University Distinguished Professor Salman Rushdie and Erika Farr, digital archives coordinator in the Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL) discuss how computers and other technology affect Rushdie’s writing and creative process. This builds on previous conversations and addresses new developments such as Rushdie’s acquisition of an iPhone and the ways in which mobile computing has an impact on his work. In addition, given Rushdie’s work on his memoir and his use of his paper and digital archives in MARBL, the discussion turns to the ways in which archival science and archival access changes the way he uses his own archives.
The Atlantic Monthly (April 21, 2010) is the latest national publication to feature Salman Rushdie’s digital archives at Emory’s MARBL (“the first in the world to include ‘born-digital’ materials–drafts and notes initially created in an electronic medium”). The article also includes video of the archive opening.
A New York Times article (“Fending Off Digital Decay, Bit by Bit” by Patricia Cohen, March 15, 2010) highlights the creativity shown by Emory’s MARBL in preserving and granting access to Salman Rushdie’s archival material. Also included in the online article is a video that offers a look inside the Salman Rushdie Digital Archive.
“At Emory, Mr. Rushdie’s outdated computers presented archivists with a choice: simply save the contents of files or try to also salvage the look and organization of those early files. Because of Emory’s particular interest in the impact of technology on the creative process, Naomi Nelson, the university’s interim director of Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, said that the archivists decided to try to recreate Mr. Rushdie’s writing experience and the original computer environment.”
In this follow-up to the article above, some teaching ideas are presented based on the Emory exhibit:
“How do our computers and their contents both reflect us and shape us and how we think and work? What can a writer’s method and work space illuminate about the author’s works? In this lesson, students imagine and simulate the computer desktop, files and Internet habits of a writer or literary character in order to better understand his or her life and/or works.”