The Future of the Book

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3 comments on “The Future of the Book
  1. Jack Weiss says:

    Fascinating video yet it leaves me wondering about the net effect of not only (a) information overload, which may be a cause of ADD, (b) but the consequences of diminished ‘quiet time’ for contemplation and reflection on what we have read or learned. This video also left me thinking about how the subjective experience of time passing was so different for people living in the 19th century, as opposed to those in the late 20th century, let alone ourselves in the second decade of the millennium. it truly seems as though staying awake 24 hours a day, 7 days a week would still be insufficient to keep up with the tsunami of information in all electronic forms that are drowning us. In Ken Burns’ television series on the American Civil War, he read from letters that ordinary soldiers had written; these ordinary soldiers, schooled in one room school houses with very little to read other than a one-volume collected works of Shakespeare and the King James Bible, wrote eloquent, highly literate, and moving letters. Contrast this with ourselves, well educated, stimulated with films, recorded music,books, the Internet, computer games, and barely able to do little more than text or dash off a two sentence email reply. There is a true dumbing-down of society; we have gone from Abraham Lincoln, Bismark, and Count Cavour to Sarah Palin, Tony Blair, and George W. Bush Jr.

    Here is an amusing video that touches on the idea of Information Overload:


  2. Jack Weiss says:

    Prof. Pattuelli: One more thought on your posted video about the possible future of the book, “enhanced” by these assorted software packages to resemble computer games gone haywire; how can they improve on a sentence as harmonious, symmetrically balanced and gorgeous as this:

    It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way-in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

    In short, what is the point? Will Day-Glo paints and glitter make a painting by Mchelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio any better? Or is it best suited for the neo-primitive paintings of Jean-Michel Basquiat?


    • Eloise Flood says:

      The one that I actually found most interesting was Alice, the application that allows one to participate in a story. Though I can’t see it working with most published fiction, it could lead to a fun sub-genre of immersive fiction experiences. However, I’d think the potential legal liability would deter most publishers from participating.

      In general I tend to agree with Jack. Not all information is equal, and there is certainly such a thing as too much information. What we need is not ways to find and bring in MORE, but filters and organizers for what we already have, to make it less overwhelming.

      In short, librarians….


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by Hugh McLeod

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Pratt Institute School of Information
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