001_Booknology_EN.jpgTake a look at Booknology by Marie Lebert and friends. It’s a really neat ebook timeline. You can find it here in English and in French. A Spanish edition is coming in August. Be sure to mouse over the pictures.


  1. It’s awfully interesting, but it strikes me that it’s a bit too centered on what corporations were doing, as opposed to the hoi poloi. There’s no mention, for example, of bulletin board systems, even though BBSes offered a tremendous output of amateur writings (as well as a few professional works). Nor is there any mention of Web fiction, other than a brief nod to e-zines.

    I also ran across a few misleading statements.

    The part about the first library Website being in 1994 may be true, but online library catalogues were available before then. I remember my father calling me up around 1986, very excited because he’d managed to get online access to a library catalogue that was thousands of miles away. (He’s a scholar and was accustomed to having to go on long trips for that type of information.) When I finally went online myself – roundabout 1993, I think – my father handed me a list of URLs (they were mainly in numeric form in those days) for library catalogues, both academic and public. Using Telnet, I had to dial up each one separately, though some libraries connected with other libraries.

    Likewise, the date for digitilization of newspapers seems off to me. Digitilization hit my college newspaper in 1984; by the time I took my first professional job as a journalist in 1989, digitilization was ubiquitous even in small-town newspapers. I think what came later – except for a few early experiments – was taking the digital text and putting it online.

    The date for digitilization of books is off too. My parents ran a typesetting business for book publishers in the 1970s; it used an electronic typesetter. The statement, “In 1997, a digital book meant scanning it, because most books existed only in print,” is quite misleading; writers had been using computers since the 1970s, and publishers began accepting electronic manuscripts fairly quickly, because it made their job simpler. When I worked for the Johns Hopkins University Press in 1990, the press strongly preferred to receive electronic manuscripts. Most publishers had the electronic files of books; they simply weren’t passing those files on to the public. That remained the case till very recently.

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