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Networked Authorship: A Community Of Creators In Born-digital Literature
Dupew, Tricia Jost
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Authorship of born-digital literature exists in a state referent to but decidedly apart from authorship of more traditional printed texts. Ranging far from the idea that the author exists in a state of solitary genius, authorship in born-digital literature is a collective endeavor which both reacts to and anticipates an ongoing cultural shift from material goods produced in an industrial setting to immaterial goods produced in the networked environment of the cultural collective. By examining the creation of born-digital texts, the placement of the reader within the textual and multimedia experience itself, and the influence of the intelligent machine in both production and consumption of born-digital texts, we are able to replace the traditionally-credited textual author with a network of author-creators not limited to intentional collaborators in a digital work.The authorship network is less of a changing of textual authority in born-digital literature than it is a dispersal of authority. As digital media allows workers, creators, and consumers to interact in a networked setting rather than in a hierarchical industrial setting, societal expectations change to accommodate the new social paradigm. Consumers of born-digital literature and, increasingly, of literature in general no longer expect a passively engaging, solitary experience; rather, the expectation is increasingly for interaction and is moving towards participation in the literary creation process itself. Author-creators, in recognizing this and in working together to create increasingly complex and multimedia texts using digital media technology, are no longer able to consider themselves as solitary authorities with sole responsibility for their products: just as society is moving towards a social paradigm which will subvert our currently-held hierarchies of authority, literary creation is moving towards a networked model of authorship less concerned with material property and privilege and more concerned with collaboration and collectivity.