Unlike print, the form of digital projects has a direct bearing on the ideas they convey.
Not too long ago we used word processors to write documents on computers. The act of writing itself was called “word processing.” The excitement around the revolutionary new technology (first electric typewriters, then computer applications) inspired a new name for writing, defined by the instrument with which we produced it. Now the technology has become common place and we just write documents, whether electronic or on paper. The term “word processing” has fallen out of use.
So, in another decade, will the long-form, peer-reviewed digital humanities projects, or interactive scholarly works, produced today be known as just books? Is it our excitement about the new technological instruments of production that has us searching for a new name? Time will tell. What we know for certain is that this new form of scholarly publication has significant implications for the practices and processes of authoring, publishing, archiving and preservation.
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