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While reading through Writing Space by Jay David Bolter its hard not to notice how many of his observations are more or less simple ideas and observations. He goes through the great time and effort to organize them, but much of what he says can be seen very easily and accurately today. Due to the copyright of the book its also very possible that many things we are reading weren't as true then as they are now, giving him credit for his insight. The progression of text and really just the visual representation of words in general have changed at an incredibly slow pace (by today's standards).
I couldn't help but keep bringing to mind the recently introduced iPad and the excellent presentations given by Will Wright and Cory Hertog on the Barnes and Noble Nook and Amazon Kindle, respectively. They are again a new representation of text that offer something previous iterations have not. There is the ability to hold an incredibly large amount of books within the single device. The iPad really takes it the step further by having full color screen and video, something not really seen in a tablet style device. We see this on our computers when reading all the time but to take even the most traditional works of literature and digitize them for mass distribution is an idea yet to completely catch on. Daily news articles and blogs are perfectly fine to read online but a novel requires more emotion from the reader, something that people may think will be lost on an lcd. The book loses its tangible value creating an issue for the reader. It will be much time before we are a society that wholly prefers digital content over books.
Digital technology has the obvious advantages though, hyperlinking being one of the greatest. The ability to instantly reference and be able to read the reference is a huge advantage when trying to understand content. It has taken the idea of a bibliography and completely re-envisioned it for the benefit of the reader. Hyperlink also provides the option of extra content, a "back of the book" type link that isn't truly necessary but is useful for the more curious reader. I see every form of text to take advantage of digitization with the exception of the novel (although I'm sure we could find some others). It is a form of writing that relies more heavily on nostalgia and could benefit less from digitization in terms of content. The advantage comes in being able to hold an incredible amount of books at once, something many don't have a real need for yet.

1 Comment

Hi Nick,

Right on regarding Bolter's writing style. He takes a long time to express an idea that could be expressed more simply. The idea of "remediation," for example, is not all that complicated . . . but yes, Bolter was a bit ahead of his time, and for that it is an interesting read. You do a great job here thinking through issues of remediation and hypertext--all the "old" and "new" it represents. Keep up the great reflections.

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This page contains a single entry by budz0016 published on February 1, 2010 11:03 AM.

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