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Books and the Internet: Increased Connectivity and Dislocation of Cognition: End Of Chirography to Viral Streaming

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The Internet And Books

Computers have advanced greatly because of the ability to handle, manipulate, and calculate large amounts of information.  It has allowed for us all to be able to at first not rely on our mathematical ability and to provide a device that could do it

Computers have advanced greatly because of the ability to handle, manipulate, and calculate large amounts of information. It has allowed for us all to be able to at first not rely on our mathematical ability and to provide a device that could do it

Connectivity - Internet Nerve Connections- Books

Gigantic Books symbolically towering over libraries as a sign of their being live and continuously in our midst

Gigantic Books symbolically towering over libraries as a sign of their being live and continuously in our midst

Barnes and Noble has launched a new Nookcolor, e-reader with color touch screen, and can be used to read books, magazines, newspapers and and expanded array of children's tirltles.It comes with games, Internet browsing, and music streaming

Barnes and Noble has launched a new Nookcolor, e-reader with color touch screen, and can be used to read books, magazines, newspapers and and expanded array of children's tirltles.It comes with games, Internet browsing, and music streaming

Old Fashion Paper Printed Books of yesteryear

Old Fashion Paper Printed Books of yesteryear

Readers of old fashioned books and e-readers are pntificating about which has the higher carbon footprint, a Kindle or a Conventional Book? Well, there are valid points on both sides which we will explore a bit within the Hum

Readers of old fashioned books and e-readers are pntificating about which has the higher carbon footprint, a Kindle or a Conventional Book? Well, there are valid points on both sides which we will explore a bit within the Hum

A kaleidoscopic of viewing screens affording an opportunity to view all beamed up material from diverse sources in one take.

A kaleidoscopic of viewing screens affording an opportunity to view all beamed up material from diverse sources in one take.

Internet Interconnectivity which mirrors the human nervous system

Internet Interconnectivity which mirrors the human nervous system

A University in Venezuela is using a novel method to take books into remote communities and encouraging people to read. Improving Cognition

A University in Venezuela is using a novel method to take books into remote communities and encouraging people to read. Improving Cognition

Books now can be published on the internet through a series of chapters and the authors will control content and get immediate feedback and eliminate storage

Books now can be published on the internet through a series of chapters and the authors will control content and get immediate feedback and eliminate storage

A Screen Grab from the current Google Books Service. The Internet giant is attempting to create the World's largest online library

A Screen Grab from the current Google Books Service. The Internet giant is attempting to create the World's largest online library

While some local book sellers have been hurt by the Internet and other emerging technologies, Monroe Street Books owner Dick Chodkowski as expanded his business and now sells to a world-wide clientele.

While some local book sellers have been hurt by the Internet and other emerging technologies, Monroe Street Books owner Dick Chodkowski as expanded his business and now sells to a world-wide clientele.

Technology and technique also help us to upgrade our diminished cognition health-wise; spiritually and intellectually

Technology and technique also help us to upgrade our diminished cognition health-wise; spiritually and intellectually

What happens when we can't trust what we wee with our own eyes. voyeurs in this caption hear unnerving scenarios behind them, only to discover an empty room on turning around.

What happens when we can't trust what we wee with our own eyes. voyeurs in this caption hear unnerving scenarios behind them, only to discover an empty room on turning around.

Sales of e-books continue to soar, and they seem to be accelerating the Death of Printed books which are on paper

Sales of e-books continue to soar, and they seem to be accelerating the Death of Printed books which are on paper

Retailers are betting that tablet devices may be the big back-to-school sell for this Fall(2011)

Retailers are betting that tablet devices may be the big back-to-school sell for this Fall(2011)

CD and Mobile music fall in 2010, but Vinyl continues its resurgence. This comes partly from live DJs who prefer vinyl over digital and partly form a new generation of collectors who see them as valuable souvenirs

CD and Mobile music fall in 2010, but Vinyl continues its resurgence. This comes partly from live DJs who prefer vinyl over digital and partly form a new generation of collectors who see them as valuable souvenirs

Computers, cell phone and other electronic goods have short shelve lives. As a result, the tremendous amount of waste, much of it toxic, and as hazardous material is shipped to Africa or Asia

Computers, cell phone and other electronic goods have short shelve lives. As a result, the tremendous amount of waste, much of it toxic, and as hazardous material is shipped to Africa or Asia

Not all papers are recyclable in the same way: It depends on inks used; it depends on glues used; it depends on how many times you recycle the same paper

Not all papers are recyclable in the same way: It depends on inks used; it depends on glues used; it depends on how many times you recycle the same paper

A model of the Google Chrome book on display at a product announcement in San Francisco.

A model of the Google Chrome book on display at a product announcement in San Francisco.

Cognitive Connectivity

In these days of fast changing and emerging, merging, inter and intra-acting morphing and submerging technologies and their technological gadgets and the embedded techniques, the past chirographic culture and how it transmitted information to those seeking it, has today gone to be virtually streaming and viral; so, there is a perception as if the present modes of information dissemination and storage are a new phenomenon engendered by these machines, which makes it very important for us to begin to understand how, when and how we got to this point in our mass consuming and the virtual information reality and meaning we are faced with today.

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One other point to note is that J, David Bolter is right that possibly the future computers will emerge as as a new kind of book, expanding and enriching the tradition of writing technologies.

Postman writes" "Since printing created new form of literature when it replaced the handwritten manuscript, it is possible that electronic writing will do the same. But for the moment, computer technology functions more as a new mode of transportation than as a new means of substantive communication."

The computer, in fact, makes possible the fulfillment of Descartes dream of the mathematizing of the world. Attend any conference on telecommunications or computer technology, and you will be attending a celebration of innovative machinery that generates, stores, and distributes more information, more conveniently, at greater speeds than before.

This is the elevation of information to a metaphysical status: information as both the means and end of human creativity. As with so many of the features of all that is modern; the origins of information glut can be traced many centuries back. Nothing could be more misleading than the claim that computer technology introduced the age of information.

The printing press began the age in the early sixteenth century. Forty years After Gutenberg converted an old wine press into a printing machine with movable type, there were presses in 110 cities in six different countries. Fifty years after the press was invented, more than eight million books had been printed, almost all of them filled with information that had previously been unavailable to the average person.

There were books of law, agriculture, politics, exploration, metallurgy, botany, linguistics, pediatrics and even good manners. There were also assorted guides and manulas, the world of commerce rapidly became a world of printed paper through the widespread used of contracts, deeds, promissory notes, and maps."

It is important for us to know the history of books before one can make wild claims about the computer being the originator of the information highway and provider, as it exists today. Postman further informs us thus: 'So much new information, of so many diverse types, was generated that printers could no longer use the scribal manuscript as their model of a book.'

By the mid-sixteenth century, printers began to experiment with new formats, among the most important innovations being the use of Arabic numerals to number pages (The first known example of such pagination is Johann Froben's first edition of Erasmus' New Testament, printed in 1516.)

Pagination led inevitably to more accurate indexing, annotation, and cross-referencing, which in turn was accompanied by innovations in punctuation marks, section heads, paragraphing, title-paging, and running heads. by the end of the sixteenth century, the machine-made book had a typographic form and a look comparable to books of today."

By the time Gutenberg introduced and invented the printing press, the bible was the most widely read manuscript. The print culture itself present a myriad of problems of the day. The printing of books presented itself to the criticism that it was a runaway technology that would lead to a cultural crisis.

Marshall McLuhan pointed to the loss of familiar historical perspectives. He pronounced historical modes of inquiry as obsolete and the Age of Gutenberg as an end. He pointed out to the special problems posed by print media. The increased load and rate of publication leading Mc Luhan to pointing out how this overload of printing could lead to incoherence.

There were consequences that came about with the importance of the shift from script to print in the Fifteenth century, This facilitated for shift in the areas which were experiencing change in modern Europe. The shift from script to print meant that a large ensemble of changes, and one of them was that an increased reliance on rule books was not good as learning then up to that time.

The shift from the books to the Internet brings along some changes which affected the culture of reading books. The discipline brought about reading a whole book was seemingly going to be lost in the change. While the internet brings about global connectivity, at the same time it erodes what book reading does and has as it effects the reader.

On the net, the logger or webber surfs, logs and can retrieve information form a diverse sources. They can also read, but the reading activity is a different activity from reading a book. There are pop ups and other activities that one engages in on the internet; there are Blogs and newspapers, magazines and scholarly research papers and so forth.

The explosion of the Internet brought with it a new language. The language of books can be used by readers to develop the themes of their own books. The language of the Internet is now used by both laymen, linguistics and language students to develop their newly acquired multi-tasking skills and web surfing know-how and emerging, merging and submerging ways and meanings of viral communications of communication:

Memes - memes can refer to an idea, concept, phrase or any other unit of information that goes viral; or it can mean pictures, videos, links and other content that spreads quickly from on person to another through the Internet.

Very early on, it was understood that the printed book had created an information crisis and that something needed to be done to maintain to maintain a measure of control. The altered form of the book was one means. ... The rapid growth of common schools was made obvious and possible as a necessary response to the anxieties and confusion by information on the loose.

The invention of what is called curriculum was a logical step toward organizing, limiting, and discriminating among available sources of information. Schools were, in short, a means of governing the ecology of infornation." Today we see the proliferation of laptops which have changed the culture and facade of classroom aesthetics, forms and ways of knowing and learning

Books and Reading.

From the early times of the first printed books, the most important of them was the Bible and the Book of Nature. Even when the books were printed, they did not immediately effect the spreading of knowledge as they do today.. Galileo was of the view that books like the book of nature although they were open for public inspection, was not really given to eery man to know and read. But as books become common over the years, and in the US, books were made available to its population, the acquirement of more knowledge, along with rhetoric developed. This in turn encouraged the readers of books to acquire ways of reading analytically and be able to write their own books too.

A person reads for many reasons and in many different ways. Whatever ones reason and method , reading is most rewarding when you do it in thoughtful spirit, and with an alert and inquiring mind, preferably with a pencil or pen in hand. Reading analytically in this way helps one get more form your reading because you will remember and understand what you read fully. Analytical reading will be useful to a person and all the aspects of their lives. Reading analytically helps one succeed in school, excel in the workplace, and better interact with the world around one. Among all these positive outcomes, one of the greatest benefits of analytical reading is that it helps people become better writers. By becoming an active reader this in turn makes one becomes a stronger writer. By becoming more familiar with the different type of writing, and this sharpens the mind and critical thinking skills; and, in the process learn how good writers make decisions in their writing.

Another way of looking at the effects of the Internet on books, is that Librarians find the internet to be a blessing. It provides opportunities to add services and expand their collections; but, it has also increased user expectations and contributed to techno-stress. The net, today, is challenging librarians with new problems of access, preservation, serious demands on budgets and occupying information professionals with legal problems and controversies. While the Internet seems to be looming on the technological horizon, you see, from the library of Congress, Center for the Book promoting literacy in the libraries and encouraging historical study of books, reading and printed word. The center's web site www.loc.gov/cfbook is a resource linking 250 organizations, country-wide. Another site worth looking at is www..loc.gov/bookfest is involved with community reading projects throughout the country. Books also presented knowledge as managed by the few; Internet is knowledge provided for and managed by the many. Books and those who control their production are characterized by a style of feudal academic,knowledge exchange system, whereas, the web creates a new forum and format of reading and learning and intellect, yet has the ability to disconnect focus, concentration and book reading. Jacques Ellul, quoted in Norris 1991:158 says: "The answer is simple enough, this definition ... is false [that's right: false, not true] and feeble: it supposes a bad [that's right, bad, not good] and feeble reading of numerous texts, first of all mine, which therefore must finally be read or re-read." Although a disconnect is happening between reading books and surfing the net, there is some considerable writing and reading on the net that it might take some time to discard the culture of reading a book. I know there are some internet book already used and circulating, I still think book reading structures the mind and disciplines thinking and writing. This will make relevant Clifford Geertz's point that: "intellectual debate is to allow its participants to vex each other with ever greater precision, precisely in order to ensure some measure of overall intellectual advance." The discipline acquired from reading books and writing books is what streamlines and constructs our minds to be able to advance our peers and those in the past. I am not sure how it is translating in terms of reading in the Internet in these days of blogging, texting and twittering. I think some publishing rules have been relaxed and grammar rules and the efficiency one finds in books is more lax. Books are still being bought and sold and published, so maybe the world of reading books is still open to anyone who wants to read books, or, as the Internet has afforded, listened to. Books teach us how to 'read between the lines' and they also help and teach us how to 'write between the lines'. The latter is attained if one is determined to do the most efficient kind of reading because we buy books and own them, but we need to read them.

Some people by best sellers and leave them unread and untouched. Others have many books, read some, dipped into most of them, the rest left still new and never ever been read. Some have a few books or many. Each and everyone has dogears, decrepit and dilapidated, shaken and loosened by continual used and marked, underlined, highlighted and scribbled from back to front. We can simply say that the last man owns his books. Books teach us to learn whenever we mark them up. This helps us to keep awake, and active reading is a thinking, and when we think we tend to express it with words, spoke or written. In the end, writing helps us remember the thoughts one had, or the author's thoughts. Books teach us speed reading, which does not necessarily make one intelligent, because some books need to be read faster, others slowly. Intelligent reading means being able to read different things differently and according to their worth. Marked books cannot be borrowed to others, but they remain a kind of intellectual diary, and lending them out is like giving your mind away to someone. Books, and their other effects are too numerous to list here, but, I thought it was important to remind us of some values that are brought about by books and reading books.

Are we Now More Intelligent?

Nicholas Carr writes: "Is Google making us stupid? Over the past few years I have had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or someone, has been tinkering with my brain, remapping the neural circuitry, reprogramming the memory. My mind is not going-as far as I can tell, but it's changing. I am not thinking the way I used to think. I can feel it strongly when I am reading. Immersing myself in a book or a lengthy article used to be easy. My mind would get caught-up in the narrative or the turns of the argument, and I'd spend hours strolling through the long stretches of prose. That's rarely the case anymore. Now my concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages. I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do. I feel as if I'm always dragging my wayward brain back to the text. The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle." What seems to be coming through is that the users of the Internet are not reading online in the traditional sense of reading a book with its chapters. The usage of the internet has its own transforming effects on our ability to read and think, as we did when reading and thinking what we read on the book. Carr states that the internet promises to have particularly far reaching effect on cognition. He further states that: "The Internet, an immeasurably powerful computing system, is subsuming most of our other intellectual technologies. It's becoming our map and our clock, our printing press and our typewriter, our calculator and our telephone, and our radio and TV". Are we really becoming smarter or dumber? The racy nature of the culture of the internet, surfing, googling, e-mailing, posting, commenting, texting, faxing, blogging, searching, all seem to affect and effect our attention span and 'reprogramming our memories',as noted by Carr. In this case, technology and the technique embedded within it are taking over the functions of our mental abilities and capabilities; we have already ceded our core being and acquired a dependency on all the emerging technological gadgets and their 'efficiencies- seems like technology has taken over our lives, and we have an indefatigable craving and dependency on its wizardry and coping techniques embedded therein.

Carr wraps his rapport thus: "When the net absorbs a medium, that medium is re-created in the Net's image. It injects the medium's content with hyperlinks, blinking ads, and other digital gewgaws, and it surrounds the content with the content of all the other media it has absorbed. A new e-mail message, for instance, may announce its arrival as we're glancing over the latest headlines at a newspaper's site. The result is to scatter our attention and diffuse concentration." Old media have little choice but play by the new-media's rule. Never has a communications system played so many roles in our lives-or exerted such broad influence over our thoughts, as the Internet does today. Yet, for all that has been written about the Net, there's been little consideration of how, exactly, it's reprograming us. The net's intellectual ethic remains obscure." Carr has given us a sense of what and how these activities infuse,diffuse mesh and morph within our consciousness and intellect And ways of learning and life. The advance that have been made in interactive and inter-connective telecommunications has but in a few years changed the way we communicate and interact with one another, understand, know, perceive, talk,w write- the whole gamut. The Internet itself is not a dangerous entity. It is a positive and highly beneficial to improving our education, information exchange and commerce in the coming years. It also has a downside of effects that we will need to explore in another Hub.

Is the Internet a Clear and Present Danger?

But, the darker side of the medium is characterized by Dave Barry this way: "The Internet as a worldwide network of university, government,business, and private computer systems, run by thirteen year old named Jason." One could say that the way this technology is evolving the Internet is accessible to children as it is inaccessible to many adults. Children have accessibility to this new technology independent of their parents. Whenever the policy makers consider the Internet in the public interest, the whole public and children must be seen as individual participant in the cyber juggernaut.

We still need to understand the media that we are handling and d We tend to glorify technological process and not look at its effects and affects. We become blinded by its innovations as a kid is blinded by a new and shiny toy. But, there is a method to this fast moving stem. Carr interestingly states: "The idea that our minds should operate as high speed data processing machine not only built into the workings of the Internet, it is the network's reigning business model as well. The faster we surf across the Web, the more links we click and pages we view, the more opportunities Google and other companies gain to collect information about us and to feed us advertisements. Most of the proprietors of the Commercial Internet have a financial stake in collecting the crumbs of data we leave behind as we flip from link to link, the more crumbs, the better. The last thing these companies want is to encourage leisurely reading, or slow, concentrated thought. It's their economic interest to drive us to distraction"..

Book printing and prolonged reading brought about by books has readers who display the incoherence the internet creates creating a dislocation of cognition to people. We are still learning the effects and affects of this new system of super knowledge and so forth. Are we getting any smarter because we use the internet more or read books less? We will find out more on this topic on the research and the time needed to be much clearer. The Internet can be of service if it can be placed in the service of humanity, and promotes our integral development for the benefit of all. If increased connectivity leads to cognitive dissonance, we must then work very hard to put the Internet into coherence. Take the example of Book Publishing and the Internet. Today's technology allows writers who want to author books in front of the audience can do so. Unlike the traditional publishing customs that take from 18 to 24 months, or some which require some substantial investment of the author's money, a novel written in series on the Internet let writers control their content, track hits and read feedbacks. It also eliminates storage and inventory requirements.

Spatial changes give a tone to a communication, accent it, and at times even override the spoken world. The flow and shift of distance between people as they interact with each other is part and parcel of the communication process. The normal conversational distance between strangers illustrates how important are the dynamics of space interaction. In social and intra-interpersonal relationships give birth to socialized interactive reactions. The normal conversational distance between strangers is instantaneous and automatic the other person backs up. And if he gets too close again,, back we go again. For instance, one can observe this in American behavior, who will back up the entire length of a long corridor while a foreigner whom he considers pushy tries to catch up with him. This scene has been enacted thousands of times - one person trying to increase the distance in order to be at ease, while the other tries to decrease it for the same reason, either one being aware of what was going on. If one were to observe then, we have here an example of the tremendous depth to which culture can condition behavior.

In addition, new technologies linked to computers, telephones, digital devices, satellites, and other fiber optic lines have dramatically multiplied and personalized the media choices available to the public. They have also created a culture through which they condition our behavior, actions, thoughts and reality. This in turn affect us in a myriad ways; the bewildering array of communication technologies were under development by large corporations and smaller entrepreneurs, with many devices being promoted as the communication technology that could dominate the others in the future.(J. Bittner) But by the mid-1990s it was clear that no single technology or channel would dominate the communication media landscape of the future. Instead, people learned to pick and choose from different media, all of them according to a wider range of choices. In the past, new technologies were billed as the key to the mass audience, but in the 1990s new media technologies and services were touted for their ability to pinpoint, target, and deliver information to targeted segments of the public and turn profits at the same time. They made their money not from mass audience, but by slicing, targeting, and reaching desired segments in the mass audience. These technological advances accelerated the media transition from mass communication to class communication. These in turn these class relations into mass communicated, media dominated conditioned relationships.

Throughout the electronic age, people have become accustomed to interacting with digital media indirectly, mediated through screens and peripheral devices. But now, as digital technology becomes invisibly embedded in everyday things, the "feeling" of everyday things is also increasingly becoming ensconced, encrypted and embedded in digital technology. In many senses, physical objects are becoming more important. In an immediate way, they can help us define new systems of relationships with digital information. This shapes how perceptions and gestures formed through our experiences with physical products can effectively liberty to the relationship between brain, body and digital media interface." People have learned how patterns and archetypes from products design now frame new ways for people to orientate themselves around information; how that principle of stimulating one sense through another to create multi-sensory interactions. People have gained cognizance of the new developments at the collision point between the "real world" objects and "digital interfaces."

The Death of the Book; Emergence of the E-Book

In regards to the death of books, S. David Mash informs us thus: "In his 1979 book, "The Micro Millennium, Evans forecasted that due to electronic media, "the 1980s will see the book as we know it, and as our ancestors created and cherished it, begin a slow but steady side into oblivion.... there are a number of reasons this is imminent." Evans reasons notwithstanding."the book as we know it" did better than survive the decade - it thrived at unprecedented levels in terms of both publishing volume and sales. At the end of the 1980s, The Center for the Application of Technology to Biblical and Theological Studies published its forecast that by the end of the 1990s, every college student would be required to own a PC, e-mail would include talking replicas of the individual sending the e-mail in full color 3-D image and 20D40% of White collar workers would operate from intelligent video work centers in their home. Book reading robots would be developed and over 90% of the word's extant print media would be in digital form. All magazines would be in video format and very little information would continue to be printed on paper.But the book has thrived in the 1990s as it did in the 1980s at unprecedented levels in terms of both publishing volume and sales," (see Picture in Picture gallery).

Paperless Reality and the emerging E- Book Industry

Given the advantages of the humble book, it seems inconceivable that it could ever be replaced by an electronic reader. But, just as the music, film and television industries have been forced to grapple with the consequences of the internet, publishers are facing up to the digital threat. In the latest in a series of industry moves to embrace the digital world, Random House announced that it would allow readers to download chapters of books. HarperCollins, which is owned by New Corporation, parent company of the The Times, has revealed plans to allow readers access to previews of new titles online. British and American publishers have thus far rushed to digitalize their back catalogues. The slow death of the book may be with us. Most bibliophiles balk at the merest hint that digital e-books could replace "ral books". But vinyl-lovers sneered at CDs. Those who lovingly categorized their CD collections were seduced, in turn, by the i-Pod Just as the ancient poets who sung the of the wrath of Achilles from memories, were indignant when some young turk suggested writing the Iliad down for the first time.

Much has been written about the tactile relationship that a reader has with a book that will fend off the Internet challenge. But the real savior of books has been their simplicity and their portability, as well as lack of a real alternative. A new generation of e-books is emerging that will will challenge the real book. Amazon has launched its Kindle e-book, which although it has not yet been as effective outside the US, the bibliophiles should be very afraid. Also, Barnes and Noble has launched its 'Nookcolor reader' touch screen, which in effect shows the emergence of various kinds of e-books as the decades and years roll bye. It may be difficult, and painful, to predict that the e-book will vanquish the real book, but publishers have to work on the assumption that it could happen. Businesses and reference books are already making the transition to e-books. The ability to search chunks of texts an carry huge reference books in your palm is invaluable to some professions. Already, law libraries stand empty as lawyers search cases on their computers. The transition for the fiction reader will be sower, but it is a real possibility that the real book will suffer the same fate as the law libraries.

Less Paper or More Downloads

Reading a Book Is still Fundamental

According to David Mash, "There's a saying that "prediction is difficult, especially of the future." Yet the death-of-the-book-as-we-know-it forecasters ply their trade with confidence. It seems there is no test oft he prophet in this business an every few years the terms of the prophecy are retooled to reflect the latest technology. Everyone has a new epiphany and the cycle rolls over once more. With the new millennium before us [already now past its first decade- my addition], we are assured anew that paper-based information delivery is on the verge of total collapse(again) [and even to date- my addition], and that full content, high-quality virtual libraries and e-books-a-million sites will spontaneously materialize over the Internet to fill the void.. Access will be unencumbered and inexpensive(or free). soon, we are promised, e-book reading devices costing less than &100 will weigh half a pound and hold one million titles. And Steven Levy admonishes: "So, "Forget Paper... here come e-books...the physical object consisting of bound dead trees in shiny wrapper is headed for the antique heap.... books are goners." Indeed, the children of students beginning college in the fall of 200 "are maybe never going to see a book." [see photo in the Picture Gallery Wherein one see how children in the Fall of 2011 will begin using Tablets], and somewhat solidifying the point just made by Susan Mallow. For a quarter of century the prospect of the death of the book has receded on the horizon . Reality can be downright downright stubborn! Decades of evocative visions have produced an evocative vision industry. But tangible assets making it possible to abate our dependence on paper-based information remain far from realized. Even with the phenomenal growth growth in size and importance of the Internet and other digital information formats, paper-bsed information continues to grow unchecked. Through the decade of the 1990s, the period of the rise of the Internet as the latest hope for a digitized future, paper-based information delivery steadily increased at levels exceeding the pre-Internet era. A recent four year study(Tulip Final Report), among nine leading leading American Universities(Carnegie Mellon University), concluded, against prior expectations of study participants, that the end of paper-based information is not on the visible horizon. Reason include more expense, less user satisfaction, and greater technical complexities associated with managing large digital collections vis-a-vis large paper collections.(David Mash)

Less paper and more downloads means that a lot of people are going to be left out of the educational loop. This means that a lot of people are going to be made and left more illiterate before the advent of the computer, and at the same will have less access to books because the new technological Internet juggernaut has about taken over written text in a book format. According to Jose Marti: "Education was a natural right, and by being born, everyone acquired "the right to be educated, and then, in turn, the duty of contributing to the education of of other(Each one teach one; each one reach one- African American mantra and saying). Education was the one fundamental necessity for democracy and freedom, for "an educated country will always be free." Marti adds: "Education should be so common among women that one who has it is not noticed nor does she herself notice it. ...The men or women who lacked elementary knowledge would not be able to fulfill themselves, either individually or socially. Knowing how to read is knowing how to walk. Knowing how to write is know how to ascend. Feet, arms, wings, all these are given to man by his first and most humble schoolbooks. ...Ignorance and superstition makes barbarians of men in in every nation. The lesson to be learned from studying the history of man (told by way of his houses) was that man is the same everywhere, and appears and progresses in the same way, and makes and thinks the same things, their only differences being those determined by the lands in which they live. All peoples of the world know one another better and visit back and forth. There are more young people than old in tis world. Most of humanity is composed of youths and children. Youth is the age of growth and development, activity and liveliness, imagination and impetuousity. When you have failed to take good care of your heart and mind while young, you may well fear that your old ge will be desolate and sad."

Finally, Marti writes: "An ignorant people can be deceived by superstition and become servile. An instructed people will always be strong and free. an ignorant man is on his way to becoming a beast, and a man instructed in knowledge and conscience is on his way to being a god. One must not hesitate to choose between a nation of gods and a nation of beasts. The best way to defend our rights is to know them well; in so doing, one has faith and strength; every nation will be unhappy in proportion to how poorly educated are its inhabitants. A nation of educated men will always be a nation of free men. Education is the only means of being saved from slavery. A nation enslaved to men of another is as repugnant as being enslaved to the men of one's own."

One of the topics left out in this article is books written by Black writers. Nathaniel Sheppard writes: "There is a new Black literary club on the Web that I think you will enjoy. It is called the African American Literature Book Club at www.aalbc.com. Started in march, the site offers more than 250 pages of content, a virtual poetry reading section with sound clips of poets reading their works, hundreds of book descriptions and dozens of book reviews. There also are writer resource material, movie review, an Afrocentric crossword puzzle and an at-times interesting stream of consciousness column by someone named Clinque. You can discuss books, writing, marketing and other areas of interest related to literature on the site's discussion forum. The literary club club offers free Web page design, hosts chats with authors and links to other sites of interest to African Americans."

Sheppard adds: "The book club partners with Barnes and noble, which provides a link to the bookstore allowing you to buy books online. Be warned: The Barnes and Noble site, with the lure of big discounts, can be expensive. You can browse other Web sites for a better deal. For example, Drum and spear Books (www.drumandspear.com, another online service that specializes in African-American literature, offers a 20 percent discount on most of its inventory. The well-organized site has a new releases page, a section for children's titles, as well as romance, and also sells calendars, crafts and gourmet cuisine. The African American Literature Book Club has books by Chinua Achebe, Maya Angelou, and one gets a list of their works, which if purchased in total would gobble-up ones purse. The AALBC increases everyone's knowledge of the richness that is African American Literature and a forum for free and open exchange of ideas and opinions on African American Literture." The even offer it in the Blog a Kindle Edition)

According to Sheppard: "It accomplishes these goals, to a degree, despite a Web page whose top level fails to clearly lay out a path for this. Rather than establish a road map visitors could ollow and make most of this site, the book club's appeals for support. Visitors are left to explore the site by clicking on one of the 14 navigation buttons. Nonetheless, once inside this hidden jewel of a site, there are ample features hold your attention and enhance your appreciation of Black authors and their literature. The site's promo says it contains profiles of 150 authors. Click the Author profile button to go to the authors section. Its text too, is primarily concerned with sales, but their page has navigation buttons on the left for the list of authors grouped by category: females, males, new authors, poets, gay and lesbian, Harlem Renaissance and religious and spiritual. The link to female authors takes you to a page that lists 14 writers. Clicking on a name pops up lists on their works, photos of book covers and some reviews. But there is a little, if anything, to tell you about the authors. It is the same with the male authors link. Of 18 listed, only Aesop from ancient greece is profiled. You either know the others or get to know them thorugh the works that are highlighted."

We read further from Sheppard when he states: "Perhaps the most useful and complete area of this site is its Writer Resources section. It is a model of what the rest of the site could be. It first offering is a list of 2,600 publishers, which can be downloaded in Microsoft Excel spreadsheets software through FTP download. It also contains the e-mail addresses of more than 900 media outlets authors could use to get their materials published, a list of African American bookstores organized by states, a list of dozens of magazines that accept poetry and other submissions, ad a list of reading groups organized by location. ...Another touch is their site's Virtual Poetry Reading page from which you can click on the photos of writers and hear sound clip of them reading their works. This page features authors such as R. Spotty King, Jaci LaMon, Angelou, brooke susan parker, Rita Dove and David Hunter. If you want to weigh-in with your own opinions or reviews of books, you can do so in Thumper's Corner, the site's message board discussion area. Several threaded discussions already are underway on authors, their works and issues in Black Literature. Access is from the site's main page." By now, this site had improved a lot and it is worth checking. This brings about the good uses of the internet and the propagation of books and reading- whether online or the book itself.

The hope is that the new technologies and the systems, Internet in this case, will not take over our abilities and capabilities to be diverse in our reading and independent in our thinking, and unique in our behaviors, it will or might only enhance our reading, which has not yet been the case. A mass public, dominated by the culture of new technologies and gadgets, which creates a culture in this consuming milieu o new high tech, might end up losing their authentic human-beingness. Also, we are positing and arguing that the Internet is chaos, depended on the order we bring to it individually, to manage it, or that our liberty depends on chaos which is to misunderstand the Internet and the nature of our liberty. Books in this case will remain the guiding light in the era of darkness and ignorance- books and reading will always remain fundamental.

Technical Progress Is Always Ambiguous

Our last example has to do with the problem of the intellectual culture of the masses. True, today's technical means permit a mass culture to exist. Television allows people who never visited a theatre in their lives to see performances of great classics. Paris Match, through its articles, allows masses of people who would be in total ignorance without such articles to attain to a certain literary (and even to a certain aesthetic) culture. But,on the other side of the ledger, it must be recorded that this same technical progress leads to an ever increasing cultural superficiality. Technical progress absolutely forbids certain indispensable conditions of a genuine culture, viz., reflection and opportunity for assimilation. We are indeed witnessing the creation of knowledge, since we are in possession of the means of knowing what we could never have known before; but it is nevertheless a superficial development because it is one which is purely quantitative.

The intellectual no longer has any time to mediate on a book and must choose between two alternatives: either he reads through a whole collection of books rapidly, of which a little later but a few fragments survive-scattered bits of vague knowledge; or, he takes a year to peruse a few books thoroughly. to do them justice would require months and months; but today's technique forbids any such thing. Exactly the same holds for the problems of imaginaton. We can be in contact with the whole painting and sculpture of humanity; but this availability has no cultural value comparable to spending years studying, statue by statue, the ensemble of artistic works at ones disposal. This in the end penetrates our personality slowly but fully. So that we can see that Technique allows us to progress quantitatively to the level of culture spoken of, but at the same time interdicts us from making any progress in depth. We cannot believe that technique brings us nothing, but we must not think that what i brings is free of charge.

With the coming of the Internet and all the emerging technologies and new gizmos, we are launched into a world of an astonishing degree of complexity; at every step we let loose new problems and raise new difficltues. We succeed progressively in solving these difficulties, but only in such a way that when one has been resolved, we are confronted by another. People have developed a short attention-span due to the nature of the fast moving viral primordial surfing streams. This has affected the ind-depth and deep needed reading into books which would affect our thinking; and our thinking, because of the shortness of time allowed by the new techniques embedded in the type of reading one has to do on the Web, has increased dyslexia and deep thinking that comes with reading whole sets of books. Technical progress is always ambiguous, and such is the progress of technonology in our society.

Networked Books and the Future of Reading

What will the future of reading be like? Will reading long form narratives be imperiled by our fast-paced modern world? We are entering a future [if not already in one], in which we are always connected, receiving feeds, e-mails and phone calls. Cellphones are rapidly becoming portable, as are touchscreen computers. In ten years cell phones and small portable computers will have more memory and capabilities that the best desktops today.. Everything-our pictures, music, work documents, financial information, books, videos, personal records-will be available everywhere, all the time.With WiFi, WiMax, or some other sort of high-speed Internet connection we can look forward of ubiquitous always-on, always connected computers. The difference between virtual and physical reality is rapidly become meaningless and dimly blurred.

Many people already live the connected lifestyle with 'crackberries' giving them a constant feed of e-mail and text. Journalists and bloggers stay constantly online through RSS feeds, Twitter, friendfeeds, e-mail alerts and Facebook alerts and the whole bit. Gamers and 2nd Lifers experience a large portion of their lives in simulated worlds. The present is overwhelming, and a large chunk of the human populace has been made obsolete and without usable skills. The digital world is all around us, but the is a huge chasm of dislocation of cognition as a result of the presence and usage of technology, technique and the fast-paced nature of vial streams. Computers and the new chip technologies are found embedded in our clothes,contact-eye lenses, cars, houses, everywhere where one looks. Fewer people are going to the library and reading physical books and some still have old-fashioned laptops. some of the libraries are not in uses and there are those semi-luddites who cling precariously to reading books, as a way of clinging to the past, but that is a waning and already disappeared culture.

How will the digital world of ubiquitous computing affect our experience of reading? For centuries, reading has played an important role in the development of civilization. Marshall McLuhan has argued that since Gutenberg, we have been "typographic man", defined by our connection to printing technology. in a digital age, will we shift to a civilization that's more visual and oral, and less textual? Will reading become participation in holographic virtual realities akin to the holodeck in Star Trek?

Something About Books And The Internet

Say you browse a used book store and decide to buy a copy of a book you have heard about and haven't gotten to reading. After you start reading the book, you decide to learn more about the author.. You Google his name and notice that Wikipedia has an article detailing his writing and his life, as well as external links to his works, much of which is available free on-line. the page links to interviews, essays, the author's Blog, and his homepage. this set of links offers an enormous accretion of information. a few hears ago, if you picked up a book-uless the author had been around long enough to appear in the Encyclopedia of World Literature or other standard reference works-little biographical or critical information was available,. Now, readers can quickly find and abundance of information online" some of it social and deriving from fans, some of it from the publisher, and some of it from authors savvy at self-promotion.

Some fans create special links and at time create a page that is divided into two sections: the first part defines the novel's technical terms, and the second provides a chapter-by-chapter guide to your selected book. This guide is especially useful it is dense with technical terms relating to the singularity, and someone unfamiliar with the recent memes in science fiction might feel overwhelmed. Many of the guide's terms are recent enough that they do not appear in printed reference works. ... A reader can click on the links as he or she is reading the novels and travel to explanatory or related websisites. tis process makes reading the books more like traversing living documents that interconnect with thousands of other pages. The annotating fans-like the creators of Wikipedia-have created participatory interconnected books. These have come to be commonly known as E-books.

Web Standards for E-Books

According to Joe Clark, "The Internet did not replace television, which did not replace cinema, which did not replace books. E-books aren't going to replace books either. E-books are books, merely with a different form. The electronic book is the latest example of how HTML continues to wi out over competing, often non-standardized, formats. E-books aren't websites, but E-books re distributed electronically. Now the dominant E-book format is XHTML. Web standards take on a new flavor when rendering literature on the screen, and classic assumptions about typography (or "formatting" have to be adjusted). It's for any text distributed online.

"Technology predictions can come back and haunt you," writes Clark. "but this one I'm sure about: The fate of non-HTML formats has been sealed by HTML5 and the iPad. People are finally noticing what was staring them in the face all along - HTML is great for expressing words. The Web is mostly about expressing words, and HTML works well for it. The same holds true for electronic books'

  • E-books are usually not "websites." you can post your book copy as web pages, but E-book as a logical entity is not a website.
  • ePub, the International E-book standard, is HTML (XHTML 1.1 with minor exlusions. Two other formats - certain kinds of "true" XML and DTBook - have equal status in ePub; most developers use XHTML.
  • Every reader under the sun except the Amazon Kindle can display ePub electronic books. (A kindle can also convert HTML to displayable format, presumably AZW

Every article on electronic books must ritually address the concept of book and the relation of from to book. In this case, I will acknowledge the remarks of Internet pioneer, Jaron Lanier, who warns in his book "You Are Not A gadget", that early software decisions can dramatically constrain what later becomes possible. Others have stated the same thing-the type designers at LettError complained a decade ago about how software tools constrain ideas.

Clark further informs us thusly:

I am articulating an HTML-triumphalist view of E-book production. By backing what I feel is obviously the right horse, I am contributing to the strangulation of new or uninvented form of the book. Advocacy of one digital format is always a process of eugenics; other formats will never be born or will die prematurely. I'm doing that right now by downplaying the importance of ML and DTBook variants of ePub. I am happy to contribute to the death of "vooks" and other multimedia websites masquerading as books. (I do not want a rectangle of video yammering at me while I am trying to read.) They're like animated popunder ads in that no actual "user" wants them, but somebody with an agenda does. ... For other forms of books, advocating strict HTML markup will cause as-yet-unknowable harm. I nonetheless maintain that typical works of fiction, and many works of nonfiction, can be expressed very well indeed on HTML E-books. to attain this degree of expression, we have to rid ourselves of print conventions that do not work in electronic media.

another way of saying this is that books should be as bookish as possible under the circumstances. Printed books need to take advantage of everything print has to offer (resolution, tactility, portability, collectibility), while electronic books must do likewise for their own form (economy, copyability, reflow, searching, indexing, and interlinking).

Using Memes And trends To Search The Internet

William Gibson has recently pointed out that a "Google aura" or "Cloud" surrounds books now, as readers increasingly search Google and Wikipedia while reading. gibson has suggested that everyone creates his or her own novel while reading: tunneling through the text and choosing which terms, memes, and trends to search for over the Internet. Node recently linked to a William Gibson blog in which he posted a playlist of music. This is an intriguing idea because writers can post playlists that they feel would be an ideal accompaniment for their writing. These types of postings are merely one aspect of the 'cloud' formation that surrounds books.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of commercially available E-books from legacy publishing houses were converted to "electronic format" by scanning printed books and turning the resulting QCR book copy into text files. Copy errors are so rampant that E-books are the first category of book in human history that could actually be returned as defective. This in turn led to the equally rampant mythology that E-books are all about "formatting."

so that, scholars have long produced annotated versions of books. ... Annotations date back-at least- to the library of Alexandria,which employed scholars whose role was to annotate and provide marginalia to ancient literature, and to medieval scholastics who annotated the Bible and the Church Fathers. Computers digitized books will make it immeasurably easier for talented amateurs to annotate books or share them with others. This change will turn out to be a mixed blessing. Fan created annotated books will have to be approached with the type of skepticism that we currently approach-or should approach-blogs and web sites. At their best, amateur annotations and marginilia have a promising future with the rise of Web 2.0 and social media, allowing readers to participate more deeply literature, but they rarely, if ever, go through the vetting process and face the unfortunate possibility of being entirely false.

Fan and reader participation is ultimately a good thing because it causes readers to develop a deeper, more active engagement intoliterature. A person can understand a book in a more sophisticated way if they can add annotations that interpret and describe the texy. Strong readers have a tendency to connect different books, and idea within the same book, rather passively absorb information. Publishers and many readers are resistant to technological to books, which have been a useful technology for centuries. However, books are slowly shifting from solitary items to networks. The next major step, which is slowly occurring as Google Books and more publishers digitize their wares, is to get books online and for the readers to start interacting with them Books will resemble living webpages with links, tags, and annotations.

E-Readers vs. Old Fashioned Books

Mr. Green writes that, " A relatively new phenomenon is the E-reader, be it Kindle, iPad, or a number of other new competitors coming into the marketplace. when you think about it, these devices would seem to be more environmentally friendly than your typical paper and cardboard book, even a paperback. Should we be buying our loved-ones e-readers or traditional books at any other time we want to.

There is a certain tactile value to "real" books, just feeling the paper, turning the pages. This is missing when using an e-reader. but on the surface, the e0reader, would seem to be much more green. E-reader vs. Paper Book is a provocative question, one that could just as easily have been "do you prefer flying cars of conventional road going cars?" ... a few short years ago. The key to the answer is that basic tenet of sustainability, life cycle analysis. We must consider not only the tress needed to make paper versus the manufacturing of electronic products, but the shipping costs, fuel and ultimately the energy needed to recycle these materials at the end of the their days. Not to mention, what ultimately happens to E-waste? Where do the non-recycle remains end up?"

Mr. Green's conclusion - as well as a recent New York Times piece on the same subject (which will be added below), was that unless your a fast and furious reader, the energy required to manufacture and then dispose of an e-reader is probably greater than what's needed to make a traditional book. If you're reading 40 or more books per year only your e-reader, that would be the right choice. But if you use it occasionally, probably better to stick to a "regular book". The conclusion is reinforced by a study referenced on the website of TerrePass, a carbon offset business. The New York times article also explored this subject, with a slightly different conclusion, which will be cited below in its entirety.

Green continues: "Using similar data, an outfit call Clantech did a study which looked a the question sort of in reverse, saying if you were to read three books a month over four years, the e-reader would significantly outperform conventional paper books in carbon emitted. Clearly, like many green subjects, ours is a young industry, and as such, definitive answers are hard to come by. At least, subject to interpretation. Either way, I hope that today's generation will read more and watch less, be it through paper or electronic means."

Here's the best answer, though: go to the public library next time you are downtown. Borrow three or four books, finnish them all, then return them next time you're near the library. This is truly the most sustainable way to read: the goo old fashioned public library At the sierra Club Green Home, we preach reduce "reduce, reuse, and recycle" and library books can be read by dozens of people over their lifetime. And once they are finally too dog-eared and beaten up to grace the library shelves, they can be easily recycled, since they are generally all paper (even the leather on deluxe bound editions can be recycled).

Thus concludes green his treatise on the issues of Traditional Printed Books versus E-boos. It is important to note that after he posted this article, a gaggle of commentators took it upon themselves to voice their understanding about the subject discussed above. I will use their comments at the end of this article,. For now, I look at various inputs concerning the subject of Internet E-books and the regular traditionally printed books, and what the pundits have to say about this subject which is the topic of this Hub.

E-Trash Stemming The Tide Of global Trade Of HighTech Toxic Waste

According to Gilles van Kote: "A strange ceremony too place earlier this summer on the fourth floor of a small office building in the center of Seattle, this famously forward looking city in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. Important executives from the South Korean consumer electronics group LG had travelled there to sign an agreement with the Basel Action Network(BAN), and American NGO that opposes the international trade of toxic waste, especially waste derived from computer and electronic product, WEEE (Waster Electrical and Electronic Equipment).

BAN's primary concern is the export of toxic waste from industrial countries to Asia or Africa, where the products are treated - or often just burnt - with little regard for the environmental or health risks involved. The United States has a particularly bad reputation when it comes to this kind of toxic trading. It is the world's top producer and exporter of electronic waste and it has never ratified the 1989 Convention of Basel, which regulates the "trans-boundary movements of hazardous waste and their disposal." BAN estimates that between 50 and 100 WEEE containers travel everyday - quite legally - fro the United States to Hong Kong, Asia's principal port of entry.

The European Union, in contrast, decided in 1997 to forbid the export of dangerous waste to countries that are not members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation andDevelopment )ECD), a wealthy nations club. ...The certified recycling companies that participate in the "e-Stewards" program commit themselves not too export to foreign countries the waster that has been entrusted in their care. Instead, they agree to treat it themselves, using techniques that respect both the environment and take into account health risks.

Yet, Europe is not as virtuous as it seems. WEEE materials are trafficked illegally, with some exporters using fake declarations. According to Puckett, one common practice is to ship electronic waste under the guise that the machines are 'second had goods and can then be resold. In reality, the products are just pure garbage destined for the dump. The companies just want to get rid of WEEE," the BAN head intoned.

If books evolve into a network, rather than remain isolated objects, the transition will help the discovery process. Fans could do a number of things to annotate the book. They could provide hyperlinks to other books by the collection's authors. They could link to other works of that may not be mentioned in the book's introduction, but could help readers gain an historical understanding of the genre. They could link to reference books discussing that particular book, or famous and popular movies that involve the books' themes or critical articles discussing the genre. Networked books will help the long tail of books; obscure and forgotten books could be rediscovered when readers click on hyperlinks cultivated by ardent fans and critics.

Are E-Readers Greener Than Books?

Joe Hutsko informs us: "A new study analyzing the Amazon Kindle electronic book reader's impact on the environment suggests that, on average, the carbon emitted over the life of the device is offset after the first year or use. Kindle "Its's not just buying e-books that matters," said the report's author, Emma Ritch. The key is they displace the purchase of 22.5 physical books." Ms. Ritch said

"The new study finds that e-readers could have a major a major impact on improving the sustainability and environmental impact on the publishing industry,one of the world's most polluting sectors," a statement at the Cleantech's Web site states. . "In 2008, the U.S. book and newspaper industries combined resulted in the harvest in of 125 million trees, not to mention wastewater that was produced or its massive carbon print."

The report asserts that printed books have the highest per-unit carbon footprint - which includes its raw materials, paper production, printing, shipping, and disposal - in the publishing sector. "In the case of a book bought at a bookstore," Ms. Ritch said, Cleantech's measurement "takes into account the fossil fuels necessary to deliver to the bookstore and the fact that 25-36 percent of those books are then returned to the publisher, burning more fossil fuels." After that, Ms. Ritch said, there are three common next steps: "The publisher then incinerates, throws away or recycles them,"

The association of American Publishers reported sales of e-books were up 154.8 per cent by the end of 2009, while overall book sales were down 4.1 percent; 2008 e-books sales totaled $112 million, and some analysts predict that sales may reach $400 million in 2012. Of course, none of this means that e-readers are without environmental impact. Consumer electronics, after all, are not notorious for containing a variety of toxic materials among their circuitry. Valerie Motis, a Sony spokeswoman, said in an e-mail message that the company's e-reader products are free of toxic material , including polyvinyl chloride,or PVC. but Casey Harrell, of Greenpeace, which monitors the environmental impact of consumer electronics, said e-readers remain something of an unknown vaiable. In terms of Kindle or other similar e-book gadgets, I don' know what chemicals are in or out," Harrell said. "Companies will what to brag about their eco-credentials, so if you don't see any mention, they've probably not been eliminated."

According to Sarah Rotman Epps, a media analyst wit Forrester Research in Cambridge Mass., which supplied some of the data for the report, first quarter e-book sales in 2009 accounted for a scant 1.6 percent, or $113 million in revenue, in the $24.3 billion publishing industry. "Right now, e-books are having effectively no positive impact on the environment," she said, nor will they "unless publishers print fewer books in anticipation of e-book sales."

Mr. Harrell suggested another option for those concerned about the environmental footprint of books: "There' always a library," he said'

E-Books Are Damaging Society

Jonathan Franzen has launched a passionate defense of the printed book, warning that our desire of r the instant gratification of e-books is damaging for society. According to an article written on this matter by Anita Singh, "The author of "Freedom and The Corrections", regarded as one o America's greatest living novelist, Jonathan Franzen, he said that consumers had been conned into thinking that they need the latest technology.

"The technology I like is the American paperback edition of Freedom. I can spill water on it and it would still work! So, its's pretty good technology. And what's more, it will work great 10 years from now. so, no wonder the capitalists hate it. It's a bad business model," said Franzen, who famously cuts off all connection to the Internet when he is writing. [Somehow I have this sneaky feeling that he is a Luddite].

"I think, for serious readers, a sense of permanence as always been part of the experience. Everything else in your life is fluid, but here is this text that doesn't change.

"Will there still be readers 50 years from now who feel that way? Who have that hunger for something permanent and unalterable." I don't have a crystal ball.

"But I do fear that it's going to be very hard to make the world work if there's not permanence like that . That kind of radical contingency is not compatible with a system of justice or responsible self-government." Speaking at the Hay Festival in Cartagena, Columbia, Franzen argued that e-books, such as Amazon's Kindle, can never have the magic of the printed page. He said" "The Great Gatsby was last updated in 1924. You don't need it to be refreshed, do you?

"Maybe nobody will care about printed books 50 years from now, but I do. When I read a book, I'm handling a specific object in a a specific time and place. the fact that when I take the book off the shelf it still says the same thing - that's reassuring.

"Someone worked really hard to make the language just right, just the way they wanted it. they were so sure of it that they printed it in ink, on paper. A screen always feels like we could delete that, change that, move it around. So for a literature-crazed person like me, it's just not permanent enough."

Franzen said he took comfort from knowing he will not be here in 50 years time to find out if books have become obsolete.

"I'm amused by how intent people are on making human beings immortal or at least extremely long-lived," he joked.

"One of the consolations of dying is that [you think, 'Well, that won't have to be my problem'. Seriously, the world is changing so quickly that if had any more than 80 years of change, I don't see how you could stand it psychologically."

The 52-year-old became a literary superstar with 'The Correction...', published in 2001, which sold close to three million copies. His fans include Barack Obama, who was so keen to read Freedom that he requested an advanced copy.

Franzen said: "One of the reasons I love Barack Obama as much as I do is that we finally have a real reader in the White House. It's absolutely amazing. There's one of us running the US. [Although] when I heard he was reading Freedom, I thought, "Why are we reading a novel" There are important things to be doing!" Franzen stated that "I think the combination of technology and capitalism has given us a world that really feels out of control. If you go to Europe, politicians don't matter. The people making the decisions in Europe are bankers. "The technicians of finance are making the decisions there. It has very little to do with democracy or the will of the peoole. And we are hostage to that because we like our iPhones. His critic have pointed out to the absence of religion in Franzen's novels and he explained: "I don't believe in a God who's sitting in some undisclosed location at a switchboard receiving and answering prayers. to be honest, I'm thinking much more about science than about religion when I'm writing. to me. art itself is a religion."

The last part of Franzen is incoherent and I just cited it for posterity, but does not have much to do with books. There are some of his critics who think that he spoke so that he could get his speaker'[s fees, and some observe that he is worried that e-books will cut into his paycheck; but then, there are those who maintain that they love the smell of a real book when they are reading it; others make a more pointed observation that in the age of e-mails, IM's, tweets, Facebook, etc, today's kids and later generations won't have this opportunity, as one was saying, of saving his letter in a shoe box whilst he was in college, that these kids and later generation, just to repeat, won't have this opportunity to revisit their youthful selves: it'll have all been deleted. This was at least what Franzen was talking about, the non-guaranteed permanency is often lost with the coming of e-books. One can look at the Tweeter, Facebook and other social media, nothing is permanent, as it is instantly new, every time. What had gone on before, even if you can retrieve it, there is no such time since one is constantly badgered to add, read, or see something new, now and in this instance and instant.

There are those who believe that books on't go anywhere, although they might sell less, they will remain there as vinyl(LPs) did with the coming of 8 track tapes, CDs and dwonloads. and these book lovers maintain that they still love books, and their smell in the library of bookstores, and they cannot forego they want to own a book physically and not digitally only. some think that some books remain classics and other see some books becoming oboslete. some of those who respond to the type of assertion that Franzen make say that permanence is not just something that just happens on its own. The majority of books published fall into obscurity, mouldering in libraries(I think in this case because less and less people visit libraries), or in used book shops, or trash heaps, and others state that some of these books deserve their fate.

There are those who say that electronic books have not been around long enough, but feel that when it comes to preserving the past, modern readers should not limit themselves to one format, and they feel and think that books are wonderful in general, whether they come on paper or digitally. Franzen started a good defense for printed books in the cited piece above, but his critics seem to be able to articulate his premise much more e better and in a balanced way. Like I injected somewhere in his article, I think he is is a Luddite, and it disables him to see both points of view, that the digital and the printed books are an that one ins the extension and morphing of one into another, but still remain books, because they can both still be read and are written in a book format.

The End Of The Chirographic Culture?

America’s obsession with digital tablets is driving a boon in e-book reading, a new survey shows, a trend that is dampening the appeal of printed books and shaking the centuries-old publishing business.

The share of Americans who read e-books grew to 23 percent from 16 percent over the past year while the number of adults who read printed books fell to 67 percent from 72 percent, according to a study released Thursday by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

The swift and dramatic shift in reading habits was brought on by the rising popularity of tablets and e-reader devices, which are now owned by one-third of the U.S. population 16 and older, the survey showed.

We are informed by Jason Merkoski that:

"There are two issues about secrecy here: social responsibility and intellectual property. As far as social responsibility goes, let me just say this: These companies have entire buildings filled with lawyers. They aren’t there to come up with new lawyer jokes. They are there, in part, to keep people like me from even answering this question. That said, I think if people were given a chance to spend a day looking inside Amazon or Apple’s veil of secrecy, most of them would be fascinated — although some might boycott.

"There are three dimensions of trust here. Do I trust retailers not to censor books, do I trust them with my personal data, and do I trust them to curate great books for me to read? Frankly, I don’t trust the executives at any e-book retailer when it comes to censorship. I know many of them. If push came to shove, I think most of these execs would rather pull e-books from the store, effectively censoring them, if that would avoid bad press. These are major retailers, not your quirky corner bookstores. They’re manned by former management consultants in clean shirts and pressed Dockers, not eccentric book-lovers with beards and cats.

"[Also], I do trust them with my identity. These companies are obsessed with safeguarding privacy. The worst they’re going to do is show me more ads. [And], When it comes to book recommendations, retailers have the literary sensibilities of a spreadsheet — they’ll just recommend the most popular books to me, or books that other people also bought, but they know nothing of the soul and sparkle of a great book. I hope this changes over time. [That is Why] I’m a sentimentalist. I’ve got many more books than friends, and I think I always will. Some are such a part of my life that I can’t get rid of them.

"Reading is great, but I don’t know whether you need paper and ink for it. You’re going to get so much more from e-books because they bring your friends and family into the margins of your reading experience. They will be literally on the same page with you. We can lament the older experience of reading, because that’s what we were raised with. But there’s nothing to be afraid of. Technology has a way of shifting, and we’re adaptable. That’s our genius: we do adapt.

"[Therefore]... in 20 years, the space of one generation, print books will be as rare as vinyl LPs. You’ll still be able to find them in artsy hipster stores, but that’s about it. So the great advantage of e-books is also their curse; e-books will be the only game in town if you want to read a book. It’s sobering, and a bit sad. That said, e-books can do what print books can’t. They’ll allow you to fit an entire library into the space of one book. They’ll allow you to search for anything in an instant, save your thoughts forever, share them with the world, and connect with other readers right there, inside the book. The book of the future will live and breathe.

I found a book at my grandmother’s house that was inscribed by my great-grandfather. I learned what his original last name was — before he changed it. That was an interesting link to my past. We’re going to lose that sort of trace of ourselves if we go all digital. Giving children an e-book at this point might not be that much better than plunking them down in front of a TV, especially if they’re reading the e-book on a multifunction device with instant messages, games and other distractions. Better they should be outside and engaged with the world."

I found this article written by Lee Rainie and Maeve Duggan very interesting and updating the what the Hub above has been trying to synthesize. I will cull from their article, and post it below:

E-book Reading Jumps; Print Book Reading Declines

The population of e-book readers is growing. In the past year, the number of those who read e-books increased from 16% of all Americans ages 16 and older to 23%. At the same time, the number of those who read printed books in the previous 12 months fell from 72% of the population ages 16 and older to 67%.

Overall, the number of book readers in late 2012 was 75% of the population ages 16 and older, a small and statistically insignificant decline from 78% in late 2011.

The move toward e-book reading coincides with an increase in ownership of electronic book reading devices. In all, the number of owners of either a tablet computer or e-book reading device such as a Kindle or Nook grew from 18% in late 2011 to 33% in late 2012. As of November 2012, some 25% of Americans ages 16 and older own tablet computers such as iPads or Kindle Fires, up from 10% who owned tablets in late 2011. And in late 2012 19% of Americans ages 16 and older own e-book reading devices such as Kindles and Nooks, compared with 10% who owned such devices at the same time last year.

Pulp Fiction: The Kindle Debate

On this topic, David Streitfeld writes"

"My article in The New York Times on Monday citing high levels of dissatisfaction with Amazon’s new tablet generated a torrential response, much of it from people who said they loved their Kindle Fires. The wilder commentators suggested that the whole article somehow came from Apple, which, in their view, was trying to get people to hock grandma’s jewels to buy $500 iPads. None of those conspiracy theorists explained why so many original users of the Fire put mixed to negative reviews on Amazon’s own site.

The uproar underlined yet again how people have deep-seated but contradictory feelings about their devices. In one sense, they demand a lot; in another, they are very forgiving. No one would put up with a new car that did not drive well, but people expect technology to be balky, at least in the beginning. One commentator, Victor from Texas, captured this charity in one sentence: “Though I am not thrilled with this initial version of Fire, I have no intention of returning it since it works well for me.”

It is still early days for the Fire. Many were doubtless sold as Christmas gifts, so the true verdict from the masses won’t come for a few weeks. But in the meantime here is another professional evaluation, from someone who has probably used the Kindle more than anyone who does not work for Amazon. Peter Meyers is a digital book consultant who is writing “Breaking the Page: Transforming Books and the Reading Experience” (free download of the first three chapters here). He broke off from that effort last month to write “Kindle Fire: The Missing Manual,” to be published in January as a print volume and an e-book from O’Reilly Media. Mr. Meyers could be accused of bias; if the Fire is a tremendous failure, the market for his manual would be negligible. But he was not paid by Amazon to write it, and the retailer had no control over its contents. Amazon did not even give him a Fire.

Mr. Meyers’s verdict, in an e-mail to me:

“Apple would have never shipped a device like the Fire. It’s got way too many rough edges (sluggish touchscreen, magazine apps that don’t really fit the smaller screen, an easy-to-hit power button). And even little things like how the power cord jiggles when plugged in wouldn’t have made it past the demo room in Cupertino. But the Fire’s not made for Apple’s customers — or to win thumbs up from usability critics. It’s for the millions of people who: a) don’t have $500-plus to spend on an iPad and b) really want to be part of the touchscreen revolution that’s changing how we control devices.

“Think about all the stuff a non-nitpicky, non-iPad veteran can do with the Fire: email, good-enough web browsing, Twitter, Facebook, watch movies and TV, read e-books, and play dozens of the most popular app games (Angry Birds, Words With Friends). For $200, is that enough to satisfy millions — maybe even Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos’ predicted ‘many millions’? I think for sure the answer’s ‘yes.’ Will Amazon fix the bugs, polish the chassis, and improve this thing, same as it did with the original Kindle? Of course.”

Although the press tends to present the iPad as the only alternative to the Fire, there is of course Barnes & Noble’s $250 Nook Tablet. Mr. Meyers said he used it but had not tested it extensively. “I think the Nook Tablet is less buggy and more polished than the Fire, thanks to B&N’s experience with the Color Nook,” he wrote in the e-mail. “But longer term I just think Amazon has so much more and broader and better integrated content to offer that I’d buy a Fire now rather than go with a Nook.”

And yet. Once his manual is finished, Mr. Meyers does not see much of a future for his own Kindle Fire. “Mine’s going back in the box as soon as I’m done,” he wrote. “The iPad 2 is years ahead of it and lets me consume and create with no friction.”

In the article above, and the cited material updating the use of e-books as oppose to traditional printed group,has been viewed and talked about by just as many authors as i have cited, and one thing is clear- Increased Internet connectivity has but totally dislocated cognition that is brought about by reading a printed book. Some think e-books are the best and man will adapt-others see the death and elimination of the book a very serious problem, which has us seeing the coming of a new generation of people who read less, and are conditioned by the different social media and e-books to adapt to the demands and the designs of the Internet(Web). One More thing about the incoming new books called the Chromebooks is discussed below by Claire Cain Miller.

books-and-the-internet-increased-connectivity-and-the-decline-of-the-learning-curve

E-book reading Jumps; Print Book Reading Declines

The population of e-book readers is growing. In the past year, the number of those who read e-books increased from 16% of all Americans ages 16 and older to 23%. At the same time, the number of those who read printed books in the previous 12 months fell from 72% of the population ages 16 and older to 67%.

Overall, the number of book readers in late 2012 was 75% of the population ages 16 and older, a small and statistically insignificant decline from 78% in late 2011.

The move toward e-book reading coincides with an increase in ownership of electronic book reading devices. In all, the number of owners of either a tablet computer or e-book reading device such as a Kindle or Nook grew from 18% in late 2011 to 33% in late 2012. As of November 2012, some 25% of Americans ages 16 and older own tablet computers such as iPads or Kindle Fires, up from 10% who owned tablets in late 2011. And in late 2012 19% of Americans ages 16 and older own e-book reading devices such as Kindles and Nooks, compared with 10% who owned such devices at the same time last year.


books-and-the-internet-increased-connectivity-and-the-decline-of-the-learning-curve

This move toward e-books has also affected libraries. The share of recent library users who have borrowed an e-book from a library has increased from 3% last year to 5% this year. Moreover, awareness of e-book lending by libraries is growing. The share of those in the overall population who are aware that libraries offer e-books has jumped from 24% late last year to 31% now.

These latest figures come from a survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project which was conducted on October 15-November 10, 2012 among 2,252 Americans ages 16 and older. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.3 percentage points.

Who reads e-books

In the book-reading population, those most likely to read e-books include those with college or graduate degrees, those who live in households earning more than $75,000, and those whose ages fall between 30 and 49.

The tables below, which show increases among various demographic groups, are based on those who say they had read a book in the past 12 months, not the full population of those ages 16 and older.

books-and-the-internet-increased-connectivity-and-the-decline-of-the-learning-curve

Who read books in the past 12 months

In the new Pew Internet survey 75% of Americans ages 16 and older said they had read a book in any platform in the previous 12 months. That is not statistically significantly different from the 78% who in late 2011 said in a survey they had read a book in the previous 12 months. Of them:

  • 89% of the book readers said they had read a printed book. This translates into 67% of all those ages 16 and older.
  • 30% of the book readers said they had read an e-book. This translates into 23% of all those ages 16 and older.
  • 17% of the book readers said they had listened to an audio book. This translates into 13% of all those ages 16 and older.

All told, those book readers consumed a mean (average) of 15 books in the previous 12 months and a median (midpoint) of 6 books — in other words, half had read fewer than six and half had read more than six. That breaks down as follows:

  • 7% of Americans ages 16 and older read one book in the previous 12 months
  • 14% had read 2-3 books in that time block
  • 12% had read 4-5 books in that time block
  • 15% had read 6-10 books in that time block
  • 13% had read 11-20 books in that time block
  • 14% had read 21 or more books in that time block

E-book borrowing from libraries

This move toward e-books has also affected libraries. The share of recent library users who have borrowed an e-book from a library has increased from 3% last year to 5% this year.

Beyond that, there is growing public awareness that the vast majority of public libraries now lend e-books. In the entire population of those ages 16 and older, the number who are aware that libraries offer e-book loans increased from 24% last year to 31% now. At the same time, there has been a drop in the number of people who do not know whether their local library has an e-book borrowing program. Now, 57% say they don’t know if their library offers e-books. Last year, 63% of those ages 16 and above did not know if their library offered e-books for borrowing.

  1. The way we defined recent library users changed between 2011 and 2012. In 2011, recent library users were those who had used a public library for at least one of eight activities in the previous twelve months. In 2012, we defined recent library users as those who had done one of the following things in the previous twelve months: visited a public library in person, gone on a public library website, or used a cell phone, e-reader or tablet to visit a public library website or access public library resources.
  2. The way we identified e-book borrowers has changed. In 2011, our question was addressed to those who had read e-books and the language was: In the past 12 months, have you used a public library to borrow or download an e-book?” This year the question was asked of all those who had used their library’s website in the past 12 months and the question language was: “In the past 12 months, have you used a public library website to borrow or download an e-book?”
  3. In 2011, this question was asked of those who do not read e-books or those who read e-books but do not borrow them from the library. The figure cited here for 2011 is converted to all those ages 16 and older. In the recent survey it was asked of all adults.
  4. In 2011, this question was asked of those who do not read e-books or those who read e-books but do not borrow them from the library. The figure cited here for 2011 is converted to all those ages 16 and older. In the recent survey it was asked of all adults.

The library now has Nook and Nook Simple Touch ebook readers for you to borrow. These devices are being offered as part of a pilot project to determine their usefulness to SDSU students, staff, and faculty. Along with the readers the library has deve

The library now has Nook and Nook Simple Touch ebook readers for you to borrow. These devices are being offered as part of a pilot project to determine their usefulness to SDSU students, staff, and faculty. Along with the readers the library has deve

Short notes on Chromebooks

"When a Google engineer gave top executives computers running the company’s new Chrome operating system, Sergey Brin, Google’s co-founder, tried to hold on to his computer running an older version.

“I reached to take the old one, and he reaches to grab it,” recalled Linus Upson, the vice president for engineering in charge of Chrome. “Then he realizes, ‘I don’t need it.’ ”

That is because Chrome stores everything that people have on their computers — like documents, photos and e-mail — online, or in tech parlance, in the cloud. In Google’s vision of a world where all computers run on its Chrome OS, anyone can walk up to any computer with an Internet connection and gain access to all their information.

If Mr. Brin was momentarily confused, it is no wonder that Google users and analysts are struggling to wrap their heads around what Google is trying to do with Chrome.

It is all the more confusing because Google already has a Web browser named Chrome. And Google already has an operating system, called Android.

Google says it will become clearer by the end of the year, when the company will introduce to the public a lightweight netbook computer that runs Chrome. Though Google declined to give details of the device, it is expected to be manufactured by another company and branded by Google, similar to the way Google released its Nexus phone, which runs on Android.

Google has high hopes for Chrome, and as the company weathers criticism for relying too much on search advertising for revenue, its executives have been describing Chrome as one of Google’s new businesses with huge potential.

With Chrome OS, Google is stepping once again into the territory of its arch-rivals,Microsoft and Apple, both of which make operating systems as well as widely used desktop software like Microsoft Office and Apple iPhoto and iTunes.

That software would not work on Chrome computers. Instead, Chrome users would use Google’s Web-based products, like Docs, Gmail and Picasa for word processing, e-mail and photos, or software from other companies, like Microsoft’s cloud-based Office 365. Google also plans to open a Chrome app store for software developers to dream up other Chrome tools.

The Chrome browser, which is installed on 8 percent of all PCs, shares a name because the operating system is, essentially, the same thing as the browser. “When people look at Chrome OS, they’re going to be like, ‘It’s just a browser, there’s nothing exciting here,’ ” Mr. Upson said. “Exactly. It’s just a browser, there’s nothing exciting here — that’s the point.”

Computers running Chrome OS will start in seconds, not minutes, and then users will see a browser through which applications and data can be used.

Yet while Google imagines a Web-based future, analysts wonder whether Chrome’s time has passed — before Google netbooks even hit the market.

When Google first talked about Chrome last year, netbooks — small, low-cost laptops with keyboards — were all the rage. But since then, smartphones and tablets — slate PCs with touch screens, like the iPad — have crushed that market.

“When Google made their decision early on with the Chrome OS project, Android was in its infancy and the tablet market didn’t really exist,” said Ray Valdes, a research vice president at Gartner who studies Internet platforms. “Now things have changed, and I think Google is likely recalibrating its strategy and product mix to take that into account.”

Google’s hugely successful Android operating system for mobile phones and tablets adds a level to the confusion. Chrome and Android are built by separate Google teams and the company says there is no conflict between the two. But its executives acknowledge they are not entirely sure how the two will coexist.

“We don’t want to call the question and say this one does one thing, this one does another,” said Eric E. Schmidt, Google’s chief executive. “So far the model seems to be the Android solution is particularly optimized for things that involve touch in some form and Chrome OS appears to be for keyboard-based solutions.”

But Mr. Upson said that Chrome OS would be a computing platform stretching to hand-held devices, tablets and TVs. “We are starting with laptops and we will expand in both directions,” he said.

“Google hasn’t told a great story about how Chrome and Android live relative to each other,” said Michael Gartenberg, a Gartner research director studying consumer applications. “It’s incumbent upon Google to start telling a story that makes sense. It gets to the point of confusion that you have a lot of folks saying, ‘What’s Steve Job’s phone number again?’ ”

It’s been nearly three years since Google introduced Chromebooks — laptops that are always connected to the Internet and store everything online. And it’s been a year and a half since Intel introduced the 'ultrabook' category — thin, lightweight notebooks that cost $800 or more. But neither of these new laptop categories has given a jolt to the flatlining PC industry, because many people are buying tablets instead. Is there hope?

Gartner, the research firm, suggested that there’s a chance. In a research report published Monday, Gartner said it believed that consumers would become increasingly attracted to devices like the Chromebook and other thin and lightweight notebooks. Part of the newfound interest in these notebooks, Gartner said, will come as more of these devices include Intel’s new processors, called Bay Trail and Haswell, which raise performance and battery life.

Gartner estimates that shipments of these notebooks, which it calls “ultramobiles,” will grow to roughly 20.3 million this year, up from 9.8 million last year. Still, Gartner predicted that the overall PC market, including ultramobiles, would probably shrink this year. It estimates that worldwide, manufacturers will ship 305 million PCs, down 10.6 percent from last year.

In another sign of how grim things are looking for the PC, The Korea Times reported Monday that officials of Samsung Electronics, the South Korean manufacturer that is the biggest phone maker in the world, said the company would because demand was low and the devices were unprofitable, and would instead focus on tablets and laptops. On Tuesday, however, the company said the report was “groundless.”

There will be more updates that will be added to the changing world of print and the emergence of e-books, and what it all means along with the new gizmos , like "Kindle", for instance, which have some apparent and realistic affects on the readers/users of these new mediums which are replacing the printed/published books. What is going to happen two decades from now, it seems like the e-book is here to stay- There are still those that are holding on to printed books, like those who hung on to their vinyl when the 8 track tapes/CD made their appearance in the music and other scenes using this new technologies.

Yet another source of puzzlement: even though Google has been promoting both Chrome and Android as new big businesses, they are free and open-source, meaning that hardware manufacturers don’t have to pay Google to use them on devices, and software developers don’t have to pay to use them to build their own operating systems or browsers.

That actually makes perfect sense, said Sundar Pichai, vice president for product management with Chrome, because Google makes almost all its revenue from things people do on browsers.

“These are enablers — platforms on which people use Google services,” Mr. Pichai said. “Both offer benefits in terms of how people can use services easily and increase usage, and that gives them a better experience and over all generates more revenue for us.”

Though some people might worry about storing their private information on Google’s servers instead of their own computers, Google says Chrome is safer because security updates happen automatically and if people lose their computers, their data is inaccessible once they reset their passwords.

Mr. Upson says that 60 percent of businesses could immediately replace their Windows machines with computers running Chrome OS. He also says he hopes it will put corporate systems administrators out of work because software updates will be made automatically over the Web. But the vast majority of businesses still use desktop Microsoft Office products and cannot imagine moving entirely to Web-based software or storing sensitive documents online — at least not yet.

Even if Google missed the netbook craze, it may in fact be ahead of its time in imagining a Web-based future, Mr. Gartenberg said. “Android, where everything is very application-dependent, is a response to the things that are here today,” he said. “Chrome is preparing for a future when everything can be delivered through the Web.”

The Chromebook’s usage number is so low that it did not even show up in the Internet tracking company’s report for the week of April 8 (the first week that NetMarketShare is monitoring the Chromebook category). Meanwhile Chromebook production goes on

The Chromebook’s usage number is so low that it did not even show up in the Internet tracking company’s report for the week of April 8 (the first week that NetMarketShare is monitoring the Chromebook category). Meanwhile Chromebook production goes on

Walter Ong On Orality, Chirography and Literacy

Most Cultures are Oral

  • Ong reviews his own research and the work of others on the nature of consciousness in cultures which are primarily or entirely oral. Oral cultures constitute the vast majority of those which have existed in history and currently. Most cultures do not even have a writing system, much less a literature. "Of the some 3000 languages spoken that exist today only some 78 have a literature." (p.7)
  • Even the cultures which have a literature are still frequently oral in their communication and outlook on communication, frequently mistrusting writing. (pp.96-97)
  • The role of memory and public speaking is much more important in oral cultures than chirographic (writing) ones.
  • The classical Greeks are a central case that Ong turns to frequently, as they were an oral culture that underwent the transition to literature in the formative period of Western philosophy. They have also been studied extensively by scholars of orality.

Ong is primarily concerned with oral cultures and their transition to chirographic cultures. He has less interest in the subsequent transitions in chirographic cultures.

The Transition from Oral to Chirographic/Print Consciousness

  • When a culture begins the transition into using written literature, writing is usually viewed with great suspicion and reprobation. Plato, for example, criticised writing as leading to poor memories and other failings in students dependent on it. Curiously, the criticisms of writing made in oral cultures are echoed in the criticisms leveled at the use of printing in the sixteenth century and computers in the present day. Ong sees this as part of an overall pattern in adopting new information technologies.
  • Ong points out that writing is an artificial activity, but this is praise and not condemnation. Information technologies are not mere external aids but internal transformations of consciousness for the better. Writing heightens and uplifts consciousness in Ong's view. "Alienation from a natural milieu can be good for us and indeed is in many ways essential for full human life. To live and to understand fully, we need not only proximity but also distance." (p.82)
  • Text is very different from spoken discourse. Spoken utterance is always conducting in a specific context of an actual audience and setting, whereas the writer must mentally fictionalize the audience and setting their work is addressed to. Writing developed various psychodynamic techniques over time to adjust for these facts (the techniques of the dialogue, the frame story, and other conventions of fiction are examples).
  • Writing leads to special dialects of languages, termed by Haugen "grapholects." (p. 107) Grapholects have access to resources which normal spoken dialects do not, much larger vocabularies recorded in dictionaries and enormous bodies of recorded literature, for example. English is a grapholect with more than a million words, contrasted to a normal spoken language of a few thousand words.
  • Orality is tenacious, in that it still lies at the root of much of our thinking. We still give oral presentations, for example. Chirographic cultures are by no means entirely chirographic.

Printing accentuates and speeds up the trends of literary culture. It leads even more to the transition of communication from an aural activity to a visual activity based on spatial relationships.

The Various Writing Spaces: Manuscripts, Typographic, Post-Typographic

  • Print technology leads to many additional advances in writing spaces: spatial techniques for organizing words. The alphabetic index (an extension of the list, which was a first feature of writing) becomes a standard component of the book. The book itself is an even more tangibly thing-like thing than a manuscript, increasing the distance from utterances. Other protocols such as title pages and tables of contents are features of books and not manuscripts.
  • Print has a much stronger sense of closure than handwriting. The manufacturing process necessitated the concept of a "final" version of text, with everything that evolves out of that concept, namely literary criticism of canonical versions of texts.
  • The electronic world of post-typography expands things greatly, to the extent that Ong hesitates to get into the topic very far. Use of computers in composing texts is rapidly replacing the use of type-setting. The use of the many new aural electronic technologies (telephone, radio, sound recordings, etc.) brings on what Ong terms a "second orality". (p.136) This is a period in which orality once again becomes common, but in a form greatly hobbled by the inherited sense of closure found in print. Ong comments on how modern presidential debates are bland and tame compared to the agonistic struggles of the Lincoln/Douglas debates of 1858, when orality was much stronger in American culture.
  • Implications for the Study of Communication
  • Ong concludes with some comments about how the new scholarship in orality has widespread implications for various disciplines. Some of the areas that he feels can fruitfully make use of the findings of orality research are literary history, Structuralism, Deconstructionism, Speech-Act Theory, social sciences, and philosophy.
  • Ong observes that consciousness has evolved through human history by means of growth in the interiorization and distancing of the individual from their community. These interiorized stages of consciousness would not have been reached without writing. Ong further comments that the interaction between orality and literacy is home to some of our deepest spiritual notions (the notion of Christ as the logos, and the written bible are mentioned).

Questions

  • Ong only scratches the surface of how the computer screen is similar and different from the writing surface. The ways in which the writing spaces of the codex changed consciousness are likely to pale in the ways that electronic information technologies will structure and channel people's minds in the present and future. Unlike the printed page, the computer screen is dynamic, yet still for the most part predetermined.
  • Ong explicitly steers clear of the writing activity of today's highest paid literati, computer programmers, saying that computer languages have an artificial grammar (and implying that they are somehow less interesting or significant for this fact). (p.7) The activity of writing computer programs can be seen as the creation of a performative literature, and has enormous realms of subgenre which are not even seen as a form of writing by our current literary tradition. Yet these subgenres make up the performative works which most educated people in today's civilization today wncounter most frequently. The communally authored works of the Microsoft Corporation are read or encountered daily by more people than any other body of literary work in history.
Kevin Kelly worries devices like Apple's iPad, shown here with Smithsonian's first cover, nurtures action over contemplation.

Kevin Kelly worries devices like Apple's iPad, shown here with Smithsonian's first cover, nurtures action over contemplation.

Reading A whole New Way

Reading