Knots of Desire: Female Homoeroticism in Orlando furioso Back Matter Pages About this book Introduction Queer Italia gathers essays on Italian literature and film, medieval to modern. The volume's chronological organization reflects its intention to define a queer tradition in Italian culture. While fully cognizant of the theoretical risks inherent in trans-historicizing sexuality, the contributors to this volume share an interest in probing the multi-form dynamics of sexual desires in Italian texts through the centuries.
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ELR: Which projects are you currently working on or which are you going to implement in the future? Francesco Leonetti: I would like to build a larger and richer environment around ePubEditor, of which ePubEditor will be one of the components. A space for learning and teaching that allows teachers and students to create effective and meaningful digital experiences.
When do you think the history of digital books began and what are some of the highlights of the history of digital publishing? The catchphrase of that year was, in fact, the e-book and I was curious to see how they looked. The devices, however, were cumbersome and heavy, the paper publishing could still rest easy.
The Kindle has shown that a paper book, as it is, can also be read digitally. The iPad has shown that a paper book can also be read digitally, as it is, or better, enriched and expanded, thanks to multimedia, interactivity and connectivity. Yet, even today, there are few books that really exploit digital status.
Too bad. In the future, we will see. But we need a radical change in the minds of authors, above all, and publishers. How has the market developed and how have electronic books been sold and disseminated in the last 20 years? Maybe by doing a quick search on Google you can get something out of it.
But still, not having available the data of Amazon, which they jealously guard and do not make public, every statistic is objectively incomplete of the most important and incisive data. Francesco Leonetti: Lazily and forcibly. No school publisher would have really considered the idea of completely migrating their editorial production to digital if it had not been forced by precise laws.
In it was the Minister of Economy Tremonti who persuaded the Minister of Education Gelmini to provide an explicit obligation for publishers to provide families with the e-book option, purely for reasons of savings, certainly not because we had in mind an idea of e-book distinct in design and function from the paper book.
Before then, digital was considered a gadget, often represented by a CD glued to the back cover of the paper book and almost systematically ignored by teachers and students, because if you tried to use it various problems of operation and compatibility with different operating systems came up, and so on, so as to discourage its use if not by tenacious and motivated users.
However, it was the ministerial decree no. In reality, guidelines were also announced for the production of digital books, which have not yet been received. So, on average, publishers do what they want, each with its own editorial platform to which students and teachers can access, with its own functions and content, often incompatible with reciprocal platforms and editorial content, translating everything into a frustrating experience for end users. At the moment, as I said, nothing is done. Each succeeding Government and Minister has reaffirmed in words the strategic importance of digital without actually providing effective tools for their shared and meaningful use.
ELR: How is the new technology received by teachers and students? How is the transition from print to digital experienced in school publishing? Francesco Leonetti: Teachers generally do not welcome new technologies.
Certainly, in the didactic use. Elsewhere, teachers, like everyone else, use a lot of digital technology, but not in the classroom. If they do, they do it here too a bit forcedly and without much conviction, apart of course from the minority of particularly enlightened teachers, but decidedly a minority compared to the almost thousand role teachers.
The reason is soon explained: the way of teaching does not require the use of technologies. It is perfectly useless, in fact, to use tablets, smartphones, interactive whiteboards, etc. Today, instead, we are still witnessing the pathetic diatribe: digital yes, digital no, paper is good, the screen is bad, and so on. It has not been understood that using digital means changing the way we teach. Changing the way we do school is much more complex and articulated than setting up an interactive whiteboard.
From this, I believe, derives the de facto failure of all the initiatives that have tried to introduce digital at school, from the Plan for the Introduction of Educational Technologies of the mids to the National Digital School Plan of ELR: How does the way of learning change with text enriched with audio-visual effects?
Digital technology enables completely new user experiences. For example, it allows you to geolocalize places and events mentioned, allows you to act on content in an interactive way, studying for example physical phenomena, historical events how did Hannibal defeat the Romans? And if the soldiers had been arranged differently, how would the battle have gone? The digital state of the content, when designed specifically for digital, allows us to create educational experiences that, in addition to the representation of knowledge which is usually fixed by the paper book , also provides the opportunity to build on it.
In short, the student has not only a book in front of him, but a laboratory with which to learn and also experiment and apply what he has learned. ELR: In a video you explained the characteristics of an e-book.
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What do you think are the fundamental aesthetic criteria for the layout of an e-book? Francesco Leonetti: I personally detest fixed layout e-books. But not only for aesthetic fancy, but also and above all for a functional one. I understand that an e-book with a fixed layout is cooler for the author. It allows you to define the optimal graphic and visual aspect to give the user an agreeable and enjoyable experience in the studio. However, it poses a serious obstacle to the accessibility and usability of the content from different screens and devices.
On the other hand, an e-book page is not a real page. The page of an e-book can scroll endlessly, it can show content at various levels, for example, with a click I can open deepening boxes and then make them disappear when I no longer need them, and so on. These are features that a designer should know and use to design the e-book and its user experience.
It is totally meaningless, in short, to apply to the e-book the same criteria and design limits that are adopted on paper, because paper has different limits and functions than digital devices. The challenge of the e-book designer, therefore, must be to reconcile aesthetic and functional effectiveness. Not easy, of course, I do not envy the designer at all in this task, but it is what should be done. Too easy to make fixed layout e-books only for iPad, for example, and they would also be too similar to paper books.
So, in that case, paper is better, right? ELR: How important is it to know the programming languages to create e-books? What advice would you give to those who want to start learning to program? Especially if you want to go beyond the e-book that can be created with generalist authoring tools, such as Adobe inDesign, for example, or various word processing software.
If you want to explore the interactive potentialities, besides the multimedia ones, you need to know how to put together a little code. As chance would have it, they are the same languages used to develop websites. As chance would have it, again, the EPUB consortium has joined the W3C consortium the one that defines the standards of web languages in forming Publishing W3C with the aim of defining the evolutionary standards of EPUB, unifying itself, once and for all, with those of the web.
Those who do this job are forced to never stop learning. For this reason, above all, I like it. His observations on history, the market and the use of new media in schools enrich the ELRPUB series with valid arguments and new ideas. ELR: Gino Roncaglia you have been working for almost 20 years as a university lecturer at the University of Tuscia in the field of digital publishing and e-learning. How did your interest in the use of information technology in publishing and teaching come about? Gino Roncaglia: The interest in information technology was born during university studies.
I graduated in philosophy, with a thesis related to the history of logic; professor of logic at Sapienza — and then co-supervisor of my thesis — was Carlo Cellucci, a very good teacher, at the time very interested in logic programming. Addressing the interest in computer science to the fields of publishing and teaching was then quite natural, since I have always been involved in books and publishing, even for family imprinting. At home we have all always read a lot, and the same passion for teaching is a family feature: both my father and brother were university professors, while my mother taught Italian and history in high school.
My contribution was initially limited to a suggestion to make known and finance the initiative: to hold courses on the use of the Internet at an ARCI headquarters, which had existed for some time but was only just beginning to be discussed in Italy. That manual then went through six different editions and several reprints, selling a total of about seventy-five thousand copies.
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Personally, I thought that the Progetto Manuzio could be useful above all to make people understand the potential of digital, but I imagined that it would soon be supported and gradually replaced by larger digitization projects run by universities, libraries and research centers. I never thought it would survive twenty-five years. Book culture and digital school. What is it about?
Queer Italia: Same-Sex Desire in Italian Literature and Film
Gino Roncaglia : The book discusses the relationship between digital, school and book culture. Today, the competences linked to the management of complexity are often sacrificed in the name of what seems to me to be an unfounded myth: the idea that digital is natively, essentially, necessarily fragmented.
This is not the case: in digital it is possible and indeed necessary to create also structured and complex contents, and the competences linked to the management of complexity are and will be increasingly important in the new information ecosystem. ELR: How did you personally experience the transition from paper to digital publishing?
The idea that digital devices could also be used to read was quite natural, even if at the beginning, in the absence of digital devices the size of a book, digital reading was identified with reading on the computer. However, the screens were still very poor, the batteries did not last long, the protection mechanisms were a nightmare in part, they continue to be and the first generation of players was not very successful. It was better for Kindle and its successors; I have a good collection of those too. Gino Roncaglia: Ah, you can find a lot of start dates, but in my opinion the story starts much, much earlier than In a certain sense one could say that the first work in the field of digital publishing was the pioneering work of Father Busa, who in contacted IBM to propose the use of electronic computers as a tool for encoding texts and in particular the texts of Thomas Aquinas.
The result is an ambitious project, the Index Thomisticus, now accessible through the web and that already in could boast the digitization of 56 volumes of texts by Thomas and other Thomist authors. As I mentioned, in Italy there was the Progetto Manuzio, born in , then the e-books for the first generation of e-readers, between and Other important moments include the spread of Kindle and readers based on electronic paper and electronic ink since Sony Librie was launched three years earlier but had had very little success , the transition from the OEBPS format to its successor, ePub2, the spread of tablets since , the transition from ePub2 to ePub3 … As you can see there are stages related to the hardware of reading devices and stages related to encoding formats.
And it is a story that continues, both on these two sides and through the evolution of the market. How has the market developed and how have electronic books been sold and disseminated in the 20 years from ? Gino Roncaglia: The market has developed unequally in different countries. In fact, despite the expectations at the time considerable , the first devices of the period were not able to build a numerically significant market: the birth of the e-book market occurs only from , with the launch of the Kindle; and the market grows initially especially in the United States, where Amazon is an already established presence and promotes the Kindle not only as a reading device for e-books but also as a means of access to its ecosystem for reading also made up of recommendations, reviews, discounts ….
It is the Amazon ecosystem as a whole that wins the first challenge, more than the Kindle as a specific device. Europe has followed rather slowly, and we are still far from those figures. In recent years, however, the market has remained fairly stable: the share of digital reading has grown much more slowly, and if anything, the internal segmentation of digital reading has changed: more and more books published by independent or self-published publishers are being read digitally, while the digital market share of the major publishers in recent years in the United States has remained steady, if not even decreased.
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