19.350 wordprocessing, foul papers, genetic study

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Wed, 19 Oct 2005 07:41:59 +0100

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 19, No. 350.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

         Date: Wed, 19 Oct 2005 07:37:49 +0100
         From: Charles Faulhaber <cbf_at_berkeley.edu>
         Subject: Re: 19.338 wordprocessing, foul papers, genetic study? (fwd)

Dear Colleagues:

My Bancroft colleague Tony Bliss, curator or rare books and literary
manuscripts, comments as follows:

Email is an immediate problem and I have asked a few writers to save or
print out their emails. More and more I am hearing from them that they no
longer write letters on paper, put them in an envelope and send them off,
saving a carbon. In fact, I think it's safe to say that no one does this
any more. I don't remember now just who I've asked to print out emails...
[Beat poets] Michael McClure and Michael Meltzer, I think. Have not yet
asked for a hard drive. At present, the only way we can hope to archive
this information is to print it out on bond paper and even then we don't
know how long the toner will adhere to the paper. Papyrus was a better

Charles Faulhaber The Bancroft Library UC Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
(510) 642-3782 FAX (510) 642-7589 cfaulhab_at_library.berkeley.edu

                 Date: Thu, 13 Oct 2005 07:05:50 +0100
                 From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>

        A colleague offline to Humanist has forwarded me a question about
        impact of wordprocessing on authorial studies, i.e.

        "whether email [is] cutting down collections of writers' letters.
        (The old effect-of-the-telephone-question). Well, not if they're
        saved, but I'm thinking of broader issues. Word-processing
        before saving can be lost; if saved, however much subsequently
        superseded, (.wbk) files can be retrieved until they fall off the
        of the hard disk ie a technician can recover them. Are any writers
        backing up subsequently succeeded saved versions? Are they being
        encouraged to? (Many universities keep daily backups for you.) Are
        any research libraries asking for writers' hard disks?.... I knew
        psychologist at the University of Kent who had a software
        to recreate the history of every keystroke. He was interested in
        people learned, especially using electronic learning materials.
        Genetics with a vengeance. Of course, there's always what goes on
        your head before you type a keystroke. I thought that the AI man
        David Lodge's Thinks... rather let us down there."

        Comments and pointers to research are eagerly awaited.

        Many thanks.


        Dr Willard McCarty | Reader in Humanities Computing | Centre for
        Computing in the Humanities | King's College London | Kay House, 7
        Arundel Street | London WC2R 3DX | U.K. | +44 (0)20 7848-2784 fax:
        -2980 || willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk

Anthony S. Bliss
Curator, Rare Books & Literary Manuscripts
The Bancroft Library
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
tel: (510) 642-1839
fax: (510) 642-7589
Received on Wed Oct 19 2005 - 02:50:58 EDT

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