Hacking the Book: Skills for the Digital Age

English, School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies

College of Arts and Law


Code 24151

Level of study Third/Final year

Credit value 20

Semester 1 and 2

Pre-requisite modules You must have completed at least two years of appropriate study in this discipline

Module description

The bulk of our linguistic and cultural heritage is textual and inscribed in the form of printed paper. This has been the principal means of communicating and storing information for the past six hundred years. 'Hacking the Book' considers what happens to text, language and information when we change the technology of reading and writing from analogue to digital forms.

Just as digital technologies have changed the way in which we communicate in the present, so the digitization of our cultural heritage has changed how we understand ourselves in relation to our past. This module explores the way these technologies affect how we conceptualize and use information, whether this is the move from text to hypertext, the challenges of encoding the informational content of various media, or issues of access, preservation and storage. It is both theoretical and practical, examining the way advances in technology affect both the history of publishing and the way langauge is used. It provides an introduction to a range of digital tools, technologies and methods which are relevant for many tasks in the humanities, ranging from corpus linguistics to text encoding and curating digital collections. There is no need for students to have any programming or proficiency with computers before starting the course; by its end, students will be critical users of digital technologies, active participants in digital culture, and will have published digital projects of their own.

Teaching and learning methods