The Great Digitization and the Quest to Know Everything

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9781594772436: The Great Digitization and the Quest to Know Everything
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Examines the pitfalls, perils, and promises offered by the digitization of books

· Reveals the danger digitized books pose to the very idea of “free” reading

· Poses the questions society should be asking itself before heedlessly embracing this brave new world

The digitization of books is an immense blessing for the exchange and diffusion of knowledge, enabling access in even the most remote locations. Yet this new technology has awakened perils as dangerous as those that reduced libraries to ashes in ancient Alexandria and modern Nazi Germany. The very force that makes it possible for books to reach a global audience also has the power to hold them hostage and even destroy their integrity in a manner that is unprecedented.

Books on Fire author Lucien Polastron points out that the dematerialization of knowledge raises new legal challenges about the quality and authenticity of information. Attempts to create a virtual library are changing the very nature of reading, which has been marked by the act of physically holding and moving forward through an author’s work rather than viewing a series of sound bite length snippets. The transfer of the traditional paper book into a searchable entity on the computer represents a revolution even more dramatic than the one triggered by Gutenberg’s printing press. This revolution is akin to the replacement of the scroll by the codex, which likewise changed the way humans could receive information and structure their thoughts. Yet despite its broad easy access, the profiteers of this new commercial domain may render the very idea of “free” reading obsolete. Polastron poses questions others are ignoring in a headlong rush to embrace what is still a very ambiguous future.

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TECHNOLOGY / SOCIOLOGY

The digitization of books is an immense blessing for the exchange and diffusion of knowledge, enabling access in even the most remote locations. Yet this new technology has awakened perils as dangerous as those that reduced libraries to ashes in ancient Alexandria and modern Nazi Germany. The very force that makes it possible for books to reach a global audience also has the power to hold them hostage and destroy their integrity in a manner that is unprecedented.

Books on Fire author Lucien Polastron points out that the dematerialization of knowledge raises new legal challenges about the quality and authenticity of information. Attempts to create a virtual library are changing the very nature of reading, which has been marked by the act of physically holding and moving forward through an author’s work rather than viewing a series of sound bite length snippets. The transfer of the traditional paper book into a searchable entity on the computer represents a revolution even more dramatic than the one triggered by Gutenberg’s printing press. This revolution is akin to the replacement of the scroll by the codex, which likewise changed the way humans could receive information and structure their thoughts. Yet despite its broad easy access, the profiteers of this new commercial domain may render the very idea of “free” reading obsolete. Polastron poses questions others are ignoring in a headlong rush to embrace what is still a very ambiguous future.

LUCIEN X. POLASTRON is the author of Books on Fire, an extensive study on the destruction of libraries throughout history, which was awarded the 2004 Société des Gens de Lettres Prize for Nonfiction/History. He is a historian specializing in Chinese and Arab studies and has also written a monumental study of paper, Le Papier: 2000 ans d’histoire. He lives in Paris.

About the Author:

Lucien X. Polastron is the author of Books on Fire, an extensive study on the destruction of libraries throughout history, which was awarded the 2004 Société des Gens de Lettres Prize for Nonfiction/History. He is a historian specializing in Chinese and Arab studies and has also written a monumental study of paper, Le Papier: 2000 ans d’histoire. He lives in Paris.

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Book Description Inner Traditions Bear and Company, United States, 2009. Paperback. Condition: New. Original ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book. Examines the pitfalls, perils, and promises offered by the digitization of books - Reveals the danger digitized books pose to the very idea of free reading - Poses the questions society should be asking itself before heedlessly embracing this brave new world The digitization of books is an immense blessing for the exchange and diffusion of knowledge, enabling access in even the most remote locations. Yet this new technology has awakened perils as dangerous as those that reduced libraries to ashes in ancient Alexandria and modern Nazi Germany. The very force that makes it possible for books to reach a global audience also has the power to hold them hostage and even destroy their integrity in a manner that is unprecedented. Books on Fire author Lucien Polastron points out that the dematerialization of knowledge raises new legal challenges about the quality and authenticity of information. Attempts to create a virtual library are changing the very nature of reading, which has been marked by the act of physically holding and moving forward through an author s work rather than viewing a series of sound bite length snippets. The transfer of the traditional paper book into a searchable entity on the computer represents a revolution even more dramatic than the one triggered by Gutenberg s printing press. This revolution is akin to the replacement of the scroll by the codex, which likewise changed the way humans could receive information and structure their thoughts. Yet despite its broad easy access, the profiteers of this new commercial domain may render the very idea of free reading obsolete. Polastron poses questions others are ignoring in a headlong rush to embrace what is still a very ambiguous future. Seller Inventory # ADB9781594772436

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