ASSIGNMENT 3 – FINAL ESSAY: Is the Publishing Industry being dismantled by digital and networked media?

In response to Q.1 of the ARTS2090 Final Assignment

It is often thought that the publishing industry is in the midst of a revolution or, to say it more crudely, on the way to its demise, as new media – the networked and the digital – gains popularity and dominance within society. However, this essay will argue that although the view that discussions about a ‘publishing industry’ is no longer relevant as the core problems that it solves is no longer an issue in today’s society has some merit, it is not entirely true. The publishing industry continues to exist however it must adjust to new forms and structures as it now faces new and unique challenges in a world of increasingly digital and networked media. It is important to note that when considering a publishing industry, this essay has print, particularly, newspapers and book publishing in mind. The essay will explore the main issues by considering how news media corporations, while still holding the authority, must now expand their traditional distribution of news to online services. Secondly, the notion that newspaper publishers must explore new business models in order to draw revenue in a highly digital and networked world will also be considered. Finally, the idea that book publishers must now find creative ways to distribute their media will also be discussed.

Graphics created by: Khansanisa Vinandar

Graphics created by: Khansanisa Vinandar

Contrary to somewhat popular belief, the publishing industry is not being completely dismantled; instead news corporations must now extend distribution of their content to digital and networked platforms. Some perceives that the new media’s ability to erase the complexity and difficulty of making something public, which the publishing industry once solved means, “there is no general model for newspapers to replace the one the Internet just broke”, especially, when digital and networked media are the cheaper, simpler option (Shirky 2009). While it is conceded that writers and amateur journalist can essentially bypass traditional publishing methods by posting their piece on blogs or social media pages, and while news dissemination is, indeed, no longer in the sole hands of a monolithic news corporation, it can be said that this simply “pushes [the industry] to construct new forms of broadcasting information” which compliment the traditional (Guillaud 2010). For example, news corporations encourages their journalists to have a social media presence, to allow them to reach a greater audience such as young people, whom perhaps, would not turn to the traditional, print publishing world for their news fix. Regardless of this, it should be noted that “despite the instant gratification of social media…people returned to traditional, trusted media – the TV and radio news bulletins, and [be it] news websites – in search for the truth” as could be seen by the 2013 Boston Bombing misinformation, social media debacle (Wilkinson 2013). The traditional news publishing industry, though has extended their services to digital and networked platforms, is still heralded for “measured, fact-checked, considered truth” in a world of j-bloggers and continues to hold much of the authority (Wilkinson 2013).

However, it cannot be said that news and magazine corporations does not face new challenges, such as increasing competition, by extending their services online. Sivek and Townsend (2014, p.1) notes that while society’s shift to networked and digital platforms allows diversification of magazine publishing to the independent as a “response to digital culture… [of the] DIY movement”, the news corporations’ online forms still continue to hold dominance. This simply highlights the proposition that authority and power of the publishing industry is not dismantled simply by the ease in which things can be made public; news corporations still continue to command attention (Guillaud 2010). It extends the notion that in a world of endless archives of DIY projects, “the nature of an archive is to be both authoritarianly transparent and authoritatively concealed” and here, while authority has spread to the everyday, the mainstream publishing industry still holds a lot of attention (Enzer 2008). Nevertheless, just because they continue to hold the authority and is not being replaced, it cannot be said that the publishing industry’s extension is not without new difficulties, complexities and expenses. An issue arises where publishers struggle with what Shannon and Weaver considers as ‘noise’, which here, would be the over-abundance of other published work available online, which was once absent in the traditional publishing world (Striphas 2012). Additionally, and as will be further explored, there is the issue of news corporations having to distribute their content online, but at what cost. Methods including online paywalls as adopted by The Times of London and metered models adopted by The New York Times has made it obvious that “the range of alternative outlets for free information [means]…consumers do not always use what they prefer. And they are not always willing to pay for what they use” (Chyi & Lee 2013, p.197). Therefore, the publishing industry’s extension of their service online means that they cannot simply rely on a “digital facelift” and meets the challenge of having to “experiment to find a new model to suit” (Shirky 2009).

Graphics created by: Khansanisa Vinandar

As could be seen, the publishing industry is not irrelevant in today’s society, however, given the shift to the digital and the networked media, they must explore new business models in order to draw in revenue. Shirky (2009) noted that those who herald the traditional publishing industry in its print form must now face the “unthinkable scenario” where “the ability to share content wouldn’t shrink” but grows instead. According to Shirky, this means that “walled gardens prove unpopular”, encapsulating the challenges faced by the publishing industry as it shifts to the digital and networked platforms (Shirky 2009). It has been observed that newspapers are facing an “existential crisis” as paywalls are insufficiently compensating for the losses of the print format (Pickard & Williams 2013, p.208). It is suggested that this is because digital ads decreases inefficiencies thus, print advertising revenue continues to plummet, micropayments of newspapers prevents widespread use and the realisation that “old habits of advertisers and readers would not transfer online” (Shriky 2009; Pickard & Williams 2013, p.208). However, it is interesting to note that while the newspaper publishing industry are struggling to draw in revenue through a paywall business model, the film industry, with the advent of Netflix, shows a success of the subscription-based model where payment equates to a service rather than a product and subscription as a way to gain access rather than a method of purchase (Small 2012).

Nevertheless, at least for the newspaper publishing industry, some argue that paid-subscription methods represent a “turning away from a world of openly shared content” and thus, the industry must find a method in which they are not perceived to do so (Busfield 2010). Scholars have argued that the “newspapers had to be part of this web, not simply ‘on’ it” and even stating that the “subscription model [is] a final test for newspaper’s viability” (Busfield 2010). However, some successes with paywalls have been noted. For example, in 2012 The Australian reported that digital-only subscription has brought 0.67% of News Limited’s annual publishing income, even heralding it as an “important new phase” (Myllylathi 2013, p.188). However as Beadon notes, “paywalls are, at best, a temporary way of extracting a little bit [of revenue] at the expense of long term relevance” (Beadon in Myllylathi 2013). Nevertheless, despite the fact that the newspaper publishing industry’s expansion to the digital and networked world has proved challenging, “democracy still requires journalism” and as such, this simply means that this challenge would, hopefully, “fuel a period of experimentation with new [publishing] models” (Pickard & Williams 2013, p.209). Thus, the publishing industry is neither completely dismantled nor replaced, instead the shift to the digital and networked platforms provides them with a challenge to find an appropriate, sustainable business model, which the industry has yet to secure.

Graphics created by: Khansanisa Vinandar

Graphics created by: Khansanisa Vinandar

Despite the negative challenges posed to the publishing industry by the society’s shift to digital and networked platforms, it also encourages them to find creative ways in which to distribute their media, as has been done by the book publishing industry. It is often argued that once publishing’s “most salient feature is the high barriers to entry” but in today’s society, “digital publishing removes those barriers” and instead, open the “floodgates indiscriminately to every aspiring writing” (Filloux 2012). This proposition is often supported by the idea that aspiring writers and established writers alike can, with the click of a button, publish their work through various online platforms such as e-books or fan-fiction websites and make these work known through their social media platforms. However, while Litchenberg denotes that publishing is in the midst of a “’phase shift’ from the scarcity model of print”, he also highlights that it is transforming into “a complex, new world of digital abundance” and thus, the publishing industry cannot be deemed as dismantled but instead, it must now reformulate to meet increasing competition, competing to gain attention (Litchenberg 2011, p.101). This can be seen by the publishing industry’s move from physical book formats found in bookstores, which continue to exist, but are also distributed in digital e-book formats. As such, the book publishing industry still exists but it presents an exciting challenge in which new formats arise for publishers to take advantage of.

Furthermore, the challenges posed by the digital and networked world has also motivated an increase in dynamic ways of publishing books, meaning that the publishing industry is not being dismantled. Salinas (2012) suggest that book publishers are positioned, though some contests this, to take advantage of changing formats, suggesting that partnering with new kinds of media or gaming companies as an untapped potential. The “phase shift” noted has also fostered interesting platforms to distribute books such as Audible, an iPhone and Android based audio-book application. Thus, the “public embrace of tablets and e-readers that provide instant access to a burgeoning archive of book content” leads to “The Golden Age of Publishing”, turning the misconception that the publishing industry is history, on its head (Litchenberg 2011, p.103). Of course, as noted, this evolving second coming is not without its difficulties, with the over-burgeoning number of content being created and the concern that “the new book publishing business will look more and more like the software industry” as opposed to what it actually is (Filloux 2012). As such, it is important that publishers adapt and find ways to efficiently utilise digital and netowrked media for publishing books; what is made apparent through this is that the industry, with the presence of e-books and other digital publishing methods, still faces difficulties, complexities and expenses although these old problems are of a different nature in the new media world.

Therefore, while it is often argued that the view that discussions about a publishing industry is no longer relevant in today’s society, as the core problems it solves is no longer an issue, it is not entirely true. This is explored by the way which news publishing must now extend the distribution of their product to digital and networked platforms to compete with the burgeoning of content online. The new challenges faced by the digital and networked newspaper publishing industry in finding a new business model to suit has also been discussed. Finally, despite some challenges, the successes of the book publishing industry in finding a new way to distribute their media was also explored, noting Audible and e-books as the primary example. As such the publishing industry continues to exist but it must now adjust to new forms and structures as it faces new and unique challenges in a world of increasingly digital and networked media.

Word Count: 1930

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Busfield, S 2010, ‘Guardian Editor Hits Back at Paywalls’, The Guardian, 26 January, viewed 28 October 2014, < http://www.theguardian.com/media/2010/jan/25/guardian-editor-paywalls >

Chyi, H.I. & Lee, A.M. 2013, ‘Online News Consumption’, Digital Journalism, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 194-211.

Enzer, J 2008, ‘Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression by Jacques Derrida’, Julie R Enzer, viewed October 27 2014 < http://julierenszer.blogspot.com.au/2008/11/archive-fever-freudian-impression-by.html >

Filloux, F 2012, ‘The Same Challenge Facing e-books and apps’, The Guardian, 5 March, viewed 28 October 2014 < http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2012/mar/05/ebooks-apps >

Guillaud, H 2010, ‘What Is Implied by Living in a World of Flow’, Truthout, 24 January, viewed 26 October 2014 < http://truth-out.org/archive/component/k2/item/87704:what-is-implied-by-living-in-a-world-of-flow >

Litchenberg, J 2011, ‘In from the Edge: The Progressive Evolution of Publishing in the Age of Digital Abundance’, Publishing Research Quarterly, vol. 27, no, 2, pp.101-112

Myllylathi, M 2013, ‘Newspaper Paywalls – the Hype and the Reality’, Digital Journalism, vol. 2, no. 2, pp.179-194.

Pickard, V. & Williams, A.T. 2013, ‘Salvation or Folly’, Digital Journalism, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 195-213.

Salinas, E 2012, ‘Turning a page on books: Inside the evolving publishing industry’, Financial Post, 10 December, viewed 28 October, < http://business.financialpost.com/2012/12/10/turning-a-page-on-books-inside-the-evolving-publishing-industry/ >

Shirky, C 2009, Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable, Clay Shirky, viewed 25 October 2014, < http://www.shirky.com/weblog/2009/03/newspapers-and-thinking-the-unthinkable/ >

Sivek, S.C. & Townsend, A 2014, ‘Opportunities and Constraints for Independent Digital Magazine Publishing’, Journal of Magazine & New Media Research, vol. 15, no. 1, pp.1-20.

Small, O 2012, ‘Reshaping the Music Distribution Model: An ITunes Opportunity’, Journal of Media Business Studies, vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 41-68.

Striphas, T 2012, The Shannon and Weaver Model, The Late Age of Print, viewed 27th October 2014 < http://www.thelateageofprint.org/2012/02/20/the-shannon-and-weaver-model/ >

Wilkinson, L 2013, Address to the Andrew Ollle Media Lecture, online text, viewed 25 October 2014, < http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2013/10/25/3876439.htm >

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Week 9: Visualisation and a Social Body

As we discovered last week, visualisation is a complex method of making something invisible visible through various means, namely, we discovered graphs, dotted lines and digital VJ-ing. Just when it seems as though we have a good grapple on the concept of visualisation – we can say with utmost certainty that we know that visualisation can be used to represent music or the distance we ran this morning – things are yet again muddied.

While visualisation is capable of revealing and visualising everyday actions that we don’t often turn our minds to, visualisation also has the capability of linking back to a bigger social issue – this week, our readings examined how visualisation can come to play in representing climate change. On one side of the coin, and one that I expected, climate change can be visually represented through graphs about global temperature, global weather maps, tree ring-width and even a hockey stick graph (Information is Beautiful, 2013). Another example is provided by NASA where they represented climate change through a thermal imaging of the world or through the other scientific visualisation techniques provided by Kemp (NASA, n.d; Kemp, 2013).’

However, what challenges my preconceptions about visualisations is the picture imposed on the Metro article (Metro, 2008). Here, a polar bear sitting on an ice cap serves as a symbolic representation of the effects that  climate change can have on the world – highlighting its endangerment if we continue to deny or ignore climate change as a global phenomenon (Metro, 2008).

All these visualisation techniques, regardless of whether it took the form of a photograph or thermal imaging serve the same function – that is, to represent the advent of climate change and in some instances to persuade the public to help prevent or reverse its occurrence. Thus, what could be gathered is that visualisation techniques are not merely a method of making the invisible visible. While this is one of its functions, it goes beyond the mere act of representation – it serves a higher purpose of displaying that which is the pertinent issue on a larger social scale in the hopes of either fostering, reversing or preventing such occurrences.

In short and in quite layman’s terms, visualisation is complex and it’s confusing but it has the potential to foster social changes within our society by representing that which it aims to change.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Anon. (2008) ‘Struggling polar bears put on endangered list’, Metro.co.uk, May 15, <http://www.metro.co.uk/news/147937-struggling-polar-bears-put-on-endangered-list 

Anon. (2009) ‘The Global Warming Skeptics versus the Scientific Consensus’, Information is Beautiful, <http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/climate-change-deniers-vs-the-consensus/>

NASA Scientific Visualization Studio, <http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/

<http://www.wired.com/2013/12/best-scientific-figures-2013/>

Week 8: Visualisation… It’s a lot more complicated!

We don’t often think of how invisible data would look like if it was visually represented, but the truth is data exists and it often operates without people turning their minds to the different methods, techniques and tools that could be used to visualise it. For example, I, like every other person in our modern society, use Wi-Fi and 4G on a daily basis (in fact, I’ve come to learn that I can’t live without it! *uh-oh*) and I know it’s always present, but I never really took the time to think how it would look like if I could see it with my eyes. I never thought about how lines could represent it, what colour those lines would be… but I’m willing to say with 100% certainty that if you’re reading this (unless you’re Luke or Andrew… haha), then at least up till now, you haven’t either.

The complexity of visualisation was made obvious to me upon reading Timo’s article about dashed lines (Timo, 2006). I can honestly say that while I’ve utilised dashed lines in my artworks, designs and university assignments, I’ve never really given much thought to how it is, in the words of Timo, “clear and simple visual magic” with the ability to “express something three/four dimensional in two dimensions” but now, this rings true – just thinking about my year 10 math textbook and how every exercise on measuring volume would include boxes compromised of dotted lines and straight lines (Timo, 2006). Dotted lines and dashes, something so deceivingly simple, indeed has the capability to represent movement, paths, expectations (wow!), anticipated action – it has the power to represent relationships, accentuated by colours and other graphical qualities (Timo, 2006)… So really, visualisation is not just simply making something invisible visible – while that is something it does, the process is a lot more multifaceted than I initially assumed.

This lead me to think about apps on my iPhone that I use on a daily basis and made me realise how the process of visualisation is something that I engage with on a day to day basis but never really appreciated its complexity. Take my trusty Nike running app for example:

Every time I go for a run, it visualises not only the route I took through the use of lines but it also displays the intensity of my run through the colours utilised – namely, when I’m taking it slow, it’s green, as I progress with more intensity, it turns to yellow or red. Mindblowing!

While the process of visualising my workout routine is interesting, nothing is more interesting and highlights the convoluted nature of visualisation than live video mixing. It “address[es] a hunger for immersive, synaestic sensory experience where aural and visual elements work together to create a whole that is something beyond the sum of the parts (Gates, 2008). When one goes to a uni party or a club, they experience visualisation at play. Every strobe of light is indicative of the the drop of the bass, the work of the synthesizer, the general tune being played. I think the line which strikes me the most as it hits home is Gate’s statement that it is a “felling of immediacy and immersion that is so rewarding… the richness of dialogue between technology, spatial architecture and human expression” (Gates, 2008).

I think, I will end this post by saying that the complexity of visualisation just got even more amazing after looking at the infoaesthetics of 200 calories… so this is how much I’m eating… every time I snack. How does this impacts society? Well I think the impact of visualisation is best summed up by Debord, “when this contradiction emerges in the spectacle, it is itself contradicted by a reversal of its meaning: the division it presents is unitary, while the unity it presents is divided” (Debord, n.d.).

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Debord, G (n.d.) Unity and Division Within Appearances’, The Society of the Spectacle  <http://www.bopsecrets.org/SI/debord/3.htm>

Gates, Carrie (2009) ‘Vague Terrain 09: Rise of the VJ’, <http://vagueterrain.net/journal09>

http://infosthetics.com/

http://infosthetics.com/archives/2007/01/how_does_200_calories_look_like.html

Timo, A (2006) ‘the dashed line in use’, <http://www.nearfield.org/2006/09/the-dashed-line-in-use>

Week 7: Making the Facebook Invisibility Visible.

As we didn’t have a tutorial last week, I took the initiative to research some of the debate topics set for this weeks tutorial and the one I found most interesting was the Facebook debate:

  1. Whether Facebook should be experimenting with people’s moods without their consent.
  2. Whether Facebook, Google, Twitter, Apple and Amazon have too much power (or not).

This topic fascinated me because, like many my age, I’m quite the avid Facebook aficionado but I never really considered the experimental and curative aspect of my news feed and timeline.

According to Gillespie “shifts in emotion of those around us can shift our own moods, even online” (Gillespie 2014). I would say that this is strikingly true. I deleted my Facebook account a whole year during my HSC year; not simply because I was afraid that I would get easily distracted but mainly because I found how depressed and stressed I got when I would log on Facebook due to people’s posts gloating about how much work they have done or more blatantly, how depressed they are throughout HSC. I find this notion to be even more true when I consider the fact that every uni exam period since my first semester at UNSW, I would go on a Facebook detox to protect myself from added emotional stress during an already emotional period. So give this, should Facebook be experimenting with people’s mood without their consent? I would, for the most part, answer this in the negative.

Clearly the biggest ethical concern is the fact that the subjects of this experiment are humans who did not consent (Gillespie 2014). As a law student who has spent the last 2 weeks studying about consent in a Criminal and Contract Law perspective, this concern is something that I gravely agree with – for where no consent is sought, then it can’t be said that is morally acceptable, let alone ethical! 

Yes the Facebook News Feed is already curated, based on a complex algorithm (Gillespie 2014). Does this bother me? Well no. Sure it presents some “deeper discomfort about an information environment where the content is ours but the selection is their” but I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing (Gillespie 2014). When one considers the fact that those which appear on our newsfeed are those posts which based on statistics we would find interesting and the fact that we often do find it interesting vitiates the notion that Facebook has too much power.As Herrerra (2014) notes “the more popular a piece of content posted in your network becomes, the more likely it is to spill into your News Feed; the friends and Pages you interact most with are the ones you’ll see most frequently”. Personally, I wouldn’t care what someone that I met 3 years ago at camp said about their day but I would care and would like to see a photo that my closest friends post, and Facebook recognises this and caters to this.  What I have a problem is, is not the power imparted on Facebook but when they transgress that power by conducting non-consented experimentations, especially those involving emotions.

Facebook is a platform “which we can’t stop feeding, and obsessively tracks our every online movement” – yes I would agree with that. Is it a plaform that needs to be taken down a notch in terms of the power imbalance created? I would say no. Sure there are ads on our news feeds and that gets irritating, but in a world where our media usuage has  shifted to social media, how could you expect otherwise? Do I, however, condone the experimentations undertaken with its users as the subject matter? No, this is indisputably unethical.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Gillespie, T (2014) ‘Facebook’s algorithm — why our assumptions are wrong, and our concerns are right’,Culture Digitally, July 4, <http://culturedigitally.org/2014/07/facebooks-algorithm-why-our-assumptions-are-wrong-and-our-concerns-are-right/>

 

Herrerra, T (2014) ‘What Facebook doesn’t show you’, The Washington Post, August 18 <http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2014/08/18/what-facebook-doesnt-show-you/&gt;

Week 6: Attention and Commons

This week we explore the idea that the organisation of attention is where a lot of the action is when it comes to how we organise what we have in common. Basically, there is a question of how publishing and assemblages affect or constructs our attention and as such how does this bring together social groups?

Meretz (2011) state that “Commons potentially being a new form of societal production do not guarantee that they become prevalent. Nothing happens by itself, it has to be done. The process of becoming aware just has begun. But it has begun.” As such, this revolves around the idea that social groups do not just become, but it is the attention that we place onto certain publishing assemblages and published work that lead to a commons for it affects how we organise commons.

However, it is noted that attention has its own “dynamics, its own consequences” (Goldhaber 1997). Goldhaber elaborates that “Attention is more mysterious, a process that can occur only in a mind, yet somehow it moves out into the world as well.” This could be seen in terms of Facebook, when you are inbox-ing someone or positing on someones wall, needless to say, your attention goes to the party receiving or messages and moreover, you attention also flows through your actions.

While social media is ubiquitous, there has been concerns on its effects on our attention. Tempel (2011) notes that scientists deem that “indulging in the ceaseless disruption isn’t good for our brains” and that psychiatrists has  raised concerns that “people are increasingly demonstrating addict-like behaviour when it comes to technology, unable to ignore its pull, even when it negatively affects them”. I would argue this to be true to an extent due to my own experience with YouTube and Facebook… I mean, it did take me a very VERY long time to write this essay because I am constantly being distracted by other social media platforms. However, despite this, I would argue Heffernan’s notion that “attention spans used to be robust; and now they are stunted” because technology has “shrivelled them” is quite dramatic (Heffernan 2010). Clearly, our attention to social media has allowed for a commons to form around it, however regardless of social media or not there is evidence that  “under half the time, 46.9% to be exact, people are doing what’s called ‘mind wandering'” (Rock 2010).

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

Goldhaber, M.H (1997) ‘Attention Shoppers!’, Wired, <http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/5.12/es_attention.html>

Heffernan, V (2010) ‘The Attention Span Myth’, New York Times, <http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/21/magazine/21FOB-medium-t.html>

Meretz, S (2010) ‘Ten Theses about Global Commons Movement’, P2P Foundation, <http://blog.p2pfoundation.net/ten-theses-about-global-commons-movement/2011/01/05>

Rock, D (2010) ‘New study shows humans are on auto pilot nearly half the time’, Psychology Today<http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/your-brain-work/201011/new-study-shows-humans-are-auto-pilot-nearly-half-the-time>

Temple, J (2011) ‘All those tweets, apps, updates may drain brain’ San Fransciso Chronicle, April 17, <http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/04/16/BUTO1J0S2P.DTL>

 

 

 

 

Week 5: Archive Fever. Archives Everywhere.

Books, manuscripts, libraries and museums. Before ARTS2090, when I thought of the word ‘archive’, those are the things that sprang to mind. I used to associate archives to the manuscripts I read while doing my HSC History Extension Project; I thought of documents of significant historical value that must be preserved for future generations and more often than not, these documentations were about important people and events of the past. However, in truth, archives merely describe the storing and arranging of information and/or data so that it can be accessed sometime in the future.

‘Archive fever’ is a term coined by philosopher, Jacques Derrida. It connotes that all media constructs archives, and also destroys other archives in different ways. Furthermore, they are important because they become the basis of what counts within both society and even our sense of self. I found Ogle and Enzer’s article which explores Derrida’s notion of ‘Archive Fever’ to be particularly persuasive and thus, I will explore the notion from this perspective. 

Ogle (2010) states that “we’ve all become accidental archivists; our burgeoning digital archives open out of the future”, and this statement made me question – am I an archivist? He then questions, “what were you thinking about on November 22nd, 2009?” from that point, it didn’t take long for me to realise that I, like many others, have indeed become an accidental Archivist; all I needed to do was peruse my Facebook Timeline and I found that on November 22nd, 2009, I wanted winter to come back (and that I apparently could not spell “back”) (Ogle, 2010) 

 Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 4.06.45 PM

While as apparent above, archives allows for us to peek to our past, it has not been without criticism. Enszer (2008) notes that the “nature of archive is both authoritariantly transparent and authoritatively concealed” and, echoing Derrida, it was mentioned that in order to assure the possibility of memorisation, reproduction and re-impression, it must be consigned to an external space. What does this mean? What I gathered is that archive is in a position of authority in that it dictates, through data and information, what is preserved and has the potential to be remembered and recalled. What is the implication? Well, it has thus been argued, and rightly so, that this creates a sort of “in” and “out” group where some are forgotten, while others are focused on. This is perhaps best exhibited by this quote taken out of the Apartheid Archive page:

“There is tendency to focus on the more ‘dramatic’ or salient narratives of apartheid atrocities and the fact that it thereby effectively (albeit, perhaps, unintentionally) foreclosed the possibility of an exploration of the more quotidian but pervasive, and no less significant, manifestations of apartheid abuse means that much of the details of apartheid racism had not been publicly acknowledged or assessed.” (Apartheid Archive, n.d.)

However, I would argue that while the notion above has some merit, the new world of archives in a new world of digital publishing allows for an “amazing new tool for remembering” and that it is one of the most “widely adopted architecture for self-archival” (Ogle 2010). This notion triggered me to think of the YouTuber family, the Sacconejolys, who have essentially, created an archive of their day to day life for at least, the past 3 years. New platforms like YouTube, Facebook and as discussed in this week’s readings, Omeka, have allowed for this non-deliberate creation of archives. Additionally, the Hurricane Archive example have exemplifies just how archives allows for the remembrance of little idiosyncrasies that would otherwise be forgotten (Hurricane Archive, n.d.)

So in short, I like many others, have indeed caught the ‘archive fever’ and though it is not without it’s criticism, I think archives opens up an exciting opportunity for us to entertain our nostalgic musings. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Enszer, Julie R. (2008) Julie R. Enszer (personal blog), ‘Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression by Jacques Derrida’, November 16, <http://julierenszer.blogspot.com/2008/11/archive-fever-freudian-impression-by.html>

Derrida, Jacques (1995) ‘Archive Fever—A Freudian Impression’, Diacritics, 25(2), pp9-63.

 Ogle, Matthew (2010) ‘Archive Fever: A love letter to the post real-time web’, mattogle.com, December 16, <http://mattogle.com/archivefever/>

http://www.apartheidarchive.org/site/

<http://omeka.org/>

<http://hurricanearchive.org/> <http://omeka.org/showcase/>