Wednesday, January 03, 2007

From Gutenberg to the Internet: A timeline

This lengthy item touches on most everything we address here. Perhaps you will find it a useful resource for research and teaching.

The author, Jeremy Norman writes:
Separate from the anthology which comprises most of the book, the introduction contains a relatively brief, but reasoned and documented attempt to compare and contrast the introduction of printing by moveable type in the fifteenth century with the development of computing and the Internet in the twentieth century. I was motivated to make this comparison by the general awareness that the way computing and the Internet are revolutionizing the creation and distribution of information in our time is analogous in certain respects to the impact of Gutenberg's invention of printing by moveable type in the mid-fifteenth century. It is a measure of the massive change taking place today that we need to revisit the last information revolution which took place more than five hundred years ago to find a situation that may be comparable to our own.


Another purpose for which I intended From Gutenberg to the Internet, is begin to address a wider set of historical problems which I could not articulate when I wrote the introduction-- the problems of comparing and contrasting the histories of the separate, but increasingly interrelated cultures that fall under the general headings of book history and computing/Internet history. To some readers with an interest in history just considering these two separate cultures in the same sentence might be considered a radical departure. Even though we all read books and use computers most people are not necessarily interested in the histories of both subjects. This reflects the fundamental and very long separation between the two cultures which began to merge in a widely-recognized way first with desk-top publishing, starting in the mid-1980s, and most noticeably about ten years later through the Interne

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