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There’s a lot of talk about what the future of publishing looks like. Designers and innovators draw up these artistic visualizations of tablets, touchscreens, and interactive multimedia literature mashups to illustrate the possibilities.

But one designer is thinking a lot more about what is lost in the transition from the physical book to the digital. In fact, his visualizations often flip the script by placing digital literature in the physical context.

James Bridle is an editor, publisher, designer, and innovator. One of his most recent projects was a physical production of the complete changelogs from the Wikipedia entry on the Iraq War. The project amounted to twelve volumes of almost 7,000 pages, including all the changes, discussions, and arguments logged in the process of producing the never-complete Wikipedia article from December 2004 to November 2009.

He’s created a number of other projects to highlight the impermanence of the web and provoke conversation on the e-book, both the efficiencies and deficiencies thereof. The Harvard Library Innovation Lab’s very own David Weinberger spoke with James by Skype about his work for the first ever episode of Library Lab/The Podcast.

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Creative Commons music courtesy of Brad Sucks


9 Responses to “Library Lab/The Podcast 001: Concrete Digital”

  1. Bach Bl├╝ten

    There are some attention-grabbing deadlines in this article however I don?t know if I see all of them center to heart. There may be some validity but I’ll take hold opinion till I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we wish extra! Added to FeedBurner as nicely King Regards Josef

  2. Say no to ebooks

    It couldn’t have been said any better “…what is lost in the transition from the physical book to the digital….”

    Sure all these eBook Readers and laptops and touchpads may be very convenient but one wonders if the reading experience is anywhere near what you get from reading an actual physical book! (physical book? did that even exist in the vocabulary 5 years ago?)

  3. sina88

    I am curious to discover out what weblog platform you are working with? Im having some minor security issues with my latest website and Id like to find something much more secure. Do you have any solutions?

  4. Lee

    The printed word is being phased out. I still feel more satisfied reading a printed book that I can hold in my hands, but I think that’s just because I grew up with that. Soon, people will be used to ebooks, and printed material will seem wasteful.

  5. Kris

    With Kindle and Nook sales are touching peaks, we can understand how much people are interested in buying e-book readers.

    E-Readers are easy to carry and can store hundreds of books.