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Book- and library-lovers take heart: Five myths about the “Information Age”


the map division room of the New york Public l...

The map division room of the New York Public Library

H/t to my librarian-professor friend Jennifer Woodruff Tait for alerting me to this cool article in The Chronicle of Higher Education. It should warm the hearts of all book-lovers. Oh, and it’s by Robert Darnton, historian of the book. Yes, there is a field of scholarly study called “history of the book”–and a fascinating one it is! Darnton, you need to know, penned one of the all-time best book titles: The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History. Doesn’t that make you want to read the book?

Some snippets from the article:

1. “The book is dead.” Wrong: More books are produced in print each year than in the previous year. One million new titles will appear worldwide in 2011. In one day in Britain—”Super Thursday,” last October 1—800 new works were published.

2. “We have entered the information age.” This announcement is usually intoned solemnly, as if information did not exist in other ages. But every age is an age of information, each in its own way and according to the media available at the time.

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