Week 13 – Going Digital

Round 2! How was everyone’s time off?


As we look towards the winter term and our final projects, I found this week’s subject of particular value to our goal of digitizing our respective manuscripts. While we have the advantage of working with these beautiful artifacts, to touch, admire & analyze them, are the two-dimensional reproductions that we will finally produce sufficient representations of the original? Not in the sense of our qualifications for this type of work, but rather, regarding what is lost with the process of digitization?

In thinking of the standard e-book, or computer screen, there is no way (yet) to: feel the pages, to smell the paper, to comparatively weigh individual works… to quote the McKitterick reading, readers/observers “generally require some prior knowledge of the physical form of the original object” (pg.1) in order to make accurate assessments.

After reading “Futures of the Book” & “The past in pixels”, I was both concerned and enthralled for the future of print-form, but mostly excited for the prospect of a hybrid form of digitized artifacts or literature. I love the idea of projects like the Social Edition of the Devonshire Manuscript, which try to eliminate participatory barriers. I shudder at the idea that a single person’s rash commentary could decide any future consideration of a literary work, such as with one made for the Edinburgh Review (McKitterick, pg.9).


Questions to keep in mind:


-Besides financial concerns, what are some reasons academic institutions consider digitizing and/or using digital versions of books, specifically? What are some advantages of these ‘digital editions’? Disadvantages?

-Why do you think there is still a lack of a trade standard for e-publications? What are the possible ramifications for the distribution of literary material? -Vs. the accessibility of a paper book?

-Taking into account our readings, what does “there is no such thing as a duplicate” mean to you?