Lab Report #3 Prompt

By week 3, you likely have a sense of what these lab reports ask from you. For Lab #3, you should:

  1. First, reflect on the lab activity at Fresh Press paper. What was the experience of working with agricultural fibers to make paper like, both technically and physically? How did this experience help you reflect on historical practices of papermaking, such as those described in Jonathan Senchyne’s book? How might an embodied understanding of paper as medium shift our understanding of the historical texts—whether individually or in aggregate, as in library collections?
  2. Despite the digital turn, paper remains a vital substrate for information in the twenty-first century. Second, reflect on the contemporary resonances of the research underway at Fresh Press, such as those described in the article we read this week. Fresh Press is not a space for historical reenactment, but a space experimenting with contemporary paper-making processes, useful for tasks such as preservation, and seeks to help address supply shortages and the environmental costs of paper production. To put this another way: what significance might the work of groups like Fresh Press have to contemporary humanities and information science scholars?
  3. Finally, build on the insights you develop above to analyze the Remarkable 2, described as “the next-generation paper tablet. Think about the device itself—its design and technical specifications—as well as the rhetoric of the device’s website and advertisement (on the website and embedded below), and conduct what literary scholars would call a “close reading” that explicates those elements, ideally in conversation with our authors from this week. The Remarkable tablet is only one recent device that takes the page and paper as its central metaphor and rhetorical selling point—consider the Kindle’s e-ink technology, or models such as the “Paperwhite”, or the continuing development of flexible paper displays—but the Remarkable forefronts the paper metaphor in ways that seem notable. It seems important that technologies are circling back toward paper after decades of screen technologies: is this skeuomorphism and nostalgia, or does this movement respond to a deeper connection between human brains and paper media? To put that another way, are there elements of paper media that twenty-first century information technology could learn from?
  4. (Optional) Building on #3, what implications for digital humanities might stem from the growth and adoption of paper-like display technologies? Would that shift anything about the way we build or display collections, or the kinds of interactions we might expect from users?