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Announcement: Research Assistants, 2006-2007

Project Coordinators: Elizabeth Swanstrom (2005-2007); Kimberly Knight (2007-2008).

Announcement: Historical Multimedia

Announcement: Developers Only

Materials intended for project members only. Most of these materials require a “developers only” password (not a project member’s individual password). [Contact Alan Liu for password]

Project partipants can most efficiently review the status of the project by looking at the following documents on the site:

Kate Marshall

Graduate Student, English Dept., UC Los Angeles (more…)

William Huber

Graduate Student, Art and Media History / Theory and Criticism Program, UC San Diego (more…)

Nicole Starosielski

Graduate Student, Film and Media Studies Dept., UC Santa Barbara (more…)

Ayhan Aytes

Graduate Student, Communications Dept., UC San Diego (more…)

Irene Chien

Graduate Student, Film Studies, UC Berkeley (more…)

Project Meetings

Restricted to project members; requires “developers only” password:

Web Meetings

Transliteracies conducts some of its planning and development through web-meetings held in the WebEx conferencing system. WebEx meetings are recorded and made available to project members and approved guests in two available streaming formats:

  • WebEx format (.wrf) (smaller files; allows user to jump between indexed sections of a recording; automatically installs WebEx player upon clicking on a .wrf file)
  • Windows Media Video format (.wmv) (longer files; no ability to jump between indexed sections of a recording)
  • For Macintosh users(.mp4) (longer file; audio only)

    While playing a .wrf file in the WebEx Player, users can navigate between indexed sections of a recording by going to: Commands > Controls > Go To.

    Transliteracies Web-meeting, October 27, 2006: (1 hr. 31 min.):
    Contents Introductions Agenda Review of Overall Project Plan Progress in Year 1 (2005-6) Plans for Year 2 (2006-7): New Activities Plans for Year 2: Research Working Groups Alan’s Hypothesis about “UC Framework for Online Reading” (project deliverable) Discussion

Objects for Study

“Objects for Study” is an initial collection point where project members suggest interesting objects, designs, tools, articles, books, and other recent research developments to explore. Objects are roughly classified as relevant to one or more of the Transliteracies working groups on History of Reading, Online Reading and Society, and New Reading Interfaces. They range across the spectrum of innovation—both contemporary and historical—from paradigmatic instances of hardware, software, interfaces, and protocols to more general social conventions or research trends.

Research Reports

Research reports focus on high-priority items in “Objects for Study.” Reports are written in a standard format designed both to synopsize the topic and to offer a preliminary evaluation of the opportunities it suggests for Transliteracies’s goal of improving online reading. (Drafts of reports are also available.)

Research Papers

Articles, essays, reviews of literature, talks, and white papers generated by the Transliteracies project.


“The Gallery” exhibits images, Flash animations, audio/video files, Powerpoint files, and other multimedia presentations collected or created by the Transliteracies Project to support of its research. A primary goal of the Gallery is to present crucial ideas or examples in the research areas explored by particular Transliteracies working groups so that they can be quickly grasped by researchers in other working groups with different expertise. For example, the History of Reading working group is currently at work on a visual exhibit of the history of the book. Similarly, the Online Reading & Social Groups working group may produce an exhibit of some of the main variants of social networking.


The Glossary provides definitions of words that may be of interest to Transliteracies Project members, as well as to the general reading public.


Suggested scholarly books and articles related to research into online reading. This bibliography was created by Monica Bulger, and will be expanded as the Transliteracies project continues. See also the History of Reading group’s bibliography and see also Objects for Study for annotated citations of a wider range of related materials (including web, hardware, software, historical, and artistic resources as well as selected items from this bibliography).

We Feel Fine

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

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

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

Starter Links: wefeelfine.org


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

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

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

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

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

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

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Kim Knight

The Temporary Printing Machine

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

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

El MuroTransliteracies Research Report

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

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

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

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Kate Marshall


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

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

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


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

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

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

Developers’ Newsletters

Restricted to project members; requires “developers only” password:

Newsletter 2.0 (Sept. 15, 2006)

Contents 1. Upcoming Transliteracies WebEx Conference Call 2. Summary of Research in Year One (2005-2006) 3. Research Plans for Year Two (2006-2007)

Newsletter 1.0 (March 18, 2006)

Contents 1. Progress on Working Groups 2. Progress on Research Clearinghouse 3. Courses 4. Upcoming Events 5. Other News


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

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

Aegis Hyposurface

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

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

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

Transliteracies Research ReportBrown University’s Cave Writing Workshops

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

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

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

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Nicole Starosielski

Sony E-Reader Transliteracies Research Report

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

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Lisa Swanstrom

Joshua Neves

Graduate Student, Film and Media Studies Dept., UC Santa Barbara (more…)

Semantic Web Transliteracies Research Report

Innovative method for creating organizational structures and ontologies online.

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

Starter Links:
Glossary definition | W3C

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Angus Forbes

Semantic Web

Research Report by Angus Forbes
(created 10/6/06; version 1.0)
[Status: Draft]

Related Categories: Software / Coding Innovations, Search and Data Mining Innovations

Original Object for Study description

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) uses the term “the semantic web” as an umbrella identifier to refer to a number of initiatives that enable developers and archivists to add rich, meaningful metadata to digital resources. According to the W3C, the major reason for theses initiatives to tag information with explicit meaning is to make “it easier for machines to automatically process and integrate information” [1]. The semantic web adds depth to the existing web protocols running over the application layer of the internet without involving any changes to its more basic architecture. Currently, the main feature that organizes the web is the “link”—any document (or resource) can link to any other. Additionally, each link is coupled with a method (or protocol) to present the resource to the user or application that followed that link (e.g., by clicking on it). That is, the web in one sense is completely non-hierarchical and unstructured. The only structural meaning of links between two web pages (or other resources) is simply that one of them refers to the other (and possibly vice versa); all other meanings are entirely contextual and must be interpreted by humans. The goal of the semantic web is to provide a richer structure of relationships to define formally some of the meanings that link resources. And in particular, to provide an extensible uniform structure that can be easily interpreted by search engines and other software tools. The W3C describes a number of potential practical applications that could make use of semantic web technologies, including enhanced search engines for multimedia collections, automated categorization, intelligent agents, web service discovery, and content mapping between disparate electronic resources [2]. (more…)