Kim H. Veltman
Keynote: “Notes for A New History of Media, Scales and Disciplines”, Strategies for a Creative Future with Computer Science, Quality Design and Communicability, San Marino, September 15-16, 2014.



The history of media was long treated as a gradual shift from oral media, to written and then printed media, which was seen as part of a history of progress, culture and civilization. The 20th century brought new attention to a shift from orality and literacy, and to limitations imposed by print media. The latter 20th century saw trends towards a history of computing and the Internet that included new media. It also saw a redefinition of media as mass media and rewrote its history in three phases: pre-media, leading to mass-media and infinite media. This latest phase, variously called infinite media, social media, personal media or Me Media has come to dominate attention as if the thousands of previous years were insignificant. It has focussed attention on a coming Internet of Things (IoT) and Internet of Everything (IoE).
This essay reviews some current timelines for the history of communications, mass media and new media. It expands the definition of media to include the entire gamut used in communication from painting and manual media (glyphs and petroglyphs) to the latest versions of electronic media and nano-media. It suggests that a future history of media should include not only different media types and technologies but also the scales of reality which they entail. Links between media, scales and shifts in disciplines are explored. It is shown that Shannon’s Theory of Communication reduced communication to transmission of information. Needed is a broader view that will lead to an Internet of Letters, Words, Concepts and Knowledges. Implications for interfaces are considered.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Manual Media
3. Written Media
4. Print Media
5. Scopic Media
6. Electric Media
7. Analog Electronic Media
8. Digital Electronic Media
9. Multimedia  
10. Social Media
11. Scales
12. Growth
13. Implications for Interfaces
14. Conclusions 


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