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Media Nostalgia

I just returned from the MLA, where I presented a paper on “E-Books as Bibliographic Objects,” organized by Matthew Kirschenbaum.  I’ll have more to report on that event in a bit, but in the meantime: an amazing video of kids interacting with old technologies like floppy disks, 8-track players and …

State of the Electronic Archive

Excerpts from the introductory speech of the new Archivist of the United States, David S. Ferriero: As I said in my [confirmation] testimony, it seems to me that we are at a crossroads in the history of the Archives in the challenges we face with the electronic records of the …

Reality Hunger

“Ah! my dear Vidocq.  So you believe in reality?  How charming!” – Balzac Just ordered my copy of Reality Hunger after reading Luc Sante’s review in the Times.  It occurred to me that Shields’ manifesto is as much about media as it is about the novel. On the one hand, …

Feed Me

Just found out that Feed, the online magazine I once worked for, is back online as an archive.  As one commentator put it, “a huge number of interesting critics got their start at Feed.”  Unfortunately, according to the editors, I wasn’t one of them.  Sigh. It’s just as well, I …

Of Note

There is a really nice cluster of contributions over at Media Commons on, “Notes, Lists and Everyday Inscriptions,” for which I also provided a piece.  The list of contributors is fantastic and I was really grateful for the initiative on the part of the cluster’s curator, Shannon Mattern (who has …

The Ark of Twitter

An announcement today by the Library of Congress that it will be archiving tweets.  There are 55 million produced every day.  The LoC has already archived 167 terabytes of data through its “Web Capture” program, which amounts to far more than its book holdings.  While it has been collecting books …

Environmental Impact

I have been asking again and again for research into the differential environmental impact of books versus digital readers.  The meme out there that “books kill trees” has always struck me as a touch undersophisticated, but I’ve never really known which might be better for the environment when one takes …

Are paperbacks the future?

A nice reflection at Paper Over Board on the future of the original paperback. The author draws attention to the way hardcover publishing is not terribly popular in many European markets where paper covers are the standard.  But in N. America publishers cling to the model of hardcover first and …