Conserving for the Future by Archiving our Past; A Story about Technology and Digitization Informed by a Vintage Paperback Book Collection


  • Cybèle Werts McGill University



The books, photographs, letters and other ephemera of our past are for the first time becoming completely transformed into the digital bits and bytes of our computer-generated present. What happens to these products as they shift from the corporeal to the technological world? What essence might be lost when a book is scanned into a computer or is part of the Google Book Library Project, and what might be gained? Or is it all energy simply transferred to another medium like when wood is burned in a fireplace turns into to heat energy? This extended article explores these questions using a collection of vintage magazines and paperback books, which provide a lighthearted timbre to a somewhat esoteric subject.


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