MLA Session: E-Books as Bibliographic Objects-Open Objects

Andrew Piper, McGill U “Open Objects: From Book to Nook”
won an award for first book from MLA

This is a live blogging of the session.

Begins with a discussion of Augustine’s Confessions “Take it and read!”
According to Augustine, it was the proximity, the fact that the Bible was at hand, endowed it with intense power. It was the book’s graspability…

Digital realm… morphous availability…

Digital texts are like jellyfish, eluding our grasp.

How do we read? How do we take hold of what we read?

E-readers aren’t just like books. They reconfigure our experience with textuality.

Augustine opened the book to read and experience. He closed it to re-enter the world. E-book is different. Don’t cancel the world’s closeness but articulate the world’s openness. Text is always elsewhere. Can’t touch the letters like on a page. Shelly Jackson writes… blindness, touching a page.

Really? I can’t touch a page and read the letters with my fingers. My Kindle offers the same tactile configuration in terms of letters. I guess I can’t get ink on my fingers.

Discusses experience of following the reading with a finger. I don’t think most people read this way anyway.

“We no longer grasp the text.” Really? I hold the Kindle, just like I hold a paperback. iPad’s iBook is even more like that.

“Whole portions of the work change.” Yes, I can change the size of text and, thus, change the configuration of the page. Hmm. Hadn’t thought of that. Interesting idea. How is that relevant to my reading?

Technical difficulties. Another presentation is being piped into the room. Very difficult to follow/hear the speaker. This happened at the last talk I went to as well. That’s a significant problem for someone with hearing disabilities. (Me.)

E-books as bibliographic objects…
Can we create new methodologies to try to account for the nature of digital textuality?

A research team at McGill trying to determine how to measure… object of the world…. social action… typologies…

Readers in the present … can use the typologies… control and distance… to help structure what works… craft strategies to pay attention to one’s work in a more XXX way.

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