Saturday, July 11, 2009

Computer Forensics and Born-Digital Content in Cultural Heritage Collections

Funding for a new project which I'm very excited about as it gives me a chance to apply some of the ideas in Mechanisms in real-world contexts. Here's the official announcement:

The Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) at the University of Maryland is pleased to announce the receipt of an $81,000 award from the Scholarly Communications program of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The award will support research for and the writing of a report entitled Computer Forensics and Born-Digital Content in Cultural Heritage Collections, to be published in fall 2010 by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR); the award will also fund a symposium on the same topic at the University of Maryland in May 2010, at which experts from the cultural heritage sector and computer and information science, as well as practitioners in government, industry, and defense will convene to comment on the report and explore shared interests and practices.

Maryland's work on the report and symposium will be lead by principal investigator Matthew Kirschenbaum (Associate Director of MITH and Associate Professor of English); he will be joined by co-authors Richard Ovenden (Keeper of Special Collections and Associate Director, Bodleian Library, Oxford) and Gabriela Redwine, an archivist and electronic records specialist at the Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin.

MITH's director Neil Fraistat comments, "Matt Kirschenbaum's leadership in bibliography, digital forensics, and digital preservation has helped position MITH at the forefront of crucial new work that is reconfiguring archival studies and practices. One of two recent grants from the Mellon Foundation on which MITH will be working in the coming year, Computer Forensics and Born-Digital Content in Cultural Heritage Collections allows us to continue fruitful partnerships with the Bodleian Library and the Ransom Center and promises to be a major leap forward for the field."

Friday, July 3, 2009

DeLong Book History Prize

I'm thrilled and humbled to announce that Mechanisms has won the DeLong Book History Prize from the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing (SHARP). The prize is conferred annually for the "best book on any aspect of the creation, dissemination, or uses of script or print published in the previous year." It was announced last week in Toronto at the organizaton's annual conference.

When I wrote Mechanisms I knew, by virtue of the imprimatur of the MIT Press, that the book would find its audiences in new media studies. Equally important to me but much less certain was whether it would attract readers in fields like textual scholarship and the history of the book, which I considered the main precedents for my particular approach to the born-digital. The fact that Mechanisms has succeeded so well in doing this is immensely gratifying (as also evidenced by its winning the Finneran Prize), and I'm equally delighted that SHARP's sense of "book history" so obviously includes artifacts like hard drives and diskettes.

I have many friends in the SHARP community, though somehow I have never made it to their annual conference. Next year it is in Helsinki which might be a stretch but I will certainly be putting in a proposal for the 2011 conference in DC. Thank you again to SHARP!

Beach Reading

Peter Lunenfeld is including Mechanisms in his summer 2009 beach bag as a "key monograph" for the digital humanities, as reported on Roy Christoper's Summer Reading List. Thanks Peter!