preservation and persistence of the changing book


3d printing

“To perform a print, the machine reads the design and lays down successive layers of liquid, powder, or sheet material to build the model from a series of cross sections. These layers, which correspond to the virtual cross sections from the CAD model, are joined together or automatically fused to create the final shape.” Wiki

To make a book, the machine reads the design and lays down successive pages to build the book from a series. These page layers corresponding to the virtual collation from the model, are joined together to create the final shape.

“The technology is coming whether we like it or not,” Weinberg says. “And so, as a CEO of one of these companies, you can spend a lot of time and money trying to sue it out of existence — and sue the genie back into the bottle — or you can spend that same time and money and apply it toward finding a way to use the technology to your advantage.”

The premise of 3D printing may be considered from origins in Antiquity and certainly correlates with electro static production of paper books on demand or with the Espresso machine. Even the fussed laminates relate well to paper books unopened. Another tether of the 3D premise is the fuse of image, surface and commodity. This trilogy extracted from 3D research exemplifies the fuse of printing, paper, and bookbinding needed to produce a book.

Can the paper book template offer options to the early stage of 3d printing technology? “Blank forms transform “manuscript” into the technology of the future.” Peter Stallybrass

library mission

The mission of libraries is to advance literacy, reading and cross-media mediation. If this premise is valid libraries will persist and easily weather format and technology surges. All other social functions of the libraries can be considered extensions of the basic mission. But what will happen if Amazon takes over the library mission? Is Amazon better at advancing literacy, reading and cross-media mediation? As an enterprise it appears possible, but is it a culture?


Conservators are sometimes asked to assist confirmation of fakes. With a fake the authentication of the nominal item invariably falters with materials and structural displacements. Originals, by contrast, withstand continued scrutiny without such displacements or discrepancies. The crucial transaction is comparative evaluation.

Perhaps this comparative premise can be applied more widely. We can consider original and copy transactions without any intended misrepresentation. A specific case would be a screen version of an archival source or an exhibit reproduction of a Daguerreotype or crowd sourced transcriptions of 18th c. recipes. Regardless of intention, the original and copy interact to produce a third entity. This is a resilient, mutually defining composite meaning.

Preservation can conserve this wider meaning. Not only can the original and the copy (of material or immaterial medium) be preserved, but the relationship can be stabilized by composite authentication, combined provenance, integrated stabilizations, reformattings and restorations and integrated protection of original and copy.

Familiar case histories abound such as the composite preservation of print books and their screen displays or a Civil War diary and its carefully captured digital images. The methods integrate certification, processing and treatment, and repository actions for both original and copy.

The wild card at this early state of digital technologies is that archival digital copy is ever trending toward more complete tagging, more concise discovery, wider access, quicker navigation and higher visual resolution. Version supersession, revision overwriting, multiple display and delivery formats and automated deletion all add to the transience of faulty previous states. Preservation applied to such transience is problematic.

So problematic is digital copy preservation in context with a composite original/copy transmission that preservation can be compromised. Greater hazard is added were the crucial continuing roles of originals in a context or their digital copy, including back-up, re-mastering and authentication roles, are discounted and dismissed.

Preservation advocacy for the continuing role of the source in a context of its digital simulation is needed. Preservation of the composite meaning of original and copy, now enriched by almost a century of scholarly exposition, appears to call now on responsible action of conservators.

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