Let me take the liberty of being the last academic with a blog to comment on the launch of Amazon's new e-book reader, the Kindle. And let me also not waste any time on its design, screen, wireless technology, business model, or its uncanny resemblance to the Sinclair ZX80 I used in seventh grade. What … Continue reading The Idealization of the Book
For those who missed it, between October 12 and 27, 2007, there was a very thoughtful and insightful online discussion of how the publication of scholarship is changing—or trying to change—in the digital age. Participating in the discussion were Ed Felton, David Robinson, Paul DiMaggio, and Andrew Appel from Princeton University (the symposium was hosted … Continue reading Symposium on the Future of Scholarly Communication
Anthony Grafton was the first person to turn me onto intellectual history. His seminar on ideas in the Renaissance was one of the most fascinating courses I took at Princeton, and I still remember well Tony rocking in his seat, looking a bit like a young Karl Marx, making brilliant connections among a broad array … Continue reading Tony Grafton on Digital Texts and Reading
Well, they didn't have my favorite wine (Villa Cafaggio Chianti Classico Reserva, if you must know), but I had a nice evening at the Italian Embassy in Washington. The occasion was the start of a conference, "Using New Technologies to Explore Cultural Heritage," jointly sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Consiglio … Continue reading Steven Johnson at the Italian Embassy
The September 2007 issue of the American Historical Association's Perspectives is now available online, and it is worth reading Rob Townsend's article "Google Books: Is It Good for History?" The article is an update of Rob's much-debated post on the AHA blog in May, and I believe this revised version now reads as the best … Continue reading Google Books: Is It Good for History?
[This post is a version of a message I sent to the listserv for CenterNet, the consortium of digital humanities centers. Google has expressed interest in helping CenterNet by providing a (limited) corpus of full texts from their Google Books program, but I have been arguing for an API instead. My sense is that this … Continue reading Why Google Books Should Have an API
Over at the O'Reilly Radar, Peter Brantley reprints an interesting debate between Paul Duguid, author of the much-discussed recent article about the quality of Google Books, and Patrick Leary, author of "Googling the Victorians." I'm sticking with my original negative opinion of the article, which Leary agrees completely with.