>If you remember my post on readers and new media from a couple weeks ago, I mentioned this article on an author (Jurgen Neffe) who took advantage of the e-reader format to create circular texts, or ones without a beginning or end. A quick internet search on the author revealed this article entitled “The disembodied book,” which is a pretty thorough discussion of the author’s views on the future of the book and authorship, and the future of reading. He is optimistic about the possibility of more authors being recognized and readers interacting with texts in new ways, although he frames this within the downfall of the print book. I’m one of those folks that feels like we don’t have to choose: I have a Kindle e-reader but still read paper texts as well. However, he doesn’t associate the reduction of print books to their complete elimination, which is an argument I feel has been made far too many times (insert frantic ‘print is dying! We will never read printed books again!’ comments here). Continue reading “>Circular Texts, both Digital and Tangible”
>I am about to make the most obvious statement ever: there is a lot of cool stuff happening on the internet.
Not a groundbreaking observation by any means, but I am ceaselessly amazed by the sheer number of new ways to participate in the world as a reader of texts. I mean this both in the literal sense (e-texts versus paper texts), and also in how we interpret those texts (and how technology influences that).
Take, for example, this article on ‘circular reading.’ This author has found a way to exploit the e-reader technology in a way that gives us stories with a circular narrative (no beginning or end). As readers of these stories, how does this sort of narrative change our interpretation of the text, and how does it change our interaction with that text? There are many books that challenge us to think of narrative form differently than a ‘beginning-to-end’ reading experience (I was fond of the ‘choose your own adventure’ book when I was a kid), and this book takes that to a new level by using a technology that isn’t bounded by a structure with a clear beginning and end.
>As some of you know, I’m a co-editor (along with the lovely Katie Devries Hassman) at B Sides: the student journal for the University of Iowa’s School of Library and Information Science. As we draw ever nearer to the beginning of a new school year, I am getting more and more excited about sharing the journal with SLIS’ incoming class. Because of this, I’ve spent quite a bit of time lately pondering digital publishing generally and by students in particular, and how we can make the process of publishing itself and educational experience.