Reading Machines: Toward and Algorithmic Criticism

University of Illinois Press
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Besides familiar and now-commonplace tasks that computers do all the time, what else are they capable of? Stephen Ramsay's intriguing study of computational text analysis examines how computers can be used as "reading machines" to open up entirely new possibilities for literary critics. Computer-based text analysis has been employed for the past several decades as a way of searching, collating, and indexing texts. Despite this, the digital revolution has not penetrated the core activity of literary studies: interpretive analysis of written texts. Computers can handle vast amounts of data, allowing for the comparison of texts in ways that were previously too overwhelming for individuals, but they may also assist in enhancing the entirely necessary role of subjectivity in critical interpretation. Reading Machines discusses the importance of this new form of text analysis conducted with the assistance of computers. Ramsay suggests that the rigidity of computation can be enlisted in the project of intuition, subjectivity, and play.
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About the author

Stephen Ramsay is an associate professor of English at the University of Nebraska and has written and lectured widely on subjects related to literary theory and software design for humanities.

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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Illinois Press
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Published on
Dec 1, 2011
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Pages
128
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ISBN
9780252093449
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Language
English
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Genres
Computers / Desktop Applications / Desktop Publishing
Literary Criticism / Books & Reading
Literary Criticism / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Choice's Outstanding Academic Title list for 2013Academic institutions are facing a crisis in scholarly publishing at multiple levels: presses are stressed as never before, library budgets are squeezed, faculty are having difficulty publishing their work, and promotion and tenure committees are facing a range of new ways of working without a clear sense of how to understand and evaluate them.

Planned Obsolescence is both a provocation to think more broadly about the academy’s future and an argument for reconceiving that future in more communally-oriented ways. Facing these issues head-on, Kathleen Fitzpatrick focuses on the technological changes—especially greater utilization of internet publication technologies, including digital archives, social networking tools, and multimedia—necessary to allow academic publishing to thrive into the future. But she goes further, insisting that the key issues that must be addressed are social and institutional in origin.

Springing from original research as well as Fitzpatrick’s own hands-on experiments in new modes of scholarly communication through MediaCommons, the digital scholarly network she co-founded, Planned Obsolescence explores these aspects of scholarly work, as well as issues surrounding the preservation of digital scholarship and the place of publishing within the structure of the contemporary university. Written in an approachable style designed to bring administrators and scholars into a conversation, Planned Obsolescence explores both symptom and cure to ensure that scholarly communication will remain relevant in the digital future.


Check out the author's website here.

For more information on MediaCommons, click here. Listen to an interview with the author on The Critical Lede podcast here. Related Articles:

"Do 'the Risky Thing' in Digital Humanities" - Chronicle of Higher Education

"Academic Publishing and Zombies" - Inside Higher Ed

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