Highlight: digital textbooks (and Apple’s plan to ‘revolutionize’ them).

January 20, 2012

Apple and the Digital Textbook Counter-Revolution:   Sure, textbooks offer easier-to-digest summaries of the content, geared to the particular grade level of the student. They offer diagrams and illustrations and review questions and a glossary. But textbooks are always an assembly from a variety of sources, geared towards a classroom setting where the teacher leads students through the chapters and the exercises and the examinations. Neither the teacher nor the…


A participation program for futures of digital texts.

December 30, 2011

Thought I’d take a minute (or an entire damn evening) to gather a few reflections related to my dissertation. My current reflection strategy is to distill my project into the most fundamental questions I can conceptualize. Then try to answer them. One at a time. A weird combination of exploratory writing, argumentation, and exposition. But it seemed awfully productive tonight. I clarified (i.e. distilled) a few thoughts that had been…


The iPad’s Ironic Disintegration of the Book

The iPad is changing. Getting faster. Cameras. New toggles. Editing software. More and more, this little tablet is transitioning from a consumption-prioritized device to a production-prioritized device. Granted, the transition has only just begun. I’ve got my own criticisms of Apple: their treatment of developers, content providers, etc. And then there’s the way they’ve handled the cameras on the iPad. They could have had cameras on the first model. And…

April 4, 2011

Social, Portable, and Agile: Some Futures of the Book (after Paul Saffo)

Read an interview with Paul Saffo this morning (in Bill Moggridge’s Designing Media). He offers three ways that our media experiences are transitioning from “mass” to “personal.” And I wanted to take a second to think through these aspects of media experience specifically in terms of how readers experiences of books might be changing. Here are what he sees as the levels of difference (as paraphrased by Moggridge): 1. The…

December 17, 2010

Book Futurist, or Book Forecaster?

Short post. I just want to clarify something about the terminology of this blog. Must of my dissertation focuses on the rhetoric employed by humanities scholars (mostly english, rhetoric, composition, and bibliography nerds) when they write about both the history and future of “the book.” But there’s really no consensus about how to refer to someone who engages in this sort of rhetoric. So I’m going to go with Futurist….

December 17, 2010

Another Plea to Stop Criticizing Ebooks Because You’re Nostalgic about Dead-tree Books

When the eReader craze first started a few years ago, I was pretty uninterested. Not because the functionality of such technologies was still immature, but because I balked at the idea that we, as a culture, are so interested in remediating digital technologies to be more like old technologies like books. I still pretty much feel like that. I love books. I think they might be the most important complex…

November 24, 2010

More reflections on the history of predicting the book’s demise.

“The Book” has been dying for a long time. Although I don’t have any actual data to back this up, I sense that the cultural propensity to predict the the book’s demise is directly proportional to the amount of attention we pay to the adoption of digital technologies. More simply: the more computers we see, the more we thinks books are dying. And arguing (not for, in most cases, but…

September 5, 2010

Blog-to-Book Tools: TnP? Preservation? Portability?

[pullshow] Posted a “test-drive” yesterday of the new Anthologize tool developed, conceptualized, built, hyped (positive connotations-only, please), and released by the “One Week | One Tool” institute funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. It’s a very good tool. Still evolving. With bugs. With hope. Structured to grow. For what it’s worth, I’m impressed. So is that all there is to say about it? Nope. [pullthis]There are three reasons I’m…

August 6, 2010

The @ Symbol as a Material Object (Opens the Door for a Cautionary Tale)

It’s been a week since “MoMA’s Department of Architecture and Design … acquired the @ symbol into its collection.” I know, right? WTF? First of all… the @ symbol? And second… MoMA? The “acquisition” was announced a week ago on MoMA’s site, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. I really don’t know what to make of it. Part of me thinks that it’s a serious “art joke” in…

March 29, 2010

Atemporality: a Viable Historical Orientation?

(This entry is a response I posted to Alex Reid’s post, “Atemporality in the Digital Humanities” on his blog Digital Digs. He’s responding to Bruce Sterling’s talk, “Atemporality and the Creative Artist” as well as Alex Halavais’s post on “worn technologies.” I re-post it here because it helps me think through some of the ways that book-futurists historicize the currently fluid and volatile changes in book-technologies. Mostly, I’ve been coming…

March 1, 2010