Electronic Publishing 2.0: Reimagining the Publication and Preservation of E Literature
E-Publishing 2.0:Re imagining the Publication and Preservation of Electronic Literature
The Situation• Electronic literature – “first generation electronic objects” – “born-digital”• Created in specific computational conditions. – Hardware – Platform – Software• Received in multiple computational conditions.
The Problem• Computational conditions are always changing• Backwards compatibility is maintained to different levels• Proprietary software is “closed” and restricts tampering• Companies and software come and go• Even open source code changes and becomes deprecated• Backwards compatibility: 5-10 years
Example #1: Arteroids • Created in Macromedia Director from 2000 to 2004. • Published online via embedded Shockwave files.• In 2004, Adobe buys Macromedia: – Releases Director 11 in 2008, changing the audio engine and other aspects of its code base. – Importing old versions changes code, rendering it inoperable and unreadable. – Largely abandoned: minor updates in 2009 and 2010.
Example 3: Works in Flash • Flash became an industry & e-literature standard in the past decade. • Many works of e-literature are developed with this authoring software.• 2010: Steve Jobs decides not to allow Flash in iOS devices.• 2012: Adobe discontinues Flash for Android tablets. Only developed for personal computers.• As tablets become ubiquitous, the audience for e-lit in Flash will die out.
Digital Preservation Methods for Electronic Literature• Bit-by-bit preservation of source materials.• Documentation – through image, audio, and video capture of a performance of the work.• Emulation – emulating the original computational environment in another OS.• Porting - translating software from one programming language to another with the goal of producing the same effect in different hardware and software configurations.
Digital Publication Methods for Electronic Literature• Online publication.• Bit-by-bit preservation: provide access to faithful copy of the original. Reader may not be able to use copy.• Documentation – disables interface & interactivity.• Emulation – reader needs to install emulators in their own computers to run files.• Porting – Produces new editions of the work. Changes work in subtle ways.
Example 4: First Screening • Created on an Apple IIe between 1983-1984 in Apple Basic. • Underwhich edition (1984): 100 copies published in 5.25” floppy disks. • Apple II series discontinued by 1993.
First Screening on Hypercard • J. B. Hohm started working on a Hypercard version of First Screening in 1992. • It was published in 1993 by Red Deer College Press in 3.5” disks. • Hypercard was discontinued in 2004. • Classic Environment not functional beyond Mac OS 10.4 (Tiger), released in 2005.
REMarks about Screen & Code• Differences between code and screen are significant in bpNichol’s work: – Title “First Screening” evokes computer and film – Early (est?) kinetic digital poem – “Offscreen Romance” plays off of onscreen chemistry and off-screen romance between Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers – Code poem is not a kinetic text – Code poem engages REM programming code
Problems with Current Electronic Publication Paradigm• Publish works in Web deliverable format• Assumptions: – The material can survive changes in computational environment. – Readers are willing to: • Switch browsers or compare how they render work. • Install plugins • Install emulators • Watch documentation videos
New Paradigm• Publish works inside of computational environments customized to run work optimally.• Technologies: – Emulation – Virtualization • Apache VCL • VMware • Gaikai & Onlive – Cloud-based services
Virtualization• Run operating systems inside of other OS.• Publish access to online virtual machines.• The reader only receives a “screen” into other machine.• Reader’s input is mapped onto virtual environment’s input.• Requires good bandwidth
VCL (Virtual Computer Lab)• NC State University & Apache Software Foundation are the leaders in VCL development.• Concept: – Terminal 2.0 – Centralizes computational infrastructure – Users can request a variety of OS & software – Minimal requirements for readers’ machines.
Onlive & Gaikai• Designed to deliver computer games on the Cloud.• Minimizes system requirements for users.• Deliverable on iPads, tablets, browsers.• Successful? – Gaikai was purchased by Sony – Onlive went bankrupt
What’s next?• Research and development of virtualization & emulation.• Identification and preparation of key computational environments to be replicated.• Develop input mapping on different devices.• Explore legal issues with software licences.• Curate environments and works so readers can understand older computational contexts.
Final Considerations• Can be used to produce critical editions:• Example: Arteroids – Prepare virtual machine with old version of Macromedia Director. – Provide source files for scholars to perform Critical Code readings and study code. – Have multiple running versions in machine.• Added value = monetizable publication.
Thank you!Leonardo Flores, Ph.D.Associate Professor of EnglishUniversity of Puerto Rico: MayagüezFulbright Scholar in Digital CultureUniversity of Bergen Featured project: I ♥ E-Poetry http://leonardoflores.net