Tuesday, June 10

A Force of History

I recently read a thought provoking article by Robert Darnton of the New York Review of Books. Basically he's discussing the issue of books going digital and the pros and cons of this process as well as the fact that books have been a force of history since the development of writing. As convenient as a digitized library sounds, in my mind nothing, no matter how fancy the technology, will ever replace the look, feel, smell and overall experience of reading a book. The discussion on digitizing books is interesting to me, but I love thinking of history in broad strokes, and one paragraph in the article really got my attention:

"When strung out in this manner, the pace of change seems breathtaking: from writing to the codex, 4,300 years; from the codex to movable type, 1,150 years; from movable type to the Internet, 524 years; from the Internet to search engines, nineteen years; from search engines to Google's algorithmic relevance ranking, seven years; and who knows what is just around the corner or coming out the pipeline?"

When you lay it all out like that, it certainly makes you think. As rapidly as things are progressing, I guess we should be expecting the next big thing in information technology to show up, oh, about sometime tomorrow.

No comments:

Post a Comment