Interactivity and its discontents - New Trends in eHumanities

1. Ana Raus, Maastricht University 2. Sally Wyatt, eHumanities Group


October 20, 2011

Ana Raus
Maastricht University

Interactivity and its discontents
Part of the newspeak of the digital wave, the concept of interactivity bundles together enthusiasm and uneasiness. The first comes from the high hopes and expectations around interactive possibilities brought forward by the digital medium. The latter stems from the difficulty of defining the concept and applying it, in a productive way, in practice. When looking for a definition, the complexity of the term and the many disciplines it feeds upon become apparent, as well as the myriad levels, types, and forms of interactivity in computer-mediated communication. Strongly connected to digital technologies, interactivity is also rooted in ‘traditional’ interaction. Therefore older theories are revisited together with new ideas to offer a better understanding of the concept. Besides investigating what interactivity means, in this research I also looked at how the concept could be used as a research tool. In particular, when applied to the publishing world it is interesting to use interactivity as a framework to analyze enhanced publications. The results of a study on the SURFfoundation Enhanced Publication projects will be presented, as well as a discussion on future trends in scholarly communication and the publishing world at large with regards to interactivity.

(Presentation slides)

Sally Wyatt
eHumanities Group

Enhancing Virtual Knowledge
MIT Press recently agreed to publish the book Virtual Knowledge and also expressed strong interest in collaborating with the editors and authors in preparing a Web-based complement to the book. This complement could extend the preliminary work undertaken to develop an ‘enhanced publication’ for this and three others book that was part of the recently-completed eHumanities Group Enhanced Publications Project. Part of the eHg Research Meeting on 20 October is intended to explore ways in which this extension might be undertaken. What forms of enhancement would the editors and authors like to include in the Website to complement the print publication? What site functionalities present on the individual four books and overall project Websitedo not seem suitable to continue? Everyone is invited to examine the tentative Website for Virtual Knowledge and to bring to the meeting suggestions for improving and expanding this preliminary endeavor.