Professor Dordt explores the history of books | Sioux Center News



SIOUX CENTER — Book lovers can get a glimpse of the evolution of books and other forms of writing through a special presentation by Dordt University history professor Scott Culpepper.

Scheduled for 7:00 pm on September 30 at the Sioux Center Public Library, the “History of the Book” presentation will look at the development of the modern book by examining what came before it.

The free program is open to the public.

Culpepper will introduce people to examples of the evolution of writing and communication with replicas of artifacts on loan from the Iowa Center for the Book, which is connected to the Library of Congress. People will learn and interact with replica coins, scrolls and early forms of books.

“Hopefully this will inspire people to look at these things and explore the origins of these products that we take for granted,” he said.

These items will remain on display in the library until October 10.

“A big theme that emerges is that some of the cultures we talk about so much, we talk about because we know them through their written remains, so who knows what cultures and civilizations we might be more aware of if they had. left behind more written records that have survived the ravages of time, ”Culpepper said.

As he will discuss in the program, methods of writing throughout history generally emphasize accessibility or sustainability. For example, scrolls could be very long and bulky, while wedge-shaped tablets were heavy but able to withstand millennia.

A crucial development has been the reduction in the costs of writing materials and books, making writing more accessible to the masses.

“Much of this could be called the story of the democratization of communication,” he said. “These materials could be confined to the upper classes, those who can afford to acquire them. Prior to the invention of printing in the 15th century, the entire process of reproducing a book was laborious and very prone to potential errors due to hand copying.

Printing represented a revolution in communication. Today, the development of the Internet represents another communication revolution, but it raises questions about the sustainability of digital information.

“Historians have a lot of questions about this,” Culpepper said. “We love written material, but what’s up with tweets and emails? Are they going to be archived somewhere or will they someday go to the ether? People say that what happens online never goes away completely, but who is going to be in charge of conservation? “

He encouraged anyone interested in the books and its history to attend.


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