From Hayle’s website/UCLA
Originally posted at the Hybrid Publishing Lab Notepad
Publications expect readers, unless the author ignores the publicin his publication. Understanding reading is one of the major conditions for imagining new ways of publishing. The condition of reading also depends on means of writing, writing means publishing, then we enter a circle of reading-writing, that constitutes without exaggeration the social, political, economical condition for acting and thinking. Jack Goody has explored in The Domestication of the Savage Mind, how the emergence of writing, in its most primitive form, transform these conditions in human history. The use of tablets in the Sumerian culture in Mesopotamian as writing system become today we may call the first system of metadata, that record stocks of potteries, cattle, etc. And David Graeber further in his Debt- The First 5,000 Years, showed that such a writing system is actually a book-keeping system, usually a new conquerer destroyed this annotation-writing system to resettle all debts, and restarts a new economic, social and political regime (And it is from this example, Graeber proposed a destruction of the current global accounting system to start anew). It is also true when writing spread out in ancient Greece, it made laws accessible to citizens in the polis, that is also to say the concept of democracy.
These technics of writing are in constant progress, from pictogram, phonogram, to stamp making, to printing, and now we arrive at digital publication at the mid of last century. We have to bear in mind that technical innovation always underlines displacement, displacement doesn’t mean replacement, displacing something means rendering something before it obsolete, but it doesn’t mean it could replace it, including all its values and functions. The emergence of the web brought us a new perspective of publication which is no longer linear, but one that allows one jumps from one reading to another. This vision of hypertext was already imagined by Ted Nelson before the invention of the web. In order words the web realized some of the visions of Nelson, particularly on the aspect that the web is a hypertext system that links all relevant literatures together. Then came the war of reference-searching (or an economy of links), this is what we know today as search engines, and then we have the history of Yahoo, Archie, Veronica, Altavista, Google, etc. Searching is an experience which cannot be separated from online reading today, it can be searching the definition of a word, searching theory of an person not well explained in the reading, etc. The new possibilities, not only those of business and innovation but also new way of acquiring knowledge – reading – open a new terrain to reconsidering the condition of reading-writing and the social-political transformation corresponding to these conditions. And these questions are are the core of digital humanities, if we still want to keep this name. Read the rest of this entry »