New algorithms

At a NISO meeting, a day of storytelling

The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) is currently hosting "The eBook Renaissance Part II: Challenges and Opportunites", a two-day meeting sponsored in part by Bowker, Project Muse and the Copyright Clearance Center. The first day started with a keynote presentation from Nick Monfort, Associate Professor of Digital Media at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Monfort's talk, "Electronic literature's units and bindings", started with a consideration of five revolutions (after or perhaps instead of eBooks) in the way we read and write. He included:

  • Blogs (The Atlantic was a cited example)
  • Google News (the algorithm is the story)
  • Wikipedia
  • Audiobooks, though not yet fully 'digital', a form of time shifting
  • 'Electronic literature', existing alongside other digital offers, like games

He positioned 'electronic literature' as an emerging form. Much of the second half of Monfort's presentation was dedicated to providing examples of this kind of work. Well beyond eBooks, none of it commits easily to a description in a blog post, but I'll keep thinking about how to explain it.

After Monfort spoke, I moderated a panel, "Publisher perspectives on managing eBook growth", that included Ken Brooks (Cengage Learning), Isabella Steel (HarperCollins) and Adam Witwer (O'Reilly Media). The three different types of publishers were able to explain in some detail how creation, management and dissemination of digital content varies greatly across different businesses.

Brooks, in particular, pointed out that "publishing is a collection of diverse businesses that were (once) bound together by a common format - a book." Digital content unlocks that format, and the panelists showed how differenty they are responding to several degrees of freedom.

At the end of the day, Richard Nash presented "Culture is the algorithm", an overview of the approach Small Demons is taking to improve discovery of published works. Introducing his talk, Nash offered his idea that "the novel is the algorithm", a simple and powerful restatement of how we might distinguish between a story and the means we use to deliver it.

In that sense, Nash closed the talk that Monfort started earlier in the day. The way we read and write is changing, delivering components (characters, places and story) in new and different ways. Let's be open to discovering the new algorithms and not adhere to just the ones we already know.

 





Posted by fairuse
Oct 24, 2012  at  12:09 PM

... ... ... dot dot dot
I did not know how much interactive fiction (IF) has grown but, I was used to interactive children’s books, the learning kind. So I was not totally shocked that ebook = IF also. The keynote presentation would be interesting to hear. Not having that I visited the web site of Nick Monfort, Associate Professor of Digital Media at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The first visit to a site welds a first impression onto the opinion center we all have. Well, I was/am impressed. Much reference material thoughtfully arranged.  I stayed focused on the class ‘electronic literature’ because it seems to be the space metadata would help and I needed to see examples.

Link is: Electronic Literature Collection 1 ยท Hayles Montfort Rettberg Strickland—http://collection.eliterature.org/1/

I have to exit for now, hope the page is useful—I’ll be back.



Posted by fairuse
Oct 25, 2012  at  02:57 PM

I am back for round two. The statement, “He positioned ‘electronic literature’ as an emerging form. Much of the second half of Monfort’s presentation was dedicated to providing examples of this kind of work. Well beyond eBooks, none of it commits easily to a description in a blog post, but I’ll keep thinking about how to explain it.”,  haunted me. I struggled with the concept of ‘electronic literature’ being more than e-ook’s paper text look & feel. It could be scarcity control in the form of “only few published”. I got over that after some study. We have the devices that can handle the media types and modern browsers.

I have a possible solution to, (..) Well beyond eBooks, none of it commits easily to a description in a blog post (..)—ePortfolio—Digital Stories in ePortfolios: Multiple Purposes and Tools : http://electronicportfolios.org/digistory/purposes.html

Just an idea.



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