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The Nineteenth-Century Press in the Digital Age by J. Mussell

By J. Mussell

James Mussell presents an obtainable account of the digitization of nineteenth-century newspapers and periodicals. As learning this fabric is vital to appreciate the interval, he argues that we have got no selection yet to have interaction with the hot electronic assets that experience remodeled how we entry the print archive.

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To understand how a particular resource models whatever it represents requires a knowledge of its history, constitution and its place in digital culture more broadly. I argue that those who teach subjects that deal with material from the nineteenth century have no choice but to use digital resources and, if they are to teach these subjects fully, then they must teach their students how to be effective users. It is not sufficient to rely upon the skills that we all acquire as casual participants in digital culture.

The fragility of much of this material means that some sort of archival intervention is necessary to ameliorate the decay caused by use. Digitization allows us to create accessible reading editions that can reduce the impact upon printed copies. As digitization is always interpretive, digital resources cannot be considered as exhaustive representations of the hard copy, and certainly should not be used as a pretext for its disposal. The digital objects that are produced also need to be curated but the materiality of the digital changes the conditions for sustainability.

Claude Shannon’s mathematical formulation of information in electronic systems conceives of media in negative terms: if information is signal, then all media can do is impede as noise (1948; 2001). Communication, here, is understood as transmission and a successful communication act is one in which information is unaffected by its material media. Rather than introducing factors that obstruct the informational message, Kittler recognizes that media – and the link to the material and social world that they entail – are prior to any informational exchange.

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