There are a myriad of ways to define new media. For example, in the introduction to The New Media Reader, Lev Manovich frames new media in eight ways. While all of them are valuable in some context, The New Media Museum is primarily focused on these two.
New Media as Computer Technology Used as a Distribution Platform – New Media are the cultural objects which use digital computer technology for distribution and exhibition.
New Media as Digital Data Controlled by Software – The language of New Media is based on the assumption that, in fact, all cultural objects that rely on digital representation and computer-based delivery share a number of common qualities. New media is reduced to digital data that can be manipulated by software as any other data.
Thus, the New Media museum is focused on the history and preservation of computers and most specifically, the software used to manipulate digital data.
A key aspect of the transition from analog and electronic media to digital formats was the process of “converting” older forms of media into computer based digital formats through the process of “digitization.” The museum maintains a collection of the hardware and software necessary for caring out that process for text, graphics, sound and video.
A key focus of the museum will be to maintain the hardware and software used to author new media as well as actively maintaining the ability to “play” the artifacts that were authored.
These are some key books in the collection. More…
On the Web
The New Media Reader (Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Nick Montfort) (Web Site)
The Long History of New Media: Technology, Historiography, and Contextualizing Newness (Dave Park, Nick Jankowski and Steve Jones)