how to do literary research

  1. What is the difference between a primary source and a secondary source? Should a research paper include primary sources, secondary sources, or both?
  2. What is an example of a nonacademic source and what do you use these nonacademic sources for?
  3. What is the difference between a library catalog and a database? Name some databases relevant to our class.
  4. What is the difference between Chinook and Prospector and Interlibrary Loan?
  5. What is the difference between subject word searching and keyword searching?
  6. What does “peer reviewed article” mean and why do you want to include these sources in your papers?
  7. Which literature-related databases are full text? What IS “full text”? Which database is the most complete and extensive for doing literary research?
  8. When you’re doing an advanced search, what function does the Boolean operator “and” serve?
  9. When you’re doing an advanced search, what function does the Boolean operator “or” serve?
  10. When you’re doing an advanced search, what function does the Boolean operator “not” serve?
  11. When you’re doing an advanced search, what function does the Boolean operator “*” or “?” serve?
  12. When evaluating a source for a research project, what aspects of the source should you consider?
  13. What do you need to do to conduct research on your computer at home/off-campus?

in class discussion questions on John Battelle

  1. What is a “database of intentions” and why does Battelle use this phrase to describe Google?
  2. How is searching “material culture”? What is material about our internet searches?
  3. How do you think search will rewire the relationship between us and the government? Has this already happened since the publication of The Search in 2005? How has searching rewired the relationship between public and private?
  4. Do some research (online of course!) on the Turing Test. How is this test relevant to the future of search?
  5. What does Battelle mean that “on the internet…all intent is commercial in one way or another”? (30) Give an example.

small group work on Matthew Fuller

Group 1:
“Software is too often reduced to being simply a tool for the achievement of pre-existing, neutrally formulated tasks. Culture becomes an engineering problem.”

In Microsoft Word “the work of literary writing and the task of data-entry share the same conceptual and performative environment, as do the journalist and the occasional HTML-coder.”

Group 2:
“What this means contemporarily is that the disappearance of the worker is best achieved by the direct subsumption of all their potentiality within the apparatus of the work.”

“A program like Word doesn’t deny autonomous work or the desire for it, but parasitises it, corrals and rides it at the same time as entering into an arrangement of simultaneous
recomposition of scope.”

Group 3:
“The user becomes an object, but at a particular position in the hierarchy of the others. The user-object is excluded from the internal transmission of information, and instead allocated representations of this information as interface.”

“It should be possible to analyze a piece of software on the basis of procedurally documenting every point which constitutes an event, to record the points at which we move from one state to another or at which boundaries are produced to certain behaviors, not merely within the modes but at every level of the software.”

Group 4:
“To be effective, human-machine integration required that people and machines be comprehended in similar terms so that human-machine systems could be engineered to maximize the performance of both kinds of component. Word has no direct interest in information and communication, but rather in its facilitation.”

“The interface is the threshold between the underlying structure of the program and the user. As a threshold it contains elements of both.”

in class small group work on Remediation

  1. The film Strange Days “demonstrates what we call a double logic of remediation. Our culture wants both to multiply its media and to erase all traces of mediation: ideally, it wants to erase its media in the very act of multiplying them.” Explain this “double logic of remediation” and do so by drawing on a specific example from our current cultural moment. (5)
  2. Is this still the case today: “Older electronic and print media are seeking to reaffirm their status within our culture as digital media challenge that status.” (5)
  3. “Remediation did not begin with the introduction of digital media. We can identify the same process throughout the last several hundred years of Western visual representation…they are all attempts to achieve immediacy by ignoring or denying the presence of the medium and the act of mediation.” First, try to come up with a non-digital example of remediation. Second, what are some advantages and disadvantages to attempts to make the medium and mediation invisible? (11)
  4. Finally, where does Bolter/Grusin stand in relation to McLuhan? What ideas of McLuhan’s has he built on? And where does Bolter/Grusin stand in relation to Kittler?

in class work on Marshall McLuhan

Spend no more than 7-10 minutes on each question below – you can either free write (as a way to begin working on your discussion forum post) or you can discuss your answers with a partner.

  1. Explain the example of the light-bulb as a medium and its significance on pages 8 and 9 of “The Medium is the Message.”
  2. Explain McLuhan’s beef with General Sarnoff on page 11 of “The Medium is the Message” – what exactly is wrong with Sarnoff’s reading of media, according to McLuhan?