Monday, March 28, 2011

Week 11: Guest Lecture

Here is the guest lecture from Bobbi Newman:

If transliteracy is the future of literacy, what happens to publishing and how does the role of libraries change?

Hello everyone! I’m writing from an apartment filled with moving boxes, I’ve just relocated from Georgia for a position at a public library system in Columbia South Carolina. I’ll be responsible for staff learning and development, I will be helping library staff assist patrons in a transliterate world.

We are in the midst of exciting and challenging time for both libraries and publishers.  Advances in technology have allowed society to re-examine (and perhaps redefine) what exactly is a book. Ebooks or electronic books have been around for years, but it’s only recently with the increase in popularity of devices like the the Kindle and the Nook that use among the general population has taken off. It is worth noting that despite the attention and time given to the issue of ebooks that they still account for a small portion of sales. 1

The ebook landscape is still evolving so while we generally have an idea of ebooks that we agree upon, there are file format differences between vendors, not to mention DRM (Digital Rights Management). DRM is technology used by publishers, and others, to control and limit access to digital content. Both the lack of an industry standard for a file format and the demands of DRM create a burden for libraries. DRM places additional limitations and requirements for the download process that makes accessing and using library ebooks a less than elegant process.

Note: Image from:

With the announcement of the iPad in April of 2010 a new twist was introduced to electronic books. The interactive ability of the iPad allowed a whole new dimension to books the embedding or linking to additional content. As Rinzler notes these interactive books are actually apps that must be purchased from the app store not the iBooks store. Which might beg the question: are they books? Or what IS a book?

YouTube video review of Cat in the Hat App

Because the ebook landscape is still evolving the lending/leasing/buying model between publishers and libraries is still evolving too. Recent HarperCollins decided that ebooks leased by libraries will only be good for 26 check-outs, after that they expire and libraries will be forced to pay for the title again. This creates additional budgetary problems for libraries as well as concerns on how to manage the title affected.

As the world is changing around us so is the role of libraries. It is now necessary for library staff to understand the different file formats and able to explain these to our patrons.  The general public does not understand the difference between an epub vs pdf ebook file and the need to explain the differences in file format often comes in to play while assisting with ebooks. Staff may need to explain why the popular Amazon Kindle does not work with library ebooks, and they need to do so in a way that is free from jargon and techno-speak. Staff need to be able to pick up on an reader they may have never seen before and assist a patron with its usage. This can be especially hard because of the variety of ebook devices or ereaders on the market. Many libraries can not afford to purchase all of these devices for staff learning.

The emerging ebook eco-system is just one reason that library staff need to be transliterate. The needs of patrons in the 21st Century require a commitment to life long learning and exploration.

How do you define a book?  How do you see the evolution of books in the next 2-5 years? How do you think the coming changes in the capability of books will affect new generations? How will it change the education system?

1. According to Association of American Publishers data, in 2008 ebook sales accounted for approximately 0.5% of all U.S. book sales; a year later, they accounted for 1.3%. Survey of Ebook Penetration and Use in U.S. Public Libraries, Library Journal 2010

Additional reading, watching:

Libraries and Transliteracy – the video version

The Digital Divide Does Not Discriminate

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Week 11: Transliteracy and Publishing

If transliteracy is the future of literacy, what happens to publishing and how
does the role of libraries change?
Some key ideas:
•future of libraries
•democratization of

Ian Clark writes on the need for libraries in the digital age at Libraries are a bridge between the information-rich and the information-poor.  They need reinforcing, not dismantling. We need to continue to provide a  highly skilled service that is able to meet the needs of the general public. The service ought to continue to innovate to take advantage of the way in which  people are interacting with the service in a different way. It needs to continue  to bridge the gap between those who have access to the internet and those  who do not, while also ensuring it delivers on other aspects of its core service  (book loans, local studies materials, etc). If the service is cut, we run the risk of an ill-informed society that is ill-equipped to prosper in the “information age” – a dangerous prospect for any democracy.

Note: Guest Lecture from Bobbi Newman this week!

From the Libraries and Transliteracy blog (by Lane Wilkinson)

incorporating social media into the library instruction curriculum can add a familiar, effective, and transferable skill-set for addressing the critical ACRL Information Literacy Standards. As Bobish concludes his article, social media and related technologiespresent a golden opportunity, not generally available previously, for students to see the real world relevance of the skills that they learn through information literacy instruction and to learn how information is created and shared by doing it themselves rather than hearing about it. (p. 63)

Discussion Questions:

Q1. Elizabeth Daley encourages us to expand the concept of literacy. We’ve talked about transliteracy.

What role do you think transliteracy plays (will play) in the development of publishing (and reading and


Q2. If publishing, traditionally, evoked ideas of editors, gatekeepers, experts and credibility and current online publishing is synonymous (usually) with interconnected conversation, legitimacy of interaction and communication - how do we as writers and readers legitimise both credibility and interconnected conversation?

Q3. According to Lawrence Lessig (founder of Creative Commons): “I think it is a great thing when amateurs create, even if the thing they create is not as great as what the professional creates. I want my kids to write. But that doesn’t mean that I’ll stop reading Hemingway and read only what they write. What Keen misses is the value to a culture that comes from developing the capacity to create—independent of the quality created. That doesn’t mean we should not criticise works created badly (such as, for example, Keen’s book…). But it does mean you’re missing the point if you simply compare the average blog to the NY times.” What does Lessig’s quote imply about (critical) literacies and literary practises concerned with publishing?

Q3. This week we’ve talked about the role of libraries in the new landscape of publishing. Some people see libraries as passe, “If you plopped a library down 30 years from now there would be cobwebs growing everywhere because people would look at it and wouldn’t think of it as a legitimate institution because it would be so far behind...” What transliterate practises might libraries employ in order to place libraries at the centre of an informational social web?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Media Convergance

This video applies to a number of past themes and authors that we have explored. It certainly builds on Ken Robinson's talk of creativity being as important as the sciences in education and on Rheingold's lectures on the need to teach to the new generation of digital immigrants in their 'space.'  I think his methods of interactive teaching using new media could be considered storytelling, but telling an old story in new ways.

Media Convergence

I found this informative video on media convergence and modern trends. Not quite on stoy telling but tells a story on modern media convergence.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Transmedia Storytelling - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

TMNT used various platforms to continue on and develop its storylines. Aside from the Saturday morning cartoons, there were comic books, feature films and board games. They also utilized video games to engage fans in a medium that not only continued the storyline, but also allowed fans to take control.

The television shows worked well for the storyline since it combined visual and audio effects to draw viewers. It gave fans a sense of what the characters are like and how they react when in conflict with villians. This also established the vision of the animators and creators of TMNT.

Video games gave fans the power to control the heroes within established storylines. Video games works well as a platform since fans have a clear goal in mind, which is to complete the story and finish the game. How they do this is up to player as they decide which character they get to be and control how exactly they finish off the villains. Fans become more familiar with the characters as well as the TMNT narrative.


Transmedia Storytelling - World Wrestling Entertainment

I usually reply to the weekly topic blog post, but will post my response as its own post since Blogger does not allow for the embedding of photos, video, etc.

Example 1: World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)

The WWE has utilized transmedia storytelling in the past to develop its characters and plots. It has been years since I watched wrestling but do remember the methods that were used in the eighties. Television was used for wrestling matches and to promote the good guy versus the bad guy drama. A Saturday morning cartoon was developed starring the wrestlers with stories that contributed to the franchises storylines. The opening itself for Hulk Hogan's Rock 'n' Wrestling was a blend of real-life and cartoon.

Today, the WWE uses weekly television shows along with Twitter to develop their storylines and characters. The television program is live and provides fans with two hours of time for several storylines to develop. Programming includes matches, highlights from previous weeks and promotions for upcoming pay-per-views and merchandise. The television is a valuable medium since wrestling and acting is a visual and audio display. Hearing two men grunt out a match on the radio just would not work out as effectively. Television content is also available online after the show has aired.

Twitter is a platform that allows for the continuation of the storyline before and after the television programming. Fans receive real-time updates regarding content but also stay in touch with the wrestlers who send messages to build up their matches and appearances. It suits the build up of the storylines since it fills the silence that exists between live programming. The storylines don’t always require a visual aid and can be communicated by text.

Swallow, E. (2011, January 28). How WWE Conquered the Social Media Arena. Mashable.
Retrieved from

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Week 10: Guest Lecture

Ximena Alarcon presenting at Visiones Sonoras organised by the CMMAS in Morelia – México. Image from the Sounding Underground blog.

This week Ximena Alarcon will be sharing her expertise with us. Ximena has prepared an interview for a community radio station in Devon (England) with Ariane Delaunois. It's a very detailed explanation of Ximena's Sounding Underground project.

Abstract of Sounding Underground:

Sounding Underground
year of production: 2009
used technology (software etc): Flash CS4 Actionscript 3.0
required plug-ins: Flash Player 9 or 10

Short work description

Sounding Underground is a virtual environment that invites users to interact with the soundscapes of three underground public transport systems: London, Paris and México City. Commuters’ memories and imaginations are represented in sounds and images that have been selected by volunteer commuters through an ethnographic process. These sounds are assembled in a sound score that acts as a multimedia user’s interface. The score contains sonic features unique to each metro distributed into: Entrance, Tickets, Corridors, Platform, and Carriage, correspond to the identifiable spaces recognised by any commuter, as well as some shared sonic spaces: Amplified Voice, Steps, Doors, Trains Arriving. Each metro has a unique space: Paris (air sounds), Mexico (street vendors), and London (announcements). This environment allows commuters, through interactive options, to experience a process of listening and remembering, provoking the expression of an aural urban collective memory, through the narrative of an underground journey.


Each category contains a sequence of sounds that can be triggered by the user. S/he is invited to interact at his/her own rhythm and to feel free to navigate the spaces. In the interaction, sounds overlap both within categories and spaces, creating a sonic texture derived from the humans and the machines’ counterpoint of daily life.

In the graphic interface, each category contains a sequence of images. Although they change each time the user triggers a sound, they may not be directly associated with the sounds. They are close-up pictures of the textures from the metro spaces. Most are abstract images allowing one to focus attention on the sounds, which resembles the activity of wandering (as if lost in thought). The graphic spaces overlap to create the feeling of being in a common space that changes because of the movement of sound in space and not because of its graphic structure: the latter is fixed, and serves both as a score and as a user interface.

Sounding Underground also invites you to write memories in text, produced by listening. These memories are being published randomly in the "Listening and Remembering" page.
Sounding Underground is the result of a practice-led research project studied commuter’s perceptions towards their daily life soundscape in underground public transport systems, taking the case studies of Paris and México City as counterparts of the London Underground. Sixteen commuters in Mexico, and sixteen in Paris, contributed to the creation of the environment, and their experiences were linked to the original project in London, in which twenty-four volunteers participated.

Linking urban soundscapes through commuters’ memories invites us to acknowledge symbolic, social, economic and political issues of mobility in contemporary cities, from their perspective. This approach strives to make commuters contributors in the creation of these environments, and furthermore performers (as non-musicians) and narrators of their commuting experience. 

Before listening to the interview, "play" with Sounding Underground.

NOTE: the audio files are available in BlackBoard, there's a link from the home page.

The questions that are covered:

1. From start to now (and future project). How did the art piece
(materially) took form?
2. How is the experience on the ethnographic aspect? on the
interdisciplinary aspect?
3. As a sound artist has the experience changed you and your sound
4. How was it as a sound specialist?
5. How was your artistic journey? Are you happy of the form it took
and what further development do you want the project to take?
6. How did you choose the cities you located the project?
7. How do the locations link to your life?
8. How was your own experience of sound when you travelled?
9. How rich was the inter relation between participants and you?
10. What interested you in collective memory, interactivity, in the
link between people and technology?
11. What have you understood of the reflective potential of
respondents? Are you satisfied of the experience representation of
your participants?
12. Are you reworking on your installations?
13. What will be your next direction/step after this research?

Please post any questions to Ximena here as she'll be checking back and will add her responses in the comments.

Week 10: Writers and Writing

Note: Image from 180/360/720.

Week 10: Writers and Writing
This week we’ll explore contemporary new media writing and examine how it might be different from
*traditional* print-only works. As Andy Campbell notes of his works: “textual narratives are approached by Dreaming Methods as a key part of the multimedia mix rather than as the absolute central backbone – purposely open-ended, ambiguous, short, fragmentary – and are often additionally considered to be a powerful visual element: blurred, obscured, transient, animated, mouse-responsive.”

Key ideas for this week:
• Ways to write and read rich media documents in a networked environment.
• Read the example books made with Sophie:
• “The interactive nature of the process makes it possible for individual memories to be linked in a creative shared experience; it fosters the development of on-line sound-driven narratives.”

Guest Lecture:
Ximena Alarcon will share with us her ideas on creating and disseminating born digital work.

This week's seed questions:

Q1. Ronni Bennett says that “in the end, it is all storytelling ...all communication is storytelling.” What are some examples in the online environment that support Bennett’s thinking?

Q2. In “Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide,” Henry Jenkins writes that transmedia storytelling works best when each medium is used to tell the part of the story that it’s most suited for and that each piece of this story. Find two examples of transmedia storytelling and explain why each platform and story part works best together (think of Radiohead and Heros as examples).

Q3. In the print world, page layout is largely the job of the publisher. That is, neither the reader nor the writer has much choice about how the text (images/sound/video) appear on the “page.” With digital writing, most writers (and readers) have deep input on how text (etc...) appears.  What is significant about this shift? What dialogues are opened up?

Innovation and Creativity

I thought this video was a good example of transliteracy

Monday, March 14, 2011

My Transliteracy with winter

My “transliteracy” with winter
Let me share one of my Transliteracy adventures. When I came to Canada, I learned all kinds of winter vocabulary and life skills from people around me. The words we use for different forms of water (snow, freezing rain, hoarfrost, hails etc.) were a real transliteracy experience.

  Hoarfrost was totally a new terminology
The frozen rivers and lakes, frozen waterfalls, all gave a profound transliteracy experience.

 I was fascinated by ice fishing and the ability to drive on frozen waters. So one day as I realised it was safe to drive on the nearby lake, I went out for my adventure all by myself. I drove straight onto the frozen lake following the tracks.

What I didn’t know was that, it’s good to have a four wheel drive to do such adventures. I got struck in the middle of the lake.
 (Back home I told my family - Jesus walked on water, I drove.)
Then I spotted some people ‘icefishing’. They lend me their hands to get out.

My first transliteracy adventure with winter gave me the courage to do many other things in the future including a winter drive to Yellowknife.

Transliteracy - crossing borders?

Thank you for sharing these insightful ideas with us. From the day I joined for this course, the word transliteracy caught my attention. It was interesting to read about transliteracy and its meaning in various milieus. What caught my attention was the statement by Bernard Stiegler that past technologies have always involved a change in our phenomenological experience of the world (as cited in Transliteracy crossing divides). My personal experience as a foreign student, in encountering people, food habits, weather, entertainment etc in a way was an authentic introduction to transliteracy in various areas of “cultural and technological, economic, social or organic, cultural, and global” as pointed out by Jenkins.
The blueberry smoothie recipe sharing experience brings about the gist of transliteracy in an amusing way. Some of the video suggestions given are more on the note of participatory culture. I felt that the example of Asheninka tribe and their learning process was more on the note of hands on learning than transliteracy experience. There is obviously the process of sharing and learning from various environments. Can it be called transliteracy?
I found this interesting comparison of learning process in children at the TED website. Is this just literacy or transliteracy?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Guest Lecture: Professor Sue Thomas

Transliteracy: what is it and how can we measure it?

Hello everyone, it’s a pleasure to work with you this week. I’m writing from the heart of England, where I live in a small cottage about 15 miles from the city of Leicester. Spring is about to start here, so the first flowers are starting to appear and the days are getting longer. It’s great that the internet allows us to communicate so easily across the world and I’m very much looking forward to talking about transliteracy with you this week!
Transliteracy is the ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks. To put it another way, being transliterate involves being open to difference and prioritising what unites us rather than what divides us.
From your point of view, transliteracy is especially important in terms of your learning experiences. A recent UK article said this about my research at De Montfort University:
The media's teenage stereotype is that of a girl watching Hollyoaks on television while simultaneously discussing its plot lines on the social networking site Facebook, listening to music on MySpace and texting her friend to discuss home study. Sue Thomas is exploring the impact that transliteracy is having on higher education and pedagogy. In transliterate terms, many academics are in essence illiterate, which matters if their teaching relationship with hyper-transliterate students is breaking down because of an inability to communicate fully with each other. If academics cannot show themselves to be transliterate, will they lose the respect of their students?
It continues:
Meanwhile, a committee looking at the impact of the "Google generation" on HE (Higher Education) has found that 95% of students are members of an online social network and that more than 50% have a blog or website. These transliterate students arrive at university with a set of assumptions about how they will use these skills in their education, and have difficulty if such assumptions are questioned.
Should tutors be expecting, even demanding, that students communicate with each other electronically? Communication tools such as Second Life, the web-based virtual world, involve creating alternative identities. Should students be expected or required to generate these for themselves? Professor Thomas believes that as transliteracy travels up the HE agenda, academics will be obliged to add new forms of communication to their portfolio of teaching methods. There is a debate to be had with applicants. The evidence is that students still want face-to-face contact, and value that. Some do not see new technology as the core of learning, even though they may spend two or three hours a day on the web. What do they expect? What do they want? What are they prepared for? A transliterate study style incorporates a range of learning modes, combining traditional face-to-face lectures, seminars and tutorials with online classes via the web and mobile media. [ from ‘Getting In Getting On! A Guide to getting into Higher Education’ by Rob Brown & Mike Chant 2010)
Do you agree with their conclusion that young people of today are transliterate? Do you consider yourself to be transliterate? This week I’d like to look at various different approaches to transliteracy and invite you think about how you might measure transliteracy in yourself and others.
I have some reading for you, some videos, and a task. I advise you do them in the following order but feel free to pick and mix if that suits you better.
Reading and Watching
1.     Watch my Transliteracy lecture
2.     Dip into the Transliteracy Research Group blog
3.     Librarians are very excited about transliteracy. Find out why from Bobbi Newman’s slideshow Libraries and Transliteracy
4.     Bobbi’s work inspired librarian Brian Hulsey to make an amusing video about making a blueberry smoothie the transliterate way
5.     Transliteracy also inspired one of my former students, Mary King, an English journalist living in Japan, to make this very meditative film: Transliteracy - The Spirit of Kanji
6.     This journal article sums up much of what I say in the video lecture: Transliteracy: Crossing Divides by Sue Thomas, Chris Joseph, Jess Laccetti, Bruce Mason, Simon Mills, Simon Perril, and Kate Pullinger, First Monday, Volume 12 Number 12 - 3 December 2007
7.     And you should check out the #transliteracy tag on Twitter!/saved-search/transliteracy
Imagine that you have been asked to measure the transliteracy levels of students and teachers at your school. How would you do this? Post your suggestions and we’ll discuss them. I look forward to seeing your ideas.

Week 9: Transliteracy

The ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks.”

The word “transliteracy” is derived from the verb “to transliterate,” meaning to write or print a letter or word using the closest corresponding letters of a different alphabet or language. 

The idea of transliteracy is really about promoting a unifying ecology. As Thomas explains, 
“The concept of transliteracy calls for a change of perspective away from the battles over print versus digital, and a move instead towards a unifying ecology not just of media, but of all literacies relevant to reading, writing, interaction and culture, both past and present.
 It is an opportunity to cross some hitherto quite difficult divides.” 
Transliteracy asks key questions about communication:
  1. How were people remembering and communicating for the thousands of years before writing?
  2. Where are the similarities with the way we communicate today?
  3. Has our addiction to print made us forget skills we had before?
  4. Can digital media reconnect us with those skills again?

Watch “Social Media Revolution” on YouTube:  

Literacy is not linear. ““Part of the confusion about media convergence stems from the fact that when people talk about it, they’re actually describing at least five processes” (Henry Jenkins, 2001). 
  • technological
  • economic
  • social or organic
  • cultural
  • global

Another term which has become widely used about these kinds of experiences, especially by the media and gaming worlds, is “convergence.” In 2001 when Henry Jenkins noted the confusion about media convergence actually is because of the various processes that are at play (it is not one single required literacy). For Jenkins, “these multiple forms of media convergence are leading us toward a digital renaissance - a period of transition and transformation that will affect all aspects of our lives” (Jenkins, 2001). 
Sue Thomas often refers to the Asheninka tribe as an example of a transliterate group. For them transliteracy imbues every aspect of their culture:
“Everything we use has a story. Each drawing which is passed from one generation to another is our writing; each little symbol has an immense story. As one learns a drawing, one learns its origin, who taught it, who brought it to us.”

Discussion Questions:

Q1. What is transliteracy? Give examples of how transliteracy appears in your daily life.

Q2. How does Coover’s “The End of Books” (originally written in 1992) align with a contemporary thinking of transliteracy and the development of the web into web 2.0?

Q3. According to Aarseth’s “Nonlinearity and Literary Theory,” “the text...entails a set of powerful metaphysics...the three most important ones are those of reading, writing and stability” (763).  Having read about and discussed the idea of transliteracy, would you suggest adding or changing any of the three elements that Aarseth notes as most important? Must “users” (readers) “learn to accept their position as agents of the text” or might they play a more decisive role (as in Andy Campbell’s works)?

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Changing Face of Journalism

This morning, one of the talking heads on a television news program stated that "Twitter is our main source of information" regarding the earthquake in Japan.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Guest Lecture: Chris Joseph

Chris Joseph is going to be sharing with us some *classified* information about his work. Please access the private post containing his lecture notes here. A password is required which has been e-mailed to you.

Chris will be answering questions about his lecture which you can post here so the class discussion remains in this centralised area.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Week 8: Live Chat

Just a reminder that we're aiming for a live chat this Sunday the 13th of March at 16:00 Mountain Time.

I've e-mailed everyone with a Zoho invitation so that we can try out group chat with another web 2.0 application.

In the meantime, feel free to try the chat application I've embedded below.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Week 8: A Million Penguins Report

Although it seems that we can no longer *read* A Million Penguins wiki novel, we still have access to the presentation by Bruce Mason detailing the interesting report written by Bruce Mason and Sue Thomas.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Week 8: Born Digital Fictions

UPDATE: It seems that A Million Penguins (the wiki novel), one of our required readings for this week, has been taken offline...

How are web platforms leveraged for the telling of compelling narratives? Jeremy Ettinghausen wonders what will happen to the novel: “is the novel immune from being swept up into the fashion for collaborative activity? Well, this is what we are going to try and discover with A Million Penguins, a collaborative, wiki-based creative writing exercise.”

Some key ideas to consider this week:

Real time
twitter stories
flickr stories
rss feeds and narrative
Inanimate Alice
episodic fiction
how to maintain readerly interest

This Week: Blog question and answer with digital creator Chris Joseph!

"You will see--very, very soon--authors become publishers. You will see publishers become booksellers. You will see booksellers become publishers, and you will see authors become booksellers." ~ Stephen Riggio

According to Kate Pullinger, there are seven aspects that we (readers, writers and creators of new media texts) MUST acknowledge:
  1. Writers need to talk about money
  2. Writers, publishers and teachers need to get their heads out of the sand: the digital future is already here
  3. E-books are boring.
  4. We better keep talking about e-books.
  5. Be afraid of e-books.
  6. Always remember that human culture is highly visual.
  7. Good writing.

Read Pullinger’s entire manifesto here:

We'll also be exploring the wiki-novel A Million Penguins.

Bruce Mason says this about the project:

"The final product itself, now frozen in time, is more akin to something produced by the wild, untrammelled creativity of the folk imagination. The contributors to ―A Million Penguins, like the ordinary folk of Bakhtin‘s carnivals, have produced something excessive. It is rude, chaotic, grotesque, sporadically brilliant, anti-authoritarian and, in places, devastatingly funny. As a cultural text it is unique, and it demonstrates the tremendous potential of this form to provide a stimulating social setting for writing, editing and publishing. The contributors may not have written one single novel but they did create something quite remarkable, an outstanding body of work that can be found both in the main sections as well as through the dramas and conversations lacing the ―backstage pages. And they had a damned good time while doing so. As the user Crtrue writes.

Hi hi hi hi hi! Seriously. This is going to fail horribly. It's still fun."
Read the Million Penguins' Report here.

Discussion Questions:
Q1. Although publishing might seem easier in some senses, what about copyright issues? Think of Apple’s DRM movement.
Q2. Read “A Million Penguins.” How different from a traditional book is this wikinovel? How would you describe it (is it really a “novel”)?
Q3. Digital publishing is in a constant state of evolution. In August 2010, Oxford University Press has decided to relaunch the online version of the OED. They have chosen iFactory as the online
publishing platform. What changes in functionality, access and personalisation do you think might occur from such a shift (offline & static to online & evolving)? Read and article on the change here:

Friday, March 4, 2011

Assignment 2: Book of Sand – A Hypertext in Print

Assignment 2: Book of Sand – A Hypertext in Print
Title: Book of Sand   
Author Surname: Borges
Author First Name: Jorge Luis
Translated by:   Andrew Hurley 
Publication Date: 1977 
Publisher: Andrew Hurley      
URL for a Hypertext version:   
Tags & Keywords: hypertext; infinite, newmedia      
Book of Sand
Hypertext environment on the web gave opportunity of expression to the thought of the infinite for many writers and artists. Before the era of internet and computers, authors like Jorge Borges gave expression to their thought in writing. Now with the possibility of the web, many authors have translated this ètextualè experience into “hypertextual” realm.
This participatory nature of the web with its ability for collective intelligence is very well brought out by David Beer (2009) who, points out that, “ it is perhaps not surprising that Web 2.0 – which has been defined as the shift toward user-generated content and the move from desktop storage to web top access has become associated in popular depictions with empowerment and liberation as ‘the people’ apparently reclaim the internet and exercise their ‘collective intelligence’ ” (Beer, 2009, p. 986).
Borges depicts himself as the one who encounters this special treasure; the Book of all Books. The story is about how he came to know and see this book and how it came into his possession and how he ultimately disposed of it . “When he opens to a page with an illustration, the bookseller advises a close look, since the page will never be found, or seen, again. It proves impossible to find the first or last page. This Book of Sand has no beginning or end: its pages are infinite. Each page is numbered, apparently uniquely but in no discernible pattern” (wikipedia).
We experience the foretaste of infinity, when we enter into the virtual world. There is a mystery and powerlessness in the very milieu of the net. Borges brings these ideological characters of the virtual world into a textual form. As Haynes writes, “vast information sources will be generated, where any item, thing or person can have its own unique identity tags. Relational databases feed on and become informed by the data generated from these tags and are able then to create inferences that will enable ‘new correlations’ to ‘emerge’ and ‘create genuinely new knowledge’” (Haynes, as cited in Beer, 2009, p.989).
Hypertext creators like Maximus Clarke (2001), gave a virtual expression to this textual infinity. As per him, “the Book of Sand site is a hypertext, with a nonlinear structure and dynamic images. This story is well-suited for such a presentation, since it deals with a supernatural book whose many pages are in no discernible order. And the story's spare, haunting atmosphere comes through clearly, if not more strongly, when it is read in short, random fragments” (Maximus Clarke, 2001).
“If space is infinite, we were anywhere, at any point in space.
If time is infinite, we are at any point in time.” (Jorge Borges, 1974)
Beer, D (2009). Power through the algorithm? Participatory web cultures and the technological unconscious.  New Media & Society 11(6), 985–1002.
Borges, J.L. (1977). The Book of Sand, (Hurley, A, Trans), Retrieved from:
Borges, J.L. (1977). The Book of Sand. (Giovanni, N. T. Di, Trans). New York: Dutton. ISBN:0525069925.
Clarke, M (2001). Book of Sand: A Hypertext Puzzle. Retrieved from:
Lash, S. (2007). Power after Hegemony Cultural Studies in Mutation?; Theory, Culture & Society, 24(3), 55–78.
Pavlopoulose, T. (Feb 27, 2010). The Book of Sand in Peacockès Tail, (Weblog comment), Retrieved from:
Wikipedia. (June, 2004). The Book of Sand. Retrieved from:

Assignment 2 – Social media = + or -

Article: How Social Media is Having a Positive Impact On Our Culture

Much has been said about the impact the virtual world has on our ‘real’ world. Quite often the use of smart phones and the internet is seen as a way for many to become distant from the people and the things around them in their physical world. In this article Josh Rose looks at the paradox that the use of social media has created. In some ways it allows us to have a closeness and a connection with people because the technology allows us to do so – texting our family members, sharing pictures on Facebook, tweeting our latest what are we doing facts. In the same breath people attribute a sense of coldness, and lack of a real connection through the use of social media. Yes they may stay in touch more often, but perhaps the quality and the emotional attachment of staying in touch is lost when done through technology versus in person. The article notes that perhaps there is a way of categorizing the outlook we have on the effect of social media – we either think it’s good, bad or normal.

Perhaps a key component of how we see the effect is how we use social media and if we use social media. Talk to the generations that have never lived without it and they will see that it is as natural to text someone as it is to call them or talk to them in person. Palfrey and Gasser assign three characteristics to these Digital Natives: born after 1980, have access to networked digital technologies and the skill set to use them (2008, p. 1). These children are identified both by their real time identity and the one they create online, both existing synchronously. They are bonded together by “the amount of time they spend using digital technologies, their tendency to multitask, their tendency to express themselves and relate to one another in ways mediated by digital technologies, and their pattern of using the technologies to access and use information and create new knowledge and art forms” (2008, page 4). To these people, the effects of social media are definitely a plus versus a negative.

Perhaps the most positive aspect of social media is the ability it allows for people to come together and create. Traditional barriers to working together as a group are taken away through the use of technology. In Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody (2008), he highlights the case that most barriers to group action have been eliminated, and without these barriers there exists an ability to find new ways of gathering together and getting things done Groups that before were dispersed and difficult to bring together are now benefiting from the social tools that exist online.

Rhiengold takes this one step further showing that now that the barriers are removed, the group action can lead to a population in which people wear the title of creator and consumer. With these titles, “they are far more likely to generate freedom and wealth for more people than one in which a small portion of the population produces culture that the majority passively consume”


Gasser, U., & Palfrey, J. Born Digital. New York. Basic Books.

Rose, J. (2011, February 24). How Social Media is Having a Positive Impact On Our Culture. Retrieved from

Rheingold, H. (2002). Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution. Massachusetts: Perseus Books.

Shirky, C. (2008). Here Comes Everybody: New York. Penguin Press.

Assignment 2: Project hope: A hypertext tribute to Hope

Assignment 2 : Project hope: A hypertext tribute to Hope
Title: Project Hope
Author Surname: Strasser
Author First Name: Reiner
Additional Authors: Annie Abrahams, Alan Sondheim
Publication Date : Web Publication, n.d.     
Tags & Keywords: new media; webart, cyberpoetry.      
Project hope: A Hypertext Tribute to Hope
            The Internet is increasingly being defined by new digital technologies that empower
users to develop, create, rate, and distribute Internet content and applications (O’Reilly
as cited in Hermida & Thurman, 2008). Project Hope is a collaborative attempt by many artists through the expression of hypertext, webart, cyberpoems etc to give voice to their expectation of hope. Authors like Reiner Strasser along with Annie Abrahams, Alan Sondheim others took the initiation for this website.

Image 1: Tree of Hope

            This is a website with thirty five artistic web creations placed under one window. Each point click leads you to an unexpected experience of participatory creation. This is a page for hope, co created by many artists. This is, as the website call page defines, “a step one for: new media, net art, cyber poetry works”.

There are stories, net art, poetry, flash works etc in this collection of hypertext collection.

Image 2: Road Trip - Start the tour
            Road trip by Starla Stensaas will take you through the road from Nebraska to South Dakota. The sights and thoughts of the driver, the story is presented through the clicks of the map. Some other works are just web art. Some are flash messages of hope. Bliss and other stories are also placed within the frame work. This train is a cyber poem set in an interactive media.
I will – I Can’t bring about the struggle of hope within every individual.
Image 3: I will I can't

 The monologue # 16: Shalom Alcheme seems to point out the ongoing struggle of war and peace.
Image 4: Illusion of Hope

            New media theorist Scott Lash (as cited in Beer, 2009) has recently spoken of what he describes as a ‘new new media ontology’. This is a term designed to capture a shift toward forms of living in which information becomes active in shaping lifestyles and environments (Beer, 2009, p.987). This website and various artistic expressions in it can be seen as tangible evidence for media and technology filtering into everyday lives of our lives and becoming part of our ontological expressions.
Lash, S. (2007). Power after Hegemony Cultural Studies in Mutation?; Theory, Culture &             Society, 24(3), 55–78.
 Beer, D (2009). Power through the algorithm? Participatory web cultures and the technological unconscious.  New Media & Society 11(6), 985–1002.
Hermida, A., & Thurman, N.  (2008). A Clash of Cultures: The integration of user-generated content within professional journalistic frameworks at British newspaper websites; Journalism Practice, 2(3), 343-356.
            Image 1: Retrieved from:
            Image 2: Retrieved from:
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            Image 4: retrieved from: