Archive | March, 2013

Traditional v Digital Archives #Desire

29 Mar


Consider CMSs (content management systems), such as WordPress, YouTube, BlackBoard, those of particular newspapers online, the library catalogue, etc. How do they archive? How do they organize publishing? Possible actions? Forms of access?

Technically speaking, Digital CMSs (listed above) have a complex assemblage of archives. There are many digital ‘actants’ within the media platform. For example, the Internet software, file upload software, typing/audio/camera software, advertisements, the creators/users/viewers of the archives and many more. Each of these actants are necessary for building archives within a CMS such as Youtube. In contrast, traditional archives have a much narrower assemblage, as they do not require as many actants to make up the archive. If I wanted to make a photo album I would only need two main actants – photos and an album.  But if I wanted to make a photo album on Facebook I would need many different soft wares to create and publish the digital archive. In terms of organizing publishing, although YouTube, Blogs and BlackBoard have forms of censoring, anyone can organise the way the want to publish. As Andrew Murphie discussed in the lecture, we live in a society of “produsers” (producers and users). I could essentially become a user of YouTube by becoming a member, a producer by making my own movie, and a publisher by publishing it on YouTube.

What is this archive (in terms of digital archives) instituting?

Derrida views archives as the basis for what counts within both society and even perhaps our sense of ourselves. In terms of what digital archives institute and their importance, refer to the YouTube video I posted below titled ‘The Importance of Digital Archives’.

What new “inside” and “outside” do digital archives constitute?

Modern-day archives and publishing platforms have enabled ‘inside’ personal memories exist on the ‘outside,’ free for a global audience to share and experience. For example, the hurricane digital memory bank ( stores personal accounts, on-scene images, blog postings and podcasts of Hurricane Katrina and Rita. This digital archive has opened up the space for anyone to access and contribute memories. Although it can be argued, as Matt Ogle discussed, that certain digital archives focus on the ‘now’ (for example Twitter, Facebook and Youtube), closing off the past because of its constant, fast past character. They still open-up the possibilities for global audiences to contribute and even alter online published archives (for example, one could comment on someone’s Facebook photo from February last year, which then could have be ‘liked’ by someone yesterday.)

What do they Destroy?

Although digital archiving and publishing has completely revolutionised the way we store our past and may dominate globally “one can therefore no longer speak of an Asian, European or American technical system”(Stiegler 2003). Digital archiving has, in a sense, destroyed the sense of historical discovery. We have shifted from, as the Sharon points out in ‘early modern notes’, valuing archives as a place of “dreams” and “discovery.” Modern-day society desire (even demand) our archives to be readily available with a click of a button. Parikka discusses Ernt’s “media archaeology” and how we live in a society of “technoarchives”. He believes that the “length of storage is becoming increasingly more short term.” Digital publishing corporations, particularly online news cycles, have destroyed the authoritative value of archives as we are so concentrated on creating present news and wiping out the old.

Further more, in a literal sense – digital archives have a risk of being destroyed in a second! If one’s computer broke down, all the archives within it (photos, documents, data etc) risk being wiped. Physical libraries filled with data, documents and photo albums do not have this risk of being destroyed instantly. Yes, they are spatially bound to their location, but they are permanent. This applies the same way for digital and physical publishing corporations. A digital publishing entity such as YouTube could potentially have a network ‘melt down’ where as a physical publishing house such as Random House has the authority of physical disposition – once they print a book it can’t suddenly disappear because it was not properly ‘saved’ in a digital archive.


Howard, S 2005, Reposted: Archive fever: a dusty digression, Early Modern Notes, accessed 28 March 2013, <;

Ogle, M 2010, Archive Fever: A love letter to the post real time web, accessed 28 March 2013, <;

Parikka, Jussi 2013, ‘Archival Media Theory: An Introduction to Wolfgang Ernst’s Media Archaeology’ in Ernst, Wolfgang Digital Memory and the Archive Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press: 1-22

Stiegler, B 2001, Our Ailing Educational Institutions, Culture Machine, accessed 28 March 2013, <>


The Importance of Digital Archives #Desire

29 Mar

This video explores how the invention of Digital Archives have completely revolutionised the way we access our past.. and how the constant development of technology creates challenges of finding new ways of archiving.


The Actor-Network Theory #Assemblage

23 Mar

A brief explanation on the concept/elements of the Actor-Network theory.

What makes a Powerful Network #Assemblage

23 Mar

Bruno Latour’s article “Networks, Societies, Spheres: Reflections of an Actor-network Theorist” uses Thomas Saraceno’s artworks as an example of what a network is.

“He has managed to obtain comfortable and enclosed spherical sites which are entirely made up of networks…the trick is in the changing density of the connections until it ends up being undistinguishable from the cloth” (Latour

2010, p. 7)

Here are a couple of images of Saraceno’s artwork..


Image 1


  Image 2

Relating this to my video in my next post, the ‘actants’ or ‘assemblage’ of a network are essential (being human or non-human), but it is evident a network is at its most powerful when these actants can work together to form and “undistinguishable” network. Publishers must use every digital actant to their advantage in order to be successful. It’s not just about the way one writes anymore, it’s about the way they apply their writing to different digital platforms that appeal to the public.


Networks, Societies, Spheres: Reflections of an Actor-network Theorist 2010, Seminar, University of Southern California, the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, online video, accessed 22 March 2012


Image 1 –>

Image 2 –>

Why Paywalls should exist #Alphabet

15 Mar

We have come a long way from grunting cavemen… we are living in a time of global digital publishing. Although carving out stones, creating smoke signals, and forming hieroglyphics have the authority (as Andrew addressed in Lecture 2) of lasting hundreds of years, they do not have the power of creating and sharing ideas nationally and globally.

The digital age we live in has enabled anyone to share ideas. Everyone has the ability to be a writer…but not necessarily be good at it. Pay Walls give publishing entities like newspapers power and ensure them respect. People are prepared to pay the price if they know they will be guaranteed quality writing rather than wasting hours sieving through the thousands of unskilled ‘writers’ on the web. Skilled journalists should be sufficiently compensated for the work they do.

Playing with words is a skill. Professional Authors and Journalists use their skills to inform, teach, humor, scare and help individuals as well as societies. In order for these skilled professionals to keep flourishing they must have a publishing platform that is able to provide them with a living and more.

As well as the simplicities of social media platforms such as Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and blogging for individuals to publish ideas.. Check out how easy it is for anyone to become both an author of an entire book …

Shouldn’t respected entities such as The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, The NY Times, specialist magazines (such as The Economist) and talented Authors be entitled to Pay Walls?

Pay Walls indicate to the public where quality work lies within the realms of the Internet.

Although Alan Rusbridger, who is against the concept of Pay Walls, makes valid point about how they may put aspiring journalists in the dark,

“If you think about journalism, not business models, you can become rather excited about the future. If you only think about business models you can scare yourself into total paralysis.”
[online] Busfield, Steve (2010) ‘Guardian editor hits back at paywalls’, The Guardian, January 25,

BUT journalists cannot become excited about the future if they have no way of funding their inspirations… yes, many journalists start out in a competitive unpaid world, but when they actually start getting paid for what they do they automatically become a more respected professional.

The creation of the alphabet was the seed to our ever-blossoming world. In order for our world to keep blossoming we need to understand the importance of compensating quality journalists and writers rather than letting them get lost in the sea of our unlimited (and unqualified) digital publishers..


Are books going to become extinct? #Ereaders

11 Mar

Have Ereaders destroyed the traditions of the crispy, crinkled tea stained of an old fashioned book? Will the term ‘book’one day cease to exist?

I believe the book will continue to live on. Although we live in a digital age which enables us to access the content of books through mediums such as iPad s, Kindles, iPhones and Laptops, the digital screen will never be the same as the comforting feel of reading an actual bound book.

There are obviously numerous positives in regards to being able to digitally access books..

Firstly, it gives both current and up and coming publishers a whole new platform to publish books, magazines, newspapers,  journals and academic articles. For example, as John Naughton pointed out in The Guardian (19th December 2010) pointed, through iPad Apps, “The Economist launched its iPad App.” Further more, for ‘Unpaid’ publishers new digital platforms blur the lines of the traditional publishing hierarchies, as the website .. stated that publishers are “freed from the traditional print publishing cycles and hierarchies of authority.” Anyone can become a publisher and anyone from the around the world can read their published material on various digital platforms.

Secondly, Ereading means light travelling. No longer do we have to lug heavy books around the world when we can just access the whole series on our kindles or iPads.

Thirdly, it’s quicker to access the material. No more waiting in line at bookstores or battling the reserve queues on the UNSW library lists. By just sitting at home on the couch Ereaders can access any book from anywhere in the world and in any language.


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Although the digital age has provided new and successful platforms for both Epublishers and Ereaders, I do not believe books will ever become extinct. Naughton concluded in his article that print publication would never “go away” instead, print publishers would have to “tool up” in order to keep up with these new publishing platforms if they wanted to survive. Drawing back to The Economist App, he discussed the concept of being able to “immerse” traditional readers (who may now own iPad) into the feeling as if they’re still experiencing reading the actual magazine as it can only be downloaded at a certain time every Thursday. Although this enables traditional readers to keep there routinely read of the Economist, I donot agree that it sufficiently “immerses” their reading experience as it simply comes down to the fact that it’s still in digital form. There is no longer a hello to the postman or the sound and feel of crisp page turning.