chapter  5
36 Pages

The Universal Library

This chapter argues that changes in the way the contents of books are produced, stored and displayed, as digital bits and pixels rather than ink and paper, do not do away with the need for libraries: scholars and the wider public need what libraries do more than ever. Texts, written inscriptions, book-like documents, information, knowledge how people designate the contents of libraries is itself a matter of history and of cultural value. The library in the digital age is in a state of flux, which is indistinguishable from a state of crisis not only for institutions but for the books they contain, preserve and propagate, a crisis for the culture of letters whose roots are firmly planted in the library. Change in the way books and texts are produced, stored and displayed accelerates exponentially; at the same time the amount of textual matter also increases exponentially.