[Humanist] 22.648 new study of the book's history's future

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Wed Mar 25 07:33:19 CET 2009

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 22, No. 648.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Tue, 24 Mar 2009 13:22:24 -0700
        From: Tassie Gniady <tassieg at gmail.com>
        Subject: Innovating New Knowledge Environments Project Announcement


From ancient cave paintings to hand-printed books to Facebook, people have
been reading in various forms for thousands of years. But what will the act
of reading look like in the future and what can we learn from the past to
ensure digital applications enhance and expand the reading experience?

That’s what an international team of researchers led by the University of
Victoria’s Canada Research Chair in Humanities Computing Ray Siemens, will
be studying over the next seven years through their participation in the
“Implementing New Knowledge Environments” (INKE) project. Funded with nearly
$2.5 million through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
(SSHRC) Major Collaborative Research Initiative (MCRI) program with an
additional $10.4 million funding in institutional and research partner
support, Siemens and his team of 35 researchers and 21 partner agencies will
develop a better understanding of literacy in the digital age.

“We describe our work as ‘the future of the history of the book’,” says
Siemens. “We’ll be looking at several thousands of years of societal
interaction with book-like objects and examine through them how society
mobilizes and interacts with knowledge. We’ll be able to contribute directly
to digital developments in this area.”

The research team will focus their work in four areas. Textual studies, the
evolution of reading and writing technologies from antiquity to present,
will be led by Richard Cunningham at Acadia University and Alan Galey at the
University of Toronto. User experience, or how people engage with knowledge
objects--print or digital--in the context of their everyday work and home
environments, will be led by Teresa Dobson at the University of British
Columbia and Claire Warwick at University College London. Interface design,
how people visualize information on a computer, will be led by Stan Ruecker
at the University of Alberta, and information management, or the building of
new digital reading interfaces, will be led by Siemens and Susan Schreibman
at the Royal Irish Academy. The research team will also involve 19
postdoctoral research fellows and 53 graduate research assistants from all
participating institutions.

SSHRC MCRI funding will be supplemented with support from several partners
including the Canadian Association of Research Libraries, the Canadian
Research Knowledge Network, Service BC, Les Presses de l’Université de
Montréal, the Public Knowledge Project, and ProQuest—a digital database of
historical documents and academic materials.

INKE will incorporate its technical, historical, psychological, and
sociological knowledge into functioning prototypical computational models
which it will share online. “The best parts of research are when our
research developments engage the reading public’s interest and needs,” says
Siemens. “Our research area teams will work together at UVic as well as at
their own institutions and elsewhere to apply humanities principles to a
basic social technology issue—understanding all the reading devices we’ve
used and what it might mean for the future.”

                                                . . . 2

A full list of researchers, participating institutions, and partners can be
found at the project’s website, www.inke.ca.

Tassie Gniady
INKE Project Manager
University of Victoria
tassieg at gmail.com

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