Sue Thomas Weighs in on the Transliteracy Debate Among Librarians

I wondered if she was following the recent conversation and it turns out she was and blogged her take on it:

So transliteracy is a shape-shifting eco-system of behaviours and it is probably neither possible nor desirable for anyone to understand enough to know the whole elephant. The vital thing is to remember it is always there and in constant motion. This means recognising the limits of your own knowledge andaccepting a degree of messiness and uncertainty.

I appreciate that some people are uncomfortable with that and prefer to use concepts which are locked down and straightforward, but that’s not likely to happen with transliteracy and could even diminish its flexible strength.  Those who need that kind of tool should probably look for something else. But I hope they will occasionally set aside a moment or two to consider the elephant in all its complexity.

For those who aren’t familiar with Sue Thomas  some background:

Transliteracies was introduced by the Transliteracies Research Projectdirected by Alan Liu, Dept of English, University of California at Santa Barbara.

“Established in 2005, the Transliteracies Project includes scholars in the humanities, social sciences, and engineering in the University of California system (and in the future other research programs). It will establish working groups to study online reading from different perspectives; bring those groups into conjunction behind a shared technology development initiative; publish research and demonstration software; and train graduate students working at the intersections of the humanistic, social, and technological disciplines.”

Sue Thomas attended the first transliteracies conference and was inspired to form the PART Group (Production and Research in Transliteracy, now

PART is a small group of researchers based in the Faculty of Humanities but researching in the Institute of Creative Technologies. The IOCT, which opened in 2006, undertakes research work in emerging areas at the intersection of e–Science, the Digital Arts, and Humanities”. – Thomas, et al.

Thomas and others, authored the First Monday paper Transliteracy: Crossing Divides.


Sue Thomas on Transliteracy

[tweetmeme source=”librarianbyday” only_single=false]Slides from Sue Thomas‘s presentation at the Digital Art Weeks Symposium in Xi’an, China. I was excited to see these because I knew Sue was having my transliteracy slideshow translated into Mandarin.  Enjoy!

Transliteracy Lecture by Sue Thomas

from the Institute of Creative Technologies‘ Vimeo Channel:

This 40 minute lecture by Professor Sue Thomas on the nature of transliteracy was delivered to a mixed group of postgraduate students from the Online MA in Creative Writing & New Media, the IOCT Master’s degree, and students working on Music Technology. October 24th, 2008.

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