LIS 385T.6   Readers, Authors and Libraries: Effects of New Media INSTRUCTOR: Dr. John Leggett
Mostly Mondays, June 8 to August 13, 10am-12pm and 1pm-3pm PHONE: 979/845-0298

Course Description

This class investigates the potential and realized impact of computers and their new media forms on the world of the written word. Topics covered include (1) changing notions of readers, authors, and writers and the interactions among them, (2) new media forms for telling stories, and (3) impacts of new writing technologies and their products in areas of education, literacy and library science. These topics will be discussed at both a conceptual and tool level. Students will have an opportunity to gain experience with new writing technologies.


Students should have a basic knowledge of computing and the humanities, the ability to learn new software tools on their own, and the ability to generate a basic web site by authoring web pages.

Reading Materials

This course will focus around discussions of the readings. We will read five books as well as (a few) papers taken from a variety of conferences and journals concerning human-computer interaction, hypertext, digital libraries, media studies, computers and education, and computers and the humanities.


   The Order of Books
   Roger Chartier
   Stanford University Press, 1994

   Writing Space: Computers, Hypertext, and the Remediation of Print
   Jay David Bolter
   Lawrence Erlbaum, 2001

   Page to Screen: Taking Literacy into the Electronic Era
   Ilana Snyder (Ed.)
   Routledge, 1998

   Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace
   Janet H. Murray
   The MIT Press, 1999

   Cybertext: Perspectives on Ergodic Literature
   Espen J. Aarseth
   The John Hopkins University Press, 1997


The grade will be based 50% on class participation and 50% on class assignments.

Class Participation

Most class sessions will include a discussion of reading materials. One student will be assigned to present a brief overview of the reading and another student (or two, if we decide as a group to split along utopian and dystopian views) will be assigned to have discussion questions ready and will lead the discussion. All students are expected to have read the materials and be able to participate fully in the discussions. Students will be able to sign up in advance for their roles on particular readings.

Class Assignments

Approximately ten short assignments will be given throughout the class. These assignments may require use of specific software outside of class time and will take the form of short essays, written answers to questions, and design documents. Most materials will be delivered through the web and will be linked from the class web site to the student's web pages for the class. Some materials may have to be delivered via email or in a MOO.