Bodies, Brains, and Machines: An Exploration of the Relationship between the Material and Affective States of Librarians and Information Systems
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This paper uses the idea of information networks and the ways librarian bodies are called to serve as a relay within information systems. The founding of librarianship as a profession in the Victorian period during a period of increased bureaucracy and mechanization has had a profound and far-reaching impact on the way women’s bodies and affective states are subsumed into information systems. The history of librarianship is read alongside Kittler’s analysis of Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula as a story not about vampires, but about office technology. The connection between women’s bodies and information processing is further traced through an analysis of the film Desk Set. The film is examined for the ways librarian bodies and affective states interact with computer technologies to show that women are encouraged to fully give over brains and bodies to serve as nodes along a library information systems, in effect becoming cyborgs. Finally, contemporary issues around digital systems and affect are examined as a possible means to provide a bulwark against the complete surrender to capitalist information flows.