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The Johns Hopkins Guide to Digital Media

edited by Marie-Laure Ryan, Lori Emerson, and Benjamin J. Robertson

Publication Year: 2014

The study of what is collectively labeled “New Media”—the cultural and artistic practices made possible by digital technology—has become one of the most vibrant areas of scholarly activity and is rapidly turning into an established academic field, with many universities now offering it as a major. The Johns Hopkins Guide to Digital Media is the first comprehensive reference work to which teachers, students, and the curious can quickly turn for reliable information on the key terms and concepts of the field. The contributors present entries on nearly 150 ideas, genres, and theoretical concepts that have allowed digital media to produce some of the most innovative intellectual, artistic, and social practices of our time. The result is an easy-to-consult reference for digital media scholars or anyone wishing to become familiar with this fast-developing field.

Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv


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pp. v-x

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pp. xi-xiv

Thanks to the technological developments of the past thirty years, computers have shed their intimidating image of number crunchers, and they have developed into what Theodore Nelson called as early as 1981 “literary machines.” By this term one must understand not only word- processing abilities but a manipulation of symbols of all kinds capable of delivering radically new forms of art, entertainment, communication, and social experiences....

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pp. 1-40

The term algorithm, most commonly associated with computer science, may be used for any effective procedure that reduces t ffff he solution of a problem to a predetermined sequence of actions. In software, algorithms are used for performing calculations, conducting automated reasoning, and pro cessing data (including digital texts)— but algorithms may also be implemented in mathematical models, mechanical devices, biological...

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pp. 41-48

Biopoetry is a new poetic form invented by Eduardo Kac in 1999 through his artwork “Genesis,” in which Kac created an “artist’s gene,” a synthetic gene that he produced by translating a sentence from the biblical book of Genesis into Morse code and then converting the Morse code into DNA base pairs according to a conversion principle specially developed by the artist for this work. The sentence reads, “Let man have...

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pp. 49-124

When set in full capitals, “CAVE” is a trademarked, strangely selfreferential, “recursive” acronym that stands for “CAVE Automatic Virtual Environment.” In a slightly more general use, capitalized, the term may be taken to refer to what is basically a complex computer monitor that, as a minimum, consists of projectors and screens, arranged so as to surround, completely or partially, a user’s point of view. Thus, a Cave...

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pp. 125-161

The question of data is a recursive one since it asks what we have to begin with, what is given, a quality made explicit in the French name for data, les données. What is given must be gotten; data must be derived, sensed, put on and in the table. This givenness of data is what makes it controversial, in that it cannot be taken for granted, but also what makes it essential to contemporary forms of computing and of culture where data is...

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pp. 162-187

Decades before digital art and writing became widely transmitted and accessed online, pioneers in these expressive fields relied predominantly on sponsored exhibitions of their work. Prior to the emergence of the World Wide Web ( WWW), computer- based practitioners desiring to share their compositions— and audiences interested in these contemporary developments— depended on a small number of sympathetic...

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pp. 188-202

It is safe to say that the idea behind fan fiction, fi a literature based on or derived from another text, has been around as long as texts have: no sooner has a text been created than someone riffs on it, be it Chaucer borrowing from Italian poems, Shakespeare rewriting historical stories, Alice Randall paralleling the events of Margaret Mitchell’s...

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pp. 203-244

The concept of genre is very helpful in understanding the historical evolution of video games (see game history), as well as the interplay between games and other media such as cinema. Yet compared to fi lm and literature, ge nre is still undertheorized in game studies. This situation may be the result of the tendency of game scholars to focus primarily on formal aspects, such as rules, and to ignore the aesthetic and cultural...

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pp. 245-265

Hackers—they seem to be everywhere, landing headlines in the news, founding companies in Silicon Valley and hacker spaces around the world, and, at times, facing years in jail. Despite this presence, they are everywhere misunderstood. Generally, a hacker is a technologist with a penchant for computing, and a hack is a clever technical solution arrived at through nonobvious means (Levy 1984; Turkle 2005). It is...

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pp. 266-308

Identity has to do with the traits or characteristics possessed by or applied to individuals which allow them to be recognized and situated within the larger social world. Identities point to how people and groups are construed as distinct from one another. Common examples are gender, race, sexual orientation, class, ethnicity, nationality, and so on. Identities provide us with ways of negotiating and understanding...

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pp. 309-322

The term electronically mediated communication (EMC) refers to linguistic messages conveyed via online and mobile media such as computers, mobile phones, and other mobile devices. Originally, the term computer- mediated communication (CMC) was used to denote written messages sent on such platforms as Listservs, e-mail, instant messaging (IM), or blogs (see BLOGS). Over time, written messaging has ...

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pp. 323-350

Machinima is based on the use of virtual environments for the creation of linear cinematic videos. It reflects play as artistic expression and documents an evolving gaming culture through a reframing of games and play. Machinima is not a defined genre but a real-time computer animation practice that combines elements of digital puppetry, filmmaking, and performance to create music videos, full-length feature films,...

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pp. 351-364

In the past five decades, one of narratology’s most stubbornly reoccurring problems has been under which conditions something can be considered to be a narrative and/or to have the quality of narrativity (e.g., Abbott 2009; Ryan 2006, 3– 21; Schmid 2010, 1– 21; as well as the contributions in Aumüller 2012; Kindt and Müller 2003; Pier and García Landa 2008). As is often the case with concepts central to a discipline,...

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pp. 365-381

The term new media announces its relativity. It only has meaning in relation to “old media,” and, of course, what is old is always also historically specific. The terms involved are not stable and true but qualitative and changing; and yet, they are often employed rhetorically as if there exists a common definition of...

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pp. 382-408

Participatory cultures have existed in many historical contexts, but the increasingly decentralized access to producing content in the digital media landscape has facilitated their growth, diversification of forms, and impact. Participatory culture is now a widely used term in both the academic and the commercial sectors, most often describing the cultural practices that develop around a network’s capacity for producing...

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pp. 409-412

In traditional terms, a quest narrative is the written or spoken account of a heroic journey undertaken in order to attain a specific objective. In the course of the journey, the hero will be faced with challenges, the overcoming of which becomes a source to his or her spiritual and intellectual enlightenment. Quest narratives are often inspired by popular myths, for example, the legend of the Holy Grail....

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pp. 413-437

In 1993, the New Yorker published a Peter Steiner cartoon in which a dog sitting at a computer brags to a friend, “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” This cartoon is often cited as an example of attitudes toward the web as a space in which markers of difference are elided. However, the affordances of the Internet operate in a context that includes a substantial history of racial ideology in the United States. In other...

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pp. 438-481

Typically, sampling is the musical practice of inserting small bits of found material, or “samples,” into otherwise original productions (to the extent that we can understand any production, artistic or otherwise, to be original). Although sampling should not be simply confused with remix, we might best understand it at the present moment, when remix has become so prominent within American if not Western culture,...

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pp. 482-496

The computational processing and manipulation of text, images, sound, and audience feedback inevitably introduce distinctive temporal features into digital artworks. While many of these features can be viewed as extensions of earlier strategies for representing time in film (Miles 1999), in particular the use of montage (Manovich 2001, 148–155), other temporal elements of the newer media, especially those related to...

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pp. 497-519

“Video” (from the Latin videre—“I see”) is a terminus technicus introduced in the United States in the late 1930s to describe the sight channel in television, as opposed to audio, the sound channel. In the 1950s, the term became more widely used to denote the storage medium (magnetic tape), pro cess (electronic recording and playback), and televisual displays used for the delivery of synchronized sound and image. Ever since...

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pp. 520-536

In its most basic form, a walkthrough is a text describing step by step how to complete (part of ) a digital game. In practice, walkthroughs often comprise additional information such as maps of the game space, lists of items and their characteristics, cheat codes, tips on how to build characters, and strategies to use. Hence, there can be considerable overlap with other types of paratext to the game such as game...


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pp. 537-538

E-ISBN-13: 9781421412252
E-ISBN-10: 142141225X
Print-ISBN-13: 9781421412245
Print-ISBN-10: 1421412241

Page Count: 560
Illustrations: 2 b&w illus.
Publication Year: 2014