[LMB] why we still need paper books

Harimad harimad2001 at yahoo.com
Fri Sep 23 14:17:26 BST 2011

H> Harimad said:
H> Print has never been inaccessible.

EH> On Thu, 9/22/11, Elizabeth Holden <azurite at rogers.com> wrote:
EH> It takes longer to become inaccessible. But history is
EH> full of lost and forgotten human languages [...]  But how
EH> many books do we have still existing, intact and readable,
EH> after two hundred years?  [more snipped]

H> Harimad said:
H> I just meant that if you have the printed book in your
H> hands, you can perceive and duplicate the text.  This
H> is not true of other media, especially digital.

HB> On Sat, 9/24/11, Howard Brazee <howard at brazee.net> wrote:
HB> Are printed books analog?


HB> If we know the language in the book, we can understand
HB> it whether it is on books or some other medium.  If we
HB> have an easy to copy book in a digital format (not just
HB> photocopies which degrade), we can keep it with whatever
HB> medium we want.

My point remains: if you have a physical text - clay, scroll, book - you can access the writing.  Other media, especially digital - floppy, hard drive, miniaturized - you need an intermediary step before you can even see what the text is.  For digital media this includes the software/format[1], accessible media[2], and uncorrupted files[3].

Once you can access the text, then you deal with the issue of whether you can understand it.  But there's no problem accessing the text with a physical medium.

- Harimad

[1] This can be one issue or two.
[2] Such as the 8" floppy, a reader of that size, a computer that can utilize that reader.
[3] As any teacher or writer can tell you, even well-maintained computer can eat papers; they all can get viruses, they can be translated badly from old program to new (I lost most of my college work that way), and so on.

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