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The Stuff of Bits


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This book is required reading for everybody who wants to understand how our digital civilization functions. Analyzing various types of digital systems -- emulation, spreadsheets, databases, and networks -- Dourish shows in detail how they function as mechanisms for representation. His masterful analysis will inspire you to look more closely and think more deeply about your digital life. I can't recommend this book strongly enough. -- Lev Manovich, Professor of Computer Science, The Graduate Center, City University of New York Much writing about the digital provides a dematerialized account in which bits replace atoms. In contrast, in The Stuff of Bits, Paul Dourish details a thoroughly materialist account of simulations, spreadsheets, databases, networking protocols, internets, and other aspects of digital representation. The result is a theoretically rich, empirically grounded, tour de force from an interdisciplinary thinker at the top of his game. -- Rob Kitchin, Professor of Human Geography, National University of Ireland Maynooth; coauthor of Code/Space: Software and Everyday Life The Stuff of Bits weaves together insights from computer science and social science to explode the myth that information is inherently virtual. It reveals how digital representations are always tangibly instantiated and analyzes the difference this materiality makes to how people act and interact. This reframing of the nature and impact of digital representations will inspire both designers and social scientists who care about the impact of technology. -- Phoebe Sengers, Associate Professor, Information Science, Science & Technology Studies, Cornell University

About the Author

Paul Dourish is Chancellor's Professor of Informatics in the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Irvine. He is the author of Where the Action Is: The Foundations of Embodied Interaction and coauthor of Divining a Digital Future: Mess and Mythology in Ubiquitous Computing, both published by the MIT Press.

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