Occasionally, one finds oneself confronting the misconception that book history has nothing to do with digital scholarship. People who love print are never people who study with and about digital tools, right? You know better, I trust, but it continues to be surprising and frustrating that people across the full spectrum of these media studies make these assumptions.
And so I was delighted to be asked to co-write a “State of the Discipline” piece for Book History on exactly this relationship between book history and digital scholarship. And I’m even more delighted that the piece that Matt Kirschenbaum and I wrote is now out! Our review essay, “Digital Scholarship and Digital Studies,” takes as its argument our belief that book historians are already using digital tools and that current book production and reception is inextricably tied to digital methods. The first part of the essay considers a range of resources that book historians are using to explore the past production and circulation of books; the second and third parts turn to the current state of writing, reading, and publishing to highlight the necessity of thinking about digital media. Matt and I feel strongly that the disciplines of book history and digital studies have much in common already and that these fields must work together to build strong futures for them both. We are all already hybrid, whether we’re studying the circulation of the earliest printed English books or the latest Jonathan Franzen novel or The F***ing Epic Twitter Quest of @MayorEmanuel.
Since our authors’ contracts with the journal allow us to share the piece on our personal and institutional repositories, I’m sharing it here with you as a pdf: Matthew G. Kirschenbaum and Sarah Werner, “Digital Scholarship and Digital Studies: The State of the Discipline” Book History 17 (2014) pp 406-458; DOI: 10.1353/bh.2014.0005.
I hope you enjoy it.