Talk Session: Handwriting – What we can we learn from it, and how can we use it in a digital age?

The distinction and dividing line between pre-history and history is the written word. Handwritten materials still exists from millennia ago, and these handwritten works give us great insight about nature, civilizations, commerce, literature, and personal communication, as well as information about the person who wrote it down.
-How and what can we learn from handwriting, one of the oldest and most important forms of communication?
-How has handwriting been preserved, saved, and lost over time? What can that teach us about our data?
-Should we try to preserve our remaining handwritten material?
-What efforts are underway to save handwritten material?
-What collections of handwritten material exist?
-Are collections of handwritten material public or private, and how are they shared?
-What efforts are there to transcribe handwritten material?
-Does the latest trend away from teaching the reading and writing of script endanger understanding of the last 500 years of material in English?
-Will only specialists and archivists be able to read handwriting in the future?
-Will computers and software alone be able to read and interpret handwriting?
-How can we create sets of data and linked data with existing handwritten work?
-Should we continue to create handwritten work?
-Should we try to create a personalized hard copy with digital enhancements so that the fuller meaning of our words, emotions, and character that exist in normal handwriting can be expressed digitally, preserved digitally, and archived digitally?
-What is lost if we only use computers, their fonts, and either hardcopy or a digital copy?
-How does the move away from handwriting affect all languages, cultures, and their futures?
-How will born-digital handwriting and writing transform our cultures, literature, and perceived identities?
-How is born-digital writing best preserved for future generations, and  how will it be perceived or understood in thousands of years?
-Will born-digital writing outlast and remain viable longer than works on paper or other materials?


Categories: Archives, Coding, Collaboration, Copyright, Crowdsourcing, Data Mining | Tags: , , |

About David Kaminski

With a background as a teacher (English, video) and community organizer in the NYC metro area, I have most recently embarked on an effort to create a public repository of handwriting for cultural, academic, and research use. With the hope to gather future volunteers as well as partners in colleges and research, the site allows others to load their handwritten materials online. In a shared effort, I hope we will all work to make it accessible and useful for future generations and technologies. Please see the Kaminski Handwriting Collection site at