The Poetics of Metadata (proposals due October 10, 2010; STS conference March 16-18, 2011

full name / name of organization: 
Paul Benzon / Society for Textual Scholarship

Recent critical trends in media studies have emphasized various aspects of and approaches to the materiality of technology and media information, with methodologies including digital forensics, platform studies, and critical code studies offering both a deep interest in the close reading of technology and a jumping-off point towards multiple larger literary, cultural, and philosophical questions. This panel seeks to build upon and extend those methodologies by focusing in particular on metadata—data about data—as a category of inquiry. How does metadata relate to data in discursive, informational, and ontological terms? How and to what extent does metadata inform the materiality of technology? What kinds of aesthetic, economic, geopolitical, philosophical, and historical questions emerge when we focus our attention on texts such as caches, server logs, search histories, and other instances of the metadata of the digital? How might contemporary metatdata resemble, remediate, or break from the metadata of earlier periods? How might we write metadata into media history, and how does its presence coincide with or complicate existing narratives of media change?

Papers welcome on all aspects of metadata across all periods and media. Please submit a 250-300 word abstract and a short c.v. via email by October 10, 2010 to Paul Benzon, Temple University (pbenzon at temple dot edu); initial queries also welcome at this address.

All participants in the STS 2011 conference must be members of STS. For information about membership, please contact Secretary Meg Roland (mroland at marylhurst dot edu) or visit the Indiana University Press Journals website and follow the links to the Society for Textual Scholarship membership page. For conference updates and information, see the STS website at