Sunday, February 26, 2012

City Lights

Spotted in the wild at City Lights in San Francisco. Keeping some good company too. The all-things-digital section there is named "Topographies," which I rather like.

Mechanisms: The Floppy Edition

The paperback printing of Mechanisms (ISBN 026251740X)has been out for a couple of months now and appears to be doing nicely. A couple of minor erratum were corrected and the cover design is slightly reworked, but otherwise it is the same as the cloth edition. Thank you MIT Press!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Paperback Coming!

I have received word from the MIT Press that Mechanisms will be available in a new paperback printing in early 2012. Several errata will be corrected, but the text will otherwise be unchanged. I have no info about pricing, but I assume it will be comparable to other MITP paperback titles.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Spotted in the Wild

Or actually, in its native habitat. Brett Bobley snapped this pic of Mechanisms on the shelf at the MIT Press Bookstore in Cambridge, Mass. In good company too. Thanks Brett!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Kindle Edition

Mechanisms is now out in a Kindle edition.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

CLIR Digital Forensics Report Out

Forensics ReportI'm very happy to announce the availability of Digital Forensics and Born-Digital Content in Cultural Heritage Collections, a new CLIR report emerging from the Mellon-sponsored workshop on the same topic held last spring here at the University of Maryland. The report (written by myself, Richard Ovenden, and Gabriela Redwine, with research assistance from Rachel Donahue) introduces the field of digital forensics in the cultural heritage sector and explores some points of convergence between the interests of those charged with collecting and maintaining born-digital cultural heritage materials and those charged with collecting and maintaining legal evidence.

Digital Forensics and Born-Digital Content in Cultural Heritage Collections is available electronically at Print copies will be available in January for ordering through CLIR's Web site, for $25 per copy plus shipping and handling.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

2nd DHQ Review

Mechanisms is extremely fortunate to be the recipient of a 2nd review in Digital Humanities Quarterly. After Johanna Drucker called the book "an exemplary demonstration of scholarly method for the emerging field of digital media studies" in issue 3.2, Manuel Portela now reviews Mechanisms alongside of Kate Hayles's Electronic Literature in a review essay entitled "The Machine in the Text, and the Text in the Machine."

Portela is interested throughout in the overlapping network topologies of digital technologies and online reading environments on the one hand, and the material histories of writing, computing, and inscription that attend textual production across various media. Here is how he concludes:
Hayles’s and Kirschenbaum’s new books offer critically rigorous, intellectually provocative, and highly productive perspectives on new media literary objects. Their technical, sociotextual, and interpretive analyses raise our critical awareness of the specifics of digital materiality and electronic literature to a new theoretical and analytical level. Hayles’s readings of electronic works are exemplary in the way they relate electronic performability to interpretability. Using tropes such as "recursive dynamics," "intelligent machines" and "emergent cognition," she has tried to capture the embodied nature of technology and the distributed nature of subjectivity in human-computer interactions. Kirshenbaum’s approach, in turn, opens up electronic objects to textual criticism, extending the genetic and social text approach of the last two decades to digitally born artifacts. He offers a critically nuanced and technically rigorous description of the multiple layers of formal and forensic materiality, and stresses their interdependence. Taken together, the "electronic" in Electronic Literature and the "mechanism" in Mechanisms clearly resonate in the way they both attempt to link the deep level of machine code to the formal level of textual and metatextual code to the social level of cultural code. The machine in the text and the text in the machine — quintessential expressions of our present postmodern technotextual condition — are now more fully conceptualized in their technical, aesthetic, and social materialities.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Hyperrhiz Review

Dene Grigar has a generous and very well done review of Mechanisms out in Hyperrhiz, as part of a special issue on New Media Subversions:
Stepping back, we can see that Mechanisms is an important book, but not only for the obvious reasons. Yes, it offers the conclusive evidence, the smoking gun (guns since there are three of them), that we have need for talking about the materiality of digital texts. Yes, the book contributes to the growing body of scholarship on platform studies and introduces the study of forensics to digital media. But most importantly, it offers the philosophical and methodological framework needed to grow the field, for it helps to move the humanities toward a renaissance of close reading and textual study, revitalizing it and providing it a strong central practice. Mechanisms is a must read for all of us working in digital media who wonder where it is headed and where it needs to go.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


This amazing hard disk coffee table, fashioned from a 26-inch CDC platter.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Eliza Deac offers a concise but very well articulated review of Mechanisms on the group netpoetic blog.