary of medieval Latin abbreviations, is a powerful database designed foruse in both learning and teaching of medieval Latin paleography. Abbreviationesâ„¢ is also a highly useful reference and research tool. It consists of a database (Main Dictionary) and a database application(Abbreviationesâ„¢) — a mature, robust, and reliable program, suitable for everyone from the novice to the expert. An electronic dictionaryis immeasurably more effective than a printed dictionary in terms of speed and efficiency. Furthermore, our database currently comprises over 70,000 entries, nearly five times as many as you would find in the printed dictionaries by Walther, Chassant, De la Braña, Cappelli,and Pelzer combined. Thanks to annual updates and enhancements, theMain Dictionary will continue to grow steadily. Abbreviationesâ„¢ is a standard reference work and reflects the state of contemporaryscholarship.” (from the Abbreviations web site.)

Starter Links: Abbreviationes | Technical Information | Related Newsletter Article that mentions how “computers might actually help to make academics more productive” through this tool”

Edmund Burke, A Philosophical Enquiry into the Sublime and Beautiful

Supplemental Research by J. Paxton Hehmeyer
(created 2/21/06; version 1.0)
[Status: Draft]

Related Categories:

Burke’s A Philosophical Enquiry into the Sublime and Beautiful (hereafter Enquiry) was published in 1757 and a second revised and expanded edition of it in 1759. (more…)

J. Paxton Hehmeyer

Graduate Student, English Department, UC Santa Barbara (more…)

The Medley Print

Research Report by Gerald Egan
(created 2/20/06; version 1.0)

Related Categories: Historical Multimedia

Original Object for Study description

Medley prints, similar to a contemporary collage, were mixed-media objects that enjoyed an indeterminate period of popularity in the visual culture of eighteenth century England. One of the intriguing aspects of medley prints is that so little information survives about them and correspondingly little contemporary scholarship has been published about them. An exception is Mark Hallett’s “The Medley Print in Early Eighteenth-Century London,”? and I appropriate his description of a particular engraving called The May Day Country Mirth to formulate a workable definition of the genre of the medley print, which, Hallett writes, “. . . for clarity, fuses the mechanics of trompe-l’oeil with a sustained programme of representational juxtapositions and overlap. By means of an almost microscopically exact process of pictorial imitation, the engraver attempts to persuade us, however momentarily, that we are gazing at a scattering of printed and drawn objects, thrown together in front of our eyes. . . . The medley print . . . was a pictorial genre that meshed together a variety of materials circulating in graphic culture in order to produce a modern, hybrid art form”? (214 – 235). Although there is little scholarship on medley prints, there are a number of surviving examples, upon a few of which I will attempt quick readings today. (more…)

Gerald Egan

Graduate Student, English Department, UC Santa Barbara (more…)

Medley PrintsTransliteracies Research Report

Mixed-media objects, similar to a contemporary collage, that enjoyed an indeterminate period of popularity in the visual culture of eighteenth century England.

“One of the intriguing aspects of medley prints is that so little information survives about them and correspondingly little contemporary scholarship has been published about them. An exception is Mark Hallett’s “The Medley Print in Early Eighteenth-Century London.” Although there is little scholarship on medley prints, there are a number of surviving examples.” (From Gerald Egan’s Research Report.)

Starter Links and References:
Mark Hallett’s article, “The Medley Print in Early Eighteenth-Century London,” in Art History

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Gerald Egan

Robert Carlton Brown, The Readies

In 1930 avant-garde writer Bob Brown published an essay in the international avant-garde journal transition (edited by Eugene Jolas) calling for a new reading machine to push literature to keep up with the advanced reading practices of a cinema-viewing public and thereby produce the “Revolution of the Word.” In this essay, published a year later in a stand-alone publication, Brown boldly proclaimed

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).


Books are antiquated word containers…. modern word-conveyors are needed now, reading will have to be done by machine (13).

(The Readies [Bad Ems: Roving Eye Press, 1930], UCLA Special Collections).
Following the publication of the essay, Brown published a collection of short works inspired by and supposedly created for the machine. Readies for Bob Brown’s Machine (Cagnes-sur-Mer: Roving Eye Press, 1931) included poems by Gertrude Stein, William Carlos Williams, and Filippo Marinetti. Jerome McGann describes the importance of this anthology to literary history: “When the afterhistory of modernism is written, this collection… will be recognized as a work of signal importance” (Black Riders 89). (more…)

InfoDesign website Transliteracies Research Report

“Information design helps people and organizations achieve understanding through the creation of relevant, clear and memorable information. ‘InfoDesign: Understanding by Design’ is dedicated to the growth and improvement of the information and experience industries through the provision of a centralized online resource that serves all interested audiences. Launched in 2004, the site will continually evolve to meet the needs and desires of its participants. ‘InfoDesign: Understanding by Design’ is a non-profit informational resource.” (from the InfoDesign website.)

Starter Links: InfoDesign

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Mike Godwin


“The name derives from Doktoro Esperanto, the pseudonym under which L. L. Zamenhof first published the Unua Libro in 1887. Zamenhof’s goal was to create an easy and flexible language as a universal second language to foster peace and international understanding. Although no country has adopted the language officially, it has enjoyed continuous usage by a community estimated at between 100,000 and 2 million speakers. It is estimated that there are more than a thousand native speakers. Today, Esperanto is employed in world travel, correspondence, cultural exchange, conventions, literature, language instruction, television (Internacia Televido) and radio broadcasting. Some state education systems offer elective courses in Esperanto; there is evidence that learning Esperanto is a useful preparation for later language learning.” (from Esperanto on Wikipedia)

Starter Links: Esperanto League for N. America | Esperanto.net

Thinkmap Visual Thesaurus

Thinkmap is a unique implementation of a dictionary and thesaurus as an interactive visual display.

“The Visual Thesaurus is a dictionary and thesaurus with an intuitive interface that encourages exploration and learning. Available in both a Desktop Edition and an Online Edition, the Visual Thesaurus is a marvelous way to improve your vocabulary and your understanding of the English language.” (from The Visual Thesaurus Product Overview)

Starter Links: Visual Thesaurus Homepage | Thinkmap (Designers)

MediaWiki Transliteracies Research Report

MediaWiki is a free software package originally written for Wikipedia but is now run on other projects of the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation and many other wikis. (from MediaWiki)

“MediaWiki is a free server-based software, that is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL). It’s designed to be run on a large server farm for a website that gets millions of hits per day. MediaWiki is an extremely powerful, scaleable software and a feature-rich wiki implementation, that uses PHP to process and display data stored in its MySQL database. Pages use MediaWiki’s wikitext format, so that users without knowledge of XHTML or CSS can edit them easily. When a user submits an edit to a page, MediaWiki writes it to the database, but without deleting the previous versions of the page, thus allowing easy reverts in case of vandalism or spamming. MediaWiki can manage image and multimedia files, too, which are stored in the filesystem. For large wikis with lots of users, MediaWiki supports caching and can be easily coupled with Squid proxy server software.” (from MediaWiki’s “How does MediaWiki Work?”)

MediaWiki should not be confused with Wikimedia: “Wikimedia is the collective name for a group of inter-related projects, including Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Wikisource, Wikibooks, and others, which aim to use the collaborative power of the Internet, and the wiki concept, to create and share free knowledge of all kinds. Like “Wikipedia”, “Wikimedia” is a trademark, and should not be used for projects which are not officially affiliated. Wikimedia is also used as a shortened form of The Wikimedia Foundation.” (from MediaWiki’s “Names” page)

Starter Links: MediaWiki Homepage | List of Sites that use MediaWiki

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Mike Godwin

Internet Archive

First launched in 1996, the Internet Archive is a San Francisco-based, non-profit organization that curates and maintains an accessible, online archive of a vast amount of multimedia objects that have been published on the web since the popularization of the Internet in the mid-nineties.

A self-proclaimed repository of knowledge, the Internet Archive aims to create a reliable database of online works and to give, in essence, the web a stable “memory” that will endure beyond any individual web page’s date of expiration. The Internet Archive additionally seeks to keep this access open and free to the public. While the ten-year-old project remains a work in progress, its continuing development has already raised many intriguing challenges in relation to what some have argued is the transitory and ephemeral nature of online reading sources. (more…)

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