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THE PIPELINE: Paper and E-Paper

By Stephen Abram - Posted Nov 1, 2005
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It took thousands of years to standardize the "book." The book's history is quite interesting. I've seen the Rosetta stone several times at the British Museum. Our records of early language and the various early alphabets are largely from carvings on rocks (with a few limbs, teeth, tusks, and bones thrown in for good measure). With the invention of paper, we find pages and scrolls. I had the opportunity to see some of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which are fascinating to view as such conventions as paragraphs, indenting, etc., hadn't been adopted yet. I saw one of the Gutenberg Bibles at the Library of Congress, and it's quite beautiful. Gutenberg may have popularized printing, but it was many years before the format of the book become standard and the publishing (versus printing) industry developed.
Look at the beautiful books from this era. Called illuminated books or manuscripts, these books are truly lovely. Then, over the years, the beauty of the printed page degraded until we were producing high numbers of ugly computer printouts. But the Web brought back the illumination (and reduced the pin-fed printout piles). Bright pictures, charts, intense interest in type faces and sizes, streaming or animated movement, and other innovations brought visual interest to the pages we were scrolling and reading with wonder again.
So What's Next?

This article is available in its entirety in a variety of formats — Preview, Full Text, Text+Graphics, and Page Image PDF — on a pay-per-view basis, courtesy of ITI's InfoCentral. CLICK HERE.

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