Digitization of materials create a paradigm shift in the way we preserve and disseminate information which allows share-ability between users and easier direct access to the public, thus making the new medium a sustainable way to create, maintain and allocate valuable metadata. It is safe to say “Digital technology offers extraordinary opportunities for preservation of and access to knowledge” (Knutson 440).
Some of Gallant’s New Yorker works like her short stories and novella excerpts were uploaded online by the New Yorker magazine and can be accessed if you’re subscribed to The New Yorker. You get access to virtually all of their previous published editions. Some of Gallant’s works are completely in print or microfilms, stored in periodical offices and university libraries, like for instance her early journalism work that cannot be completely found online.
If users don’t actively search Gallant’s name or know the author’s works, it would be actually difficult to find or get across their works like the Gallant’s journalism per se. Works posted by the New Yorker magazines or other major periodicals makes it slightly easier to get the word out.
The digitization of authors and the shift towards a new medium like podcasting allows periodicals like The New Yorker to market in the direction of a new audience and generation held by the Internet. On the other hand, are we completely going towards a digital world and moving away from the primary ways of publishing and researching data? Podcasting is captivating because users can easily listen to the recordings while actively doing something else like writing, drawing, working out or whatever it may be. It is convenient but the effect and meaning may no be the same as reading.
Hearing a story is definitely different than reading it. The popularity of ‘Podcasts’ is increasing and it’s no surprise. The impact of new mediums and digitization of works such as books and short stories allow easy accessibilities to the public, which also creates a “participatory culture” in which sharing, commenting and interacting with the medium is encouraged (As the case of YouTube or social media per se).
Books and authors nowadays still circulate in print, and nothing beats the ‘old-fashioned’ book reading. But researchers and scholars are slowly moving into the digital world because it’s fairly easy to search for keywords and concepts online, instead of maneuvering between physical books to find a simple quote or ideas for their fieldwork.
The development and creation of a new imperative medium for the contemporary like the Podcasts is a great way to attract the newer generation and different audience that is unaware of authors like Gallant. I also think that tabloids revive early works specially when the topic is relatable to present day social and political issues like mercy killing or abortion.
So why is digitization important in the information age? Knutson notes “early examples of preservation practice reflect societal interest in collecting and preserving knowledge”, conserving lost heritage, records and memories of a nation and community (439). It is definitely one of many ways to preserve and maintain data, allowing easy accessibility to a wide range of audience, but surely not the only way to preserve data. The drawback is that digitization still exists in a legal grey area and can be slightly costly to maintain or uploaded (Knutson 438).
Knutson, Alyssa N. “Proceed With Caution: How Digital Archives Have Been Left in the Dark.” Berkeley Technology Law Journal 24.1 (2009): pp. 437-73.