Errol Morris on the History of E-mail

The New York Times has published a sequence of blog posts by filmmaker Errol Morris telling a story of the invention of e-mail and his brother’s role in its development. The posts – mixing personal history with the history of e-mail and computer time-sharing – consist largely of excerpts from conversations between Morris and individuals who worked on CTSS and Project MAC at MIT in the 1960s with Morris’s brother. The resulting story provides insight into early human-computer interaction and describes how computers, through the advent of e-mail and time-sharing, unexpectedly came to mediate and facilitate interaction and community-formation among people.

“Subliminal History of New York” Featured in the Ninth Letter

The third edition of my and Carrie Dashow’s Subliminal History of New York State: Route of Progress, a collection of shape note songs and accompanying stories telling the subliminal history of New York’s Erie Canal, has been published as the “Art Feature” in Ninth Letter, Volume 8, Number 1 (Spring/Summer 2011).

I collaboratively produced this book with New York City-based artist Carrie Dashow. Carrie wrote the poetry that I set to music, and wrote and illustrated the stories accompanying each piece. I designed and typeset the book.

Lecture on Composers’ Approaches to Writing for the Sacred Harp at University College Cork

On Thursday, March 3 at University College Cork, in Cork Ireland, I will be participating in a lecture panel on The Sacred Harp with Professor Neely Bruce (Wesleyan University) held in conjunction with the first Ireland Sacred Harp Convention and Singing School.

My talk, “Experimentalism and Conservatism: Independence and Influence in the Music of The Sacred Harp” will discuss composers’ approaches to writing for The Sacred Harp. A brief abstract:

The wide ranging music in The Sacred Harp emerges from an approach to composition that is both experimental and conservative. Despite their relative isolation, and purposeful independence from any rules of composition, many Sacred Harp writers were nonetheless influenced by popular musical styles, and willingly constrained by the writing of previous generations.

Brief Article in the Friends of Pitts Library Newsletter

The most recent issue of Emory’s Pitts Theology Library’s Friends of Pitts Library Newsletter (PDF, 259kb) contains a brief article I wrote situating Emory’s annual Sacred Harp singing in the context of the history of shape note singing and singing conventions.

Image Annotation Plugins for WordPress

When thinking about how best to display multiple editions of digitized tunebooks online, and in particular, how to annotate changes between editions of a book, I immediately thought of the image annotation features of web sites like Flickr and Facebook. Continue reading “Image Annotation Plugins for WordPress”

New Sacred Harp Publishing Company Web Site

Late last week I launched a new version of the Sacred Harp Publishing Company web site, the second redesign since I took over as webmaster in 2008. The new site is built with WordPress and features a customized version of the Twenty Ten theme also used here. The site features a larger main column, more readable text, and a new newsletter section which will feature updates from the Company and posts on Sacred Harp history and items of interest.

Presenting Digitized Books on the Web

Update: I revised this post on December 2, 2010 to incorporate suggestions by Will Fitzgerald and additional examples of digitized books found since I wrote this piece.

In my seminar in digital scholarship and media studies at Emory this fall, I’m embarking on a project that involves the digitization and presentation of a few books in the Sacred Harp tradition. Searching for the best platform for presenting these books alongside original research has led me to look into various technical solutions for displaying digitized books on the web. Continue reading “Presenting Digitized Books on the Web”