[Humanist] 22.704 doing as well as the codex, continued
Humanist Discussion Group
willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Sun Apr 19 10:12:27 CEST 2009
Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 22, No. 704.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
Date: Sat, 18 Apr 2009 11:36:25 +0100
From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
Subject: doing as well as the codex, continued
I have a question about how we might do better with our digital objects
for reading than I, at least, know how to do.
The situation must be familiar to everyone here: so much to read that
every opportunity needs to be taken and device used to keep in mind the
reading that must be done and to make sure that it does. With printed
books I do the following: place piles of them on my desk, signifying
immediately-to-be-read; place others strategically here and there around
the house, including in the loo, so that I cannot avoid the reminder and
can avail myself of them in the few moments of idleness I have; carry
with me the current book or article under assault so that I can read it
and make notes when in transit. Unlike Pliny I am not wealthy enough to
be transported wherever I go, so time is lost to reading when I walk.
And no one buys my groceries for me etc.
The physicality of the codices in question thus helps enormously in the
seemingly trivial process of being reminded. Furthermore, these physical
objects can be positioned in space so as to signify what kind of book
each is in my own rapidly changing categorizations of them.
Now compare the digital objects. I have at the moment somewhat more than
4.5GB of written material. Some of it I have read but most of it merely
collected in anticipation of wanting to read it. This personal
collection is in fact loosely unified by my choices and alphabetized by
the last name of the author. The material for current research is more
elaborately categorized. My question here pertains to how I might use
whatever tools could almost effortlessly be deployed -- otherwise,
requiring significant effort, they won't -- to serve the same sort of
strategy as I use with my printed books.
What do you do?
Willard McCarty, Professor of Humanities Computing,
King's College London, staff.cch.kcl.ac.uk/~wmccarty/;
Editor, Humanist, www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist;
Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, www.isr-journal.org.
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