• Discuss the role of the book as a content carrier and as physical object. How do these roles complement and/or conflict with each other in terms of the use, care and the definition of the book?

    Siobhan Britton (see profile)
    Artists' books, Library science, Information science
    Item Type:
    artists books, bookworks, democratic multiples, National Art Library, Chelsea College of Art, Artist's books, Library and information science
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    It could be argued that the importance of the book as physical object is generally seen as secondary to its role as a content carrier. Thomas A. Vogler states that there is an 'established sense of the book as a physical object that exists only, or primarily, to be a 'container' of a therefore separable text' (Vogler, 2000, p. 448) Holland Cotter agrees, suggesting that the mass produced object of the book is a 'secondary, rather than primary object' where 'content matters more than form' (Cotter, 2004, p.xi). The book, in its traditional codex format has performed this container role for centuries, however over the last decade, as technology has improved and become more affordable, eReaders such as the kindle are challenging the dominance of the physical form of the book as the ideal content carrier for information (Vogler, 2000, p.450). In contrast, when it comes to the format of artists' books, their roles as content carrier and physical object are arguably much more complexly interlinked, and this essay will consider this with a focus on artists' books in the collections of Chelsea College of Art and the National Library at the Victoria and Albert Museum. This essay was submitted as part of the Historical bibliography module of the MA Library and Information Studies course I completed at UCL in 2013.
    Last Updated:
    7 years ago


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