More on Scrolls

Why is the pocket scroll a good name for a blog?

Because Internet writing is, by nature, like a scroll.  We even use the verb “to scroll” when discussing the action one uses to view a page of information on a computer.  Unlike a codex, a scroll has all the information rolled up in one direction.  You must roll and unroll to find what you’re looking for; this is the same way the hunt for information works on a computer screen.  You scroll up and down (occasionally side-to-side) to find what you’re looking for.

In fact, this approach to knowledge will and has inevitably affected the way we read and think.  One of my medieval history profs in undergrad said that the movement from scroll to codex was bigger than the printing press in this regard.  The printing press simply made book-production faster.  They were still books, and Europe’s literate population was still small in the Renaissance.  She noted, however, that our approach to knowledge has been more changed by the Internet than it was by the printing press.

I think she’s right.

What think you?


2 thoughts on “More on Scrolls

  1. I would agree. The idea of indexing relies on page numeration, which I guess you could do with a scroll, but it would be a lot more arbitrary.

    The other thing about how knowledge has changed online though would also be the emphasis. I’m realizing that though I read a lot, I don’t know as much as I should. The idea of memorization becomes less important, because I can always look it up on google or wikipedia… but this is dangerous. Choosing easy information access over knowledge means we don’t process and mull over ideas like we should. And it is those processes that lead to wisdom.

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