IMC 2017: Sessions

Session 418: Digital Skin: Sensory Experiences of Digital Manuscripts, II - A Round Table Discussion

Monday 3 July 2017, 19.00-20.00

Sponsor:Humanities Advanced Technology & Information Institute, University of Glasgow
Organiser:Johanna Green, Humanities Advanced Technology & Information Institute, University of Glasgow
Moderator/Chair:Johanna Green, Humanities Advanced Technology & Information Institute, University of Glasgow
Abstract

Much early scholarship discussing manuscript digitisation often focused on the sense of ‘material loss’; digital manuscripts were dangerously mislabelled as ‘surrogates’ that provide access at a cost and failed to provide the audience with the contextual and sensory experiences of the original. Among the textual distortions oft lamented were the absent sense of weight and size of a codex, the feel of the parchment between the fingers, the play of light over an illuminated initial, the sound or movement of the turning page when a manuscript is transformed by technological intervention from analogue to digital. However, when we digitise, we do not replicate; rather, we create an entirely new digital object with its own materiality. Emerging scholarship in this area now celebrates the potential for sensory gain offered by these digital transformations, arguing that immersive technologies allow increased audience interaction and engagement, and suggesting that the latest digital developments no longer limit us to simply point, click, or scroll, but to touch, tap, pinch, swipe, and rotate the digital object in ways simply not possible with an original codex – or with 20th-century text technologies (e.g. microfilm, CD-ROMs, early online digital editions). Following the Kalamazoo ICMS 2016 session ‘Digital Skin: Sensory Experiences of Digital Manuscripts’, we seek to capitalise on those 2016 discussions of the blurred lines between the human/digital experience of written heritage; here, we present two sessions of papers that question what it means to encode meaning onto different (digital/virtual) spaces thus creating a new ‘digital skin’. This first session examines the fluidity of ‘digital skin’ as it reconstructs our knowledge-spaces, changing our materiality and what we can think when we study manuscripts.

Participants include Bill Endres (University of Oklahoma), Catherine E. Karkov (University of Leeds), Andrew Prescott (University of Glasgow), and Michael Shorter (University of Dundee).