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Friday, November 23, 2012

All good for new books 

It's still a thrill to get your hands on the book you wrote or edited. Last week we (that's me, Julia Gillen, Jackie Marsh & Julia Davies) heard that Virtual Literacies had been delivered from the printers. Although one contributor has already received a pre-ordered copy from Amazon, none of the editors have actually seen a copy yet, although the publisher has them on dispatch. Nonetheless it was great to get a celebratory email from John Potter who actually touched his book 'Digital Media and Learner Identity: the new curatorship' for the first time today. I was honoured to do an endorsement for John - it may have been edited, but I originally wrote: 'This book makes an original and important contribution to the study of new media. Based on a study of children’s autobiographical film-making, John Potter vividly illustrates the explanatory power of the metaphor of curatorship. Essential reading for those interested in new literacies and media studies.' But what is all this about holding our work? Is it just born of our print-centric upbringing, or is it more to do with the way in which its materialisation signals some sort of closure, or a sense of completion? Perhaps we believe that it is in some way more real, when it has become a physical object, when we feel its weight or reach it down from the shelf to share with someone else? I've written a fair bit digitally (and I'm not counting blogs, wikis, tweets, texts and emails here) - I mean in ebooks, open textbooks and the like - and they never have the same feeling of completion. But perhaps, underlying it all, the print-book still has some authority for us. For all we may read on Kindles or iPads, or surfing online, maybe the print copy is still the real deal.

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