cover story in chronicle of higher ed. 07.24.2006, 10:38 AM
posted by ben vershbow
Which focuses primarily on GAM3R 7H30RY and MediaCommons, and implications for the future of scholarly discourse. There are substantial interview sections with McKenzie Wark and Kathleen Fitzpatrick. We're excited.
Check it out:
- Open URL
Gary Frost on July 25, 2006 12:10 AM:
I wasn't convinced by the John Updike defense of the paper book. In my view the position of the paper book is quite strong in relation to screen based publication due to its more dedicated and process driven use of digital technologies. The ingredients of paper book production are well established and any digital technology from electrostatic printing to automated indexing to screen fonts can be easily and directly assimilated. The paper book is also well positioned to benefit from networked marketing and on-line forums and bibliographical utilities.
But at least two strategic attributes of the paper book are always missed by both its supporters and its detractors. First, the paper book survives neglect and thereby persists across inevitable cycles of veneration and disrespect. Exactly such passive persistence is needed to cross divides of time and culture and eras of changing academic interest. The other attribute is purely navigational. Turns out that haptic attributes, featuring the use of hand manipulation, are required for ease of comprehension. As weird as it seems, we use physical objects to convey conceptual works because of a deep embedded learning pathway of hands prompting the mind. Many screen based reading advocates cannot grasp this concept. Meanwhile advocates of the paper book will express appreciation for its various materialities without mentioning physical actions of reading or the mobilities of the codex structure.
virginia kuhn on July 25, 2006 3:34 PM:
Congrats on the coverage you guys. I thought this article and the one that will hit on Friday that looks at Rice's e-press, were both smart and fairly even handed although this whole peer review thing seems to elude Jeff Young. Granted, Wark got comments on Gam3er Th3ory that had varying degrees of helpfulness, the Chronicle reporter implies that the process of jurying a scholarly text seems to be either traditional peer review or toss it on the web and it's a free for all. Since the Media Commons introduction (and subsequent comments) address this process in detail, I find this binary troublesome to say the least.
And, while I agree with Gary Frost's comment about the importance of the materiality of the book, its persistence (even under neglect), and the import of the physical act of hand/eye/mind coordination, just as crucial is the layout of a text: its negative and positive space, its frame, font and such. Of course some of these features are limited by the technology (contrast, etc.) some are not. Matt Rato (of the Virtual Knowledge Studio in Amsterdam), who is a long time e-book reader (and attending the same Cyberinfrastructure workshop as me), notes that too many e-book frames are so thick he can't focus on the main text. Although just a mock up, the frame seems different in the proposed iPod e-book reader: Apple is thinking of adding one to the new iPod as Wired's CultofMac reported yesterday (and endgadget did last Saturday (thanks for calling my attention to this Kimon Keramidas).
It would seem that iPod might actually figure out how to create an e-book reader that would help digital texts to rival their paper counterparts. Most current readers still root themselves in paper and don't have dynamic spaces; maybe they can somehow marry the materiality of the book page with the dynamism of the screen...