Mary Murrell F'11

Mary  Murrell
Postdoctoral Fellow
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships 2011
Doctoral Candidate
Sociocultural Anthropology
University of California, Berkeley
The Open Book: Digital Form in the Making

This dissertation investigates mass book digitization as an arena of cultural experimentation in the United States. Based on ethnographic fieldwork and other forms of research, it closely examines the work of technologists—engineers, digital librarians, lawyers, and activists—as they pursue the “transition” from print to digital. With particular attention to the public controversy around mass digitization from 2004 to 2010, the dissertation reveals how the book—a dense and hoary cultural form—has become a site of critical inquiry into and around the sharing and circulation of public knowledge. Rather than a technological advance that fulfills some evolutionary development, mass digitization is shown to be a contingent field of thought and action.