Thesis Info

Thesis Title
Languages,Interactive online museum of man-machine languages
Fosca Salvi
2nd Author
3rd Author
Number of Pages
Iuav, university of Venice
Thesis Supervisor
Philip Tabor
Supervisor e-mail
Other Supervisor(s)
Gillian Crampton Smith
Language(s) of Thesis
Department / Discipline
Master Programme in Visual and Multimedia Communication
Languages Familiar to Author
URL where full thesis can be found
man-machine, interaction, computing, languages, computing history, website
Abstract: 200-500 words
Languages is an online platform which tells the history of computing from the forties till nowadays. It is a web app, a common website with characteristics of the application, Languages is addressed to relatively young people who haven't lived in first person the history of computing, or who never had interest in it. Languages "talks" with a simple tone, based on the usage routines of the analyzed machines: the history is not explained through the technical characteristics of these machines —which would appear too complex and incomprehensible to those not used to "crunch" technology— but it uses examples of how the machines were really used. My goal is to mix a traditional way of consulting the provided information —i.e. purely encyclopedic and theoretical—with one more practical. To achieve this goal I chose to build the website based on two principal elements: the timeline and the emulators. The timeline is the first thing the user meets when he or she accesses the website. It is —of course— a temporal line which in its length gathers facts about the computing world between the 1940s and the 2000s. The different items are divided in more specific categories, such as "input" and "output", then analyzed through their presence in the computing scene. The timeline is interactive: it can be questioned by the user, who can choose which information level he wants to reach, since the information is available in different modes and layers. The emulators are the second step that users interact with in the website; they can be reached from the initial timeline. These are not the kind of emulators commonplace in the computing field, but they are wider views of the interaction with the analyzed machine. The emulator could include and represent all the parts —even hardware— of a computer, and it presents an example of the usage of that computer; this will highlight the most important aspects of the experience, instead of the more technical ones. Languages includes five emulators which represent five computers spread over the time period analyzed.