My responsibilities for the superpowers section of the project are to write part of the copy and help integrate everything into the superpowers page. The copy is done, however it could use some links to alumni resume/portfolio pages in the CMDC job board and perhaps another read through for editing. As for the website, I need to talk with the other web designers and our project leaders about what the website should look like and any other design considerations to pull it all together. Once I have that information, I can start working on Courtney and I’s page for the superpowers section.
Final Publication Responsibilities – Blog Post 11/15
I am assigned to work on the superpowers section of the DTC Handbook alongside Courtney. I am also a web designer for the superpowers section. Currently I am focusing on getting our text written so we have good descriptions of each superpower section. Courtney and I split them between ourselves so we would have an equal workload. I have a little bit done for web design/development but am working on getting more done for the other sections. I imagine that when the time comes to insert everything, I’ll be working with the other web designers and multimedia artists to make our design cohesive and functional, with my focus more on the superpowers section.
I am one of the two website designers for the Fear of Coding project. Courtney, the other website designer, and I worked on creating the shell of the website and integrating color, typography, and layout that us and our group decided on. One of my primary duties was creating the navigation bar that worked with the grid that Courtney created. Additionally, I helped with getting the website less likely to scroll down, adding in scroll boxes when needed for text. I helped add some images that Jessica G. created for our team pictures. Beyond website design, I wrote some advice for chapter 3 in our website. I discussed how to approach big concepts and problems, such as encouraging use of online resources like W3Schools and Mozilla’s MDN Web Docs.
Typography and Imagery – Design for Reading Blog Post
I’m in the Fear of Coding project and our major elements are text and images. We’re using ACSII images to enhance the story of our character learning to code. Part of the design is having a horizontal scrolling webpage.
One of Digital Oxford’s suggestions on visual hierarchy was to determine the size and position of each element on the webpage, as size and position help decide importance. As one of our major elements are images, it would be good to place them in a highly visible matter. Another principle they discuss is about F-pattern design, and one of their suggestions stood out to me:
“Start subheads, paragraphs, and bullet points with information-carrying words that users will notice when scanning down the left side of your content.” – Oxford Digital
It makes a lot of sense, especially when using their example images of the F-pattern. Breaking text up with variety, including images, will help readers keep interest and understand the text more. I think it will be important for my group to do so; we might not need to use bullet points, but keeping enough variety in subheadings, paragraph spacing, and imagery will certainly help.
The last thing we should focus on is of course the typography of our work. In Typography in Ten Minutes, the last suggestion is to use professional fonts or otherwise be particular about which fonts to use. I completely agree with this suggestion, though I’d argue that you don’t necessarily need professional fonts to make text look nice. Either way, taking the time to carefully choose a few fonts for our project will really help it go a long way. We might choose a sans-serif font, or perhaps something similar to Courier New.
True Crime and Crime Junkies – Audio and Video Publishing Blog Post
I primarily listen to one podcast on Spotify and it’s called Crime Junkie. It’s a true crime podcast that discusses recent and old murders, kidnappings, and otherwise missing people. They do deep research on each person they cover, and discuss different possibilities or events that led up to the event.
I have tried listening to different podcasts before, both in the true crime genre and outside it, and could never settle down on one besides Crime Junkie. The way they produce their episodes seems more professional and well-thought out compared to the others I tried. Their audio quality is good and they use atmospheric music in just the right spots to increase the feeling of mystery and horror. They cover the situation, walking through it bit by bit to unfold the story for the listener. They will sometimes interview people involved in the situation they’re covering, such as a victim’s family member or friend. At the end of their podcast, if a victim is still missing or there’s unknown aspects, they advocate for people to contact certain authorities or organizations if they have any information. All of these things combined create a well-produced podcast, at least in their case. As there aren’t any visual elements in the podcast, they have to focus on audio quality and how they present themselves and the situation.
Through Crime Junkies, I’ve discovered my love for watching and listening about true crime. I think it’s in part because I enjoy horror movies and stories, and there’s always an element of horror in true crime. It’s mysterious, scary, and morbidly interesting, especially since true crime is of course real.
Carrión and the Meaning of Text – Editorial Workflows Blog
My publication is the Fear of Coding group. We’re still fleshing out what we want to do in the publication. As I understand it, we’re focusing on a guide that helps new coders learn about coding and maybe get past some of the imposter syndrome that can plague people.
“What is more meaningful: the book or the text it contains?”
I chose this quote by Carrión because it’s something I resonate with and can be applied to our publication. Carrión mentions in his essay that a book is a container, that it carries words and text throughout its pages (1). He’s right; a book usually has words in it unless it’s a picture book. Text conveys information, whether it be useful to the reader or not.
What I take away from his idea is the design of our publication doesn’t have to be completely like a book. It could be like a standard website with links to various places. It could be a continuous page of flowing information. I take the stance that text is more meaningful, because though books can exist for more than just containing something, text can exist outside of books. We can expand on and explore how text is portrayed. Perhaps our “table of contents” won’t be in a traditional format, or maybe we won’t have chapters and instead will have sections with links to them. I can’t say definitively what we’ll do, but it doesn’t have to be strictly like a book.
Carrión, Ulises. “The New Art of Making Books.” Kontexts, no. 6-7, 1975, pp. 1-8.
The people in my group are: Benjamin Peterson, Devon Baxter, Jianys Berrios, Rich Te, and myself (Jessica Unruh). Together we worked to compile our collection of stories that we centered around Edgar Allan Poe. It was influenced by the initial halloween theme we were discussing. In our publication are three stories, one poem, and a story with a poem. Each person contributed their own entry into the anthology; I added Poe’s poem “The Raven.” From there, we collectively decided on the story placement, and discussed different ideas on what to include in the front matter, what our title should be, and our publishing group name.
Images and typography in my version of the publication leans toward a more abstract or surreal nature. My font choices are meant to be read easily without losing a sense of style. The images are meant to stimulate the imagination of people who read the stories. That said, I unfortunately could not get my images to show correctly on Apple’s Books. They show fine in other e-pub readers, however.
Books are amazing devices with a multitude of functions. Some books teach new topics and lessons to those willing to learn, such as textbooks and other informative varieties. Others provide information on a topic such as a memoir or self-help book. Some books provide a means to escape from reality through various forms of fiction. Books can have genres such as fiction and non-fiction to categorize their content, and subgenres such as fantasy and mystery to further distinguish themselves. Books are made for all ages, from toddlers to adults. They can also be made for people with different abilities, such as braille books. Some books come as audiobooks, and some are only images. The variety and scope that books can cover is tremendous, and they continue to amaze well into the future.
The book has come a long way when it comes to how it started and where it is now. At one point it started off in inscriptions or carvings in clay or stone, recording information and great stories such as Gilgamesh (Borsuk 4-7). It was bamboo formed into flats that could be rolled together and written on (Borsuk 25-26). It became paper made of papyrus, animal hide, or a slurry of plant material (Borsuk 12-13, 18, 28). This paper became bound in several ways, such as the sutra-folded books that are familiar to the folded pamphlets we see today (Borsuk 36-37). Books were soon written on with text, drawings, and designs with illuminated manuscripts and embellished with luxuries (Borsuk 48-51). Soon it turned into something that anyone could grab to read whatever text was on those pages. It became easy to find, hold, and read a book (Borsuk 82, 102-105). As time has gone on, it continued to evolve into what it is today.
The book has changed in so many ways. Now it is an enhanced version of the e-books we once knew. Computers have advanced to become even more portable than laptops as we knew them. Most portable computers are more tablet like in nature. Computers that are stationary are thin and powerful. Holograms are integrated into daily life, projected on walls, ceilings, appliances, or in midair. As a result of the innovations in recent years, books are extremely portable and accessible. Similar to e-books, you can open them on any digital device and have the option of reading the text or having it read aloud to you. Every device has the functionality for digital books to be read and opened, freeing itself from required programs. It took time to get to this stage, but as computers of the past could open text files, they can now open and allow users to read books easily.
Digital books in our future times are primarily published online without the use of a publishing company, similar to the post-artifact book (Mod, “Post-Artifact Books & Publishing.”). Many authors choose this route, though academic books and major collections still tend to be published with a company. Some authors who generate a following for their series release their books in increments or chapters, similar to a TV show with a regular schedule. Other authors release the entirety of their book on shopping websites and specialty book websites. Some books are sold for a set price while others are funded by ads. Free digital books tend to have inserted ads, sometimes between chapters or at the start and end of the book. Publishing in this new age of technology has transitioned to the hands of the author and away from the publisher. Most aspects of support a publisher provides can be substituted by the author, similar to how Craig Mod described his model of the post-artifact book (“Post-Artifact Books & Publishing.”).
Because of technological advancements, readers have the book in its most accessible form yet. They can buy books off the internet or otherwise download them. Once downloaded, the book is available on their device for viewing. Readers can also transfer their books to other devices. As they open their book, it has several forms it can take chosen through a menu screen. Options such as form, font style and size, and background are available. One option is a digital model of the physical book to provide a more tactile experience; a hologram based device is usually required to view such a model. Another is the option to view the book as a flat text experience with no digital models. Once opened and configured, depending on the device, users can scroll or flick through pages to advance their reading. Holograms are more likely to use flicking whereas computers may use more scrolling.
Books in 2022 could be read in physical form or digital form. Physical books could take many forms and sizes. Some were small, bound together in a manner similar to folded folios and octavos (Borsuk 43-44). Others were large, heavy and filled with information. Many books took a standard size, easily held by hands in either a paperback or hardcover style. Some had content divided into chapters or sections, whereas other books chose to be a long stretch of words. Some books were made purely of pictures, some with pictures and text, and some with only text. Either way, books were widely adaptable in the shape and form they could take. In the future, as we know it now, physical books didn’t deviate much from their forms in 2022. Physical books maintained their form; they still retain covers, table of contents, and pages. They can still be held in hands or set on a desk to be read. Variety in the shape of the book has increased, with books bound in triangle, circle, or rhombus shapes. Some books have become more three-dimensional in nature, with sphere-like books beginning to become popular. In addition, some books are adapting to come with built-in light sources to provide easy reading in dark spaces, similar to the clip-on lights for books years ago. These new light sources are integrated into the pages themselves, similar to a backlit keyboard.
Digital books were read primarily from PDF or e-pub files opened in a program on a computer, phone, tablet, or an e-book reader such as the Kindle (Borsuk 235-237). Some were created by authors self-publishing, skirting around the need for a publishing company (Borsuk 239). These books primarily took the form of flat pages with text on them; some might include images or be entirely image-based, similar to how physical books could vary. Advertisements might appear in the digital books. Depending on the program used, you could highlight and comment on the digital pages to make notes or commentary on the text (Borsuk 237-238). Digital books in our future time have advanced compared to 2022, though they still retain some features of the past. They can be opened on any device and though they can take a 3-D digital form alongside their more flat form, they are still constrained by their digital nature. Like digital books of the past, they require a compatible device to be read, and ones that have advertisements inserted require an internet connection should a reader follow the advertisement’s link. Highlighting and commenting on text is still a common feature. Despite some of the downfalls of the medium, they are still a popular choice for a reader who wants to be immersed in technology.
Books from hundreds and thousands of years ago are vastly different compared to the digital books of today, only holding a physical form compared to the digital form we have access to. That said, digital books retain many elements that created physical books and were ported to digital. Similar to the scrolls of Egypt and Greece that would open vertically and horizontally in increments, digital books can move either vertically with scrolling or horizontally by flicking (Borsuk 16, 20). They’re able to be embellished with decorations in a similar manner to illuminated manuscripts, though the decorations are perhaps not as extravagant or detailed as the manuscripts. They use text, images, and sometimes have headings, titles, and page numbers that were developed years ago (Borsuk 79, 86). Though they have similarities, as the digital book came from its physical sibling, digital books are still separate from physical books, even ones from long ago. They may share similar information, but as an object they are different. Physical books can be held, touched, smelled, and interacted with in ways a digital book cannot, even in our future time. We can simulate these aspects, but they don’t replace them.
Books are a widely recognized mode of sharing information, regardless of the medium used to make them or the exact form they take. From carvings in clay to bound paper to digital pages and audiobooks, books have come a long way and will continue to evolve as the years go on. The definition of the book may change, but they will always preserve words, numbers, and meaning in their pages, no matter their appearance.
Borsuk, Amaranth. The Book. E-book, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2018.
The first story I chose intrigued me by its title. The main storyline goes that a man is desperate to know what the afterlife is like as he is terminally ill, so he poisons another man to find out the truth. In conversing with the nearly dead man, our character finds that the man is waiting for something on the other side: him. The shock at the end of the story gripped me, which I think would suit our publication.
The Raven is a classic poem by Poe, and one that I imagine would fit perfectly in a halloween-themed publication. It tells the story of a man who grieves someone close to him named Lenore, and the reader can assume she is dead. He hears a sound that he thought might be Lenore, but he finds it’s a raven. Throughout the poem, he converses and argues with the raven, sometimes about Lenore, who only says “nevermore.”
“It’s the system that transforms the book from isolated vessel for text into a shared interface” (Mod).
Mod’s ideas about post-artifact books and publishing are interesting, if not a bit hard to digest. What stood out to me was his description of post-artifact publishing and how marginalia are essentially side notes and thoughts (Mod). I didn’t truly grasp what he meant until I reviewed the text, but marginalia really is similar to how many people can interact with and view content online. It’s as he said, “a shared interface” (Mod).
When I was younger, I grew up with technology within arms reach. I spent a lot of time on the computer, both for video games, videos, news, and stories. I would consume more media digitally than physically as it was easier and faster to access. Some websites I would go to shared content or information and allowed user discussion, such as online news sites or story-sharing sites. As I understand it, these are examples of that shared interface. Mod further said, “Digital marginalia is a collective conversation, cumulative stratum” (Mod). This correlates with the websites I mentioned in that people can discuss things they read online with other readers. They can give reviews, highlight sections of interest, theorize, and otherwise talk with each other.
“Much as we love books, archiving them in libraries for future generations and exhibiting them behind glass as art objects, they are a vulnerable medium” (Borsuk 179).
“While we might assume that digital books will have a longer shelf life than print, the proliferation of reading devices coupled with the pace of technological development virtually ensures the obsolescence of e-books to particular software or hardware” (Borsuk 182).
Borsuk discusses some interesting ideas about books and their lifespan, tackling both print and digital. Though they both have their place and uses, I’ve always considered digital books to be the superior version between the two. As long as they have a place on the internet or in a computer, digital books should last far longer than print. However, Borsuk challenges this by discussing how, at least in their current form, they too will fade like physical books will. It made me reconsider digital books as a whole, and subsequently, how they’re created.
Digital publishing, as I know it, is the creation and sharing of some form of content, such as books and videos. I believe digital books encompass a large variety of instances. Typical e-books count, as they’re usually the digitized version of a physical book, but also books published on websites count. They may not have the standard layout of a book, but they give information like any book can.
It’s difficult to predict how advanced technology will be in the future. Will computers no longer exist as stationary or portable devices and instead become holograms incorporated into our daily life? I couldn’t say, however as Borsuk mentions, it does make sense that what we use to publish digital content will change over time. Maybe in a distant future, books will transcend their current form. Maybe digital publishing will become forum-like where anybody can publish without the need of money or a company’s support. Perhaps technology will standardize at some point so that data isn’t lost to centuries of inventions. Either way, I think digital publishing and digital books will adapt to whatever changes happen. People will always want to read something, even if the medium or platform changes. Books won’t totally disappear, and neither will publishing.
Borsuk, Amaranth. The Book. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2018.
When considering what my favorite book is, I think of fiction immediately. I’ve read a good amount of books throughout my life, but the one that is my favorite I no longer own. It is called Speak by Laurie Anderson. However, because I don’t own it anymore, I decided to talk about another of my favorites: Grimm’s Fairytales.
Though I haven’t read all of the stories inside the book, Grimm’s Fairytales has always piqued my interest. Part of that is from the idea of simply having old stories on hand to peruse whenever I feel in the mood to read. The content of it appeals to me in that because it’s an older piece of fiction and I would say well-regarded, I too hold it dearly to me. It’s like having an antique or piece of art you hang on your walls.
Another aspect, and one that draws me to many other books, is the appearance. I adore books that have beautiful covers and well thought-out design choices, such as the color of the book when its jacket is taken off. Grimm’s Fairytales is green and brown with green and gold lettering on the spine. It has pictures inside to sometimes go with stories. While I was reading The Book by Amaranth Borsuk, I was fascinated learning about the different elements of books. Borsuk mentions how “a book’s fore-edge might be embellished with designs, gold leaf, or intricate paintings to help a reader identify it” (81). I can only imagine how beautiful the pages must have been, and it’s unfortunate that it doesn’t seem to be practiced as much anymore.
All of these design aspects coupled with my feelings about Grimm’s Fairytales help make it a favorite of mine. Other favorites have different parts of them that I enjoy. For example, Speak by Laurie Anderson is another favorite because of its story and less because of its appearance.
Borsuk, Amaranth. The Book. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2018.
Hello! I’m Jessica Unruh. I go by they/them pronouns. I’m a senior in the DTC program specializing in frontend development. I’ve always liked books but I don’t know a lot about publishing much less digital publishing. If I had to choose, I’m interested in learning more about the different programs or tools used, as well as what sort of files are best for different purposes.