Chronology Book Analysis
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2. From “Imagining the Internet”
Chronology Book Analysis
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The Basics: The cycle of technology is innovators, commercialism, and regulation. This has happened with the telegraph, radio, telephone television, and the internet. INNOVATORS: Innovators build on the work of inventors. They come up with the technology. COMMERCIALISM: at some point businesses start to think of financial gain usually just after the innovators have finished. Usually the innovators are the ones making the commercial step. On the other hand you have those who are thinking of better (illegal) ways of making a monetary gain from the technology. REGULATION: regulators come into play when commercialism from all angles starts to get too tangled. Regulation is started in an effort unwind some of these knots and for business it gives costumers the chance to pick the best product through fair campaigning. There is more public development of a technology. Analysis: By looking at this pattern or cycle, it makes technology predictable and leads one to ask where exactly in the cycle is the internet? While we’ve surpassed the innovators stage, maybe it’s somewhere in the commercialism and regulations stages. Also is it fair to lump the internet as one large innovation. For instance with the telephone while it has gone though it’s original innovation, commercialism, and regulations stages for standard land lines, the wireless cell phone as well as the internet are reinventing the telephone and forcing the cycle to revolve in newer and different ways. So while these big subjects like television, telephone and internet are fine it’s probably important that within each of these large innovations, smaller innovations are taking place and possibly going through a faster cycle of innovation, commercialism, and regulation. The Telegraph 1830’s – 1860’s: Samual Morse: Morse Code- had government backing before everyone else. Western Union: largest telegraph company had to be regulated from becoming a monopoly. Reception of telegraph was split. Some thought it would change the world, while others didn’t see the purpose of its inception. “This mode of instantaneous communication must inevitably become an instrument of immense power, to be wielded for good or for evil, as it shall be properly or improperly directed.” Samual Morse in an 1838 letter to Francis O.J. Smith. “What was this telegraph to do? Would it transmit letters and newspapers? Under what power is the constitution did Senators propose to erect this telegraph? He was not aware of any authority except under the clause for the establishment of post roads. And besides the telegraph might be made very mischievous and secret information after communicated to the prejudice of merchants.” Sen. George McDuffie. The Radio 1890’s – 1930’s: Gugliomo Marconi develops wireless telegraph and gets backing from the British government. RCA becomes largest radio broadcaster during the 1930’s and nearly 80% of Americans had a radio by 1939. Radio was used during World War II to keep the public up to date on battles and to away public opinions about the war. Reception of the radio was split with both supporters and doubters. “Well informed people know it is impossible to transmit the voice over wires and that were it possible to do so, the thing would be of no practical value.” Editorial from the Boston Post 1865.
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“All the nations of the earth would be put upon terms of intimacy and men would be stunned by the tremendous volume of news and information that ceaselessly pour in upon them.” New York Times 1899. The Telephone 1870’s – 1930’s: A.G. Bell is the first to get the telephone patent for version of the product and starts his company that would eventually become AT&T. AT&T becomes a regulated monopoly until 1985 when it is broken up. The reception of the telephone is split in much the same way. “ It’s an amazing invention, but who would ever want to use one them?” Pres. Rutherford B. Hayes to Alexander G. Bell 1876. “ A system of telephony without wires seems one of the interesting possibilities, and the distance on the earth through which it is possible to speak is theoretically limited only by the curvation of the earth.” John J. Carty- AT&T Chief Engineer 1891. The Television 1920’s – 1960’s: Charles Francis Jenkins successfully transmitted images of Pres. Harding in 1923. Philo Taylor Farnworth develops image dissector (television). Wins royalties suit against RCA in the 1930’s. 45.7 million households had televisions by 1960. Split Receptions: “While theoretically and technically television may be feasible, commercially and financially I consider it to be an impossibility…a development of which we need waste little time dreaming.” Lee De Forest- Radio Pioneer 1926. “Human genius has now destroyed the impediment of distance in a new respect, and in a manner hitherto unknown.” Herbert Hoover Sec. of Commerce 1927. The Internet 1970’ – 1990’s: *See above for history of the formation of the internet* Works much the same way as communication before it with split reception large growing monopolies and government supported innovator. As a whole the internet offers interesting issues from that of other communications in that its development has not plateau and people are still asking what next and what are the complexities? “We’re going to have to look at information as though we’d never seen the stuff before… the economy of the future will be based on relationships rather than possessions. It will be continuous rather than sequential. And finally, in the year to come, most human exchange will be virtual rather than physical, consisting not of stuff but the stuff of which dreams are made. Our future business will be conducted in a world made more of verbs than nouns.” John Perry Barlow –internet activitist and co-Founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation 1994. “ Who’s going to control all this technology? The corporations, of course. And will that mean your brain implant is going to complete with a corporate logo, and 20 percent of the time going to hear commercials?” Ken Goffman aka R.U. Sirius 1992. Analysis: Looking at each of these technologies, we can see that the cycle of technology holds some weight. We can also point other important patterns to the success of a piece of technology. For one, the technology is different and different in such a way that it improves the
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communication of those who use it. With each device there is a step closer towards a kind of face to face interconnectivity that spans across large distances. Another important factor is backing or support. Each of these devices except for the television had early government backing and support for it’s invention. Whether it was through a patent, or some other means, what made them eventually successful was the government support. Finally the reception of the device the negative from those who firmly support the device that came before it. For instance the telephone received little support from those at Western Union who found the device unreliable. While this may have something to do with the general skepticism, I also believe that a lot these statements are made with genuine concern of being replaced. While the replacement or maybe a better word would be overshadowing are not featured in the cycle talked about above, it might be worth the consideration to add it. And then also ask what could possibly replace or over shadow something like the internet? The Future of Networks: The Future of networks could bring about artificial intelligence that networks will evolve into these boundaries-less realities. Analysis: The idea of a network without a cut off is fast approaching. While it doesn’t seem like it in some ways the internet is interconnected in such a way that linking with particular parts of the internet is not completely impossible.
3. Interactive Design in a New Field The Basics of Interactive Design: Looking at IxD, there is a shift from work being done by the innovators to the work being by a group of trained specialist. These specialists validate interactive design’s staying power. The Interactive Design Association (IxDA) along with other groups view the development of interactivity as a way of improving the human condition. Analysis: As Interactive Design becomes larger and more incompassing reaching all part of human life and behavior there is a more need for people specialize in the IxD and specialize in IxD in new a nd meaningful ways.
4. The Future of the Internet The Future of Augmented Virtual Reality: The lines between reality and virtual reality are blending a many people have an alter online ego. This alter online ego may have different hopes and dreams from our actually reality but in a lot of ways both identities can be considered accurate portrayals of a person’s character. MMORPG: Games like World of Warcraft and social networking sites like Facebook allow for people to work in an alternate reality where they gain and lose friends that they may never physically see. It’s also important to point out that maps and mapping are giving a terrain to a once ethereal space. This idea of mapping and networks becomes more interwoven as networks grow since it gives people a way of positioning themselves. Analysis: The growing popularity of these sites shows the acceptance of the idea of virtual reality and alternate ego though your average facebook user probably doesn’t see their face book page a VR space. Something important about both these spaces is that while there is very little face to face interaction, there is a heavy importance on the collection of friends. Just like it is
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apart of human nature to seek out those like ourself in the real world, the internet doesn’t hinder any of this. An interesting argument against those who believe the internet takes away from human interaction. Another factor towards the realization of VR as valid human interaction is a the ability to position oneself in accordance to someone else. This ability to locate makes the VR more like reality and forces them to start blending together. The Future of Human-Computer Interfaces: “The degree to which humans are able to use a tool in an intuitive manner influences the diffusion and use of the tool.” (59) When something is easy to use, people are more willing to use that product. IxDers sole purpose is to make the connection between humans and computers smoother as well as unique. Examples of products that have improved human computer connections are the Nintendo Wii remote. The “Wiimote” works based on human movement and sending those movements to the console. Another product is e-paper. Used mostly with e-readers like Amazon’s Kindle and The Sony Reader for reading electronic books, these devices mimic paper in that they allow for easy reading during the daylight, use less power, and for some are easier on the eyes then LCD screens. The only limitations are lack of color and lag in display change. Analysis: By making a product more intuitive, a business stands the chance of succeeding in terms of staying power. People prefer to work with easy interfaces. Interactive Designers must be able to problem solve these kinds of issues to find the best fit for human interactivity. While the products mentioned are innovative, they are by no means perfect. The Wii seems intuitive but most of the games with extensive directions or the correct hand movements in order to complete tasks. Ubiquitous Computing: As of now we are coming into an age where reality and VR are blending more and more. Devices are being created that allow for more mobile data and a constant sending and receiving of information. Fuelled by Everywhere-ubicomp. Will yield to personal needs of the user. But at the same time what kind of privacy must be exchanged in order to make ubicomp possible. Analysis: Ubiquitous computing is becoming more and more integrated. IPhone and other mobile devices allow for constant exchange of information. We’re always online and always connected. As ubicomp comes into play it only helps to constant movement between reality and VR. What’s interesting is that as this happens people on an average level don’t even consider that they are entering virtual reality making it more of an extention of reality. This kind of thinking will almost make it seem like we won’t know we’ve blended till someone write an article that starts with “welcome to virtual reality…and yes you’ve been here before”. Futuring: (Not to be comfused with the 1900’s Italian artist movement Futurism.) Deals with the practice of predicting the future of the internet and technology. The indepth analysis of past and present information in order to forecast the future. This futuring can affect how people think about their present use of technology in everyday and what could possibly becomes different about it. Analysis: When looking at the future much like predicting the weather, futuring is a tricky trade. It has a level of mysticism to it because it’s no longer it is, but it will be. What’s important to remember that we’re allowed to be wrong and that the present is not as a clearly defined as the past.
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1. Defining Interactivity There is not a single authoritative definition. 2000 Downes/McMillian study during the 1990’s argument on real time conversations as interactive. 1992: Steur- The extent at which a person can modify content in real time. 1993: Rheingold- All computer interaction including email counts as interactive. There are varying levels of interactivity. The categories: Message Dimensions (direction, time and place) Participant Dimensions (control, responsiveness and perceived goals) 1991 Sproull/Kiesler – electronic work groups are as efficient if not more that face to face groups. 1994 Ang/ Cummings – interactivity enhances information seeking. IMPORTANT: Well designed interactivity attracts users – think blogs and artist flash sites. The K&B scorecard can be used to the check the success of an interactive product. Analysis: Thinking about the basis for defining interactivity is fairly difficult, but at the same time it seems unnecessary. At one point interactive or interaction was a word used to describe how people react to other people and things, but with computers there is the feeling that we need to define what interactivity is. If everything is going to be run by a computer, wouldn’t interactivity automatically associate itself to reaction? This is where words just become confusing. But looking at the dimensions that have come from the efforts to define interactivity (message and participant) there is still this over welling feel that anything can become interactive. The Koolstra and Bos scorecard are very interesting in that only a couple of people are needed in order to make something somewhat successful in terms of interactivity. So essentially, if three people were able to get the message you were sending out through content and links, etc. That would make the sight interactive. Now whether people visit your site continuously is another design issue all together. Interactive Designers (IxDer) Social Interactive Design (SxD): Web 2.0 Multiple social interactions. Emotional design goes beyond usability to human factors (Is the website or the product they’re using everything they want it to be?) These kinds of questions are asked by interactive designers in order to make human computer interaction more seamless. Interactive Designers (IxDer): What makes a good IxDer is the ability to problem solve and affectively communicate the solution to others within their group. They think analytically and outside of the box. Analysis: IxD and SxD is a field that is interdisciplinary and requires all kinds of thoughts in order to participate. What makes interactive designers so interesting is their need to not only be able to understand the technology, but to understand how people work. When someone asks the question is it everything they want it to be? There are psychological and sociological thoughts and ideas at play here and really while most IxDers look at these questions from a technological stand point, it’s a question that people have been asking of themselves sense conscious thought. It’s hard to believe that technology will make this question any easier to answer.
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2. Interactive Theory Information Theory: A branch of electrical engineering and applied mechanics. 1948 Shannons Mathematical Theory of Communications: tools of probability theory with that of cybernetics to create solutions using a quantitative and qualitative model. Also discusses the “bit” as the fundamental unit of information. Information = entropy of the freedom to construct the message. Humans have a communication system that is functional therefore can learn and evolve. Activity Theory: All human activities are mediated by culturally created tools or signs (i.e. IPod) – through this the individual is formed. This theory is used in human computer interaction to understand the goals of the individual. A person uses a device, but if a device doesn’t meet all a persons needs of the device, it is assessed and reimplemented. Symbolic Interactionism: Looking at human interaction with things / the internet and the meaning formed through the analyzing of those actions. Using actions to define the situation. Social Network Theory: Networks or connections with closer stronger ties are not as efficient as longer weaker ties that go outside of the network. It’s better to link outside of the established group. *meme: a self propagating unit of cultural evolution-may evolve. Online Communities Theory: communication through boards and blogs rather than face to face allows for learning more about a topic of discussion over time. Contribution and recognition within the community are valued. Lurking: not participating, but passively observing the information exchange and gathering. Analysis: Looking at the different theories above and having a clear understanding of each is effective towards becoming a successful interactive designer. What makes these theories so interesting is that while they discuss interaction with the computer they also take into consideration again what people may or may not want. Looking at information theory there is a basic understanding of not only how humans communicate, but understanding that basis of communication. People learn to adapt new language cues constantly. You can look at text messaging as a clear example of this. Words become shorter in order to convey information faster. At first text messaging was seen as something that would degrade the language, but now it’s more of an added coded to the language. With Activity theory it’s much the same and we can see this with constant evolution of the cell phone from a device that only made calls to a device that not only makes calls but offers countless ways of communications to meet an individuals needs. Symbolic interactionism helps activity theory in that we try to understand the situations in which someone uses their cell phone because as our interactions and situations change, the device must evolve. When looking at social network theory and online communities theory we are essentially looking at how societies work. SNT is very much like the ideas of arranged marriage were a marriage outside of the family and the established communities brought benefits to not only the family’s economy at most cases, but brought in genetic diversity. These links which were distant were often more effective for the network then those within the network. Also looking at online communities theories it’s interesting that this has come into play since most websites and blogs in order to be successful need to have a niche or purpose. There isn’t a forum that is about every kind of subject for every kind of person. Or if there is, it usually isn’t highly successful. By having specific topics of discussion that are similar there is a more organic build of conversation and thus knowledge.\
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3. Other Major Theories Uses and Gratification Theory (U&G): looks at what people do with certain media to meet certain needs. Cognitive needs: knowledge and environment Affective needs: aesthetics, pleasurable, and emotional experience. personal integration: strengthening credibility, confidence and stability. Social integration: strengthening contact with family, friends and world. Escapist needs: escape, tension release and desire for diversion. Considers the actions of an active audience. Knowledge Gap Theory: With every new medium the gap between the information rich and the information poor grows larger. Also known as the digital divide and can be avoided by looking at new and creative ways to communicate information to all levels. Social Construction and Technological Determination: social factors and technological tools intertwine at varying rates. We develop better ways of delivering the message. Cultivation by the media to believe the message is true. Diffusion of Innovation Theory: the social process of the spread of innovation. How one receives and passes on information. The Spiral of Silence Theory: When a view is not considered the dominant view, that person is less willing to speak (stays silent.) Deals with flaming on the internet. Powerful Effects Theory: The message will more likely reach its audience when there is more then one way of reaching them. (i.e. video and text). Agenda Setting and Media Framing Theories: Agenda setting brings items of established agendas together with our own personal agenda while media framing wraps the information within a particular context in which we personally relate or understand. Frames are subtle but effective. Perception Theory: The starting point for understanding of the message by the individual within the audience. Persuasion Theory: A change in thought and attitude towards something because of new information from a source. Includes fear appeal which builds fear in the audience with the use of such information. Media Richness Theory: A richer more personal means of communication is more effective. Human interest stories and relating to the audience is important for communicating the message. Human Action Cycle: 1. Form a goal. 2. Translating a set of goals into tasks. 3. Planning an action sequence. 4. Executing action sequence. 5. Perceiving what happened. 6. Interpreting outcome according to expectations. 7. evaluating what happened against what is intended. Analysis: understanding the other theories are more effective towards the efforts of communicating a message and understanding how people receive them. They more or less support the interactive theories when applied outside of the realm of communications media. Asking the question of how do these traditional theories change is where the interactive theories discussed above come into play. Whatâ€™s interesting about these theories is that most of them are about what and how humans process information thrown out there by the media. Again, there is a psychological and sociological approach to understanding the desires of the human audience what is needed in order to garner their sympathy and reception of the general message you as a sender are trying to give.
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4. New Media Timeline (1969-2008) 1969 Technology: ARPANET Media: Videotex- computerized text and graphic transmitting system. 1971 Technology: first electronic mail message sent. Media: Project Gutenberg electronic book collection begins on a mainframe computer at the materials research lab at the University of Illinois. 1972 Technology: Atari and Pong…need I say more. Media: computers come to newsrooms. 1975 Technology: Altair 8800 the first personal computer. Media: CompuServe becomes independent and publicly owned. 1976 Technology: Apple I personal computer introduced. 1977 Technology: Apple II personal computer; Atari 2600 released 1977, email serves developed in U of Wisconsin. 1979 Technology: The first Sony Walkman introduced. 1984 Technology: Apple releases the Macintosh (Mac) 1990 Technology: The World Wide Web prototype is created. 1992 Technology: Sony Bookman introduced for digital reading. 1995 Services and Technology: Amazon.com begins service founded by Jeff Bezo. 1996 Services and Technology: Nintendo 64 released. Macromedia Dreamweaver, Flash and Adobe Acrobat are introduced. The Internet Archive: an internet library for researchers and scholars to use. 1999 Services and Technology: blog publishing tool blogger introduced. 2003 Services and Technology: iTunes Store is opened for Macs and later PCs. Weblogs grow in popularity and credibility. 2004 Services and Technology: competitors of smart phone grow. 2008 Media: Handheld Headlines- news embraces new ways of aiming content at cell phones.
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Analysis: Most of the moments featured in this timeline have some connection to electronic reading and its evolution. It’s important to point out that in many ways; the internet was made for ereading. Since the first uses of the internet was to share research more efficiently, it’s interesting to see that ereading as a phenomenon is just now within the last couple of years beginning to take off within the mainstream. It’s a story that is constantly told with the development of the internet that something was created for a practical, scientific reasoning but becomes popular because of its entertainment value. Some of the most avid fiction readers are now using ebooks in efforts to become more green and to cut down space in their library. Some of the events not featured here, like the ones about social networking sites, are essential to getting the word across large groups of people. Even Amazon a site devoted to e commerce has elements of social networking like forum discussions. Social Networking is becoming an important part of almost any site and many sites that you would think wouldn’t need them like Coca Cola try to incorporate socializing elements into their web interface some how. I think a lot of it has to do with the ability to hold a viewer’s attention. We go to social networking sites and can spend countless hours interacting with those around us. Facebooks chat, wall post, and link sharing are good examples of socializing that keep a person’s attention. MySpace actually brings in music allowing visitors to listen to full songs how ever many times they want. What’s important is that the internet is turning into an everyday tool for human to human interaction with varied ways of receiving and sending information. The theories and studies discuss come together when looking at the timeline and the natural progression of our use of interactivity. 5. People to Know Chris Anderson: Wired editor and author of Free: the Future of a Radical Price. Cindy Chastain: Proposed the new elements of user experience: tangible elements (function, performance) and intangible elements (beauty, emotion, and meaning). Jonathan Harris: Internet artist and Designer whose work tries to explain the human world. Analysis: Simply put the people listed are trying to understand not only what’s going on now but what’s going to happen. I actually own Free and I got it because it was being offered as a free audiobook on Itunes (it was also a free ebook on Amazon.com). It has some interesting insight on what the average internet user is expecting. And looks at the internet model of if you give something for free, people may like it and become continued users. This is actually happening a lot within the ebook market. Novels that may be the beginning of series or the debut for an author are given away in order to garner a fan base and continued support. The same with Single of the Week free music and iTunes. Looking at Chastain’s model helps explain some of Apple’s appeal. Nowadays, consumers don’t just have to buy something in black or white they can buy them in an array of colors. The IPod’s appeals to not only the tangible by having the basic function of playing music, but it also the intangible elements of pretty packaging, beautiful colors, and the feeling youthful cool that associated with this particular MP3 player. Finally what’s interesting about Harris is that much of his work is about human to human interaction and making the computer as a tool feels more like an extension of us as human begins
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rather than a tool of communication. I Want You to Want Me is a piece from 2008 that looks at online dating and the human emotion that is often being transferred back in forth through a computer. The interface likens the experience to hundreds of balloons floating in the air. And very much like a message in a bottle or releasing a balloon into the ether, online dating has the same level of uncertainty that there will be a response. By making this connection between something that is still unique to our physical reality and connecting it to virtual reality the line between the two is blurred and the computer is humanized.
Laura Melissa Spencer – Audience Synthesis 1.Spreadable Media in a Digital Age
What is Spreadable Media? Speadable Media is a better term or concept for what is currently known as the “viral” media. So as not to be confused with the negative virus and the unpredictable nature of the word viral, spreadable is meant to account for the overall growth in value content developes when it spreads. In other words, spreadable media morphs from something with a single associated context, to multiple contexts due to the ready adoption of its users. One of the problems with viral media is a lack of clear definition. ‘Viral when it refers to several different aspects. When some passes something on its viral, when it’s easy to pass on, its viral; or even when it fits into a current conversation, it’s viral. Viral while it has a lot to do with users and passing on media is clear on little else. Another problem is virals biological associations. Turning the notion of something like media impossible to predict: The attraction of the infection metaphor is twofold: • It reduces consumers, often the most unpredictable variable in the sender messagereceiver frame, to involuntary "hosts" of media viruses. • While holding onto the idea that media producers can design "killer" texts which can ensure circulation by being injected directly into the cultural ‘bloodstream.’”
The problem with this analogy is that it’s unpredictable like the biological association it comes from and there for difficult to understand or track. Analysis: Changing the name of something in order to separate the context and association that come with it is something that’s happening a lot in the digital age. Viral media is not viral it’s spreadable, audiences are not audiences, they’re multipliers. How are people supposed to keep up with the name changes? Some will most definitely fall at the wayside.
Memes: Memes are what’s at the heart of the spreadable media. It’s the message or the reason for why the content spreads in the first place. As the content spreads, it has the ability to copy itself. An example of this is Mentos in a bottle of soda both the originators as well as the hundreds of copies that followed on YouTube. Multipliers are attracted to message for three reasons. 1. Fidelity: The Meme or message stays the same from person to person. 2. Fecundity: Memes can copy themselves. 3. Memes that survive longer have a better chance of being copied. Memes are best explained even before the internet as rapid spreading units that are unexplainable. Though the concept of memes has been around sense before the internet it has helped in best explaining the groundswell effect brought by the digital age. Analysis: Memes are information in what some call the information age. What’s interesting about memes are their spreadablity and their grassroots sensibility. What’s difficult to fight or understand by corporations is that memes are unpredictable and when the meme goes out there it’s hard to say who will pick it up and pass it on and who will let it die. Trivilizing memes as media snacks generalizes the message as something that isn’t important when that isn’t necessarily the case. At the same time, people are hard press to explain why they like certain viral videos. Sticky and Spreadable (Like Peanut Butter): Taking into consideration all the problems associated with sticky (or viral) models, spreadable is seen as a more scientific, more
Laura Melissa Spencer – Audience Synthesis reliable model for understanding how content moves from person to person on the internet. By using spreadable content, aspects of business as well as culture can be taken into effect. What’s important to point out is that with spreadable content, it not only copies itself, but also allows for consumer (or multiplier) interaction in such a way that not only does it evolve, but also breaks itself apart for certain aspects to be used by a particular niche community. Quote: “When we called them "consumers" we could think of our creations as an end game and their responses as an end state. The term "multiplier" or something like it makes it clear that we depend on them to complete the work.” ( If It Doesn’t Spread it’s Dead-Part One) Distinctions between Sticky and Spreadable: (1)Stickiness seeks to attract and hold the attention of site visitors; spreadability seeks to motivate and facilitate the efforts of fans and enthusiasts to "spread" the word. (2) Stickiness depends on concentrating the attention of all interested parties on a specific site or through a specific channel; spreadability seeks to expand consumer awareness by dispersing the content across many potential points of contact. (3)Stickiness depends on creating a unified consumer experience as consumers enter into branded spaces; spreadability depends on creating a diversified experience as brands enter into the spaces where people already live and interact. (4) Stickiness depends on prestructured interactivity to shape visitor experiences; spreadability relies on open-ended participation as diversely motivated but deeply engaged consumers retrofit content to the contours of different niche communities. (5)Stickiness typically tracks the migrations of individual consumers within a site; Spreadability maps the flow of ideas through social networks. (6)Under stickiness, a sales force markets to consumers; under spreadability, grassroots intermediaries become advocates for brands. (7)Stickiness is a logical outgrowth of the shift from broadcasting's push model to the web's pull model; spreadability restores some aspects of the push model through relying on consumers to circulate the content within their own communities. (8)Under stickiness, producers, marketers, and consumers are separate and distinct roles; spreadability depends on increased collaboration across and even a blurring of the distinction between these roles. (9)Stickiness depends on a finite number of channels for communicating with consumers; spreadability takes for granted an almost infinite number of often localized and many times temporary networks through which media content circulates. Analysis: The idea of spreadability and multipliers is very much like the new models of communication where anyone can become a part of the conversation and the flow of information is not necessarily one way. This is probably why the essay found the sticky or viral model so difficult to understand in a culture built on user participation. The sticky model though a little better still relies on a one way attack on the audience. In terms of the distinction between sticky and spreadable, this is very much like companies creating virtual worlds for the consumer over the companies interacting in virtual worlds that have already been established. Coke Cola World is interactive and subversive, but it doesn’t allow for branching outside of the community willingly through links to other sites. Whereas companies that participate and create groups on Facebook are entering the virtual world or social network of their consumer and playing by their rules of interactivity with little control over content discussed.
Laura Melissa Spencer – Audience Synthesis Gift Economy: What’s important to understand about the gift economy is that it’s at odds with the general understanding of capital gain. File sharing and piracy are the best example of consumers gifting and sharing interesting music over buying music from the original source. While this is at odds with most companies, it’s at the heart of understanding spreadable media and the digital age. In most online communities, not only is there monetary value, but there is also this level of worth or recognition for efforts of either creativity or sharing. Capital gain valued by the companies doesn’t fit as easily as gift economy in an internet structure that values recognition of the name or persona over any other indicator of worth (like money or clothes). Analysis: I find this idea of the gift economy interesting since in a lot of ways we participate in this on a regular basis. When on the internet people want recognition and notoriety, but not necessarily monetary gain. This can be seen in MySpace and the collecting of friends. Your friends network could consist of thousands, but you only know a few. Also in most fandoms and communities the idea of giving way something in exchange for recognition can be seen as the “please comment” factor or “rate it even if you hate it” because that means when a person leaves a comment or rates something they are recognizing the user and their efforts. What companies should understand is that before the web was visual it was about the text and normally the only thing that represented a person was their username. Your username garners a certain status that based solely on your contributions (Whether its thoughts or ideas or files) to the internet community.
What’s Spreadable?: Humor: Humor is a large part of spreadable media since it’s often yields a positive response to an issue while still maintaining the message. But there is a fine line between what is funny and unfunny. Often this has something to do with whether or not it’s a humor lies in a truth that people want to hear. Parody Perils: Another point that makes something unfunny is the fact that the reference is not widely understood. Parody about the president is more popular then parody about Roger Rabbit. Information Seeking: Spreadable leads to looking for further information about the content. Whatever it maybe spreadable media is about further understanding of what is going on. There is a search for authenticity within the spreadable content in order to validate it’s part of the community. Unfinished Content: Spreadable content that relies heavily on the interaction of the user deals with control and giving the user control not only over the interaction but the result. Control is a large factor in spreadable media since it often leads to the user asking the question of how much control they can garner from the experience. Nostalgia and Community: When spreadable content brings together those with shared experiences of the content this creates a community. That community is built on individual experiences but comes together because of the community created. Analysis: When looking at spreadable content there are certain factors it seems to follow. What’s important to point out is that all of the factors mentioned above are based on the sharing of the experience of the media. When you look at a Youtube video, all the factors above can be expressed in the comments section where often community and spreadablity occurs because of the shared experiencing of the media. This happens whether it was one upon a time or when a few minutes of watching the video.
Laura Melissa Spencer â€“ Audience Synthesis 2. Sampling Audience Approaches Everything Changes: An important factor in audience theory is understanding what the audience wants and changing the product accordingly. There is no perfect product and because of this, anything on the internet must change in accordance to its primary audience. Analysis: A Good example of this is Facebook which has changed an exclusive Ivy League network to a global social networking giant. In order to do this, Facebook has had to adapt to what people outside of its exclusive network needed.
Power Law of Participation: The Power Law of Participation splits the level of intelligence within a community to those between the collective and collaborative. In a collective intelligence sphere, this is seen as not necessarily lower level, but more like the margin. This includes anyone from the lurkers to active participants who share links, ideas, and content from other sources. This is different from the collaborative intelligence which can be labeled as the high rollers of the community, not only are they active in the collective intelligence, but they are moderators and enforcers of the content. In the terms of a community, they are the one that know it the best and carry the most weight/worth. Analysis: an example of this is the Jezebel blog. Jezebel has a system of comment that creates a hierarchy in the commenting system different from Youtube. On Jezebel a commenter has to gain status (visualized in a gold star) in order for their comments to become visible to the general public. The comments can be promoted, but only by those with a gold star. So in order for someone on a collective intelligence level to be recognized as collaborative, they have to constantly make thought provoking discussion within the comment thread.
Understanding Your Audience: The different ways of understanding your audience include, collecting data and analyzing site statistics. In order to make a site or blog more visible, there must be an understanding of why your audience is there in the first place and catering to that need. This can be done through looking at the site analysis. What are people looking at when they come to the site and how are they getting there in the first place. This can be helpful in understanding what your core audience is up to. Another way is to ask your audience straight through polling and feedback. This helps you to gage how much of your audience are active participants (either through commenting or other means) and how many of your participants are lurking (by comparing to site analysis). Either way approaching and understanding your audience is key to building a successful site. Analysis: This mode of understanding the audience is not much different from older models of marketing and campaigning. I think what makes the digital different and so difficult is that the audience as morphed into something close to flubber. It can do praticully anything but no one is quiet sure about how to pin it down. This along with Search Engine Optimization are one of the most difficult processes to understand and it has a lot to do with the need to approach something with a scientific angle. When I built my first site, I knew nothing about SEO or catering to audience, but I did understand the concept of notoriety and that often when you want to build a reputation it doesnâ€™t hurt to
Laura Melissa Spencer – Audience Synthesis have a site or blog that helps you express your thoughts and ideas. In a community, a site is important in validating loyalty to the community. 3. Audience Participants and Creator-Consumers
The Experience is Key: People will take the more aesthetically pleasing object over that of user friendly. This has a lot to do with human understanding and attraction to beauty believeing that the more aesthetically pleasing object is more usable. It’s a complex relationship. Another factor to the experience is the emotional response to the process. When browsing content online, what kind of emotional response and associations are being created? If it is a good experience with positive emotional connections and asetheticallt pleasing products and interfaces, the user will continue to come back for products and services. Analysis: These factors have a lot do with the general notions of pleasure and pleasing the audience. The point about aesthetics and people attraction to it is something that has been a part of the discussion of not only the internet, but art and philosophy as well. What’s important to note is that often beauty is based on the individual which means there is a perfect meshing of product and person. In the digital age there is heavy emphasis on the individual which is rather nice when thinking in terms of aesthetics. 4. Information Visualization
Visuals to Understand Concept (Analysis): A series of visuals are used to build awareness about previous content. But on another note most of the visuals are helpful in understanding text information. Through visual cues such as height on the page and color move the eye and help the viewer gather information. Something that the imedia program should consider making standard are principles of design concepts and tutorials. There is very little understanding of why a person is attracted to certain visuals and in a world with content is becoming not only more visual, but also people then making decisions based on their attraction to aesthetics, shouldn’t the basics be understood by everyone in order to understand the audience? 5. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Attracting Links and Visitors: What’s essential to understand about SEO and getting people to come to you site is that your site must be updated regularly and while people have come to expect certain information to place a particular why when viewing the site, having what the audience needs is key to building a persona and SEO. Analysis: There has been a lot of talk about SEO and this mostly because it’s difficult to build and persona in bring in audiences, but while making your website SEO it doesn’t take away from the fact that you need to have something to say that audiences –multiplierwhatever you want to call them want to hear.
Harlequin Horizons, Fail? November 23, 2009 Filed under: Com530, Com540 — melspence @ 8:44 PM Edit This Tags: Books, Harlequin Horizons, The INTERNET
Harlequin: The North American Romance Giant Last week I posted a link on Harlequin Enterprise’s new business venture in the book industry:
self-publishing. EBooks and the digital age of the Internet have made self-publishing easier and brought what was once a common practice for budding writings to the forefront.
It’s obvious that a company such as Harlequin would be interested in getting something like this since even romance novels need to stay afloat in these unsure times for print. What has turned all of this on its ear is that Harlequin has built a community around its authors and
readers approaching them with familiarity and essentially setting themselves up as not just a company or a brand, but a community. (they must have read Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff’s book Groundswell)
But the groundswell has definitely turned since most people in the community have turned against Harlequin for shameless promoting Harlequin Horizons in the rejection letters to
potential authors. A lot of people are calling it a betrayal within the community and the brand Harlequin showing it’s more business-like colors.
SB Sarah sum it up best in her post on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. It’s Harlequin’s branding inconsistency.
“That said, corporations have one responsibility and one responsibility alone—namely: to make money for shareholders. So Harlequin’s effort to increase profits is not out of order at all. However, everything about the Horizons launch contrasted severely with the branding of
Harlequin up to that point, and the volume of the outcry reflected that disconnect. In effect, that inconsistency created a major loss of goodwill.”
It’s something that a lot of business are struggling with. How do we participate in the
familiarity of the Internet but maintain our business ventures for our shareholders? It’s clear
that here Harlequin in its efforts to start something new and exciting in the community, pushed too hard and built suspicion.
I have to agree with SB Sarah. Harlequin can bounce back from this. It’s an internationally
known publisher that has built a reputation for trying new things and building a relationship
with the costumer especially in the digital age of eBooks. It’s a business that doing relatively well in the Web 2.0 world, so I don’t think this slip will bring down the giant. Quote of the Day
“A person who publishes a book appears willfully in public with his pants down.” ~ Edna St. Vincent Millay
Note: If this is the case, Harlequin is an exhibitionist and will be able to turn the other “cheek”.
Learning on the Internet November 11, 2009 Filed under: Com530, Com540 — melspence @ 8:18 PM Edit This Tags: education, Technology, The INTERNET
For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been thinking about the internet, interactive learning, and education of the masses. You could say that for the past couple of weeks I’ve been going through some experimentation and testing with the craft of crocheting. That’s right, crochet.
Crochet Doily from Sweden
One day a few weeks back, I spent that afternoon with an old college roommate. We did the
normal catching up and we even stopped at Hobby Lobby because I convienced her to knit me a scarf (which I’m really excited about). I had a sudden spurt of desire to learn something new.
Something that didn’t necessarily require a computer and allowed me to be creative (which in
poorly lacking in my life as of right now). So I bought a crochet needle, a small ball of yarn, but no how to book. My thought being almost automatically. I’ll look it up on Youtube. When I started, this was the Youtube video I followed first. <Video: How to Crochet for Beginners-Chain Stich>
I found it to be relatively easy and the instructer was a great help up until I started doing single
and double stitch and then using the related videos column I moved onto a different instructor. What’s great about the internet right now is that it believes in the power of free on principle.
There isn’t an expectation to pay. I can learn, change instructors to suit my taste and find what really interest me without too much damage to my wallet. I mean I started a hobby with less
then five dollars and that’s mostly because I didn’t need to buy the 24 dollar book in the store, I had Youtube.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; but a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist” ~ Louis Nizer
Some Thoughts on the Museum Experience November 4, 2009 Filed under: Com530, Com540, Research — melspence @ 8:24 PM Edit This
Tags: Art, Com530, Com540, The INTERNET
The Dancers by George Segal (1971)
How do you bring the art museum experience to the web? Have you ever been to the museum and noticed things beyond just the artwork being
displayed? What’s the atmosphere being portrayed by the museum and what gives it that once in a lifetime experience that makes you satisfied with laying down cold hard cash to look at artifacts that often force you to think in ways you’re not to sure of in the first place?I mean really when you think about it you go to museum for the same reason you would go to the movie theatre or church, its providing an experience that you can’t get anywhere else.
As capstone time rolls around (already?!) for this program, I’ve been thinking about different projects that I would be able to work on and feasibly finish. One of them has been thinking
about the museum website and bringing forth a unique experience for users through the
screen. Handling issues of the unique and single object, issues of too much information being handed to the audience, and even issues of elitism in the museum space. People can barely
answer the question of who the museum is suppose to be for (the knowledgeable elite or the
everyman), so how can we even handle this question for something like the internet where the individual is king (queen) and it’s all about having it your way (sorry Burger King)? I talked to my advisor…he said it was too much for a semester long capstone. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to pursue the idea and collect a portfolio of information on
museum websites, aims of the museum, articles and other such pieces as a personal reference that I could boil down into a how to for the museum website one day. QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Even though the museums guarding their precious property, fence everything off; in my own studio, I made them so you and I could walk in and around, and among these sculptures.” ~ George Segal
5 Client Types to Look Out For October 9, 2009 Filed under: Com530 — melspence @ 1:07 PM Edit This Tags: Com530, the real world
On the iMedia Connection, Daniel Flamberg has introduced a small list of personalities types
that agencies should look out for when working with their clients. He points out that in order to be successful you need to become almost like an amateur pshyciatrist and start analyzing the people around you. So here are 5 personality types from Flamberg.
1. The Mandarin: He’s the high level exect. The guy that is going to let you do what you want as
long as you make him look good in the end. Flamberg labels him as the low anxiety client since essentially he just wants you to do your job.
2. The Know-it-all: The Know-it-all has seen it all and done it and can probably do your job
better than you (or so he thinks). Flamberg says there are good KIAs and Bad KIAs, The good
one just want to share and exchange knowledge and get everyone on the same level, the bad KIAs will question your every move just to seem superior.
3. The Up-and-comer: The Up-and-comer is a little different. They’re trying to become the
Mandarin, but know that at this point in their career it will only take one mistake to end it all. They’re high strung. They have the potential to be great allies when things go well but even
greater enemies when it’s time to divvy up the mistakes. In other words…it’s a business relationship
4. The Lifer: The lifer just wants to keep their job. They know they need a paycheck in order to
sustain their real life, so they’ll leave everything up to you and will be very little help in the end. Much like the UAC, the Lifer will do what it takes to save their skin and their paycheck.
5. The Nerd: It’s not that the nerd isn’t a great guy, but they slow down the process with
constant need for attention and answers to their many questions. Flamberg recommends taking your own nerd and throwing him into the line of fire like a hand grenade (ok I added the hand
grenade analogy…but it works). In the end you need to make sure there’s someone there who doesn’t mind answering ALL the questions.
I found this list interesting and when I tried to apply this to myself I found I was a combination
of the Mandarin, The Lifer, and The Nerd. Flamberg doesn’t talk much about client combination, but you get the gist of the article when he says that basically it’s about knowing who you work for and dealing with them on a case to case basis. Quote of the Day
“Never say no when a client asks for something, even if it is the moon. You can always try, and anyhow there is plenty of time afterwards to explain that it was not possible.” ~ Richard M. Nixon
Top 5 Ways to Get The (BLEEP) Away From the Internet October 7, 2009 Filed under: Uncategorized — melspence @ 2:41 PM Edit This
Along the way in this interactive world, we begin to realize that we look at our computer screens too long and too often. So here are some tips compiled during class.
Top five ways the get the **** away from the Internet: Tips for managing your hyper-connected life; it’s vital to manage your online life before it manages you. 1. Limiting or scheduling computer use. Moderate tasks while on the computer. Don’t stay online for too long of an extended period; instead, take breaks. Don’t set alerts for incoming messages, texts, or emails; it actually wastes more time than it saves. I really don’t follow this. To be honest, I’m usually on my computer from 6am to 11pm. My down time away from the internet is when I sleep.
2. Make time for non-Internet based hobbies. Exercise without your iPod; try reading a magazine instead, or just exercising. I have a non-internet based hobby. I paint, no really I do. I just haven’t painted anything in the
3. Don’t go to the extreme by “blacking out” technology completely, but make sure you’re aware of how it’s affecting and/or controlling your life. If the Internet itself blacks out, make sure you keep pen and paper on you at all times so that you won’t freak out. I’m addicted. There, I’m aware of my internet usage. Next step is reducing my use.
4. Don’t let mobile devices disturb face-to-face interactions; don’t answer your phones at inappropriate points. No technology at the dinner table. Ok, I’m actually pretty good at this.
5. Most importantly, don’t name your devices; it creates an unhealthy relationship and you might lose friends. I’m not sure how Herbert Spencer-IPod fills about this tip…or Chucky, or Dellmon. Hmmm. I
think I still have friends.
Ok so frankly, maybe I should start following some of this advice, but then again. I might be
ahead of the digital curve, connected 24 hours a day, and even naming devices in order to tell
them apart when we give them voice commands. Quote of the Day
“As for the future, your task is not to foresee it, but to enable it.” ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Audience what do you want? October 5, 2009 Filed under: Com530, Com540 — melspence @ 9:22 PM Edit This Tags: Com530, Com540, theory
Bar at the Folies-Bergere So for the last couple of days, I’ve been thinking about audience theory. In other words, how do
we best understand those who interact with our site. I’m not talking particularly about this blog, but in general thinking about the audience and it’s relationship with the creator. In Interactive
Media there is a constant urge to have the audience participate, recognizing that the audience
are no longer consumers, but creators as well. In classes like Strategies and Audience Analysis
we’ve looked at new models of understanding the communication between the groups involved. While on the other hand Writing and Design ask that we know the needs of our audience.
I’m not new to the concepts of understanding the audience, often in order to understand an art piece and it’s context there is a need to know and understand the original audience the piece was intended for. Knowing your audience allows for new ways of approaching the design and concepts of the piece. Much like 12 Views of Manets’ Bar where a single painting can be
approached from several angles, not only is the question asked of who the woman is, but also who is the man; because as viewers looking at the woman we relate in position to the man
(sometimes). The internet, design and SEO are much the same as looking at a painting from
different methodological approaches when it comes to audience. There isn’t one correct way no matter how many websites offer tips on search engine optimization and how to make it work for you.
In Writing for Multimedia and the Web there is a clear understanding that the goals of the
original creator must mesh with the needs of the target audience. Interactive Theory of
Audiencepoints out that as content creators we must create something that appeals (visually or
conceptually) for the audience to become interested. While both seem somewhat similar they vastly different in how they approach the audience, but in the end both are successful paths
towards building a relationship with the audience. Which is the main point of all this analyzing, charting, and tips giving. Quote of the Day
“My play was a complete success. The audience was a failure.” ~ Ashleigh Brilliant
The End of Books by Robert Coover September 23, 2009 Filed under: Com530, Research — melspence @ 7:17 PM Edit This Tags: Com530, Future of the Book, Research
If you’ve every read The End of Books by Robert Coover, you know that in the essay Coover
talks about the change that’s going to come from the use of hypertext. That in the near future
people will be able to click on any word and it becomes a link to another part of the story within
a book. This creates an interactive story that is created not only by the author, but by the
audience as well. What’s interesting and important about Coover’s idea is that while hypertext
is vastly popular with mediums such as blogs, it’s not mainstream enough for books. I think in a lot of ways ereaders and ereading devices could change that.
One of the more interesting features I love about ebooks is that when it’s in a certain format, it allows for linking within the text. Most of the time those links are used in the table of contents to reach a chapter faster, but I can imagine more interactive ways of using those links within
the text. In The End of Books, Coover wasn’t saying that we should get rid of the book, but
rather reimagined what the books could do for the reader. Through my research I’ve learned
that many studies are being done about how people learn and that in many ways the nonlinear approach that Coover suggest is actually the best method for receiving information and that
each individual carries a personal organization system for learning. It keeps coming back to the
I think ebook readers can open up Coover’s idea of hypertext and interactive story telling to new light. Giving authors new freedoms and approaches to how they create their stories.
Instead of readers getting a self contained book, the author can instead constantly update the
story with new links to different kinds of thoughts and ideas within the character. For instance, often when I write, I create mini stories in my head for my characters. Stories that would never
make it to the page, but help me solidify the personality of that character. What if my readers were able to go off into those mini-stories within the main story and read them, so that they could understand my characters on the same level. Much like a soap opera is constantly building on itself, the same could be done with novels.
Quote of the Day
“Hypertext is truly a new and unique environment. Artists who work there must be read there.
And they will probably be judged there as well: criticism, like fiction, is moving off the page and on line, and it is itself susceptible to continuous changes of mind and text. Fluidity,
contingency, indeterminacy, plurality, discontinuity are the hypertext buzzwords of the day,
and they seem to be fast becoming principles, in the same way that relativity not so long ago displaced the falling apple.” ~ Robert Coover The End of Books
Say What?! Only on the Kindle? September 20, 2009 Filed under: Com540 — melspence @ 1:29 PM Edit This Tags: Com540, Future of the Book, Technology
Do you own a Sony Reader…or Cooler…or any ebook reader besides a Kindle?! And you want to read Groundswellby Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff as an ebook? Well guess what…fat chance.
When I was buying my books for class, I noticed that Groundswell wasn’t categorized as a
textbook. I thought this was wonderful since I would easily be able to find the book as an ebook (ebooks are so popular right now). Was I wrong…oh so wrong. When I checked Amazon I found
it for Kindle. Normally when a shop I use Amazon and then buy at the Sony Store because I like the interface better and I’m comfortable with browsing there. When I moved over to the Sony store, Groundswellwas nowhere to be found. No Charlene Li and no Josh Bernoff either.
This bothered me to no end because when I was reading the first couple of chapters, it seemed
Groundswellwas all about warning against the streisand effect. The streisand effect happens
when information is censored but then that information starts to crop up at a uncontrolable
rate on webpages and filesharing sites. I think that limitation of information can also lead to the
streisand effect since when someone doesn’t make content widely available, it starts to show up
in file sharing sites anyway.
So why people of Forresters, producers of Groundswell would you think it was a good idea to only offer the book to Amazon?
The same Amazon that locks up it’s books with DRM and special file formats that you have to
pay to convert to PDF. The same Amazon that’s forcing books to be sold at that coveted $9.99
price tag that’s acting like a giant sea squid on the sinking ship known as publishing. Trust me, I’m not a fan of Amazon’s quest for a dictatorship, so why would Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff be?
In the world of ebooks and ebook readers the groundswell is pretty massive. I’m bothered by the fact that Forresters would just ignore that when setting up ebook deals.
On Books Part 1: Why Books? September 16, 2009 Filed under: Com530, Research — melspence @ 9:09 PM Edit This Tags: Future of the Book, Research
4 Things to know about me and books….
1. I have hundreds books in my personal library, and this is after I went through the process of separating out books that could be sold or donated in order to make space.
2. In the span of six months (January to June this year) I’ve accumulated over 60 books in electronic format. (I’ve read at least 40).
3. No one wants to go shopping at the bookstore with me…no one. I think has something to do with me walking around aimlessly for hours.
4. Next week I plan on buying Diana Gabaldon’s An Echo in the Bone. ~*~ The reason I’m saying all of this is because if I’m going to research something, I need to first explain why it’s important to me (also to warn everyone that I’ll be caught up in reading the massive Gabaldon tome next week).
I haven’t always been an avid reader, I didn’t enjoy it at an early age and I can tell you the exact “ah ha” moment I had when I picked up a book I enjoyed and wanted to read more like it.
What’s interesting about books and reading for me is not only the thought of going to different places, but the feeling of being intrusted with a precious idea. Any author whether it’s Jane Austen or Danny Wallace have something they want to share and through books we get a chance to see where they’re coming from.
What’s worth exploring, is how the electronic format has changed our approach to reading and
the book. In the a lot of ways, reading is a ritual and every person has a different way dealing with that ritual beyond the standard beginning to end. With interactivity and the digital age, I
wonder if mainstream authors will be thinking more about how their readers are reading their books. Author Meg Cabot is continuously in touch with her audience through her blog which gives her the opportunity to answer questions directly and to know her audience better. But could more be done by the author beyond websites, blogs and forums?
I’m interested in the dynamics of what’s going on in publishing because in a lot of ways
something that’s been around for centuries is going to have to suddenly adapt to the changes we’re seeing in the reader. Quote of the Day
“When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.” ~ Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus, Dutch Renaissance Humanist (1466-1536)
True Confessions of the Web September 9, 2009 Filed under: Com530 — melspence @ 7:16 PM Edit This Tags: One Web Day
I have a confession to make…I haven’t watched my television in nearly two weeks. (Good thing cable comes with rent or my tv would be a waste of money.)
It’s true, I get most of my entertainment from my computer. Whether it be from listening to
music or watching YouTube videos I spend a lot of time surfing cyber space for something to
relax to after a day of heavy theory and interactivity jargon. But I’m coming to realize that the one thing in the world I’ve decided to study, I can’t get away from. My browser is open, I’m typing in WordPress and the characters I just typed is going to go out into the world were
someone can copy and paste it, translate it using Google, or call it complete cow patty! Every
moment of everyday I’m being interactive and I’m kind of wondering when I’ll be able to link my dreams to Facebook while I sleep so I can watch them when I wake up (I never remember them). I’m participating in One Web Day were interactivity reigns supreme and thoughts and ideas are shared. For the past week, I’ve been thinking of a unique way to convey the power of connection the web can bring. It’s a bit difficult, but I think I’ve got it figured out.
For One Web Day, Kathryn V.Williams and I will be working on a different approach to the video
then sitting in front of the screen and expounding on our love of the web, instead we will be using a video capture of an AIM conversation. Inspired by the many online conversations we
have even after spending the day together. We hope to convey the many aspects of the web
that makes literally an extension of ourselves. From doing research to watching videos, I feel
that I am constantly in this virtual reality space. Using up time in such a way that often I feel a mix of both the productive and wasteful. Quote of the Day
“I must confess that I’ve never trusted the Web. I’ve always seen it as a coward’s tool. Where
does it live? How do you hold it personally responsible? Can you put a distributed network of
fiber-optic cable “on notice”? And is it male or female? In other words, can I challenge it to a fight?” ~ Stephen Colbert
iMedia Thinkers 1. Tim Berners-Lee: Invented the World Wide Web and wrote the first client web server in 1990. http://www.w3.org/People/Berners-Lee/ 2. Paul Otlet: His Mundaneum was a collection of information that was connected based multiple factors of relations. It was similar to hyperlinking today. http://www.boxesandarrows.com/view/forgotten_forefather_paul_otlet 3. Brian Solis: Concept designer for the Conversation Prism which charts tool of communication most commonly used on the internet. http://www.briansolis.com/ 4. Robert Coover: Professor at Brown University he wrote the New York Times essay, the End of Books, noting that the hyperlinking of the Internet changed the linear-centric view of the world including storytelling. Also started the hyperlinking novel, Hyperlink Hotel with his students. http://www.brown.edu/Departments/Literary_Arts/bio%20coover.htm 5. Jakob Nielson: Usability expert who introduced heuristic evaluations to test user interfaces of computer technology. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jakob_Nielsen_(usability_consultant) 6. Adam Singer: Runs the blog the Future Buzz, a highly popular blog that discusses marketing, PR, and interactive media on the Internet. http://thefuturebuzz.com/aboutadam-singer/ 7. Mark Lukie: Writer of the 10000 words blog that looks at interactive media design on the Internet in a news/ information context. http://www.getluckie.net/ 8. Ellyn Angelotti: Interactivity Editor for Poynter who deals with interactive media innovations and their connection to journalism. http://ellynangelotti.com/ 9. Brian Storm: President of Media Storm a online news source widely known for itâ€™s use of Interactive Media to tell engaging news stories. http://www.mediastorm.org/about/index.htm 10. Steve Jobs: Founder of Apple. Used the technology of Xeroxâ€™s Alto to create the Macintosh personal computer and the desktop user interface of the personal computer. http://www.apple.com/pr/bios/jobs.html
iMedia Readings 1. Free: A Future of a Radical Price: written by Chris Anderson of Wired. Free looks at the growing internet market strategy of giving away something for free in order to gain costumers. What kind of effect is this having on value as a whole? http://www.longtail.com/the_long_tail/2009/07/free-for-free-first-ebook-and-audiobookversions-released.html 2. Groundswell: Looks at the huge community swell of opinion sharing and making that the Internet harbors and how business and content producers should deal with it. http://www.forrester.com/grounswell 3. Be The Media: A step by step guide to using media tools both online and in reality. Offers the basics as well as giving incite of their effectiveness. http://www.bethemedia.org/ 4. The Information Design Handbook: A guide and collection of case studies on information design most of which is offline, but is increasingly handling issues that based on the Internet’s effect on the outside world. 5. Socialnomics: Looks at the world of social media and how this is effecting the way we live both casually and through business. http://socialnomics.net/the-book/ 6. TorrentFreak Blog: Blog devoted to spreading the news of the file sharing world. Looks at issues in copyright and the changing world that file sharing constantly effects. http://torrentfreak.com/ 7. If It Doesn't Spread it's Dead: A Blog series that looks at the spreadablity of the viral video and what elements makes a video or any kind of content spreadable on the Internet. http://henryjenkins.org/2009/02/if_it_doesnt_spread_its_dead_p.html 8. Seth Godin's Blog: Tips, incites, and musings on working in the Internet world of web 2.0. http://sethgodin.typepad.com/ 9. Amy Gahran’s Contentious.com Blog: A blog that looks at information and the Internet’s effect on journalism. Features interesting links to iMedia topics. http://www.contentious.com/ 10. Born Digital: A book that looks at the growing generation of digital natives who have known of the Internet and computer Technology for all of their lives. http://borndigitalbook.com/
iMedia Theories 1. Audience Theory: the over arching theory that looks at audience acceptance of information and content and how they receive said content. http://www.mediaknowall.com/alevkeyconcepts/audience.html 2. Social Network Theory: Networks or connections with closer stronger ties are not as efficient as longer weaker ties that go outside of the network. It’s better to link outside of the established group. http://www.istheory.yorku.ca/socialnetworktheory.htm 3. Uses & Gratifications theory: looks at what people do with certain media to meet certain needs. Cognitive needs: knowledge and environment Affective needs: aesthetics, pleasurable, and emotional experience. personal integration: strengthening credibility, confidence and stability. Social integration: strengthening contact with family, friends and world. Escapist needs: escape, tension release and desire for diversion. Considers the actions of an active audience. http://www.uky.edu/~drlane/capstone/mass/uses.htm 4. Knowledge Gap theory: With every new medium the gap between the information rich and the information poor grows larger. Also known as the digital divide and can be avoided by looking at new and creative ways to communicate information to all levels. http://www.cw.utwente.nl/theorieenoverzicht/Theory%20clusters/Mass%20Media/knowl edge_gap.doc/ 5. The Spiral of Silence Theory: When a view is not considered the dominant view, that person is less willing to speak (stays silent.) Deals with flaming on the internet. http://www.uky.edu/~drlane/capstone/mass/spiral.htm 6. Activity Theory: All human activities are mediated by culturally created tools or signs (i.e. IPod) – through this the individual is formed. This theory is used in human computer interaction to understand the goals of the individual. A person uses a device, but if a device doesn’t meet all a persons needs of the device, it is assessed and reimplemented. http://carbon.ucdenver.edu/~mryder/itc_data/act_dff.html 7. Online Communities Theory: communication through boards and blogs rather than face to face allows for learning more about a topic of discussion over time. Contribution and recognition within the community are valued. Lurking: not participating, but passively observing the information exchange and gathering. http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol10/issue4/preece.html 8. Symbolic Interactionism: Looking at human interaction with things / the internet and the meaning formed through the analyzing of those actions. Using actions to define the situation. http://web.grinnell.edu/courses/soc/s00/soc111-01/introtheories/symbolic.html 9. Media Richness Theory: A richer more personal means of communication is more effective. Human interest stories and relating to the audience is important for communicating the message. http://learngen.org/Resources/lgend101_norm1/200/210/211_3.html 10. Social Construction and Technological Determination: social factors and technological tools intertwine at varying rates. We develop better ways of delivering the message.
Cultivation by the media to believe the message is true. http://www.uky.edu/~drlane/capstone/mass/determinism.htm
iMedia Issues 1. Security: With increase use of the internet and the sharing of information, fear of protection against outside elements is becoming a major concern. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2005/06/25/AR2005062501284.html 2. Privacy: The Increased use of the Internet also has seen an increase sharing of personal information in order to participate online, because of this issues in privacy have arisen. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_privacy 3. Innovation: Constant, newer innovations has lead to an increased questioning of when the constant innovation will plateau. http://www.isoc.org/pubpolpillar/issues/innovation.shtml 4. Regulation and Standardization: With the Internet becoming a crucial part of peoples lives regulation and standardization are continuely being brought up in to insure fair and equal use. http://www.isoc.org/pubpolpillar/issues/standardization.shtml 5. Control: Who is controlling what is a constant question ask through out the internet, is it the corporations, the consumers, the content creators, or is it the bots and spiders that constantly roam the internet. http://www.internetretailer.com/article.asp?id=27965 6. Real vs Virtual: There is a heavy divide between what is considered the real world and what is considered virtual. As this line is blurred for younger generations, for others there is still a questioning of the significance of online environments. http://www.dryesha.com/ 7. Copyright: The constant sharing that goes on on the internet has breed a constant question of whoâ€™s is what, and need for better understanding of authorship. http://www.isoc.org/pubpolpillar/issues/property_rights.shtml 8. Identity: Issues in identity go hand in hand with privacy and control as most online interactions still leave you unsure of who is on the other side of the line of communication. http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1P2-11938300.html 9. Energy: Constant energy use is becoming a major issue as most computer use sky rockets around the world. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb6541/is_2_70/ai_n29257170/ 10. Ethics: What is considered fair ethical behavior in an environment such as the Internet? Dealing with issues of behavior and morality on the almost faceless environment of the web. http://www.echonyc.com/~ysue/ethics.html
iMedia Resources 1. Lynda.com: Online guide for design and video tools often used in the creation of interactive media. http:/www.lynda.com 2. Google: search for anything and have it show up instantly from various angles. From tutorials on product use to interesting articles on audience theory. http://www.google.com 3. Wordpress: the easiest way to build a blog, Wordpressâ€™ SEO friendly set up also makes for a great website. http://wordpress.org 4. Wired.com: Technology news source that looks at growing issues in technological innovation. http://www.wired.com 5. TechCrunch: A Technology news source that looks at the lastest issues in interactive media, technological innovation, and itâ€™s effect on the both the virtual and real worlds. http://www.techcrunch.com/ 6. LifeHacker: A Technology blog that looks at innovative ways of dealing with technology and the Internet. http://lifehacker.com/ 7. Forrester Research: Looks at the numbers and research behind marketing and the Internet. http://www.forrester.com/rb/research 8. Kuler: A design tool for creating color combinations both interesting and unusual. http://kuler.adobe.com/#themes/rating?time=30 9. Media Bistro: A site devoted to jobs, communities, and events in media. http://www.mediabistro.com 10. Flowing Data: An online resource that looks at different kind of data visualizations. http://www.flowingdata.com
iMedia Information Visualizations 1. Conversation Prism: Designed by Brian Solis, the conversation Prism attempts to organize the tools often used for communication on the Internet. http://www.briansolis.com/2009/03/conversation-prism-v20/ 2. Web Trends Map: A look at Internest sites their goals and their impact on the web as whole. http://informationarchitects.jp/web-trend-map-4-final-beta/ 3. Internet Memes Timeline: a look at high profile spreadable videos throughout the years. Whatâ€™s the trend for being popular and links to watch the videos. http://www.dipity.com/tatercakes/Internet_Memes/embed_tl 4. Twitterverse: Charts high profile tweets and what kind of topics are being discussed on twitter. http://www.twitterverse.com/ 5. Communications Solar System: A look at the communication lines of the internet between content creators and consumers. 6. Media diet Pyramid: A Breakdown of average media usage that totals into about 9 hours of daily use. http://flowingdata.com/2009/08/14/balance-life-with-the-media-dietpyramid/ 7. Abraham Moslowâ€™s Hierarchy: Charting of psychological human needs and motivation. Not necessarily applied the imedia but relatable. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow's_hierarchy_of_needs 8. Google Earth: Indepth geographical chart that organizes trackable locations throughout the world. http://earth.google.com/ 9. The Ebb and Flow of Movies: Box Office Receipt 1986-2008: NYTimes chart that looks at the gross of movie box offices and allows for comparisons. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2008/02/23/movies/20080223_REVENUE_GRAPH IC.html# 10. Nebul.Us: Online constant visualization of web activity. It monitors as a plug in to firefox and shows your browsing history. http://flowingdata.com/2009/12/08/nebul-us-showsyou-your-activity-on-the-web/
Research Proposal: The Future of Books Melissa Spencer General Thoughts: It would be hard to believe a couple of years ago that you would be able to predict the future of the publishing world as something more exciting then declining sales. Reading wasn’t considered cool and on a lot of levels publishing was having a difficult time bring in younger readers. Who would have thought that the book publishing world would be having an epic battle of not only technology, but of what’s going to happen next? eReaders and the ebook format in general are changing the way people look at books and while there are still heavy value of regular paper over e-paper it’s not difficult to see with companies like that of Amazon and Sony that the digital format is solidifying itself as a publishing product of both fiction and nonfiction. So the real question isn’t necessarily what’s going to happen next, but rather what’s going to happen now? A lot of questions about electronic reading still remain unanswered and while the technology moves ahead and becomes faster and more user friendly there are a lot questions and boundaries that need to take place. If one were to look at the cycle of technology, ereading would be at the commercial phase and more than ready to move into the regulatory phase by next year. Why is this? Above I mentioned epic battle of the ereader devices and I wasn’t kidding, much like Mac or PC, many people in the know are asking questions like Kindle or Sony, but even that question could open up to Kindle/Sony/Cooler? With the electronic format anything could happen within the next couple of years. But what about the prevailing paper format. While there is an interesting battle going on inside our electronic devices the bookstore as whole remains relatively unchanged from a couple of year ago. A lot of publishers rely on the confidence of their ability to make money in the store to even be bothered with the electronic devices leaving those who have fully moved into ereading solely very cold. The purpose of my paper is to understand the current situation and predict the outcome of the electronic reading format and its effect on reading/books as a whole. Topics of Discussion: The History of the Book: a brief look at the history of the book and publishing up to 2006 when Sony released its first ereading device. A more in-depth look from 2006 to today in terms of the growth of the format. Discussing terminology (do we really need to place “e” in front of everything?) Also answering questions of what is a book and what is its main purpose? The eBook Format: Looking at the several formats both DRM and nonDRM and discussing the prevailing format and what makes it best all around. The eReader Device: Understanding the epic battle and predicting who will come out on top. The Paperback: Looking at paper format books, the bookstores, and the changes that may happen because of the validation of the ebook. What Needs to Happen Next: Looking at what could make the ereading experience better for the overall use of the book, including academic study, artist books, and the study of the book. Who is thinking about this the most?
The EBook and Tomorrow
A Study of the eBook and the Future of Books L.M. Spencer
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ABSTRACT This paper looks at the History of the eBook, the eReader Device, and eBook formats. Discussing the issues prevalent in the eBook world which hinder widespread adoption, this paper attempts to find solutions that benefit the customer and handle the eBook aspects of issues in the real versus the virtual in todayâ€™s digital age. Taking all of this into consideration, I will attempt to field out a direction in which books, eBooks, and eReading devices are going in terms of mainstream novels, academia, and scholarly research.
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In the past year, a new phenomenon has taken over the reading world. Where before only few tech savvy individuals partook of the new way in reading, we are now seeing the adoption of electronic reading (eReading) and with it much speculation of what is going to happen next. Changing not only how we read, but changing the process of how we buy books and share those books with the world around us, eReading is only one of the growing changes taking place in the digital age. It leaves us to wonder at such an interesting point in not only in the ritual of reading but book publishing about what is going to happen next and especially what this new format has to offer over traditional paper. As eBooks and eReading devices become more mainstream and technology makes for easier accessibility and ease of use, there is a larger acceptance of the digital format. But while this still seems to be the case, very few are willing at this point to let go of the paper format entirely. It will be years before anyone can go their entire life without picking up the paper codex. EBooks are not something new; used to pass along data they are almost as old as the Internet itself. What has made eBooks so popular in the pass year is advancements in the technology used to read eBooks. Formerly eBooks could be read mostly on the computer or small mobile planners. Today there are more choices in terms of mobile devices and the screen technology called e-ink that allows for ease of reading similar to paper format. At this point, the innovations taking place in electronic reading isnâ€™t about replacing the paper format, but becoming more like it with advantages that only the digital format can bring. Much like Mp3 players changed the way people listen to music, there is a movement to do the same with books. With many eReading devices such as Amazonâ€™s Kindle and Sonyâ€™s Touch it gives the feeling of electronic reading becoming the mainstream, but can it really replace all the aspects of reading that people encounter on a regular basis? How does the eBook fair as a tool in academia where books play an important part in imparting knowledge to students? Also what will happen to bibliology (the study of books) itself as more rare books are made available in electronic format? While many see the benefits of using electronic readers and eBooks, many more are turning down the electronic format as a gimmick to get people (especially the younger generation) interested in reading again. In 1996 when more
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eBooks were being offered online for people to download and read on their computers and even eReaders, many turned against it. In an editorial from PC Week, Bill Machrone discusses the many horrors readers faced with eBooks. Citing letters from school board members that eReaders wouldn’t last very long in the hands of grade schoolers or that the screen wasn’t in color in order to effectively incorporate images and charts. Other concerns included the readers “rights” when purchasing books and dealing with issues of redownloading the book once you’ve purchased it. It’s not a surprise that copyright and security have become one of the leading issues of the digital age, and many of the concerns that were expressed to Machrone in 1996 are still being discussed today. People still continue to worry about the question of who owns the book once it’s been purchased. When purchasing the paper format, it’s owned outright with little control by the publisher over what happens afterward. That’s not the case with eBooks. Digital formats can easily be locked to keep people from sharing the file and in the end, with many eReaders moving to Wi-Fi features of instant download those books can easily be taken away by the distributor. While some of these issues are prevalent, there are also views against eBooks that are unfounded. In Machrone’s editorial, the most widely expressed concern was the “fear that eBooks with graphics and animation would lead to artists’ conceptions that would still your imagination and ability to create characters and scenes inside your head.” (Machrone 81) What makes this issue seems somewhat inaccurate for even the standards of 1996 is the long time use of illustrations and cover imagery in the paper format. These images affect how you will view the constructed images in the books whether is conscious or subconscious. Also this argument would seem less than perfect for today’s standards since there has been a rise in popularity of the graphic novel. This fear of imagery is built mostly on our fear what the digital age brings with it as more and more practices become virtual and visual. What many readers also fear is a world that Robert Coover praises in his essay for the New York Times, The End of Books. Stories that are no longer succinctly linear in the way that they’re told, but bend and shape according to what the reader wants to take away. A form of interactive storytelling structure that complicates the long standing structure of beginning, middle, and end; and questions exactly where those places are in the story for individual readers. But while Coover’s world of hyperlinked storytelling can easily be found anywhere on the internet, it’s still not viable in a world of digital books where the innovation and technology are about being like the paper format and less like a computer. With this in mind, how will the future of the book progress. Machrone in 1996 told his readers to vote with their wallets. And while reading on a device has become more popular, we still don’t know what the future of eBooks and eReading could mean?
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The History of the book is a long one, over five centuries old. It would almost be impossible to cover everything within the limits of this paper. What’s important to understand is that five centuries of placing information in convenient and often portable codex that were made from light weight materials has created a ritualistic understanding of what a book is meant to be as well as creating a ritual for how we read, both of which are hard to break away from. EBooks and devices work to become the next step in light weight portability of the codex creating a way to make even more information portable but what makes them different from paper books and harder to accepts comes down to materials and the abstract understanding of how a computer works. When looking at a book, we see through the number of pages how much information the codex is holding. And while the informative measure of a small book over a large book can’t be measured in the number of pages, this isn’t the same when measure eBooks to paper format. In Cynthia N. Malone’s essay “Futures of Books”, Malone begins the essay by stating that in her classes most of the students see the paper format as the real book, while the eBook was considered to be something of a lesser format. While Malone goes on to discuss broadening terms of the book and building an understanding how the form conveys information, it’s important to point out that the issues created between paper and digital in the book world are reflective of the issues of virtual and real. Which is more important and can they blend. The eBook and the eReader today are at the point before the point before the blend. While the history of the eBook is not as long as that of the paper format, it’s still relatively long at 40 years of existence. That’s right, the eBook is as old as the internet itself. To quickly sum up the history of books and eBooks here is a chronological list taken from Marie Lebert’s A Short History of eBooks. Some of the points have been bolded for emphasis. They include moments that deal with eBook formatting, reading devices and eBooks on the internet. Chronology from A Short History of eBooks [Each line begins with the year or the year/month.]
1968: ASCII is the first character set encoding. 1971: Project Gutenberg is the first digital library. 1974: The internet takes off. 1977: UNIMARC is created as a common bibliographic format for library catalogs. 1984: Copyleft is a new license for computer software. 1990: The web is invented by Tim Berners-Lee. 1991/01: Unicode is a universal character set encoding for all languages. 1993/01: The Online Books Page is a list of free eBooks on the internet. 1993/06: Adobe launches PDF, Acrobat Reader and Adobe Acrobat. 1993/11: Mosaic is the first web browser. 1994: The first library website goes online. 1994: Bold publishers post free digital versions of copyrighted books.
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1995/07: Amazon.com is the first main online bookstore. 1995: Mainstream print newspapers and magazines launch their own websites. 1996/03: The Palm Pilot is launched as the first PDA. 1996/04: The Internet Archive is founded to archive the web. 1996: Teachers explore new ways of teaching using the internet. 1997/01: Multimedia convergence is the topic of a symposium. 1997/04: E Ink begins developing a technology called electronic ink. 1997: Online publishing begins spreading. 1997: The Logos Dictionary goes online for free. 1998/05: 00h00.com sells books "only" in digital format. 1998: Library treasures like Beowulf go online. 1999/09: The Open eBook (OeB) format is created as a standard for eBooks. 1999/12: Britannica.com is available for free on the web (for a short time). 1999: Librarians become webmasters. 1999: Authors go digital. 2000/01: The Million Book Project wants to digitize one million books. 2000/02: yourDictionary.com is a major language portal. 2000/03: Mobipocket focuses on readers (software) and eBooks for PDAs. 2000/07: Non-English-speaking internet users reach 50%. 2000/07: Stephen King (self-)publishes a novel "only" on the web. 2000/08: Microsoft launches its own reader (software) and LIT format. 2000/09: GDT is a main bilingual (English, French) free translation dictionary. 2000/09: Numilog is an online bookstore selling â€œonlyâ€? digital books. 2000/09: Handicapzero is a portal for the visually impaired and blind community. 2000/10: The Public Library of Science works on free online journals. 2000/10: Distributed Proofreaders helps in digitizing books from public domain. 2000/11: The British Library posts the digitized Bible of Gutenberg. 2001/01: Wikipedia is a main free online cooperative encyclopedia. 2001: Creative Commons works on new ways of respecting authors' rights. 2003/09: MIT offers its course materials for free in its OpenCourseWare. 2004/01: Project Gutenberg Europe is launched as a multilingual project. 2004/10: Google launches Google Print to rename it Google Books later on. 2005/04: Amazon.com buys Mobipocket, its software and eBooks. 2005/10: The Open Content Alliance works on a universal public digital library. 2006/08: Google Books has several partner libraries and publishers. 2006/08: The union catalog WorldCat is available for free on the web. 2006/10: Sony launches its new reading device, the Sony Reader.
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2006/12: Microsoft launches Live Search Books (and drops the project later on). 2007/03: Citizendium works on a main "reliable" online cooperative encyclopedia. 2007/03: IATE is the new terminological database of the European Community. 2007/05: The Encyclopedia of Life will document all known species of animals and plants. 2007/11: Amazon.com launches Kindle, its own reading device. 2008/05: Hachette Livre buys the digital bookstore Numilog. 2008/10: Google Books settles a lawsuit with associations of authors and publishers. 2008/11: Europeana starts as the European digital library. 2009/02: Amazon.com launches Kindle 2. (Lebert 94)
EBooks and the digital age have grown together, but while the digital age seems to be evolving faster, eBooks have moved at a steady rate of innovation and development. And although eBooks have moved at a steady rate of innovation, it was the devices they were viewed that made eReading and eBooks mainstream. The eReading Devices
EReading devices over the years have ranged from the desktop computer to digital planners like that of the Palm. The newest and biggest innovation in the last decade of eReading has been a device meant solely for reading eBooks. Digital eReaders like Sony’s Touch and Amazon’s Kindle follow in the footsteps of that portable codex but with technology different from ink and paper. Most successful eReading devices use the technology of electronic ink which works very much like a fancy etch-n-sketch. E Ink’s electronic ink is essential tiny charged pigments floating in bubbles or carrier mediums of clear fluid. When the bottom electrodes are charged a particular way, the pigments will react and either move to the top (which is what we see) or to the bottom and hidden. While the technology is used mainly with eReading devices, E Ink has stated on their website that the technology is thin and can be printed using screen printing techniques to make virtually any surface a display. This means that the technology to make bendable displays is possible and can be found with electronic ink and eReading devices are only one use.
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The question being asked in the media right now, is which device is better. Which one of the many devices out there is actually the best device for your use. While everyone knows about Amazon’s Kindle and some know of the Sony eReaders, very few people go beyond this in terms of knowledge on devices. In this year alone, more than five devices have been released into the market. MobileRead Wiki, a website that chronicles eBook formats, online eBook stores and eReading devices. The site is constantly updated with information on released and announced innovations in eReading. When looking at most eReaders, there are some commonalities that have become standard when purchasing an eReading device. One of these standards is electronic ink. The number of devices meant solely for reading eBooks that doesn’t use this technology is three: the Ebookwise -1150, the Dr. Yi M218, and the Jetbook. All three of these devices use an LCD screen, but do not take advantage of LCD’s ability to use color. Another commonality is size. Most portable eReading devices range from 5 inches to 10 inches in size which is smaller than the standard 8.5 by 11 inches for a sheet of U.S. letter paper. Finally another standard is the longevity of battery life. While there are clear winners in terms of battery life within the eReading devices, battery life is what makes the eReading device more feasible then a laptop computer or mobile phone/ planner. Because when reading a good book, it’s hard to remember to charge up.
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L . M . S p e n c e r | 15 While the use of eReading devices continues to be a battle for which eReader is the best reader, in the end itâ€™s really up to the purchaser as to what kind of device suits their reading needs. There are more people buying into the eReading device because of its intuitive interface and ease of accessibility to eBooks as products. But another factor is the ability to shop around. While many readers like that of the Kindle and Sony have stores associated with them, there are many eBook providers on the net that are not strictly affiliated with a particular reader. This gives customers the ability to shop around and the only way consumers are easily able to do this is through the compatibility of different eBook formats. The eBook Format The file formatting for eBooks is extensive. One of the weaknesses of the early stages of eReading innovation is that while there was real push for a standard format, no clear benefits where outlined for having a single or a few eBook formats. Below is a list of formats that eBooks are available in and supported by devices. ABW LRS ACSM LRX AEH MOBI AZW NP AZW1 OEB BBeB ODT CBR/CBZ OSIS CHM PDB DJVU PDF DNL DOC PKG DOCX EBA PNPd EBAML PRC ePUB RB -ER.PDB RTF EXE STK FB2 TCR FUB TeBR GPF TPZ GPX TXT IMP TR/ TR3 -IS.PDB VBK XEB KML WOLF LIT zTXT LRF ZNO When compared to the number of formats for music (5) and graphic (7) the 50 plus formats featured above seems excessive. This is one of the problems with eReading that makes it so difficult to adopt. Because there isnâ€™t an industry standard that book publishers and product builders can decide on, it makes it
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difficult for potential customers to be completely comfortable with buying files that may or may not later convert to their eReading device when it’s replaced. Even with efforts by the International Digital Publishing Forum to adopt ePub as the standard there really isn’t a clear standard. The only format that has come closest is the PDF and this is only because of the PDF’s association with Adobe programs and uneditable content. In the music industry Mp3’s are widely used when digitizing music, so why is the book industry so slow to adopt a standard? It may have something to do with everyone trying to protect their content and lock in their customers to their product but in the process they’ve complicated the system for customers. With eBook formats, companies need to have less control of the content and give their customers an ability to freely move the content and files around. This is the key in blending the virtual and the real. The Future of Books The many benefits and issues that eBooks bring to the table are affecting the book world dramatically. Those who are holding on to paper are clutching it for dear life while others are moving towards the digital at a fast pace. But questions about the book’s place in the world still holds true. For many, the eBook doesn’t fair well when placed in the realm of academia. Going back to Machrone and moving forward to today, most people do not expect grade-schoolers to be able to start carrying eReaders any time soon. They are expensive, textbooks are not all available digitally, digital security and rights to content, and there isn’t a color screen that also has a sufficient battery life. But expect that as the technology and innovation get there and more content is made digital through eBooks within the next ten years, that eReading devices will at least be available in high schools where expensive equipment (graphic calculators) are rented to students every year. Also keep in mind that each new generation is become technology savvy earlier and earlier and understanding not only the fragility but the power of the tools is almost becoming a given. There are those who worry over the physical eBook and eReader, and at the same time, others are worried about the how the technology is changing the way students read. In an interview, Dr. Evan A. Gatti, talked about Elon University’s art history survey classes not using textbooks, but rather PDF articles as a way of teaching the class dynamically (covering the art in themes rather than chronologically). While this gives the class benefits of deeper discussion and understanding of the artwork covered, Gatti worries over the students who don’t print out their PDFs but rather use the computer for reading and taking notes. She’s not sure if they are taking effective notes the way that writing in the margins and highlighting work. Some programs do offer note taking on PDFs but note taking on the computer versus note taking on paper may be the same metaphors of highlighting and such, it doesn’t feel the same and some would argue that note taking in the computer takes longer. And while again there are issues in the virtual versus the real, it’s also important to point out that the internet has started to change the way people view information. It’s no longer linear and this is
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troublesome for academic systems that cover information and simply the act of reading from beginning to end. Only time can tell what will happen in collegiate classrooms since more teachers are finding the information in printed books to be dated when compared to the constantly updated information on the Internet. But as more information becomes widely available, textbooks will be used less often. On the other hand Internet subscription access to a textbook that is annually updating itself also seems like a possibility. In another realm of academia widely available digital content is causing for some scholars to have doors closed to them. For studiers of books as form, the digital age is becoming a burden. Gatti, who also studies illuminated manuscripts, is finding, along with her colleagues, that getting to see the actual codex is becoming harder than it used to be. Instead of having several hands handle rare and important books, digital copies are made and sent out. Gatti summed this up as only the next step logical step after folios (reprinted paper versions of rare text). But while folios had to be reprinted, sold and shipped digital copies are making it even easier for those who have the rare books. This is problematic for a study that relies on being able to see and handle the codex. It’s obvious that as time goes on and the books becoming older and more fragile with age, that those who are protecting their interest in the book whether it be a library or a church are going to be less willing to let the book be handled by anyone. And while maybe not soon, seeing a rare text could become the event of the year in scholarly circles creating a hierarchy of scholar superstars that goes beyond what it is today. If this happens, we would almost have to ask ourselves is everything about digital really wonderful? Finally what about the sale of the everyday book, your mainstream novel? EReading devices (especially those with Wi-Fi) have helped readers get their books faster and at a lower cost. Some places have learned to adapt. Libraries are offering eBook options on their websites as well as kiosk in their buildings. And while the position of book stores is not clear, Barnes and Noble just released their own eReader the Nook. Could this mean that Barnes and Noble is moving towards the sale of eBooks in their stores for easier convenience to readers? Or is the Nook an effort to stay with the trend? It’s hard to say, the future of the book store is uncertain as little changes within these brick and mortar holders of information. It’s easy to tell that in the cycle of innovation, commercialism, and regulation; we are well within the commercialism stage of eBook technology. As everyone clamors to put out an eReading device, some are falling short while others are finding the right niche. Ease of use, services, recognition of brand are all factors that are playing out in what some would call the race for best eReading device. It’s for certain that in the coming year eReading devices will have dramatically changed from the devices featured almost all incorporating Wi-Fi and other features that bring mimic both the interconnectivity of the Internet as well as your standard paper format. In the end the future of the eBooks is dependent on the next couple of years. What will become popular and what loses favor is all dependent upon how customers vote with their wallets.
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Canada Newswire. (2006, August 22). The romance reader has embraced digital entertainment and Harlequin is digital content and an eBook boutique. Canada NewsWire. A look at the leading romance producer Harlequin's effort to create digital content for readers. Making most of their books available for download as well as making exclusive content for eBooks. Important because last year Harlequin partnered with Sony to create the love version of the PRS505 that was red and came with 14 free eBooks installed.
Catone, J. (2009, August 17). Digital textbooks: 3 Reasons why students aren't ready [Web log post]. Retrieved September 19, 2009, from http://mashable.com/2009/08/17/digital-textbooks/ In this blog, the contributor gives 3 major reasons for the insufficiency of using the Kindle DX or any eReaders for textbooks in higher educations. 1. Cost Saving Must Be Greater 2. A Standard Format is Needed 3. Questions of Ownership. Another point that could be added to this is color displays and waterproof material for working in disciplines where imagery is important.
CNET.com. (2009, June 24). E-book readers compared. The Monitor. A brief comparison on some of the major eBook readers on the market. Included in this comparison: Cool-er, Kindle 2, Kindle DX and Sony PRS700. Most of the readers received a good rating of 3 out of 5 except for the Kindle 2 with 4 out of 5.
Coover, R. (1992, June 21). The End of Books. New York Times. Retrieved October 15, 2009, from http://www.nytimes.com/books/98/09/27/specials/coover-end.html Robert Coover discusses innovation in hyperlinking and what this could mean for the traditional novel.
Felici, J. (2007). Book marketing: the real digital frontier. The Seybold Report, 7(23), 4-11. Looks at some futuring and statistics of print books and bookstores at the Frankfurt Book Fair. Specifically looks at digital book sells and its effect on book marketing. The key worry of most marketers is the none-reading youth and how to get them interested in books. Another battle that publishers have to deal with is the price of free and getting something for nothing. Gatti, E. A. (2009, October 2). The Future of Book Study and Books in Academia [Personal interview]. Meet and interviewed Dr. Evan A. Gatti on issues in research of books cause by eBook formatting and eBooks in a college setting.
International Digital Publishing Forum. (2007). EBook User Survey 2006 (Rep.). Retrieved October 12, 2009, from International Digital Publishing Forum website: http://www.idpf.org/doc_library/surveys.htm
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A survey asking the question about how people read eBooks, where do they buy them etc?
Lebert, M. (2009). A short history of the eBook (1st Ed.). Retrieved September 19, 2009, from http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/29801 A ten year project culminated in an eBook that covers the basic history of the eBook from 1971 to the present. Looks at all aspects of digital world including the online distribution of books. Machrone, B. (1998, October 19). Electronic books a horror story? Readers think so [Editorial]. PCWeek, 81. A brief editorial that covers some of the issues people had with making e reading mainstream. One includes animation of text and imagery that would take away from reader imagination of the characters and lower to reader experience to comic book level. Two words: insulting and Illustrations.
Malone, C. N. (2009). The Futures of the Book. The International Journal of Books, 6(1), 115119. This article focuses on broadening the perspective of what a book actually is in order to make literature students at the College of St. Benedict and St. John University more excepting of new technologies. When asked what a book was, most of the students didn't see the eBook format as an option. Malone stresses the importance of looking beyond the codex through assignments that have students looking at artists' books and other codex. The students coveting of the book form is similar to mainstream arguments of eBooks. Manjoo, F. (2009, February 26). Fear the Kindle. Slate Magazine. Looks at limitations and weaknesses in using the Kindle as an eReaders device. Points out how some of the features like DRM and the 9.99 price tag are not only problematic for costumers but publishers as well, but that availability of books is the selling point in most cases. Also makes a parallel between Amazon and Apple. Market News Publishing. (2009, July 23). Shortcovers announces publisher conversion program publishers now have cost effective method of converting documents into ePub format for digital distribution. Market News Publishing. Shortcovers which is one of the leaders in content conversion have developed an easier way that is cost effective to make all of a publisher's content into the ePub format. This will make the conversion to electronic reading smoother since most readers and other devices read the ePub format.
MobileRead. (2009, September). MobileRead Wiki. Retrieved October 15, 2009, from http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/Main_Page The MobileRead Wiki features prevalent information about eBooks, eReading Devices, and eBook stores.
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Murray, J. H. (2001). When stories come alive: Janet H Murray sees an exciting future for electronic creativity. The Women's Review of Books, 18(5), 11-12. An interview with a writer who works with interactive storytelling and new ways of telling stories. She believes that technology and the computer offer new opportunities to break away from traditional narratives and tell stories that are unique to individual readers. She points out that there isn't a need for a hierarchy and that book the electronic and print could and should coexist. "There is no hierarchy of media, and you need bad art-you need vulgar things and you need effete things in order to make the things in the middle"
Nunberg, G. (1993). The Places of books in the age of electronic reproduction. Reproduction, (42), 13-37. An extensive look at the state of the "future of the book" in 1993. Brings together quotes and persons of interest who are either for or against technologies involvement with books. The author takes a middle ground approach noting that the information contained in books will most likely move through both mediums continuously. What's important to point out here is the futuring of the places of books like that of libraries.
Pontz, Z. (2008, December 3). A year later: Amazon's kindle finds niche. CNN. Retrieved September 19, 2009, from http://www.cnn.com Looks at the benefits and features of the Amazon Kindle. Points out Kindle's efforts to gain an audience for the electronic reading community and its success in doing so.
PR NewsWire. (2008, March 13). Romance fiction igniting electronic publishing. PR NewsWire. Outlines the major romance publishers (Harlequin, Sanheim, Ellora's Cave and MyRomanceStory.com) efforts to move all their content online and take advantage of electronic publishing. Including the use of graphics in their novels to "push the boundaries". PR NewsWire. (2008, October 1). Sony starts a reading revolution; window dwelling 'reader' to help contribute eBooks to schools. PR NewsWire. Sony uses develops a plan to get the declining youth marketing into electronic readers by having groups of people go out and give them access to how a reader works. This plan is to not only get younger audiences into the reader devices, but reading as well. PR NewsWire. (2009, August 13). Sony converts to eBook store to ePub format; open format combined with affordable pricing continues Sony's drive to bring digital reading to mass audiences. PR NewsWire. Talks about Sony's adoption of the open source ePub format developed by Random House and approved by the International Digital Publishing Forum that allows for reflowable copyright protected content between devices. Opens the store to different devices and easier content flow.
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Riesterer, A. (1006, August 17). EBooks unplugged: weak sales close first chapter on downloads. The Washington Times, p. B01. Short article that looks at past outlooks on the eBooks and electronic reading in publishing. Period of niche marketing. The limitation and weakness of eBooks at the time was the need for devices or software in order to read the effectively. Also, another issue was the use of the screen. People, who came home from working on a computer, didn't want to look at another device for pleasure. This outlook has obviously changed with the innovation of technology.
Shafer, J. (2009, January 13). Building an iTunes for newspapers. Slate Magazine. Points out the negative effects the Kindle could have on not only books, but the newspaper industry as well since Amazon has general control over most of the content it distributes to the Kindle. Proposes alternatives to reading the newspaper on Kindle including net books, and paid online versions.
TechWeb. (2009, August 25). Sony adds 3G wireless to e-reader. TechWeb. Looks at the new Sony daily edition eReaders that will come with built in wireless access proved by AT&T 3G networks (Same as IPhone). This is meant to rival Amazon’s Kindle even more and close the gap between the two competitors. The network will work with the Sony eBook store for downloads.
The Economist. (2007, March 27). The Future of Books. The Economist. Retrieved October 12, 2009, from http://globaltechforum.eiu.com/index.asp?layout=rich_story&channelid=5&categor yid=15&doc_id=10370 Discusses in detail Google’s move into the realm of books with the inception of Google Books. Torrence, K. J. (2009, February 6). Phone books?: the ultimate eReaders maybe a Smartphone. The Washington Times, p. B01. Talks about the benefits of using a Smartphone like the IPhone over a reader like the Kindle (backlight). Discusses the Stanza app that can be downloaded and give you access to over 100,000 books half of which are free. Might make Apple the Apple of books rather than the Amazon.
US States News. (2006, November 9). Traditional book provide more positive parent-child interaction according to temple Erickson researchers. US States News. Research done with children 3-5. Parent and child were placed in a quiet room where they were given options of traditional and electronic reading. Researchers found that children had more interaction with their parents with the traditional books over the electronic books and that the electronic books essentially replaced the parent’s role in the reading ritual.
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Won-Sung, S., Seung-Kyu, K., Kyong-Ho, L., Sung-Hyuk, K., Soon-Bum, L., & Yoon-Chul, C. (2002). Standardization of eBook documents in Korean industry. Computer Standards and Interfaces, 24, 45-60. A look at Korea's adoption of standard XML formatting for eBooks in order to allow for easier sharing of documents. While it cites the standardization of eBooks in the U.S. this is no longer the case with electronic reading going mainstream.