Follow the Pathfinders

We were excited to see Hannah Ackermans’s essay published in Hyperrhiz: New Media Cultures  (Volume 24, 2021, doi:10.20415/hyp/024.e01). Below is the abstract of her essay. One of the most fascinating aspects about it is that she uses the Pathfinders methodology in its presentation, down to the exact publishing platform, Scalar, that Dene Grigar and Stuart Moulthrop used for their project, Pathfinders: Documenting the Experience of Early Digital Literature (2015). Pathfinders has shaped the way the lab has been documenting works, including the production of the video playthroughs of Flash works we cannot preserve with Ruffle or Conifer and other forms of interactive media that involve functionality no longer accessible today, like Java Applets.

Follow the Pathfinders: a Case Study Approach to Production, Use, and Readership on Scalar

Hannah Ackermans
University of Bergen

Citation: Ackermans, Hannah. “Follow the Pathfinders: a Case Study Approach to Production, Use, and Readership on Scalar.” Hyperrhiz: New Media Cultures, no. 24, 2021. doi:10.20415/hyp/024.e01

Abstract: This born-digital article examines the multimodal academic publication Pathfinders (Moulthrop and Grigar). Through a combination of interviews with readers and the author, textual analysis of the book, and literature review of Scalar, I trace the affordances of the platform, appropriation by scholars, the media text, and readership of Pathfinders. I distill themes that are key in the multimodality of the book, including platform adoption, institutional embedding, technological context and research values. Throughout the article, which is also written on Scalar, I reflect on my own use of Scalar and the various considerations that come with it in terms of software sustainability, accessibility, and transparency of research context. I conclude with a reflection on the media specificity of Scalar as an academic platform.

Keywords: media specificity, multimodality, Scalar, electronic literature, academic publication platform.

Dene Grigar is Director and Professor of the CMDC Program. She specializes in electronic literature, emerging technologies and cognition, and ephemera.