User:Andre Castro/2.1/research-Categories-interests

From XPUB & Lens-Based wiki

semantic map

books, ebooks, archive, access, library, DIY scanning, reader-publisher-author, experimentation(w/ form), collaborative processes, sharing, distribution, fringe publications

works' review

Amazon Noire

Ludovico, Alessandro. "Post-Digital Print. The Mutation of Publishing Since 1894"

Post-Digital Print maps the transformations and cross contamination in happening currently print, both in its physical and digital form. Ludivico does so by analyzing the historical context within which these exchanges are happening, the technology behind those changes, and experiments and visionary artworks which are themselves promoters of transformation.

  • Chapter 1 is dedicated to the death of paper. In an attempt to fight the argument that paper books will vanish, Ludovico presents historical examples of periods (during last 19th and 20th century) when paper was declared doomed, but happened to have never disappeared from our lives.
  • Chapter 2 presents an overview of strategic uses of print by avant-garde movements during the 20th Century, and how the uses were influenced by technological developments of the time.
  • Chapter 3 looks at the role of paper books in our current time. What changes digital publishing brought to paper publishing, both at its economical and trade levels, but also to (paper)books themselves.
  • Chapter 4 analysis the devices and strategies behind digital print.Furthermore it looks at how artists are envisioning the cultural shifts resulting from the introduction of digital print.
  • Chapter 5 focuses on archives, paper and digital archives. Being paper an optimal archival medium, what does it mean to digitally archive (what was once in paper)? How could a personal paper archives be made available and distributed?
  • Chapter 6 looks at the network as crucial player in allowing digital incarnation of books, newspaper, and magazines to gain such popularity. Through their presence within the network they become updatable, interconnected, and allows a the creation of communities between readers, authors, and publishers.

McLuhan, Marshall. "The Medium is the Message"

An analysis of media, and how they change the world. 'For the "message" of any medium or technology is the change of scale or pace or pattern that it introduces into human affairs'(p. 8).

I have special interest in the references McLuhan makes to 'media misreadings', while at their embryonic stages. In such a stage many possibilities seem open for a medium to endeavor, only to settle later on one specific use. Examples of these misreadings are the telegraph lines being used to play chess and lottery, or radio being only explored by "hams" and only later commercial investment became aware of its potential(p.272); Or Thomas Edison disregarding the role of the gramophone in entertainment, and only considering it suitable for business(p.302).

McLuhan also pays attention to relation a new medium establish in its premature stages with its predecessors. As an example he refers the fact that more than 50 per cent of books printed until 1700 were medieval or ancient texts(p.186); and how owners of the first printed books would take them to a scribe in order to have them hand copied and illustrated (p.189). And such attachment to the past in the recent medium of digital print, which seem to follow the McLuhan's observation: 'A new medium is never an addition to an old one, nor it does it leave the old one in peace. It never ceases to oppress the older media until it finds new shapes and positions to them(p.189)

"Like any other extension of man, typography had psychic and social consequences that suddenly shifted previous boundaries and patterns of culture. In bringing the ancient and medieval worlds into fusion - or, as some would say, confusion - the printed book created a third world, the modern world, which now encounters a new electric technology or a new extension of man. Electric means of moving information are altering our typographic culture as sharply as print modified medieval manuscript and scholastic culture" (p.186)

Texts section from the Internet Archive

An online library of free downloadable ebooks. The present texts are the result of a digitization effort not only from Internet Archive staff but also from individual contributors who are invited to submit their own book scans (in image pdfs), which are then processed by character recognition software and published in various formats (pdf, txt, epub, djvu, mobi). Internet archive also aims to preserve a paper copy of every book which has been digitized by them.

Question: are all books present in IA are in the public domain? What would happen if I submitted a book with an active copy-right?


A platform aimed to help creating books either alone or collaborative and once finished outputted into various formats (paper, ebook, pdf,html, odt).

Why I find Booki interesting and why it might be relevant? My answer goes mainly to the blurring of the roles of author, editor, publisher and reader. The project mixes these roles asking a writer also to make decisions on the book layout, or to sell it as a paperback at lulu, or a reader can contribute with a translator. Also the possibility to write a book collaboratively brings s to reconsider how we thing abut books as fruit of individual and isolated labor.

DIY Scanners

'The missing link between your bookshelf and your ereader'

A movement aiming to promote the construction of book scanners.

What is this DIY digitization movement happening with books and did not happen previously with music and films? Why didn't we try to digitize our LP collection? Weren't there yet the ideas and technology that allowed us to do so?


I am interested in devoting this year to books, mainly ebooks, but also paper books and the cross-overs between the two.

interests' description

adoption of a new technology/medium - ereaders / ebooks

First of all because its a recent technology, a recent container for the written word, that seems to be gaining popular acceptance.

expected speculation, visions, and experiments with that medium

New technologies often trigger quite some speculation on is possible uses and experimentation until it get into a standardized form. And although there is a certain amount of speculation on the possible end of paper-books, there is not many futuristic visions of how ebooks will change the world we live in. However we are begging to fell its effects.

lack of experimentation. too close to paper books

Curiously there is also not many experimentation going on with what ebooks can be. It seems almost like technology born standardized. Perhaps this is merely a consequence of ebooks being a cross-breathe of a very mature technology - the book - and more recently one - the web -, which has been striving for standardization. But perhaps we should be surprised by this lack of innovation. If we look at the initial developments of print, there were also not much aesthetic innovation. Gutenberg's bible appears not much different from a hand-written manuscript from that period. Only later on see aesthetic innovation appearing. And perhaps it is happening the same with ebooks. We see them as being a great technology, we can store many books on one small device, read them with ease, take them with us, share them with friends, etc; However we don't seem much aesthetic innovation from paper-books. And rather the focusing on innovations we spend most of the time thinking about what ebooks can't do that paper books can, as if they were the same thing, and digital books could substitute paper ones.

effects brought by DIY publishing

However I see with great excitement the changes in we are begging to interact with books. Namely the

  • DIY book scanning and online publishing of ebooks
  • Collaborative book authoring and publishing
  • Print on the demand model

These recent trends seem to be changing our relation to books, bringing readers to engage more closely with the process of book manufacturing, and dilution of the boundaries between reader, author, editor and publisher (a similar movement to what happened within music and cinema, and in which most us became prosumers). Since these changes are happening now, it appears to be an interesting period to observer how audiences and the industry are responding to these changes and what strategies are being put into practice.


Besides more traditional research on the aforementioned topics there are two approach I'd like to take in the course of the project development.

scanning unit

The construction a of book mobile scanning unit. This should be easily transportable and taken to a public space (say a bookshop, a library, a gallery, a cafe). The device would be there to be used by visitors to digitize theirs or the location's books. The resulting ebooks could be stored in the project sever but also uploaded to other archives, such as Open Library.

workshop and talks

The unit must not only serve as a scanning facility, but as meeting point where visitors and guest can meet, learn and discuss on topics such as book scanning (DIY scanner, orc software, ebooks), books' licensing issues, online ebook archives and sharing, the book industry, trough organized talks and workshops.(These activities must be documented and latter made available).


Interviews with various people involved with books (writers, designers, publisher, sellers, readers, software developers), trying to understand how the current changes and the future of the book and how we interact with it.