(5/5) Biblio pixels of one day, biblio paper always

Photo: Guillaume Levasseur Duty
The ink and paper or pixels? The pleasure of reading is one is so different from that of the other?

Some readers, if they are still a minority, swear now more than the digital book. But even for those, it is more difficult to “mounting a library” from pixels to paper. Continuation and end of our series on the far-reaching changes that affect our personal libraries.

If the technologies and applications of buying, listening to and conservation of electronic music allow you to make lists and rankings, those devoted to the books are far from providing as much maneuverability. “Take the bookcase above my head now “, said at the end of the line professor of literature and culture digital at Université Laval René Audet. “I can see 15 to 20 pounds in one shot, and it is easier to move them together from one aisle to the other as the tip of a finger with 15 e-books. “To keep the books for the future, those paper promises greater longevity to the library. In other words, the library of the future remains the past.


One of the current problems of the digital book, said Mr. Audet, “the mismanagement of the idea of” digital library “. Compare : “The fact that the music and personal listening of music have changed completely in the last few decades, it has been iTunes : a modality central, almost unique for years, management of music libraries. There was no equivalent for the digital book currently. “


Not synchro


A great reader himself, of digital books, who is also director of the interuniversity research Centre on literature and culture of quebec (CRILQ) illustrates : “I just download all the time Uncreative Writing. Managing Language in the Digital Age, Kenneth Goldsmith, in my app Kobo, and sapristi ! I am not able to get out of there. Between my computer, my ereader and my iPad, I have books in Kobo, in Kindle, in iBooks, in attachments in my emails. And 18 on my phone. “


Impossible to keep everything in sync. It is the fault of the locks, which are there to counter piracy and to which files can move from a platform of play, ” explains Clément Laberge, a consultant in literature and culture digital. “Unless one of extreme rigour in the classification and to know how the apps work, there is no way to organize a library of digital, as desired. “He who reads much in the digital version — but also on paper, particularly the poetry and some novels,” even if it sounds cliché…”, and, on the Web, on Kindle, on his phone, has abandoned the idea of classifying their digital books.


If necessary, he will seek a new copy in the various digital repositories. “The organizational effort required is too high in digital for the result “, sums up there.


René Audet believes that the sellers of the world of the Web are not interested in the constitution of libraries, seeking instead what the reader consumes more, in an eternal step forward, ” read and discard ; they will rather suggest to you another book. As the cultural practices of today are very much defined by these sellers, ” the evolution of the digital library hit a wall of marketing.


Clément Laberge abounds in this sense. “Paradoxically, he says, there is more metadata, and better on the books than on the music. But they are only in the business community and lose for the consumer at the time of purchase. If they were integrated into the files, we could use them as labels for the organization. “


Tracking, availability, weight


The digital book has its advantages, including its large accessibility and ease that it gives readers living with a disability. But the identification and research, ” is done more easily in front of an actual library — by saying : “the cover was orange, it seems to me that the cut was three centimeters — in front of a screen, which can only show 12 book covers in the same time “, remain gaps in the digital library, ” adds René Audet. And the book, cloud-based fails to fulfill ” the function of the book lying on the coffee table, which constantly reminds us that it should be good as I read, until the day that I finally put. These elements make the book paper is still more convenient, more accessible, except for the passengers in the aircraft which computes the weight of his luggage, ” says Mr. Audet. Mr. Laberge tempers these remarks, recalling that, in addition, the research work of personal annotations is greatly facilitated by digital technology.


Both would agree, however, that the experience sensual and embodied, as proposed by the paper book to him stay clean — if only because the reading tools digital remain associated with the communications, work, social networks, disruptions and déconcentrations constant. “The book market is probably one of the most difficult attempting to transform, because of its uses and this experience paper very difficult to transpose, or to make to forget,” continues the prof at Laval. My students, at the beginning of the tray, are probably the most nostalgic, the most conservative, ” said the specialist, in a tone of amused. “It is the entire experience of reading that they love. Be home, away from the computer, with a cup of tea, in a comfortable chair. This is not so much of Balzac is interesting that being in the posture of the player in a quiet slumber, carried away by a fascinating universe, and by this experience. “

Five bibliophiles we open the doors of their personal library.



For the conservation, even in the medium term, the paper remains a cutting-edge technology. “The media [sic] e-mails are ephemeral “, analyzed already in 1998 Alberto Manguel in The library of Robinson. “The life of a floppy disk does not exceed seven years ; and that of a cd-rom, ten years. As for digital collections, where it exists, it is necessary to perform regular backups to preserve them from total destruction in the event of an accident electronic. But how many times can you back up such collections ? “


How, then, can assign them, sell them, bequeath them ? The digital books on an ereader, technically, have very little financial value ; it is necessary to have the password of the user to be able to consult ; some providers of digital books, at the death of a user, do not allow the procurement to a third party.


Legacy digital


“The preservation of the digital is a lot more complex than the conservation of the printed word, because of the wide variety of formats and constant technological evolution “, confirms the director of the legal deposit and preservation of heritage collections at Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, Mireille Laforce. “The conservation infrastructure of the digital therefore require developments also constant. “


“There are few organizations and even fewer individuals have the means to ensure this conservation,” says Ms. Laforce. In the right conditions, paper can, for its part, will keep a very long time without it brings him constant attention. It is much more stable. Ironically, we are in an era where there has never been so much content produced, thanks to digital, but where we know, without a doubt, little of this content will stand the test of time. The risk of loss of digital content is, in a sense much larger than that of the printed word. “


“A few years ago, wrote Alberto Manguel, I’ve seen at the archaeological Museum of Naples, protected between two glass plates, the remains of a papyrus discovered in the ruins of Pompeii. This papyrus was dated back more than two thousand years ; it had been burned by the eruption of Vesuvius, buried under a layer of ash and you could still read it as clearly as on the newspaper in the morning. The media [sic] electronic, themselves, are ephemeral, snapshots, useful especially to communicate in this very moment, and to extract an information update at the same time where one is looking. Why, then, ask them what they lend themselves to obvious so badly ? “

Libraries and the digital lists

Some sites, such as Babelio and GoodReads, allow you to organize and classify its online library using data pre-existing on the books, hidden in the numbers of Intenational Standard Book Number (ISBN). These private lists also allow you to identify in a single location, titles, paper and digital. Elsewhere, a group is attempting, through the use of ” Legacy Libraries “, put value, and the identification of libraries of eminent persons, the people in the thinker, from Keanu Reeves to Friedrich Nietzsche, through Sarah Bernhardt, Vincent Van Gogh or Edward Gorey. If the effect is rather in disorder, but the idea remains interesting.