The Future of the Digital Book, Columbia University’s Butler Library

Tonight I dropped by Butler Library to attend the Book History Colloquium-sponsored talk, The Future of the (Digital) Book by NYU’s Latin American Studies and Performance professor Diana Taylor and her son Alexei Taylor, an interaction designer.

The talk addressed two major quandaries regarding the future of the (digital) scholarly book. The first had to do with the concept of “book” when applied to books written for the screen and read on phones by generations that have grown up with the internet and touch screen devices, and the role of a publishing press when books are predominately designed and coded by technologists to be preserved on the cloud. Diana discussed implications for for the classroom, academic institutions, and libraries. I wasn’t interested in the discussion about what digital publishing means for ISBNs and classification schemas, but the issue of copyright and content licensing always makes for a lively, interesting discussion! They also raised interesting questions about the nature of scholarship, and mentioned the CUNY Graduate Center’s Digital Humanities department (and their students’ many digital projects that serve as dissertations).