Tag Archives: Publishing

Who’s Got Archive Fever?

How does the “archive” influence or decide the type of “archival” content? What is this archive instituting? Destroying? What new “inside” and “outside” does it constitute?

For those unfamiliar with the popular TV sitcom ‘The Big Bang Theory’, let me introduce you to Dr Sheldon Cooper. With an IQ of 187, the Theoretical Physicist has, in his own words, “remembered everything since the day my mother stopped breastfeeding me”.  In fact, he says it was a “drizzly Tuesday”. This super-genius’s brain  is a magnificent archive. More so, he’s a human archive. But unlike Sheldon, it’s extremely difficult to remember every single thing that has ever happened, or keep a mental note of every thought or utterance without recording it somewhere else. This is why man created and continues to develop ‘Archives’.  

An ‘archive’ is any way in which we can store data and information so it can be accessed later. Archives can be physical, such as libraries, books, a collection of letters, etc, OR they can also be digital, such as YouTube, websites, an email inbox, etc. Jacques Derrida, author of ‘Archive Fever’, suggests that archives lay the basis for authority, because archives decide what is “inside” or “outside” of culture. This pretty much means that those who create archives and input data have control over what is recorded, preserved, destroyed, and what can or can’t be accessed. As such, you could consider what the data was like before it was put in the archive, and how it may affect how you engage with it.

Derrida argues that :

“The technical structure of the archiving archive also determines the structure of the archivable content…archivization produces as much as it records the event”. – (Derrida 1997, Stokes 2003, Enszer 2008)

Uh Oh, I can feel a case of “Archive Fever” coming along! “Archive Fever” encompasses how different modes of publishing constitutes our mode of living, structures information for perservation, distribution and access, and what  consequences may arise. With the advent of digital publishing you have video, email inbox, social media & blog archives, as well as websites acting as archives such as Hansard (recording the minutes of every parliamentary question time). What arises is the new-media philosophy that “if it’s not recent, it’s not important”. (Ogle 2009)

 Facebook lets you “download” a version of basically everything you’ve ever done using the site, and even has a “Photo Memories” tool. This way you have an archive of your thoughts posted, photos, and can experience an archive of emotions. The archives of this blog site, aided by “tagging” and “categories” not only stores the posts, but categorises them for future reference, and this is open to anyone. The way information is published in an archive creates the basis for how that data can be accessed in the future. Also, the correlation between archives and publishing can largely affect the possibilites of what can be done. If Freud communicated via email or text, then psychoanalysis would have been completely different back then.

 But, there are some negatives in the way digital publishing is enhancing archiving. If you record something in a diary, and keep it, it’s easy to find, because you’ve got the date on the page. But with Twitter, it’s extremely difficult to find what you’ve tweeted last month, let alone last week. The technology simply can do it easily, because of the attitude to what’s recent being the most important. For an interesting read on “archive fever” and this issue of retrieval systems, please visit . The current MySchool website has changed the way parents choose prospective schools for their children. Is it “destroying” the whole concept of schooling and what schools to choose? 

As such, the data in archives allow for a form of content & expression in the type of data and how it is archived. As such, the issue in the transition from print to digital publishing is how new ways of archiving determines what is archivable.


  1.  Ogle, M 2009, ‘Archive Fever – A Love Letter To The Post Real-Time Web’’, accessed 25March 2011
  2. Enszer, J.R. 2008, ‘Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression by Jacques Derrida , , last accessed 26 March 2011
  3. Stokes, J 2003,   Reading Notes: Archive Fever’, , accessed 25 March 2011
  4. School Of English, Media & Performing Arts 2011,  ‘ARTS2090 Publics & Publishing In Transition  – 2011 Course Outline’ , accessed from,   pp.33-35
  5. The featured Image is taken from the tumblr blog ‘Sheldon Cooper For The Win’ ,

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Assembling Publishing Publics

What is the Relationship Between Different Publishing Tools & Techniques & The Social In “Publishing Assemblages”?

May I present to you my very over-simplified diagram of the world of Publishing :

This diagram shows that within the complex world of publishing, there are subdivisions and networks that are, & continue to be created as the nature of publishing changes. These networks of social and technological interaction can be called “Publishing Assemblages”. It’s a network that centres on publishing and distributing content, the technolgies used, the expressions and forms that enable content to be published, and how publics nfluence publishing. So how are these publishing networks and relations changing?

One way of looking at these “Publishing Assemblages” is through the ‘Actor-Network Theory’  (ANT) developed by Bruno Latour and others. The following video explains ANT in plain English:

As the video explains, when studying networks, we often focus on the technological or social aspects which form the network. Arguments are that only technology accounts for any technological changes, versus social cultures determining technological changes. (Wikipedia 2011) The Actor-Network theory however suggests that all actants (elements) in a network, Social and Technologial, human or non-human, should be treated the same, as they are hard to distinguish. This is “Generalised Symmetry”.

“What seems to be Technical, is partly Social; and what seems to be Social, is partly technical” – (Delukie 2009)

Criticism comes down to “agency”, the capacity for humans to make choices and impose those choices in the world (Wikipedia 2011), being given to non-human actants. How do non-human actants have “intentions”? Also, it ignores power and pre-existing social standings.

So how does this all relate to ‘Publishing’:

Here’s a simple example of eBook Publishing network. The human actants are of course publishers, software developers, readers/buyers, writers, adverstisers, etc. Non-human actants include iPads, Kindles, the software, libraries etc. According to ANT, everything has equal agency. But is it that simple? Let’s look at publishing tools for instance. Publishers and companies such as Amazon would influence what tool or media is used for the product, e.g. iPad, Kindle, PC. 

 The issue of publishing technology is tricky. If new-technology is made, the former becomes outdated, thus a change in the eBook network is apparent. The new technology is created as a result of social intentions.Yet, for example, if people aren’t buying Kindle’s, then publishers won’t give Amazon the authority to sell and distribute their eBook. Publishers have control. What this does then is distort the part of the network of eBook reader who read with Kindles. Thus, a change to iPad or PC only use may be the result of social influences. Pricing of eBooks may be influenced by the technology created, but there are human actants that have a stronger role in determing this.

 How an iPad or Kindle itself has intentions still puzzles me, which is why I’m not eager to accept the ANT. But all in all, when it comes down to complex publishing networks, it’s the social and technological aspects that result in the continuous creation of, and changes of publishing networks.


  1.  Wikipedia 2011, ‘Actor Network Theory, , last modified 13 March 2011, accessed 19 March 2011
  2. Wikipedia 2011, A New Philosophy of Society: Assemblage Theory and Social Complexity’, , last accessed 19 March 2011
  3. Delukie 2009,  Khaki Films, ‘Actor-Network Theory In Plain English’, YouTube Video, accessed 18 March 2011,
  4. Wikipedia 2011, ‘Agency (philosophy)’ ,, last modified 16 March 2011, last accessed 20 March 2011
  5. School Of English, Media & Performing Arts 2011,  ‘ARTS2090 Publics & Publishing In Transition  – 2011 Course Outline’ , accessed from,   pp.29-32

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Techniques, Machines & The Different Modes Of Publishing

The Affects On Paywalls On Digital Publishing And What It Could Mean For My Own Publishing

I think I’m going to start charging people to read this blog. This may only be my second post, but if I’m going to keep churning out some more posts over the next few months, I might as well make a profit from it, right?  Aren’t paywalls the new digital trend? There’s already several newspaper websites  that have already begun, or are beginning, to hide their journalistic content behind paywalls, seeing as print news is supposedly going to die out.  This is definitely the way to go.

Or is it?

The nature of the internet is to search for, and share information, and publish content that can be accessed by either a limited audience (which is determined by international copyright laws and/or the privacy settings of the new-medium with which it is published, e.g. Youtube, social networking sites),  or, anyone and everyone (e.g websites, blogs, etc). So how does a paywall enhance sharing?

Editor-in-chief of The Guardian Newspaper Alan Rusbridger, speaking on the topic of news-website paywalls says that :

If you erect a universal pay wall around your content then it follows you are turning away from a world of openly shared content” –  (Busfield 2010)

With online news-websites allowing readers from around the world to access journalistic content, enhanced with photos, videos, links and other multimedia, editors and owners of newspapers are reaching audiences beyond the usual demographic and geographic limitations of print circulation. So how would a paywall help?

Let’s bring this idea back to me. If I was to develop a paywall for this blog, would I really be letting the nature of the internet run its course? Am I running against the norms of online and digital publishing? What about other forms of publishing such as social media. Ironically, privacy is a persistent issue in a social networking site (SNS) culture that prides itself on “voluntary sharing and exchange of information for the purpose of connectivity” (Ibrahim 2008, Nardi 2005).  If I was to start charging my friends money in order to access my profile, read my status updates, and whatever else I publish, would they still want to be my “Facebook friend”? Would my 96 followers on twitter (as it stands right now at the time of writing) pay to read my tweets that are already openly accessible to the “twitterverse”? The answer quite simply is “No”.

If everyone had the publishing-paywall mentality, would sharing of information be so fluent as it is now? You wouldn’t pay to read blogs is they pretty much the same like this post entitled ‘This is the title of a typical incendiary blog post’:

This sentence contains a provocative statement that attracts the readers’ attention, but really only has very little to do with the topic of the blog post. This sentence claims to follow logically from the first sentence, though the connection is actually rather tenuous. This sentence claims that very few people are willing to admit the obvious inference of the last two sentences, with an implication that the reader is not one of those very few people”(Clarke 2010)

What’s difficult, but definitely not impossible, is differentitating what you publish from what is already there.  For example, after watching this video, everyone will know how to do a tv news report:

Its all about value for money. I’ve changed my mind. I’m not going to hide my posts behind a paywall. There are certain types of content that a paywall might be relevant for like online news content if it provides a lot more features than a regular newspaper. But at the moment, this blog is totally free to access, so let the sharing continue.


  1. Busfield, S 2010, ‘Publishers Take Note: the iPad is altering the very concept of a ‘book’ ,, 25 January 2010,, accessed 10 March 2011
  2. Ibrahim, Y 2008, ‘The new risk communities: Social networking sites and risk’, International Journal of Media & Cultural Politics, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 245-253.
  3. Nardi, B.A. 2005, ‘Beyond Bandwidth: Dimensions of Connection in Interpersonal Communitation,’ Computer-Supported Cooperative Work, 14: pp. 91–130.
  4. Clarke, C 2010, ‘This Is The Title Of A Typical Incendiart Blog Post‘, blog post,, accessed 11 March 2011
  5. Brooker, C, ‘How To Report The News’, Youtube video,, accessed 10 March 2011

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The Transformation Of Print Publishing

The Transition of Publishing To The New-Age eBook: Is this the end of print publishing?

Publishers take note: the iPad is altering the very concept of a ‘book’ ( Naughton 2010)

I want an iPad. Why? Well, where do I begin? I could go out and buy a broadsheet newspaper and navigate my way through pages of articles before I find something that catches my eye… OR, I could read my weekend newspaper on an A4 sized tabular screen, held in both hands, and navigate through its contents by barely lifting a finger. Not only am I getting the articles, I’m provided with access to other related media such as videos and photos that evidently enhance my reading experience.

The Australian was the first newspaper in Aus to have an iPad application, making the paper available online without having to purchase the print issue. Is it time to say goodbye to print as well? (The Australian, 2010)

Similarly, if there’s no space left on my bookshelf for an Austen classic, why not just buy the eBook version?  The commonality between both scenarios is not just the advantages of new-media and demise of print, but the way the products are published. Publishing is “the process of production and dissemination of literature or information – the activity of making information available for public view” (Wikipedia).  But it not only refers to books and newspapers, it includes electronic resources, like eBooks, online newspapers/news sites, videos, games, and even blogs.   

“This is the end of publishing and books are dead and boring. No longer can it be said that we like to read. My friends and I, we don’t like the way books feel in our hands”. (Penguin Group USA 2010)

We’ve from evolved from  woodblock prints, to Guttenberg’s printing press, to modern-day printers, and now, digital versions.  Books or newspapers without the actual use of paper is no longer impossible. Guardian journalist John Naughton is an avid fan of ‘The Economist’ magazine, priding itself on its readers “make a weekly “appointment” with the magazine – time that they set aside to read it”.  (Naughton 2010) But having now downloaded the iPad application, the physical copy lays lying unopened on his table.  

Every Thursday, the “Read” button changes to “Download” and suddenly your iPad acquires the entire content of the current edition – in seconds. The second surprise is that it’s easier and more pleasant to read than its printed counterpart and much nicer than the Kindle edition of the magazine. The iPad has delivered a genuinely “immersive” reading experience. (Naughton 2010)

The key element to understand is that digital publishing is an entire different field to print publishing. As Judy Sims says in her blog post “Keep the Print Guys Away From the iPad App”, print publishers would want to lay out an electronic newspaper the way a physical copy is designed, and charge a lot for articles. This is the wrong approach. What will work is getting “great developers, a product manager, a smart ad sales person and some enthusiastic digital editors and designers” to create the electronic version. (Sims 2010)

Publishing’s many subdivisions, such as newspaper, book, and academic publishing have witnessed a change from print to digital for different publications. But there is always a desire to have a phyiscal copy of a Jane Austen classic in your hands, the experience itself promising. The message is, is that publishing that goes into both books and eBooks are unique to their own forms. eBooks change the concept of the book, but have not ended it. Watch the video where the following quote is taken from, and see where the Future of Publishing lies.

” It’s not true we don’t like the way books feel in our hands. My friends and I, we like to read. No longer can it be said that books are dead and this is the end of publishing . (Penguin Group USA 2010)


  1. Naughton, J 2010, ‘Publishers Take Note: the iPad is altering the very concept of a ‘book’ ,, 19 December 2010,, accessed 7 March 2011
  2. Sims, J 2010, ‘Keep The Print Guys Away From The iPad App’, blog post, SimsBlog,,  accessed 7 March 2011
  3. Penguin Group USA 2010, Dorling Kindersley Books, Khaki Films, ‘The Future Of Publishing’ , YouTube Video, accessed 7 March 2011,
  4. The Australian, ‘The Australian On iPad’, image, accessed 10 October 2010, 

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