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What's up, doc? Information scientist David M Levy wants us to look at the documents that fill our lives, and his book Scrolling Forward is a thoughtful reflection on their near-omnipresence. Levy has the perfect resumé for this job--after getting his Ph.D. in Computer Science in 1981, he moved to England to pursue the study of calligraphy and bookbinding. His love of books shows in his writing, which is rich with references and anecdotes from Walt Whitman to Woody Allen.
Drawing on examples as disparate as grocery store receipts, greeting cards, identity papers and (of course) e-mail, Levy finds the common threads binding them together and explores how and why we use them in daily life. He looks at digitisation closely, considering how speed, ease of editing, and potentially perfect copying changes our traditional considerations of documentation. Though he insists that he's looking at the present, not speculating about the future, it's hard to see how to avoid looking ahead after reading Scrolling Forward. --Rob Lightner [via]