Social Marginalia: How authors & readers give books immortality

Ulysses by James Joyce

Ever since I saw Alex Halavais rework Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother (2008) into a networked ebook at, I’ve been intrigued by the whole idea of marginalia.

For Barcamp Create (12th June, Jakarta) and Creative Commons Salon (25th June, Singapore), I’ll be showing participants the evolution of marginalia, from early handcrafted books to the present day ebook readers.

I’ll eventually ask what happens when we start turning books into social platforms through marginalia, with tools such as CommentPress and

Here’s my presentation slideshow on Google Docs, which will always be work-in-progress.

4 thoughts on “Social Marginalia: How authors & readers give books immortality

  1. I was just thinking to myself the other day – it's been a while since he blogged.

    Great presentation and very thought provoking. I've often wondered how marginalia will make its way onto digital books and other texts because so far the ereader software I've dealt with (Kindle, B&N, Scribd, etc.) treat it as an afterthought instead of taking advantage of all the different ways it could be integrated through modifying the underlying code.

    For example, as an English teacher and grad student I can't figure out why no ereader program lets me categorize my highlights and notes so I can later access and search them by theme when its time to write an essay.

  2. Does it make me anti-social if I get annoyed by the marginalia left behind by other library patrons?

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