Tag Archives: ARTS2090

Essay in-lieu-of Examination

Word Version – Essay in-lieu-of Examination – Daniel Ferrara (z3375133)

‘It makes increasingly less sense to even talk about a publishing industry, because the core problem publishing solves – the incredible difficulty, complexity, and expense of making something available to the public – has stopped being a problem’, (Clay Shirky). Are digital and networked media dismantling the “publishing industry”? Is it being replaced? If so, what is replacing it? If not, what is the publishing industry becoming, and how is it doing so? Are there new difficulties and complexities or expenses involved?

The emergence of rapidly expanding digital technologies and practices over the last decade has forced a powerful and fundamental change in the publishing industry forever. The innovation of the digital age, the internet and networked technologies has completely reconfigured the relationship between writing and publishing, affecting the shape of authorship and production in an online writing environment (Laquintano, 2010, pg. 469). The printed page is giving way to the networked screen (The Institute for the Future of the Book, 2007), and it is clear that there are both opportunities and challenges facing the printing and publishing industry as society moves from print to digital distribution (Guenther, 2011, pg. 327). The increasing popularity of the internet and digital technologies has provided society with accessible publics and self-publishing social media platforms, altering the lives of many individuals who were previously limited to professional authors and publishers (Laquintano, 2010, pg. 470). Tonkery (2003, pg. 35) writes that the information chain is facing a fundamental change in the way information is created, organised, disseminated and assimilated. The rapid transition from print to digital publication has given publishers an opportunity to use new methods to reach consumers, and this evolution of traditional publishing methods will determine the success of the publishing industry in the long term. Publishing is shifting into a complex new world of digital information abundance, however, the speed and extent of these changes are still unknown (Lichtenberg, 2011, pg. 101). This essay will explore the way in which digital and networked media platforms have changed the publishing industry, as well as how the publishing industry is looking to adapt in order to account for these changes in society.

The swift development of online publishing, e-books and digital libraries has seen publishers face many challenges, none more so than the ability of networked media to take on the publisher’s traditional role as ‘gatekeepers of literary culture’ (Murray, 2010, pg. 23). Communication technologies in the 21st century have changed the very conception of the author in the modern era (Murray, 2010, pg. 24). During a time where newspapers and other forms of traditional media are attempting to reinvent themselves in a web-based world, it is important to recognise the ability of networked media to publicise information almost instantaneously. It is this change in the capability of new media to disseminate information around the world in such a short space of time that makes it harder for print media to continue being a viable source of up-to-date news and information, diminishing the importance of the printing press in an increasingly digital world. Clay Shirky (2009) writes that the key issues that publishing used to resolve are now obsolete in an age of digital and networked media. We are now seeing a blurring of writing and publishing in online digital environments (Laquintano, 2010, pg. 471), and in the past decade, we have seen publishers attempt to incorporate the capabilities that the internet promises into their services and publications (Stewart et al., 2013, pg. 415). The magazine publishing industry in particular have embraced the opportunities provided by new media technologies, attracting readers through interactive content both online and on e-readers such as the iPad, without the high production and distribution costs faced by traditional print magazines. According to Silva (2011, pg. 31), 51% of consumers aged between 18 and 34 are reading magazines electronically. These stats show us the increasing influence of digital publishing platforms, and how the traditional publishing industry must adapt in order to be successful in today’s technologically savvy society. In today’s world, people are able to consume news through a variety of digital media and social networking sites. The Pew Research centre concluded that 77% of tablet owners surveyed obtained news on their computer, while 19% of all respondents received their news from social media sites (Editor & Publisher, 2013). These statistics show us the increasing influence of new media technology in everyday life, as well as the importance of reinventing traditional media platforms to be successful in a networked environment. Johnson (2011) writes that the e-book shift is not being driven by publishers, but by consumer demand, showing us the necessity for the printing press to adapt their methods in order to increase their convenience and accessibility to consumers.  Since the early 2000’s, we have seen shift away from the mass media approaches of traditional news broadcasts, which used to have top priority, to the adoption of a ‘web-centric’ approach to organising news (Grabowicz, 2013). This means that information and news stories are now written for the internet first and then adapted to suit the print edition, again showing us the increasing importance digital and internet technologies are having on publishing processes and industries. The public embrace of tablets and e-readers that provide instant access to archives of books and information content not only bring into question the usefulness of print publishing, but also their ongoing role in a digital age where we see the immediate spread of information and news content (Lichtenberg, 2011, pg. 103).

The innovation of Web 2.0 services and publishing formats has led to an ‘increased emphasis on user-generated content, data and content sharing and collaborative effort, together with the use of various kinds of social software, and the use of the web as a platform for generating, re-purposing and consuming content’ (Stewart et al., 2013, pg. 415). This has meant that many publishers have attempted to incorporate these online capabilities into their activities and services in order to keep attracting consumers and readers to their products. Digital publishing platforms today rely on a user interface that has the ability to aggregate, manipulate, measure and leverage data, which has increased the value and popularity of social media sites in the last decade (Guenther, 2011, pg. 329). It is this fundamental shift in the way society use digital and networked media that have forced publishers to respond to the reality of readers who are demanding e-content, or risk becoming irrelevant (Johnson, 2011). Naughton (2010) writes that the concept of a ‘book’ will change under the pressure of digital devices, just as magazines and newspapers have already changed. Paper publications will never become obsolete; however, print publishers who wish to thrive in the new digital environment must add a technological edge to their publications (Naughton, 2010). It also makes financial sense for traditional media outlets to become digitally based, with Shatzkin (2012) writing that by reducing your printing and distribution costs, many publishers are able to increase their gross revenue margin, even taking into account other small online costs such as marketing and administration. Publishers are now coming to terms with the changing media landscape, adapting their practices to suit digital publishing platforms, increase their attractiveness to consumers and ensure that they are able to rapidly distribute information at the same speed as social networking sites which are led by user-generated content. The increasing reliance on digital technologies by society today means that traditional products and practices are no longer adequate in addressing unmet consumer needs or unexploited potential in the market (Lichtenberg, 2011, pg. 102). Digital and networked media have not necessarily dismantled the publishing industry; however, these technologies have forced a fundamental rethink in the way the publishing industry develops to deal with consumer demand and the difficulty and complexity of user-generated publishing platforms.

The increasing popularity of digital and networked media has changed the way audiences, or publics, look at the publishing industry. As a result, publishers have been forced to adapt their methods in order to ensure that they are not replaced by social media and other user driven social networking platforms. Laquintano (2010, pg. 487) writes that ‘authorship has now become responsive to the idiosyncrasies of the digital environment’, showing us the increasing importance for publishers to increase their online publishing presence and expertise. In an age where self-publication is becoming increasingly apparent, the lines between writing and publishing can blur, reconfiguring the categories of author, publisher and reader in the context of digital writing environments (Laquintano, 2010, pg. 487). By understanding the dynamics of digital publishing platforms, publishers are more likely to be able to deal with the difficulties and challenges associated with the changing nature of publishing in the 21st century. Along with this, publishers must also learn to deal with the rise of social media, and how it has shifted society away from static content for a passive audience toward a digital culture of public participation and mixing of data and information by individuals (Grabowicz, 2013). The shift by publishers to account for these difficulties and complexities is seen with the increased digitalisation of traditional media platforms such as magazines. Digital magazines are designed to compete for the attention of online readers, with pages formatted to include interactive sections such as flash animations or embedded videos in order to compete with other online digital publishing platforms (Silva, 2011, pg. 302). These processes are being put in place by traditional publishing industries in order to ensure it can keep pace with digital media, showing us that these industries are not necessarily being replaced, but are instead adapting to the changing media landscape by becoming more technologically sound in accordance with consumer demand. However, there are also difficulties associated with these changes. Digital technologies are turning publisher’s business models inside out, moving away from a product business model based on selling physical commodities via distributors and retailers towards a service business model that begins with the customer’s needs and expectations (Lichtenberg, 2010, pg. 112). This shift has been seen in conjunction with the rise in popularity of social media platforms, which promote user-generated content and allow the free and rapid flow of information instantaneously around the world, subsequently changing the way in which traditional publishing industries produce news content for audiences and publics. Moreover, Clay Shirky (2009) writes about the expenses associated with the printing press, showing that digital publishing technologies make commercial and financial sense in today’s society.

In conclusion, digital technologies have drastically altered the publishing industry forever (Lichtenberg, 2010, pg. 112). The demands of consumers in today’s information based society have shown traditional media industries the advantages of new digital media formats over traditional print media (Silva, 2012, pg. 310). The innovation of many web-based technologies has increased the amount of user-generated content seen online, blurring the lines between writing and publishing and hence bringing the importance of traditional publishing into question. However, this essay has shown that the ‘publishing industry’ is not being replaced, but is rather being forced to adapt to a new digital communication and information landscape that will provide new difficulties, complexities and expenses for many traditional publishing business models. The increasing popularity of the internet has given traditional media the opportunity to adjust its methods in order to account for consumer demand, and the evolution of these approaches will lead to the success of the digital publishing industry in the long term. Social media platforms and other types of digital media have provided society with an abundance of information, leaving traditional media outlets with both opportunities and challenges in order to acclimatise to the new media environment. Digital and networked media are not necessarily dismantling the publishing industry, however, it is changing the fundamental business thinking of traditional publishing platforms, forcing them to become technologically viable and attractive to online consumers. This shift in thinking, caused by the dynamic and complex nature of digital media today, has created many opportunities and challenges for traditional media outlets, none more so than the changing financial positions associated with the printing press or online publishing. Overall, digital media and social networking has changed the way information is transmitted around the world, affecting traditional publishing platforms which have had to adapt their practices and procedures in order to cater for the digital consumer. Traditional media forms have faced many opportunities and challenges in attempting to change their business models to suit the new technological environment, and we are able to see that new media technologies have completely changed the nature of publishing as we know it today.


Grabowicz, P. (2013) ‘The Transition to Digital Journalism: Web First Publishing’ kdmcBerkeley, <http://multimedia.journalism.berkeley.edu/tutorials/digital-transform/web-first-publishing/> [accessed 7 June 2013]

Grabowicz, P. (2013) ‘The Transition to Digital Journalism: Web 2.0 and the Rise of Social Media’ kdmcBerkeley, <http://multimedia.journalism.berkeley.edu/tutorials/digital-transform/web-first-publishing/> [accessed 7 June 2013]

Guenther, M. (2011) ‘Magazine Publishing in Transition: Unique Challenges for Multi-Media Platforms’ Publishing Research Quarterly, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 327 – 331

Johnson, H. (2011) ‘Poll: Who is Driving the Digital Transition in Publishing?’ Publishing Perspectives, <http://publishingperspectives.com/2011/06/poll-driving-digital-transition-publishing/> [accessed 10 June 2013]

Laquintano, T. (2010) ‘Sustained Authorship: Digital Writing, Self-Publishing, and the E-book’ Written Communication, vol. 27, no. 4, pp. 469 – 493

Lichtenberg, J. (2011) ‘In from the Edge: The Progressive Evolution of Publishing in the Age of Digital Abundance’ Publishing Research Quarterly, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 101 – 112

‘Mission Statement’ (2007) Institute for the Future of the Book, <http://www.futureofthebook.org/mission.html> [accessed 10 June 2013]

Murray, S. (2010) ‘’Remix my Lit’: Towards an Open Access Literary Culture’ Convergence: The International Journal of Research Into New Media Technologies, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 23 – 38

Naughton, J. (2010) ‘Publishers take note: the iPad is altering the very concept of a ‘book’’ The Guardian, <http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/dec/19/ipad-publishing-kindle-books-apple> [accessed 7 June 2013]

Shatzkin, M. (2012) ‘Some things that were true about publishing for decades aren’t true anymore’ The Idea Logical Company, <http://www.idealog.com/blog/some-things-that-were-trueaboutpublishing-for-decades-arent-true-anymore/> [accessed 7 June 2013]

Shirky, C. (2009) ‘Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable’ <http://www.shirky.com/weblog/2009/03/newspapers-and-thinking-the-unthinkable/> [accessed 10 June 2013]

Silva, D. S. (2011) ‘The future of digital magazine publishing’ Information Services & Use, vol. 31, no. 1, pp. 301 – 310

Stewart, J., Procter, R., Williams, R. & Poschen, M. (2013) ‘The role of academic publishers in shaping the development of Web 2.0 services for scholarly communication’ New Media & Society, vol. 15, no. 3, pp. 413 – 432

Tonkery, D. (2003) ‘Rethinking the Role of the Subscription Agent in the Transition from Print to Digital Collections’ Publishing Research Quarterly, vol. 18, no. 4, pp. 35 – 42

‘7 Digital Facts’ (2013) Editor & Publisher, vol. 146, no. 4, pg. 49


Week 10 – Visualisation Presentation

Over the past couple of weeks, my group and I have been working on a visualisation presentation as part of our ARTS2090 course assessment. My group chose to visualise Australia’s performance at the Olympics, with some unexpected results! Check out our PowerPoint Presentation and Speech below:

Visualisation Project – Presentation

Visualisation Project – Speech

Hope you enjoyed the presentation! Thankyou!

Week 8 – The Visual, Perception & Politics

Here we are, my last ever blog post (at least until the final essay)! This week’s topic will focus on VJing and other forms of visual content and expression. This weeks lecture looked at visual media, visual perception and the shifts in publics and publishing involved, especially with regards to visualisation. The lectures key themes were that new media forms have enhanced the modulation of visual expression and content, and that there are new engagements between these technologies and other text and sound publishing platforms.

The visual is able to reconfigure images of publics in real-time, synthesising different images in order to give a direct interpretation of a real public. Technical operations such as filters and synthesisers have given rise to the process of cross signal processing, where one signal is transformed into another. An example of this is when an audio signal is visualised, or vice versa. The changing technological landscape of the world has meant that we have seen more and more visual processing in publishing and publics today. Using images gives publishers a flexibility that allows for communication and persuasion, allowing them to form publics that can interpret these images using their own perceptions and experiences. We as individuals see a dynamic visual of constantly moving images, while other image technologies change the visual arrangements that we deal with. Visual experience is constantly reconfigured at a fundamental level by the structure of experience. A prime example of this real-time experience is VJing.

VJing is a broad term for real-time visual performance. It often involves live image and sound mixing by an individual or audience that can bring together movement and visual images very obviously. Vjing brings together different kinds of publics in relation to images. It is able to strip image elements into components and remix them to construct a temporary public in real-time. The most obvious example of this public being created is in a nightclub, where data is converted from one form into another, shifting our individual experience of publics and creating a new form of publishing that shape our social interactions. As we can see, VJing is a form of digital publishing that can alter our experience and interactions with different publics, whilst also being able to connect with other forms of publishing to create visual content and expression. In other words, VJing links old and new publishing platforms.

Vjing by Comix at the recent Swedish House Mafia concert!

Vjing at the Swedish House Mafia One Last Tour concert!

As seen in the above visualisations, VJing is an essential component in the entertainment and music industry today. Live visuals and lighting shows influence the experience of the audience, creating a new public which can interact with each other. Above we can see a YouTube video of an iTunes visualiser, which provides a visual representation of the audio that is being heard, shifting our visual perception and creating new modes of presenting data that was previously invisible. My own personal experience of these visuals was at the Swedish House Mafia concert I attended in February earlier this year. Remembering back to their performance, Vjing was used to provide a complete audio and visual experience, which is probably why I enjoyed the concert so much, both the music and the visuals were insane!



Week 7 – Making The Invisible Visible

This week I will be talking about ‘making the invisible visible’, in particular, the process of visualization. Visualisation enables us to understand how archives are used to create forms of content and expression, whilst also impacting how we interpret the excessive amounts of information society produces. Visualisation has impacted many arguments through the use of information graphics, which are able to visually represent data and help individuals better understand information and how it can be utilised in everyday life.

Visualisation’s purpose is to help discover the unknown and make the invisible visible. Visualisation allows the use of images to structure new meaning and relationships between information sources, often leading to the discovery of patterns within these sets of data. These patterns can either be portrayed through aesthetic means, which often attempt to portray experiences, or through methodology, which can show how patterns are organised. Often aesthetics can give a biased approach towards data, but this type of visual organisation always attempts to make a point or discover something obscure. Visualisation attempts to make data that is not easily accessible to the eye more visible, sometimes leading to a greater sense of control over this information. With the changing technological nature of publishing and society in general, the increase in the functionality of invisible things (e.g. WiFi and Bluetooth) shows us the ever-present nature of wireless connectivity in our lives today. Overall, we can see the impact of visualisation on everyday life, as well as its capacity for pattern recognition and its ability to establish relationships that haven’t been seen before. Very interesting!

Following on from that large (and boring) amount of theory, I want to give you a few practical examples of visualisation from one of my favourite sports, soccer! Below are two visualisations, one involving the passes of Barcelona player Xavi Hernandez in the Champions League Semi FInal versus Inter Milan in 2009, and the second involving Chelsea player Frank Lampard and a visualisation of his record breaking 203 goals for the club.

Visualisation of Frank Lampard's 203 Chelsea goals.

Visualisation of Frank Lampard’s 203 Chelsea goals.

Visualisation of Xavi Hernandez's passing statistics during the 2009 Champions League Semi Final versus Inter Milan.

Visualisation of Xavi Hernandez’s passing statistics in the 2009 Champions League Semi Final versus Inter Milan.

The information presented in the graphics above are simple, accessible, convenient and aesthetically pleasing, making it easier to understand the data and how it is interpreted. From my personal experience of following, watching and playing soccer, this type of data visualisation appeals to me as I am able to discover a sense of the unknown, or rather see information in a visual form that I would have previously missed or disregarded when watching the game as a form of entertainment. These two infographics have enabled me to make the invisible visible, and have also been used by soccer journalists and statisticians to discover and present data patterns through the medium of publishing. Visualisation plays a huge role in the world of publishing as we know it today, and in certain circumstances, data can be represented to interpret certain trends that were not previously apparent.



Week 6 – The Commons & Attention

This week’s blog will be on the ‘commons’, or more specifically, the collection, (re)distribution and assembling of attention. ‘Commons’ are collectively produced archives that create the possibility for interaction, such as sharing and market exchange, for users and publishers. The new technological and social digital commons have had severe implications on both publishing and knowledge production in the recent past, in the process assembling different kinds of attention from different kinds of publics and media.

O’Malley writes that attention is a human constant and we will naturally seek new forms, hence creating distraction. No information is useful without attention, whilst it can also be argued that one form of attention can be a distraction from something else! Now, we are able to form, break or maintain habits, both good and bad, from assemblages of attention and distraction, which often create media and social change amongst publishers and publics. In an increasingly technological world, attention is becoming scarce due to the variety of information sources and publishing forms available to users. It’s almost as if attention is now a form of currency, motivating publishers to grab our attention through their products! With this collation of information comes an economy of knowledge, that is able to collect, arrange and distribute information to help grab the consumer’s attention and help make our individual lives work. This is where the commons come in!

The Social Media Landscape - the 'commons' that allow us to share information through our own social networks!

The Social Media Landscape – the ‘commons’ that allow us to share information through our social networks!

Nicholas Hildyard writes that the ‘commons‘ are now an everyday reality that provides security and independence for its users, and are often defined through their social or cultural organisation rather than their physical location. Good and Bauwens state that the commons ‘is something that does not belong to anybody in particular, that belongs to the whole community, of participants, users, and sometimes to the whole world’. Commons law has evolved significantly, to the point where ideas are now seen as commodities, inverting traditional intellectual property law. Examples of these type of commons include Google, Facebook, iTunes, and, of course, Wikipedia. The internet is a prime example of the rising popularity of the commons, and how it has changed the structure of the archive media world today. Meretz writes that the global commons movement is an ‘assemblage of movements spread around the globe beginning to become aware of its global character’, and to some extent, this is true! Creative commons provide legal, open licensing that allows the distribution of copyrighted works, while P2P (peer-to-peer) processes have become a major part of the public sphere. These forms of commons, particularly P2P, have created open forums for users to interact with each other on a social and cultural level, changing the way publics are able to publish and who they are able to publish to! These P2P processes allow people to form a network that enables information to be collected, (re)distributed and assembled for another person’s interest or attention.

Obviously, there is another side to the commons, and that is piracy! Examples of these ethical conflict include the unauthorized sharing of music and movies. There is much debate over whether this access should be regulated, and if not, what effect these forms of black market commons will have on the publishing industry. Overall, the commons provides people with the ability to interact through a social network of users, and it is through these commons that we can also see the consequences of media sharing moulding our attention.


Hildyard, N., Lohmann, L., Sexton, S. & Fairlie, S. (1995) “Reclaiming the Commons”, The Corner House, <http://www.thecornerhouse.org.uk/resource/reclaiming-commons> [accessed 17 April 2013]

Meretz, S. (2010) “Ten Theses about Global Commons Movement”, P2P Foundation, <http://blog.p2pfoundation.net/ten-theses-about-global-commons-movement/2011/01/05> [accessed 17 April 2013]

O’Malley, M. (2010) “Attention and Information”, The Aporetic, <http://theaporetic.com/?p=228> [accessed 17 April 2013]

Week 5 – Archives, Theory & Practice

On to week 5 and this week’s topic is archives again! This week’s blog will have more to do with authority and memory, as well as the cultural and individual theory and practice surrounding this information. Jussi Parikka suggests that archives have always had an interesting aura surrounding them despite being thought of as obsolete and abandoned places, and to some extent, this is true, however, the concept of an archive is changing. Jacques Derrida writes in his piece Archive Fever that different media processes set up different kinds of archives, which often form the basis of cultural activity.

We are able to see archives as a link between memory and experience. Archives allow us to gain both of these through the one piece of information and distribute it through different forms of content and expression. Producers and users (or ‘produsers’ if you will) are able to use archives to both express their experiences and distribute them among different media platforms, allowing this information to feed into each other and flow through other information systems. This is where I believe our designated ‘word of the week’ comes into action, but more of that infotention (or ‘infotension’) stuff later.

Archive fever is able to influence our experience of media, as well as the theory and practice surrounding these topics. Experience depends on the way we deal with these archives, and how they are able to carry our past actions into the present and onto future possibilities. The theory and practice side of archives provides us with the approaches, methods and concepts used by people to link media technologies and techniques back to the archived information. Archives are able to change our conception of the world through theories and practice, and this link between media, theory and culture makes archives one of the three main aspects of publishing. Overall, archives are able to act as a theory and as a technology or technique all at the same time, forming the basis for possible future methods, approaches and practices in the media world.

Infotention - the forms of attentions and distractions that can change our habits, ideas, or even information

Infotention – the forms of attentions and distractions that can change our habits, ideas, or even information!

Now, back to my ideas on infotention. Howard Rheingold writes that infotention is the word he has created to describe the particular set of skills needed to find our way online today. He says it is a combination of both attention skills and computer information filters, which I believe is incredibly relevant to online media archives. Take for example my Facebook photo albums, a classic example of the online archive that is able to hold both digital memory and experience. Now while this may be easy for me to upload these photos online, my parents wouldn’t have a clue how to do it. Therefore, you could say that I have the infotention to post an online archive, as I have the necessary skills to carry out the task online, while my parents, although having both cognitive and social skills, lack the technological skill to create this type of archive. Overall, infotention is based around attention and distraction. These forms of thinking are able to influence our habits through media archives, which are often a form of either attention or distraction, depending on how you look at them!


Derrida, J. (1996) Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression, University of Chicago Press, Chicago

Parikka, J. (2013) “Archival Media Theory: An Introduction to Wolfgang Ernst’s Media Archaeology”, in Ernst, Wolfgang Digital Memory and the Archive, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, pp. 1-22

Rheingold, H. (2009) “Mindful Infotention: Dashboards, Radars, Filters”, SFGate, <http://blog.sfgate.com/rheingold/2009/09/01/mindful-infotention-dashboards-radars-filters/> [accessed 10 April 2013]

Week 4 – Assembling Publishing (Archive Fever)

This week I will be blogging about media archives and the process of storing and arranging any form of data or information so that we are able to access it later. An archive is anything that can store data for later retrieval, such as a database, filing cabinet, online data storage or even archived emails. These forms of data are structured depending on how and when the information is published, affecting the publics experience of that media. Jacques Derrida suggests that ‘all media construct archives, and also destroy other archives, differently’.

Archives became useful as it had the power to both document past people and events, but also had the capability to gather information on future events. This shift in capability allowed archives to involve both the user and the producer in order to create forms of expression and information. Archives are the basis for individual and collective memory, the basis for authority and culture, and the basis for both individual and collective experience. Archives and media technologies are now able to allow publics to do (or not do) what they please. Often an archives structure of data is revealed through a form of content/expression, which leads me on to the word of the week, desire.

Archives can be paradoxical, on one hand that can be controlled and accessed freely, leading to our interest, but they can also be boring. Each individual can be seen to have their own ‘archive fever’, whether it be my uni work on Microsoft Word, my music on iTunes and my iPod, and even social networking sites such as Facebook or even this blog. People are keen to build and re-build their archives using media platforms and products such as Google, Amazon and Apple. This allows these publishers to structure data and control provenance, which is seen in actor-network theory where objects are treated as part of a social network. Archives not only provide new forms of content and expression, but also imply an new assemblage of archives and new modes of distributing this information.

iTunes - One of the main forms of archives that caters for our desires!

iTunes – one of the main forms of digital archives that caters for our musical needs and desires!

In a way, archives are able to treat us to our own desires. When I thought of this at first, I was skeptical as to how boring archives could possibly help me enjoy my memories and help me form future memories, but then it clicked. I have recently been in Sri Lanka for the World University Games Competition for Cricket, all expenses paid by RedBull (lucky me!), a once in a lifetime opportunity! Without the processes of archiving, there would be not information, apart from my memory, to show to anyone. By archiving my photos in a photo album, I was able to store this information and show it to other people (such a my family) when I returned home. Without the power of archives, I would not be able to share these experiences as most of the information would be lost and I would not be able to make my individual memories collective! It was my desire to build an archive so that I could express and distribute information and memories of my trip freely to others, and it worked!

Overall, different archives mean different forms of experience for different people. They can be used to store information and memories, as well as help the media distribute content effectively. In short, archives have changed the data world forever!


Derrida, J. (1996) Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression, University of Chicago Press, Chicago