Multimedia Authoring Annotated Bibliography

January 12, 2009

Essential Writings on “Writing” and Multimedia Authoring

Lambert, Joe, Digital Storytelling: Capturing Lives, Creating Community, Berkeley: Digital Diner Press, 2002. This is a highly approachable guide to the process of multi-media authoring in a personal context. The author sensitively brings storytelling, with its communal and folkloric associations, into the twenty-first century. As Lambert outlines in his introduction: “you will find a couple of contextual essays about the history and vision of our work in this volume; six chapters that talk about how you might make a digital story and use it for your personal or professional needs, and six chapters that discuss how digital storytelling has been taught and applied.” The book provides clear, practical guidelines for creating your own digital story, including example storyboards, a design guide and web resources. These tips are, however, intermingled with Lambert’s own story, and those of other digital storytellers who he has worked with or trained, making for a volume that is moving as it is useful.

Johnson-Eilola, Johndan, Nostalgic Angels: Rearticulating Hypertext Writing, Norwood, NJ: Ablex Press, 1997.

“Using theoretical material from cultural theory, radical and border pedagogies, and technology criticism, this text discusses three primary ways hypertext is articulated: as automated book (technical communication), as virtual commodity (online databases), and as environment for constructing and exploring multiple subject positions (postmodern hypertext in composition and literature).”  Joe Wilferth, of the Resource Center for Cyberculture Studies, writes, “Nostalgic Angels successfully speaks to both the initiated and the uninitiated on the articulation of one mode of communication in cyberculture, hypertext. It is a refreshing and reassuring book that blends postmodern and composition theory. It is not a book about that old binary (print = repression / hypertext = liberation).” The book’s six chapters cover theoretical, cultural and economic issues: “Border Times: Writing and Being Written in Hypertext,” “From Postmodernism to Cultural Studies: Approaches to Critical Literacies of Hypertext,” “Little Machines: Hypertext, Automation, and the Politics of Amnesia,” “Economies of Hypertext: Digital Colonies and Markets,” “X-Ray Vision and Perpetual Motion: Hypertext as Postmodern Space,” and “Angels in Rehab: Rearticulating Hypertext Writing.”
Meadows, Mark S., Pause and Effect: The Art of Interactive Narrative, New Riders, 2002.

Meadows’ visually striking book is at once explication and example of what an adventurous approach to narrative and design can bring to creative or academic projects. Packed with images, screenshots and typographical playfulness, readers are compelled to interact with Meadows’ text even as they learn about the theory of that interaction. The book’s theoretical exploration hinges on the importance of imagery for narrative interplay, making strong claims that its inclusion “allows for less linear forms of reading and understanding information.” Meadows reinforces this idea of design as a key pedagogical aid through intriguing visual elements such as flip-book animation positioned along page edges. He highlights the important theme of the “multiple perspectives” which make interactive narrative unique through a potentially overwhelming fusion of image and text, in which there is no ‘right order’ in which to experience information. The inclusion of examples and interviews with interactive artists also gives us different personal ‘perspectives’ on the artistic and technical issues involved in allowing readers to share in the authoring process. More of a theoretical and visual adventure than a hands-on guide, readers will most likely be inspired by the book, but will have to look elsewhere to learn the nuts and bolts of creating their own interactive narrative space.
Musgrave, James Ray, The Digital Scribe: A Writer’s Guide to Electronic Media, AP Professional, 1996.

A valuable counterpoint to Meadows’ text, this conventional textbook for the creation of writing on the web is made up of practical tips on ‘prewriting,’ software needs and ‘the legalities of electronic media.’ Musgrave provides a highly useful resource if you are approaching a digital authoring project with specific technical questions; but if you are looking for creative inspiration and encouraging examples, this admirably straight-forward book will not meet your needs.

Murray , Janet H., Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace, New York: Free Press, 1997.
Murray teaches digital media at Georgia Tech; her diverse background in technology and Victorian literature colors this engaging exploration of what happens when literary experiences become ‘interactive’. While this book looks to the future for the possibilities and implications of bringing the fantasy-technology of Star-Trek into everyday life, it also looks to ‘conventional literature’, from the oral tradition of Homer to the resistance to authorial authority in Calvino, as well as technological developments, such as cinema, for the foundations of interactive concepts and multiform texts.

Murray notes that the recurring elements of Homer’s bardic tradition are devalued in “a literate era…as repetition, redundancy and cliché” but argues that they support the process of improvisation, defying the creation of any “single canonical version.” She finds similar examples in structuralist analysis of Russian folktales which decode the stories “into variants of a single core tale composed of twenty-five basic ‘functions,’ or plot events.” Personal, distinctive ‘re-authoring,’ the creation of artistic innovation out of existing cultural elements is thus shown to be, ironically enough, nothing new; as Paul Rosenberg observes “we cannot help but see multiform stories in a different light — not as some modern innovation, but as something deeply representative of human consciousness.”

This insight should prove particularly useful to those interested in how to present interactive media as an exciting, relevant and unthreatening resource for teaching and learning in a humanities context. Hillary Rosner is more ambivalent about Murray’s utopian vision of the ordered freedom of this new artistic forum: “apparently unwittingly, she…sketches a Tinseltown postmodern parody of the East German state in which half the human population serve, not as spies, but as personal soap-opera actors to the other half.” Murray stimulates questions about the implications of the active development of out readerly roles, whether empowering or enslaving. One thing is clear, if literature ever stops being interactive then we’re really in trouble.

Selfe, Cynthia L., and Susan Hilligoss. Literacy and Computers: The Complications of Teaching and Learning with Technology. New York: MLA, 1994.

This volume of essays in notable for its emphasis on underlaying theoretical issues at stake in using computers to teach writing. The first two sections explore how computer technology changes literacy instruction as well as issues for teachers and scholars in using collaborative computer networks and hypertext. A final section provides suggestions for further research on literacy and technology. Each section begins with an overview of the issue discussed and concludes with critical responses to the essays contained in the section.

Hawisher, Gail E., and Cynthia L. Selfe, eds. Passions, Pedagogies, and 21st Century Technologies. Logan: Utah State Univ. Press and NCTE, 1999.

This substantial collection examines the “technocultural” contexts facing those in the English profession. Essays are organised into four sections which function like written panel discussions and each section includes a response essay. The positions taken in these essays range from practical, classroom-based approaches to Communitarian critiques of the internet. Particularly helpful essays in the volume include Doug Hesse’s “Saving a Place for Essayistic Literacy”; Lester Faigley’s “Beyond Imagination: The Internet and Global Digital Literacy”, and “Postmodern Pedagogy in Electronic Conversation, ” by Marilyn Cooper.

Blaire, Krisitine and Pamela Takayoshi, Ed., Feminist Cyberscapes: Mapping Gendered Academic Spaces, Stamford, Conn.: Ablex Pub., c.2000.


“This collection of essays and ‘discussions’ explores women’s positions in the discourse of virtual spaces and offers up first hand accounts of the problems they encounter. In addition to 13 essays exploring the varying virtual, physical, cultural, and institutional contexts influencing the nature of electronic space for women, Feminist Cyberscapes contains individual interviews with Gail Hawisher, Cynthia Selfe, Helen Schwartz, a joint interview with Mary Lay and Elizabeth Tebeaux, and a MOO dialogue among the contributors.”5 Barry M. Maid praises the interview section as “honest comments by women who have contributed significantly to the field but who understand their own sense of humanity.”6 Contributors’ stances vary, but the editors’ support of more inclusive and discursive pedagogical and academic practices is evident. Anne Frances Wysocki commends Mary Hocks’ account of her development of a piece of multimedia on the United Nations Forth World Conference on Women as an exposition of “how we might use computer-based multimedia, conceived as an expanded kind of composition, to enhance collaboration, critical technology use, and communicative power in our classes.”  “This collection helps to historicize not only the development of computers and composition as a field but also the impact of technology on the professional lives of women teachers and scholars.”

Supplemental Readings

Allen, Nancy, Working with Words and Images: New Steps in an Old Dance, Westport, Conn. : Ablex Pub., 2002.

Bangs, Paul, ‘Authoring, Pedagogy and the Web: Expectation versus Reality’, International Journal of English Studies, 2002; 2(1): 19-30.

Barrett, Edward and Marie Redmond, Ed., Contextual Media, Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press, c1997.

Christin, Anne-Marie, Ed. A History of Writing: from hieroglyph to multimedia, trans. Joshephine Bacon, Deke Dusinbere, Ian McMorran; Paris, France : Flammarion, c.2002.

Douglas, J. Yellowlees, The End of Books — or Books Without End? : Reading Interactive Narratives, Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press, c2000.

Halpern, Jeanne W. and Sarah Ligget, Computers & Composing: How the New Technologies are Changing Writing, Carbondale : Southern Illinois University Press ; published for the Conference on College Composition and Communication, c1984.

Hammer, Rhonda and Douglas Kellner, ‘Multimedia Pedagogy for the New Millennium’, Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, Apr 1999; 42(7) : 522-26.

Hawkins, Amy K. M., ‘Bytes and Sites: ethnography as a writing pedagogy in a Digital Age’, Kairos: A Journal for Teachers of Writing and Webbed Environments, Fall 2002; 7(3): (no pagination).

Hocks, Mary E. and Michelle R. Kendrick., Ed., Eloquent Images: Word and Image in an Age of New Media, Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press, c2003.

Inman, James A., Computers and Writing: the Cyborg Era, Mahwah, N.J. : Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004.

Joyce, Michael, Of Two Minds: Hypertext Pedagogy and Poetics, Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press, c1995.

Maxon, Jeffrey, ‘Multimedia and Multivocality: (Com)posing Challenges to Academic Print Literacy’, in Diane Penrod (ed). Miss Grundy Doesn’t Teach Here Any More: Popular Culture and the Composition Classroom, Portsmouth, NH : Boynton/Cook, 1997, xii, 163 pp.

Porter, James E., Rhetorical Ethics and Internetworked Writing, Greenwich, Conn. : Ablex Pub., 1998.

Reiss, Donna, Dickie Selfe, and Art Young, Ed., Electronic Communication Across the Curriculum, Urbana, Ill. : National Council of Teachers of English, c1998.

Selfe, Cynthia L., Technology and Literacy in the Twenty-first Century: The Importance of Paying Attention, Carbondale, IL : Southern Illinois University Press, c1999.

Sloane, Sarah, Digital Fictions: storytelling in a material world, Stamford, Conn. : Ablex Pub., c.2000.

Smith, Beatrice Quarshie, ‘Teaching with Technologies: A Reflexive Auto-Ethnographic Portrait’, Computers and Compostions: An International Journal for Teachers of Writing, 2004; 21(1): 49-62.

Sullivan, Patricia, and James E. Porter, Opening Spaces: Writing Technologies and Critical Research Ppractices, Greenwich, Conn. : Ablex Pub. Corp., c1997.

Tabbi, Joseph, Postmodern Sublime: Technology and American Writing from Mailer to Cyberpunk, Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 1995.

Walker, Janice R. and Ollie O. Oviedo, Ed., TnT: Texts and Technology, Cresskill, N.J. : Hampton Press, c2003.

compiled by Minnie Scott with Lorraine Graham

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