Universiteit Leiden

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Shadow Libraries: The Politics of Mass Digitization

  • Nanna Bonde Thylstrup (University of Copenhagen)
Wednesday 22 March 2017
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden

Mass digitization of cultural memory artifacts has attained the status of a cultural and moral imperative and obligation. Today, anyone with an internet connection can access hundreds of millions of digitized cultural artifacts from the comfort of their desk, and cultural institutions and private bodies add thousands of new cultural works to the digital sphere every day. Mass digitization thus promises entirely new ways of reading, viewing, and structuring archives, new models of cultural value and its extraction, and new infrastructures of control. Yet, mass digitization also profoundly unsettles existing legal frameworks on digitization resulting among other things in groundbreaking new legislative measures such as the Google Books Settlement. In this talk media scholar Nanna Bonde Thylstrup (University of Copenhagen) will discuss the politics of mass digitization, focusing in particular on its legal, cultural and ethical implications drawing on analyses of Google Books, Europeana and the emerging phenomenon of “shadow libraries”, that is, platforms that amass illegal text collections in the name of open access.

Nanna Bonde Thylstrup is a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies at the University of Copenhagen. Currently she is working on two major research projects on the cultural and ethical implications of digitization: Uncertain Archives, focusing on big data (as) archives, and The Past’s Future addressing the changing role of cultural memory institutions in the digital age. For more information see the MAP website.

MAP Lectures

This talk is part of the Leiden Lectures on Media | Art | Politics, organized by Pepita Hesselberth, Yasco Horsman, and Tingting Hui. For more information about upcoming lectures and registration, click here.

The Map Lectures are made possible with the support of:

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