via @melissaterras.

This article typically fails to engage with the semantic aspects of books which cannot be digitised: it’s not the cliché that ”what one loves about books is the grain of paper and the scent of glue;” it’s the fact that not all books are the same and that the physical qualities of some books and manuscripts, which are not only the ‘contents’ of a page, provide important information. The typically metaphysical take on digitisation— that what is digitised is the ‘soul’ of a book, leaving the ‘body’ behind— is a caricature of the sociology of texts and of how materiality is a matrix of meanings of different orders. The widespread idea, popularised by articles like this, that any defence of the material aspects of books is fetishism (or technophobia) needs to be actively rejected. This denial of the importance of the materiality of books and other cultural objects fits perfectly within a lack of critique of the political economy of digital technologies. Who are the direct beneficiaries of a trigger-happy acceptance of information as merely 1s and 0s? Who benefits from the lack of appreciation and therefore forgetting of the material conditions of cultural and artistic production? 

This PDF contains the text of Richard Rogers’s Inaugural Speech as Chair of New Media & Digital Culture, University of Amsterdam on 8 May 2009.

Rogers holds the Chair in New Media & Digital Culture at the University of Amsterdam. He is also Director of the Foundation (Amsterdam) and the Digital Methods Initiative.

"Success in the new digital world requires literacy skills both in the traditional sense (reading, writing, comprehension) and also in a completely new, socially interactive sense."