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Digital Humanities

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Free Play in the Age of Electracy

In today’s complex digital world, we must understand new media expressions and digital experiences not simply as more technologically advanced forms of “writing” that can be understood and analyzed as “texts” but as artifacts in their own right that require a unique skill set. Just as agents seeking to express themselves in alphabetic writing need to be literate, “egents” who seek to express themselves in digital media need to be--to use a term coined by cybertheorist Gregory Ulmer--electrate. In Inter/vention, Jan Holmevik helps to invent electracy.

Digital Fictions, Computer Games, and Software Studies

What matters in understanding digital media? Is looking at the external appearance and audience experience of software enough--or should we look further? In Expressive Processing, Noah Wardrip-Fruin argues that understanding what goes on beneath the surface, the computational processes that make digital media function, is essential.

New Media and the Forensic Imagination

In Mechanisms, Matthew Kirschenbaum examines new media and electronic writing against the textual and technological primitives that govern writing, inscription, and textual transmission in all media: erasure, variability, repeatability, and survivability. Mechanisms is the first book in its field to devote significant attention to storage--the hard drive in particular--arguing that understanding the affordances of storage devices is essential to understanding new media.

Software and Everyday Life

After little more than half a century since its initial development, computer code is extensively and intimately woven into the fabric of our everyday lives. From the digital alarm clock that wakes us to the air traffic control system that guides our plane in for a landing, software is shaping our world: it creates new ways of undertaking tasks, speeds up and automates existing practices, transforms social and economic relations, and offers new forms of cultural activity, personal empowerment, and modes of play.

Role-Playing and Story in Games and Playable Media

Games and other playable forms, from interactive fictions to improvisational theater, involve role playing and story—something played and something told. In Second Person, game designers, authors, artists, and scholars examine the different ways in which these two elements work together in tabletop role-playing games (RPGs), computer games, board games, card games, electronic literature, political simulations, locative media, massively multiplayer games, and other forms that invite and structure play.

A Digital Poetics

This rich collection of writings by pioneering digital artist Mark Amerika mixes (and remixes) personal memoir, net art theory, fictional narrative, satirical reportage, scholarly history, and network-infused language art. META/DATA is a playful, improvisatory, multitrack "digital sampling" of Amerika's writing from 1993 to 2005 that tells the early history of a net art world "gone wild" while simultaneously constructing a parallel poetics of net art that complements Amerika's own artistic practice.

Contexts, Technotexts, and Theories

New media poetry—poetry composed, disseminated, and read on computers—exists in various configurations, from electronic documents that can be navigated and/or rearranged by their "users" to kinetic, visual, and sound materials through online journals and archives like UbuWeb, PennSound, and the Electronic Poetry Center. Unlike mainstream print poetry, which assumes a bounded, coherent, and self-conscious speaker, new media poetry assumes a synergy between human beings and intelligent machines.

An Electronic History of Government Media-Making in a Time of War, Scandal, Disaster, Miscommunication, and Mistakes

Today government agencies not only have official Web sites but also sponsor moderated chats, blogs, digital video clips, online tutorials, videogames, and virtual tours of national landmarks. Sophisticated online marketing campaigns target citizens with messages from the government--even as officials make news with digital gaffes involving embarrassing e-mails, instant messages, and videos. In Virtualpolitik, Elizabeth Losh closely examines the government’s digital rhetoric in such cases and its dual role as mediamaker and regulator.

Authoring and Exploring Vast Narratives

The ever-expanding capacities of computing offer new narrative possibilities for virtual worlds. Yet vast narratives--featuring an ongoing and intricately developed storyline, many characters, and multiple settings--did not originate with, and are not limited to, Massively Multiplayer Online Games. Thomas Mann’s Joseph and His Brothers, J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, Marvel’s Spiderman, and the complex stories of such television shows as Dr. Who, The Sopranos, and Lost all present vast fictional worlds.

The Atari Video Computer System

The Atari Video Computer System dominated the home video game market so completely that “Atari” became the generic term for a video game console. The Atari VCS was affordable and offered the flexibility of changeable cartridges. Nearly a thousand of these were created, the most significant of which established new techniques, mechanics, and even entire genres. This book offers a detailed and accessible study of this influential video game console from both computational and cultural perspectives.

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