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Google Book Art

A nice collection of images from Google Books, showing the visual and informational paradoxes of digitization — what is lost, found, and fused. I’m drawn in particular to the accidental nature of it all. We have many examples in the history of reproduction technologies of what is known as remediation …

The Premature Death of Dust

Ahh, dusty books. A charming piece in the Times Higher Education on the days when students used to go to libraries to do research. Now we just sit at our computers. Where’s the fun in that? It’s on old quip of course. And not at all accurate. Yes, some professors …

Vestiges of Media

My friend Ina Ferris has been thinking a lot lately about the relationship between books and remnants — the way books were integral during the nineteenth century to think about how cultural forms and practices persist past their time. The book was itself already seen as a vestige during the …

The Finest Paper in North America

A nice story at the NY Times on N. America’s most highly regarded paper maker, Timothy Barrett. His paper, which he harvests from Japanese kozo trees in Iowa, is used for some of the most valuable archival projects, from Mozart scores to the U.S. Constitution. Beyond being a nice reminder …

Piracy and the Historical Record

A nice piece at The Technologizer on the importance of piracy for the preservation of digital materials. Like an ant that works as part of a larger system it doesn’t understand, the selfish action of each digital pirate, when taken in aggregate, has created a vast web of redundant data …

Books, Things, and Piles

An exquisite exhibit by Laurie Rubin at Afterimage on images of her books. When Rubin discusses her collecting habits she remarks that what matters to her is often the fact that her books belonged to other people. “My collection,” she writes, includes other people’s diaries, scrapbooks, sketchbooks, and photo albums. …