Today I am posting two videos by Princeton’s Anthony Grafton. In one He describes the phenomena at the root of books and book making–the transition from scrolls to codices. In the other video he discusses the development of book printing.
I hope these videos will help you see the “old” or what is past, with new eyes and help you learn somethings you didn’t already know about the technology behind books.
First, before watching the videos, did you know that the codex was the first form of what we now call a book? Before the codex, scrolls and wax tablets were the media used for recording or keeping written information–before that, stone tablets. Scrolls, not to mention stone tablets, were bulky, heavy, and could not hold nearly as much information as a codex could. Wax tablets were not for keeping information long-term.
“Published on Sep 8, 2013. A history timeline for major changes in media – Anthony Grafton in INT’s ENLIGHTENMENT MINUTES. Princeton University professor Tony Grafton explores the history of major changes in media and communication – and parallels in history to our own video age” (found on YouTube).
What will be the next invention or use that will bring the written word forward in ways equal in its time to the codex and the printing press? Is the web such an invention? Do you agree with Professor Grafton that “We are very far from having leaped to a point where design on the world wide web…really exploits the possibilities of the new medium and shows us more of the things that it can do”? (taken from the first video above).
I agree with Professor Grafton. Beside and beyond that, I believe the possibilities are endless.