Lab #9 Prompt

Throughout this semester we have discussed many ways books have been created, assembled, and distributed over the past several hundred years. Today we dove into a very different way of both conceptualizing and distributing books: not as discrete objects, or even linear texts, but as collections of descriptive metadata and atomized, quantified text data. By breaking a book into its “features,” HathiTrust is able to meet technical and scholarly needs while also meeting the requirements of intellectual property law.

How does the datafication of the book shift our understanding of the medium which we have been developing all semester? How does this change line up with earlier historical trends we have studied in book design, function, and use, and what new ideas does data introduce? Be sure to draw on a few of our readings specifically in your answers.