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22 Pages

St. Augustine to NREN: The Tree of Knowledge and How It Grows

WithJames J. O’Donnell

As a new age begins, it is important to know what age it is that ends. As we move to networked communication, it is not the age of writing that is ending, nor specially the age of the printed book. It is rather the end of the life span of the codex (the familiar form of rectangular pages sewn and gathered between covers), the invention that revolutionized the arrangement and processing of information in the earliest centuries of the common era. Consideration of the modes of storage and access (including early foreshadowings of hypertext) in the age of the manuscript codex will lead to reflections on what is likely to abide in the new forms of information processing and what is likely to pass away. Forms fade, structure abides.