Digital Library Seminar Series: 2011-09-09
The Evolution of Reading and Writing in the Networked Era
Bob Stein has been engaged with electronic publishing full-time since 1980, when he spent a year researching and writing a paper for Encyclopedia Britannica — "EB and Intellectual Tools of the Future." In 1984 he founded The Criterion Collection, a critically acclaimed series of definitive films, which included the first supplementary sections and director commentaries and introduced the letterbox format. He also founded the Voyager Company, which in 1989 published one of the first commercially viable CD-ROMs, The CD Companion to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. In 1992 Voyager published the first electronic books, including Douglas Adams' Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park.
In 2004 The Macarthur Foundation provided a generous grant with which Stein founded the Institute for the Future of the Book, a small think & do tank aimed at exploring and influencing the evolution of new forms of intellectual expression. In 2005 the Institute published the first "networked books," which were instrumental in the recognition of the important shift to social reading and writing as discourse moves from printed pages to networked screens. In late 2010 Stein founded a new company, SocialBook, Inc. with the ambitious goal of building a comprehensive platform for publishing in the networked era.
For the past several hundred years intellectual discourse has been shaped by the rhythms and hierarchies inherent in the nature of print. As discourse shifts from page to screen, and more significantly to a networked environment, the old definitions and relations are undergoing substantial changes. The shift in our world view from individual to network holds the promise of a radical reconfiguration in culture. Notions of authority are being challenged. The roles of author and reader are morphing and blurring. Publishing, methods of distribution, peer review and copyright — every crucial aspect of the way we move ideas around — is up for grabs. The new digital technologies afford vastly different outcome ranging from oppressive to liberating. How we make this shift has critical long term implications for human society.
10:00 - 11:30 AM
203 Butler Library, Morningside Heights Campus, Columbia University