• The Human Trace in Google Books

    Tully Barnett (see profile)
    Digital humanities, Reading
    Item Type:
    Book chapter
    Digitization, Digital archives, Book digitization, Book culture
    Permanent URL:
    The controversial decision by Google to digitise every book ever published has been applauded in some quarters but has also resulted in numerous lawsuits from publishers and authors’ guilds. Google has agreed to pay enormous settlements while still proceeding with its digitization project. The discourse around the legal debate is illuminating. Additionally, human traces are observable in the digital archive. Marginalia that records a single reader’s or multiple readers’ responses to the text and in some ways opens a dialogue with the book, or accounts for the ownership of the book or constitutes a gift note, marks the transition from material to immaterial form, punctuated with traces of the text’s prior physical and communal life. Numerous scanning errors have been uncovered in the database, including the visible trace of human fingers upon the pages of the scanned editions. These ghostly remains, too, impact on the way we consider the digital copy of a material book. These human traces affect how we read and relate to the texts contained in the digital database, and cast the shadow of the books’ material forms over the digital reading experience
    Published as:
    Book chapter    
    Last Updated:
    6 years ago
    All Rights Reserved


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