Bethany Nowviskie

lorem ipsum dolor sit amet

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Or, Geeking to the Greeking.

There’s probably not a better way to begin a blog like this, than with a healthy dose of Lorem Ipsum. It’s an essential tool for designers of page and screen, helping us to imagine how our spaces will appear when they are filled with “real” content — a kind of metasyntactic variable, at scale.

What fascinates me about “greeking” (so called) is its hidden textual history, tracked down a bit several years ago by a Latin scholar at a Virginia college, but still inadequately explored. Okay, it’s mangled Cicero, metastasizing everywhere since the advent of desktop publishing and the Web — but did it spring fully-formed from the head of a Letraset designer in the ’60s, as in the earliest examples we can find? Or will we yet locate an elusive Aldine specimen book, evidence of the first time a printer said, “I need some fake text” and grabbed what was to hand, started swapping it up?

Lorem Ipsum becomes an even bigger cypher for me: of the ways we use our textual inheritance; of how physical those impulses are and how little they have changed in the digital context; and of how much we still have to figure out.  It’s the digital humanities.  It’s my own Etaoin Shrdlu, but with less signal for the noise.

I’m hoping this blog will be a place where (with a greater measure of discipline than this post may suggest!) I can explore some connected concepts of textual criticism, spatial and temporal representation, scholarly communication, the relation of constraint to poetic production and interpretation, and — still fairly new to me — the ins and outs of higher ed administration in the context of digital humanities labs and academic research libraries.

In other words, lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Praesent accumsan, orci id placerat dignissim, purus massa euismod orci, id ultricies leo risus ut orci. Fusce vitae felis vitae augue iaculis suscipit.

Now, don’t get me started on widows and orphans.

Creative Commons License This site uses a heavily modified version of Bryan Helmig's Magatheme. Work at by Bethany Nowviskie is always CC-BY. Want to know why? The falling letters are by Wayne Graham. He kindly made them to replace a set I designed in Flash in the late 1990s and had in place for more than 17 years. Not a bad run! Ave atque vale.