There has been a great deal of speculative eschatology around the book— the end of the book, the end of print culture, and the demise of the author as well as a kind of messianic heralding of the new age of the screen, universal access to information and learning, and commons-based cultural production. This paper begins by investigating the theology of the book before discussing one aspect of the new messianism about e-texts that I have simply called ‘openness’—what I allude to by ‘Opening the Book’. I do so, first, by foregrounding the concept of the open society as discussed by Henri Bergson and then by Karl Popper; second, by tracing the growth of the Open Access movement as a reaction against the economics of publishing; and third, by entertaining the concept of open knowledge production systems that in my view will not mean the ‘end of the book’ but its radical subsumption in a new electronic textual system that will involve a set of changes in all aspects of the ‘culture of the book’ including all phases of its creation, production and consumption as well as its practices and institutions of reading and writing.
|Keywords:||e-Texts, Openness, End of Book|
Professor, Educational Policy Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign, Chicago, IL, USA
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