pold.soerenSøren Pold is Associate Professor of Digital Aesthetics at the Department of Information and Media Studies, Aarhus University, and leads the research programme “Humans and Information Technology” which is part of the interdisciplinary research centre Participatory Information Technology. He is an expert in the fields of in digital and media aesthetics, electronic literature, net art, software art, creative software, urban interfaces and digital culture and has a strong interest in interface criticism as a research perspective.

Hybrid Publishing: How important is the impact of the interface for our handling of knowledge, and should libraries pay more attention to media aesthetics? How could this change the role of the library?

Søren Pold: Interfaces are everywhere and function as knowledge dissemination, communication and transaction channels, art spaces, control and translation of algorithmic processes and power structures. Interfaces connect and translate between human and technological  fields, including networks. Furthermore interfaces monitor our behavior, including our reading behavior. In this way interfaces are our central knowledge infrastructure – not only supplementing books but also what we traditionally knew as media. Consequently it potentially changes everything about the role of the library – including the democratic and educational role of the library. However, books are not so easily thrown away, nor should they be so.

HP: What recent changes do you see in scholarly communication and production, and how do these changes affect the role of libraries?

Pold: We see an increased pressure and tightened economy of scholarly communication and production resulting in closed global monopolies and global, algorithmic ranking of research. However this removes research from its societal impact and therefore we can hope for a counter movement of open publishing.

HP: Which book will you always have as an analogue copy in your bookshelf?

Pold: Queneau’s Cent mille milliards de poèmes. In general fiction, but also some works of theory.

HP: Are there any specific topics you are currently concerned with in your work that relate to our conference on post-digital scholarship?

Pold: The post-digital as resistance, critique and history. How libraries can integrate and benefit from electronic literature.

Our upcoming The Post-Digital Scholar Conference – on Publishing between Open Access, Piracy and Public Spheres is up for registration. Read also the Interview with Clare Birchall on “The Futures of Writing”. You can find all Interviews here.

The next introduction with Univ.-Prof. Dr. Christoph Bläsi, professor for book studies at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz.

Julia Rehfeldt


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