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

Visualization Ecologies: RoSE Research Paper

“Visualization Ecologies: RoSE Research Paper” by Lilly Nguyen.

About the Author: Lilly Nguyen is a PhD candidate in the Department of Information Studies at UCLA. Her research interests explore cultural dynamics of knowledge circulation in postcolonial contexts. She is especially interested in the moral economies of software and methodological questions of data representation and its narratives. She is currently writing her dissertation on the modes of hybridity that emerge through the encounter between free and open source software and pirated software in Vietnam. She previously received her bachelor’s degree in Political Economy from UC Berkeley and her master’s degree in Media and Communications from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Transliteracies Research Paper PDF Version PDF version of the research report.

I. Introduction

The overarching goal for this visualization research paper was to make recommendations for future visualization strategies. Based on conversations with RoSE colleagues, colleagues at UCLA, and others in the digital media research community, this report provides an overview of three types of visualization strategies: network mapping, poetics and composite portraitures, and tagging. While these three are neither mutually exclusive nor exhaustive approaches to visualization, they collectively represent a range of approaches that are feasible to implement. Additionally, these three may cohere into a kind of visualization ecology and initiate discussion for future strategies and prioritization for visualization development. (more…)

Narrative as Metadata

Research Report by Eric Chuk

(created 3/17/10)

Related Categories:


We have seen RoSE grow into a linked collection of references to documents and people of various eras, and we know intuitively that each of these entities, living or not, has a story, has significance. Or more precisely, we can study and ascribe meaning to them separately and in clusters. Doing so might also be called a form of storytelling, or making sense of the data by tracing a certain vantage point or line of inquiry. The very acts of telling and seeing have deep ties to narratology. (more…)

Social Book Cataloging: Humanizing Databases

“Social Book Cataloging: Humanizing Databases” by Renee Hudson and Kimberly Knight.

About the Authors:
Renee Hudson received her BA in English at Stanford University and is currently a PhD student in English at UCLA. She specializes in twentieth century American literature. Her research interests include media theory, terrorism, and political violence.

Kimberly Knight is a doctoral candidate in Literature at UC Santa Barbara. Her research interests include literary and cultural theory; digital and information culture; new media literature and art; and twentieth century literature. She is currently writing her dissertation on viral structures in contemporary literature and new media. Knight is a member of the development team of The Agrippa Files: an Online Archive of Agrippa (a book of the dead) and has served as the RA for the Literature.Culture.Media (formerly Transcriptions) Studio at UCSB. She is also the Flash designer and co-author of the Transliteracies History of the Book project, “In the Beginning Was the Word”.

Transliteracies Research Paper PDF Version PDF version of the research report.

Popular Social Book Cataloging Sites

Created in 2006, Goodreads is a social networking site designed for booklovers. Accounts are linked to users’ email accounts, so friends can be added directly from one’s email account. Users receive updates through email about their friends’ activity on Goodreads. In addition to connecting with a user’s email account, Goodreads is also an application on Facebook. All reading updates have to be done through the Goodreads website, but afterwards Facebook users can refresh their Goodreads box, which will then show updated thumbnails of which books a user is currently reading and has already read. Facebook friends are automatically added as friends on Goodreads if both users have a Goodreads account. (more…)

Jazz as an Extended Metaphor for Social Computing

Research Report by Aaron McLeran
(created 5/17/09; version 1.0)

Related Categories: Social Networking Systems | Online Social Networking (Tools for Analyzing)

The Ontological Problem of Social Computing

At the UCSB’s Bluesky Social Computing Group, part of the University of California’s Transliteracies Project, we are tasked with the problem of researching the impact of social computing as a tool for collaborative research and to explore new ways in which social computing might be used in the future. We have been confronted with the problem of how to conceptualize what social computing means and what we mean when we talk about collaborative research. This issue is further exacerbated by the variety of social computing experiences; broadly considered, anything related to the internet, by definition, is a form of social computing. Recent efforts have focused on developing and applying a deeper understanding of ontological meaningfulness of concepts like a “person” and “relationships”. Most realizations of digital social networks have trivial and naive answers to these questions, a situation which fundamentally limits their usefulness. To this end, it has been suggested by Bluesky project leader and English department chair, Dr. Alan Liu, that new metaphors for social computing are needed.


Thinking at the Interface: A Review of the 2007 HASTAC Electronic Techtonics Conference

“Thinking at the Interface: A Review of the 2007 HASTAC Electronic Techtonics Conference” by Nicole Starosielski.
(version 1.0; created 6/5/07)

About the Author: Nicole Starosielski is a PhD student in Film and Media Studies at UCSB. Her current research interests include media historiography, perception and affect of digital media, and 3-D animation environments. She is also a media artist working in the integration of theory and production at the intersection of the humanities, sciences and arts. She has participated in the UCSB IGERT program in Interactive Digital Multimedia and is currently the research assistant for UCSB’s Center for Film, Television and New Media. Her recent projects include TechConnect (a mockumentary about technology and community), Bleach (an experimental ethnography on race, gender and family) and Minotour (a location-aware mobile tour application that weaves a spatial tale from Wikipedia). Read more about the author.

Transliteracies Research Paper PDF Version PDF version of the research report.

Thinking at the Interface: A Review of the 2007 HASTAC Electronic Techtonics Conference


From April 19th-21st, 2007, HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory) held the “Electronic Techtonics: Thinking at the Interface” conference at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. It marked the culmination of the In|Formation Year, a year long mashup of public programming, technological innovation, and interdisciplinary discussion on the humanistic dimensions of technology. “Electronic Techtonics” brought together a variety of perspectives on the material interface and itself served as an interface, in the broader sense of the word, between a broad range of disciplinary approaches. The concepts in circulation ranged from newly proposed theories for the interface, to the exploration of new interfaces, to a critical cultural analysis of how interfaces are emerging, operating, and being deployed. The following report summarizes some of the key panels and events at the conference; and also reflects on their implications for the Transliteracies Project. (more…)

Reading as Gathering

“Reading as Gathering” by Elizabeth Swanstrom.
(version 1.0; created 5/18/07)

About the Author: Elizabeth Swanstrom is a doctoral candidate in comparative literature at UC Santa Barbara. Her research interests include twentieth-century Latin-American and American literatures, the literature of the fantastic, history of science, media theory, and science-fiction film and literature. A recent paper she wrote on issues of memory and information technology in William Gibson’s science fiction titled “Wax Blocks, Data Banks, and File #0467839: The Archive of Memory in William Gibson’s Science Fiction” appeared in the Spring 2005 issue of InterActions: UCLA Journal of Education and Information Studies. Swanstrom is a member of the development and editorial team of The Agrippa Files: An Online Archive of Agrippa (a book of the dead). In addition to her academic work, she writes short fiction and serves as co-editor for the online literary journal Sunspinner. Read more about the author.

Related Categories:

Transliteracies Research Paper PDF Version PDF version of the research report.

In the Transliteracies’ research clearing house we’ve been seeing many research reports that focus on reading as a collective activity that brings together a group of readers to one reading locus in the online or new media environment. In such spaces multiple readers have access to the same text–they read it, they respond to it, and they help write it, either explicitly in the case of wikipedia or indirectly (or, at least, differently!) in the case of blog platforms. This is extremely interesting, but I am equally intrigued by the way that reading is not just a collective activity, but a collecting one, a process that not only allows people to come together and gather as a group of readers, but one that also involves the act of gathering, sorting, sifting, organizing, processing, and editing information.

I would like to focus here on precisely this: reading as a collective and collecting activity, reading as gathering. By looking at a few case studies and excerpts from my own research reports, I wish to explore, however briefly, the way collective and collecting reading shift in the online environment and to consider what happens when the act of collecting or selecting becomes an automated or partially automated part of the reading process. (more…)

Beyond Search: A Preliminary Skill Set for Online Literacy

“Beyond Search: A Preliminary Skill Set for Online Literacy” by Monica Bulger.
(version 1.1; updated 9/13/06)

About the Author: Monica Bulger is a doctoral student at the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, former UCSB Writing Program Lecturer, and current Co-Director of the Bren Graduate Writing Center. Her research interests include educational technologies, cognitive writing processes, and student engagement. She currently works with the Technology in Education research initiative, an interdisciplinary team that studies the impacts of technology on student learning. More information about the author.

Related Categories: Literacy Studies

Transliteracies Research Paper PDF Version PDF version of the research report.

Today’s online reading experience is a convergence of search engines, blogs, wikis, forums, social networks, RSS feeds, and traditional web pages (Lieu & Kinzer, 2000). Efforts such as Google Books, Yahoo’s Online Content Alliance, and digital libraries are increasing the rate at which resources such as journal articles, books, periodicals, and informational websites are published online (Carlson & Young, 2004; Gorman & Wilkin, 2005; Hafner, 2005). Correspondingly, an increasing percentage of the U.S. population (73% in 2006) is turning to online resources for work-related research, education. and general information about hobbies, health and shopping (Madden, 2006). Online users now have access to vast amounts of information but may not know how to use it (Azevedo & Cromley, 2004; Rouet, 2006). The risk of information overload, combined with the seductive distractions of online media, challenge users to develop savvy navigation and filtering skills. Faced with over eight billion pages of information (Lyman & Varian, 2003; Markoff, 2005) and unlimited opportunities for interaction, how do online users select what they need and know when to stop?