Codex in Crisis | Anthony Grafton | Talks at Google | Summary and Q&A

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February 12, 2009
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Talks at Google
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Codex in Crisis | Anthony Grafton | Talks at Google

TL;DR

Professor Grafton discusses the impact of digitization on books and reading, highlighting concerns of loss of memory, decline in reading habits, and the challenges faced by libraries and scholars.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How has the increased availability of digital texts affected the reading habits of students and scholars?

According to studies, students and scholars now tend to skim and scan texts rather than engage in deep, slow reading. They often rely on search engines like Google, making reading more short-term and appropriative in nature.

Q: Can digitization replace the experience of reading physical books in libraries?

While digitization has made a large number of books accessible, there are still limits to what can be digitized. Additionally, the physical experience of working in original libraries with rare books and manuscripts adds a unique dimension to research that cannot be replicated digitally.

Q: What are the concerns about the impact of digitization on the future of scholarly publishing?

Digitization has led to a decline in revenue for scholarly journals and magazines, as traditional subscription-based models struggle to compete with free online resources. This raises concerns about the future of quality writing and the ability to sustain scholarly publishing.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Professor Grafton emphasizes the long history of books and reading, from ancient times to the present, highlighting the role of libraries and the changing nature of texts.

  • He explores the challenges faced by libraries, including the growth of print collections and the difficulties of digitization and storage.

  • Professor Grafton raises concerns about the changing reading habits of students and scholars, as well as the potential loss of deep, slow reading in the digital age.

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