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Critically assessing digital documents: materiality and the interpretative role of software

Allen-Robertson, J (2017) 'Critically assessing digital documents: materiality and the interpretative role of software.' Information, Communication and Society. ISSN 1369-118X

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Abstract

As a contribution to the ongoing tradition of critically assessing documents for research, this paper aims to highlight materiality as a key factor in the co-shaping of knowledge derived from digital documents. The paper first builds upon prior debates in document studies with work from the fields of Science and Technology Studies, and Communication Studies, to establish the role of document materiality in the interpretative process. By first establishing digital documents’ material reality as electrical signal, the paper then discusses the interpretative role of software, in both the representation of that signal for human interpretation and the production of the document through software tools. Finally, the paper considers the implications for persistence and access to digital documents posed by their material reality and the private archival contexts in which they often reside.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Digital document, materiality, software, critical assessment
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > Z665 Library Science. Information Science
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
Depositing User: James Allen-Robertson
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2017 13:11
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2018 16:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/20094

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