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Megan Ward on The Material History of a Digital Archive

Megan Ward (Oregon State) on

“The Material History of a Digital Archive”

with a response by Nabil Kashyap (Swarthmore College)

Rather than seeing the digital archive as an inferior surrogate of the material original, this talk argues for a new understanding of the materiality of digital objects. The digital archive Livingstone Online recovers David Livingstone’s faded, crumbling field diaries using spectral imaging, a technique that renders these images more legible than the originals - making them, in some ways, more material than the materials.

Megan Ward is assistant professor of English at Oregon State University and Associate Director of the NEH-funded digital archive Livingstone Online. Her work on realism and technology has appeared in SEL, Configurations, and Victorian Periodicals Review. Her current book project, “Human Reproductions: Victorian Realist Character and Artificial Intelligence,” re-examines the rise of interiority through the history of AI.