Sue Thomas

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Sue Thomas IF07
Sue Thomas explaining transliteracy at the Institute for the Future, Palo Alto, California, 2007.

.Transliteracy is a unified way to think about literacy past, present and future.

It is defined as:

The ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks.

I developed the concept of transliteracy in 2006-8 with colleagues at the Institute of Creative Technologies, De Montfort University and it has since been taken up by researchers around the world. I’m currently working on the application of transliteracy to technobiophilia, “the innate attraction to life and lifelike processes as they appear in technology”

The meaning of transliteracy is still evolving, but the original 2007 definition, quoted above, along with the source for its inspiration, can be found in the first published paper on the subject at First Monday.

There’s a lively discussion about #transliteracy on Twitter.

In recent years I’ve given keynote talks on transliteracy to

When I’m explaining transliteracy I like to begin with this amusing video which reminds us that the book is quite a new idea:

From YouTube notes: “Helpdesk support back in the day of the middle age with English subtitles. Original taken from the show “Øystein og jeg” on Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK)in 2001. With Øystein Backe (helper)and Rune Gokstad (desperate monk). Written by Knut Nærum.” 2007


There are numerous transliteracy resources and debates available online. Probably the best way to stay current is to follow #transliteracy on Twitter. Scoop-it and Google also turn up interesting activity. The Transliteracy Research Group has an archived website containing many excellent posts and links.

The first published article on transliteracy is the widely-cited Transliteracy: Crossing divides, First Monday, Volume 12 Number 12 – 3 December 2007, Thomas, S. with Joseph, C., Laccetti, J., Mason, B., Mills, S., Perril, S., and Pullinger, K.

See also my lecture at the Institute of Creative Technologies, De Montfort University. October 24th, 2008


Citations 2005-2010

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