Feast of St Joseph the Righteous of Arimathea
The Case for Books: Past, Present and Future by Robert Darnton
NEITHER A Luddite lamenting the digital age, nor an unabashed futurist trumpeting paper and ink’s demise, Robert Darnton (former journalist, eighteenth-century historian, and director of Harvard University Library) offers a perspective as modern as his electronic publishing project, Gutenberg-e, and as timeless as that of Italian classicist Niccolo Perotti, who expressed disappointment with the newly invented printing press in 1471: “Because now that anyone is free to print whatever they wish, they often disregard that which is best and instead write, merely for the sake of entertainment, what would be best forgotten.” These eleven essays appear in reverse chronological order: predictions about the future of books, a look at contemporary online publishing, and reflections on the “information ages” preceding this one. A pioneer in the field of the history of books, Darnton backs up his assertions about the “staying power of the old-fashioned codex” and celebrates the tactile beauty of paper. As a leading academic library, he addresses “Google and the Future of Books” and champions online access to scholarship.
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