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one small islet in the sea of digital text

Archive for April, 2013

April 29th, 2013 by Heather Asbeck

Digital Humanity…?!

{ Robot Grandmother } { Tony Stark } From The Twilight Zone to Ironman, we are no strangers to the concept of integrating humans and machines.  The links I chose for each of those illustrate the range of human-machine integration, from the soft, warm grandmother in The Twilight Zone episode who is visibly human and […]

April 28th, 2013 by Heather Asbeck


Smart fabrics.  High-tech interactive clothing.  It sounds like something out of Back to the Future 2, right?  Remember power laces?  What about the self-drying jacket?  It seems that the movie creators’ ideas about what might be possible in 2015 were not quite as far-fetched as they seemed in 1989.  Sure, they got the fashion predictions […]

April 27th, 2013 by Heather Asbeck

Floss, Paper, Scissors

The phrase “cut and paste” probably brings to mind one of two things:  a word processing editing mechanism that involves selecting and moving a block of text, or a kindergarten activity that involves crayons, scissors, and a glue stick.  Either way, the concept is the essentially same, whether it refers to a crayon-scribbled image or […]

April 26th, 2013 by Heather Asbeck

“New” Media

{ Fiske Reading Machine, 1926 } I am fascinated by the term ‘new media,’ which grants a stiff nod to the elusive and ever-changing concept of “new,” while focusing on what is en vogue in the moment as the relevant bit.  All other media is quaint, old-fashioned, and decidedly outdated.  Possibly of interest to a […]

April 25th, 2013 by Heather Asbeck

Cables, Networks, and Webs

{ cables } Threads and strings, the ties that bind things together into a cohesive whole, join together to form cables.  Cables have an interesting history interwoven in the English language.  According to the OED, the first usage of cable is dated c1275, and it referred to strings and threads that were twisted together to […]

April 25th, 2013 by Heather Asbeck

Threads and Strings

{ A file of parliamentary tax receipts from 1649-1653. } National Archives, Kew, SP 28/296. Source. Have you ever wondered about filing systems?  (If you are not a detail-oriented person or organizational freak, I’m guessing probably not.)  But humor me and entertain the idea for a bit.  How did these systems originate and develop?  Obsolete […]

April 23rd, 2013 by Heather Asbeck

Encoding Epistles: New Contexts, Old Artifacts

The Flagg Letters So now that I have (very, very briefly) explained the technological underpinnings of digitizing old documents, I want to talk about an encoding project I have been a part of.  Our university library has a collection of letters shared between a father and son in 1853.  The father, Gershom Flagg, was a […]

April 22nd, 2013 by Heather Asbeck

Encoding Epistles: Old Artifacts, New Concepts

I presented this information at the 2013 CAS Colloquium:  Thinking about The Book, but I wanted to share it here as well.  I want to talk about the Flagg Project – a project that involves converting 19th century correspondence to a digital format – but before delving into the topic, I want to present a […]