||This article possibly contains original research. (February 2011)|
Transliteracy is The ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks. (PART 2007) The modern meaning of the term combines literacy with the prefix trans-, which means "across; through", so a transliterate person is one who is literate across multiple media.
Transliteracy originally was a term derived from the verb 'to transliterate', meaning to write or print a letter or word using the closest corresponding letters of a different alphabet or language. In modern parlance, though, we extend the act of transliteration and apply it to the increasingly wide range of communication platforms and tools at our disposal. From early signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV and film to networked digital media, the concept of transliteracy provides a cohesion of communication modes relevant to reading, writing, interpretation and interaction.
Awareness of transliteracy reminds us that fixed-type print is a very new and possibly short-lived phenomenon within the long and diverse history of communication platforms. According to the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, the word 'illiterate' dates back only to 1556, around 100 years after Gutenberg invented the printing press. Prior to this period more people could read than could write, but many more could do neither. Since the 16th century an increasing number have become fully literate, but today transliteracy is becoming more desirable than print-based literacy.
The updated meaning of the term, in this case as the plural 'transliteracies', evolved at the Transcriptions Research Project directed by Professor Alan Liu in the Department of English at the University of California Santa Barbara. Liu later developed and formalised the Transliteracies Project, researching technological, social, and cultural practices of online reading, which launched in 2005. Based at UCSB, the Transliteracies Project includes scholars in the humanities, social sciences, and engineering in the University of California system (and in the future other research programs). It will establish working groups to study online reading from different perspectives; bring those groups into conjunction behind a shared technology development initiative; publish research and demonstration software; and train graduate students working at the intersections of the humanistic, social, and technological disciplines.
Professor Sue Thomas, of the Institute of Creative Technologies (IOCT) at De Montfort University, Leicester, UK, attended the First Transliteracies Conference at UCSB in July 2005, and subsequently founded the Production and Research in Transliteracy (PART) group with a focus on writing and production. At DMU, as at UCSB, transliteracy is increasingly seen as an enabling tool to support dialogue between researchers and practitioners from diverse disciplines. The PART group have organised a series of events at the IOCT including a Transliteracy Colloquium (15 May 2007); a Transliteracy Unconference (September 2007), and a Transliteracy Workshop (January 2008).
- Production and Research in Transliteracy (PART)
- Tags Networks Narrative research project (TNN)
- Institute of Creative Technologies (IOCT)
- Hugill, A. (2008) The Digital Musician. New York: Routledge. pp. 122–123
- Mason, B. & Thomas, S., 2007. A Million Penguins, IOCT
- Thomas, S. et al., 2007. Transliteracy: Crossing Divides. First Monday, 12(12)
- Thomas, S., 2005. Del.icio.us way to talk. Times Higher Education
- Thomas, S. 2005 Transliteracy: Reading in the Digital Age, Newsletter 9, December 2005, English Subject Centre
- Transliteracies Project
- Transcriptions Research Project
- Professor Alan Liu
- Conference, UCSB, July 2005
- Not to be confused with Transliterature — term coined and trademarked by Ted Nelson. According to Nelson’s website, '"Transliterature" is our name for a proposed new universal genre intended to unify electronic documents and media, erasing format boundaries and easing the copyright problem.'
- Libraries and Transliteracy Blog: Information on all literacies for all types of libraries and librarians.