Saturday, January 23, 2010

Virtual Medieval Media (Interactive Gutenberg Bible)

Library of Congress, November 2009. I must say the interactive display accompanying the LOC's Gutenberg Bible is really cool. The Gutenberg Bible is of course one of the first texts in Western Europe to be produced using movable print technology. This touch-screen display allows you to navigate the text "virtually" (here, "hot spots" on the screen allow you to see chapter headings, rubrics, Latin abbreviations, etc.).

Another image from a different page in this bible. I find it interesting that so many of the terms we use to describe how we navigate digital media are simply imported from previous technologies: e.g., (web)page, scroll, tab, bookmark. There's something uncanny - familiar and yet strange - about navigating the "virtual" text in such a dynamic way while the original physical text remains inert in a stuffy display case just a few feet away.

1 comment:

  1. I read somewhere that the first text to ever be printed in block-form was in China. The text was the Buddhist "Diamond Sutra" (金剛經), some 700 years before anything in the West. :)