Sorry I haven’t written in a while, I got carried away with my research. You would not believe how deep this discussion about print versus digital reading technology goes. From historical viewpoints to scientific evidence, there is so much to think about. On the one hand, we can see an appreciation for the book in its physical form. However, reading about the history of the book, or codex, and its reception over time leads me to reconsider the e-reader. For example, the physical form of the digital text, and how it too could be appreciated by readers of the digital era. I think digital resources also could be considered inferior to print for reasons related to design or easily changeable features. Even though I love print books, I think we aren’t advocating fairly for the digital. After all, new generations are constantly coming of age and changing society. It could be highly possible that, one day, a person would look upon an e-reader with an appreciative eye and reflect fondly upon the sensational experience. –Clarisse McClellan
Category: Observations from beyond
What is keeping print alive?
So I’ve been digging through sources lately in my attempt to prove to everyone that print is better than digital text! I mean it has to be, right? There has to be a reason why it has lasted so long. But after reading one scientific study after another, I realized that personal opinion is the LARGEST factor in determining whether ebooks or print texts are more effective. Ok, so trying not to panic, its just that EVERYTHING I ever considered sacred is now being questioned. So then, if there isn’t that much of an impact or difference, especially in the ways that technology is beginning to imitate print, then what is keeping print alive? -Clarisse McClellan
The essence of a book
Today I decided to crack open a good old fashioned book. Not an e-book, not a PDF, but a tightly bound collection of pages rich with the scent of ink and age. The satisfaction of flipping the pages, seeing the visual progress between the covers as pages shift from right to left, cannot be imitated in a digital copy. There are so many features of physical books that cannot be captured in any other format, including large images, the feel of the book, and pop-outs among other features. So many people are stuck on the latest and greatest, including how we can improve upon current technology. However, I aim over the next few weeks to show my peers and community members the value of the vintage and how to appreciate what already exists without constant efforts to revise and replace. Technology should be able to coexist without the constant threat of obsolescence.–Clarisse McClellan
The Brain Behind the Machine
So I know I was skeptical about the whole “computers being authors” thing right? Well after that patron’s request I decided to do a little bit of research on my own and found out there is a computer-generated literature exposition called NaNoGenMo where writers and programmers alike manipulate existing or new texts via computer programs and share them with the world on an online forum. This means a human mind is behind the program, word possibilities, etc. So the computer is not solely in charge of the text produced, rather the choices of what goes inside of each variable spot. I found out how to access the “source code”, or the message you write to the computer that tells it what to do, and have even been manipulating a few texts of my own, hoping to create something fun and exciting. Maybe computers aren’t so bad, as long as a human mind is in control. –Clarisse McClellan
Computer as an author?!
While working at the library in the afterlife, I have many people come in through the doors and request great works, like Shakespeare or Dickens. But today in particular I had a rather strange request. A gentleman came in today and requested a digital copy of the work “Pride, Prejudice”. I responded, oh yes, we have a few copies of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, not a problem! He responded to this with “oh no, not that one. I want the version that was made online using a computer program that edited out over half of the words. It looks like an interesting work. Computers are going to be the latest and greatest authors!”
Excuse me?! How could computers be able to capture the emotions, the experiences of life that only sentient beings can comprehend? I just don’t see how they could ever have anything interesting to say. However, it’s not like me to be close-minded. This will be difficult, but I think I’m going to check this out for myself, read over a few examples, and see what computer-generated literature has to offer. Who knows, I may like it. –Clarisse McClellan
Physical and Virtual Memories
This week in town has been crazy! Ever since the arrival of famous scientist Stephen Hawking, folks have been running around, making preparations and setting up a new apartment space for him. While I do look forward to chatting with him sometime about his work, I have decided to hold off and let the waves of people pass before approaching Mr. Hawking. In the mean time, I have to report to my job at the library, organizing and archiving the lost pictures, memories, and books that appear. The way it works is that any memories or items that are lost, destroyed or forgotten appear in our facility, and then it is my job to sort through it and archive it in the proper collection.
Today in particular, I reflected a lot about my job and the items we receive. In my hand I hold a few unlabeled CDs, family photos with dates inscribed on the back, and a floppy disk with the words “John and Diana 1994” written on the label. In the past, we received a lot of books and photos, but recently we have received more of these “floppies” and “compact disks” as I heard they were called. Recently we received a few computers that allowed us to access the content on these drives, and the resulting content varies. Some are games, others written documents and family photos. I still receive the satisfaction of seeing their faces and the joy they shared in their lifetime, but there is something off to me about looking at memories on a computer screen.
When you hold a photo, as I am doing now, and you see the creases of years handling and sharing a memory, a mother kissing her laughing baby, with the words “Baby Lily and Kate 1957” inscribed on the back, ridges in the photo paper from the pressure of a pen, you feel a connection with the picture. Holding a tangible item that others once did means more to me than seeing an image on a screen. But that’s just me. I know others don’t care as much about these sentimental things, but I guess that’s why I have this job. For now, I will be grateful for the tangible relics we do receive on occasion, and record my narratives in a journal that I can reread later. –Clarisse McClellan
Since spring break ended, I’ve luckily had a nice relaxing week with little homework to do. My father has been doing experiments in our house all week, and to get away from the ruckus I’ve spent most of my time at the library reading new books. I have many to recommend, but since no one in my town enjoys to read like I do, I’m stuck talking to myself about the books rather than people. Today, I started a new book called “Heart Talk” by Cleo Wade and it’s a series of poems and wisdom to help one get through their day or even life. I just started it and I’m already halfway through so you don’t need to save a lot of time to read it, but this is a book that I will continue to look back to throughout my life because it’s very inspiring. I am excited to see what other books I can finish before school work gets in the way again… Looks like I have to enjoy this time while I can!!
In Which I Become A One-Bot Database
Today I met someone who wanted to borrow my copy of Dances on Draxghr. You know, the physical one.
I went ahead and lent it to them, even though I’m worried about whether or not they’ll take care of it. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the ease of preserving copies of books; as you may or may not know, we have several databases throughout our part of the galaxy that overlap with another entirely different system, so that if one goes down information will still be stored in another system that works. However, as unlikely as it is, there’s still the possibility of both systems failing, or being shut down. Then we would still lose everything stored on them. It would happen so fast.
So how sturdy is a physical book, versus a digital one?
I’m curious. I know it’s likely that the digital version will win out in the end, unless our systems fail (I sure hope they don’t), but seeing what this acquaintance does with my copy of Dances on Draxghr may give me some new ideas.
Annnnnd We’re Back!
Break is over and I’m ready to hit the ground running! Unfortunately, I’ve come down with a bit of a cold, presumably from all of the traveling I did during my time off and small shared spaces on planes and trains. But! That won’t stop me! I’ve fared worse!
I’m looking forward to the new lessons about technology and programming, because that’s a skill for Muggles I’d love to have and one that isn’t taught here at Hogwarts. Regardless of whether I choose to live a Muggle or Witch lifestyle after leaving Hogwarts, I’d still like to learn about digitalization and such. Knowledge is everything, after all.
It’s strange to think that I’ll be out on my own very shortly. It’s quite frightening, really. I have all of this knowledge about so many different subjects, but still feel like I don’t know all I need to in order to make it. I’m trying my best not to worry about it, but anxiety is a funny, torturous thing.
NaNoGenMo Mo’ Mo’ Mo’
“NaNoGenMo”, when I first saw this I thought, “here we go again, back to the future.” I loved the Ipod Nano I used to have it was so small but packed full with lovely music. “To use it the muse it must not be too loud!” I loved F451 in its reminder that we must not become over stimulated by media or it will reprogram us and overrun our stable consciousness.
After actually looking into “NaNoGenMo”, from what I saw it looks quite interesting. 50,000 words sounds like a lot but it could just be a lot of sounds. Tunes to touch a sense not reached that teach much more than lessons can. What a beaut to hear the gears that rear and render and redeem. No loss but gain in something meek, simple, plain. Fields in reels, less toil and so, just gist and mist but food for growth!