Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Ch. 5 Language of New Media

Chapter five of Language of New Media primarily concerned databases as narratives. A database is a system that organizes libraries of information so that it can be easily acessed. In fact, Wikipedia (a database itself) defines database by stating "A database is a system intended to organize, store, and retrieve large amounts of data easily. It consists of an organized collection of data for one or more uses, typically in digital form. One way of classifying databases involves the type of their contents, for example: bibliographic, document-text, statistical."

Databases are such a common tool for the millenial genearation that we barely notice their omnipresence in cyberspace.Facebook is a popular social networking tool, but how many of us think about how are friends lists are populated or how the statuses make it up to our timeline? I know I never thought about it until reading Manovich's explanation on structure. Manovich states "This formulation places the opposition between database and narrative in a new light, thus redefining our concept of narrative. The "user" of a narrative is traversing a database, following links between its records as established by the database's creator. An interactive narrative (which can be also called "hyper-narrative" in an analogy with hypertext) can then be understood as the sum of multiple trajectories through a database. A traditional linear narrative is one, among many other possible trajectories; i.e. a particular choice made within a hyper-narrative. Just as a traditional cultural object can now be seen as a particular case of a new media object (i.e., a new media object which only has one interface), traditional linear narrative can be seen as a particular case of a hyper-narrative. "


  1. Many of our interfaces to databases, such as on Facebook or Twitter's stream or on the blog, are arranged sequentially from most recent to earliest, and for that reason we don't always experience them as databases. But the fact that you can alter the arrangement in different ways, search by subject, etc., gets at the true power of database logic.

  2. I actually started using database queries in my office to maintain lists. It's kind of helpful that I read this chapter because it enabled me to better understand the way that these things work.

  3. Although I always knew that databases were arranged in a certain way, this chapter brought it to light in a different way. Maybe I just subconsciously saw the arrangement in databases.