The Shallows -- Chapter 5

Submitted by Bibliofuture on Mon, 03/21/2011 - 00:00

In chapter five Carr summarizes the transition and migration of the written word and other communication media from physical to digital. Obviously, printed books, magazines, and newspapers are still being produced and haven't been completely replaced by digital equivalents. However, Carr strongly states that even if old and new techologies exist side by side, ..."the old technologies lose their economic and cultural force..."And then quoting Marshall McLuhan in his seminal work "Understanding Media" "..nor does it leave the old one in peace. It never ceases to oppress the older media until it finds new shapes and positions for them". Carr also points to studies and stats of dwindling print periodical use and stats.

1. What makes a book a book - is it its package or the contents?

2. Do you agree with Carr that reading an online text is significantly different than reading the paper version?

3. Does it matter on what type of device or site you read the text on, e.g. a plain text site vs a more media and hyperlinked text?, Or a dedicated ebook reader vs. a desktop (with multiple programs open, minimized, etc.)

a. Are online texts inherently connected with the distraction factors of the Net?

B. Can any distraction factors of the Internet be lessened or eliminated by concentrated effort, i.e., is there a digital quivalent of "hunkering down" in the library?