internet

Avatar of the eBook by Javier Candeira

Though some bibliophiles are threatened by the advent of the digital book, I can’t help but love books in all their forms. There are times when I’d rather jump on the subway with a paperback, but there are also times I’m grateful not to have to put down a 2-pound copy of The Count of Monte Cristo just because my bedtime arms have gotten too lazy to keep holding it up.

This roundup is an ecclectic mix of how the digital is changing how and what we read, the environmental impact of digital ereaders, the future form of literature and more. Have any thoughts on the future of reading? Let us know in the comments.

The Evolution and Future of Ereaders

Five Books on Electronic Literature

The Environmental Impact of Ereaders

The Future of Paper Books…and E-readers

Can the Internet Save the Book?

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Guest Post

Today’s guest post is brought to you by Stephanie. You can find her over at theoldyoungadult.blogspot.com. This is her first flowchart. Be nice.

Have you ever been frustrated by the lack of proper spelling and grammar on the Internet? It is a dangerous, scary world out there. Venture away from the Word Blog for just one second and you might (will) find spelling errors, an astonishing lack of respect for capital letters, and inconsistencies galore. You will also probably develop a prominent desire to [sic]. I understand.

So when should you relax? When is it okay to stop using the shift key? Don’t worry. Just print out this chart, keep it handy, and watch all your Internet word-usage insecurities disappear.

Click on the flowchart to see a larger version of it.

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Guest Post

This post was contributed by Martin French.

A visual representation of the connections in a part of the internet

Ever since William Gibson described cyberspace as a “consensual hallucination,” a “graphic representation of data abstracted from the banks of every computer in the human system,” it has been possible to imagine that the internet produces an otherworldly space. So, for example, when I type the word blog into Google, it’s easy to overlook the architecture and material basis of Google. The network of real-world communication nodes, or data centres, the infrastructure that makes Google possible, isn’t, in any case, readily visible. This is also true of the internet more generally.

The invisibility of the internet’s real-world architecture is strange given its absolute necessity for cyberspace’s existence. These buildings and servers make it possible for meaning to traverse the gulf between binary code and pithy blog post. Without it, there would be no way to search our digital lexicon, no possible way for you to type the word blog into your computer and arrive here, at this post.

So what makes cyberspace materialize? There are several good texts that broach this subject—too many to list here—but, for starters, Janet Abbate’s Inventing the Internet provides a good account of the internet’s early history. For those who gravitate towards more esoteric texts, N. Katherine Hayles’s My Mother Was a Computer is a must-read. It offers a fantastic and thought-provoking presentation of the materiality of the “computational universe”. For those who gravitate towards more concrete texts, take a look at John Markoff and Saul Hansell’s New York Times article entitled “Hiding in Plain Sight, Google Seeks More Power”. This will give you a sense of what produces the results that pop up on your screen when you run a Google search. Taken together, these texts are sure to whet your appetite for thinking about the real-world materiality of digital words.

The contributor of the image of the Internet Network is Matt Britt. The image is copyrighted but also licenced for further reuse.

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