From the Scriptoria to the Printing Press: A Consideration of Scholarship and Library

By Margaret Zeegers and Deirdre Barron.

Published by The International Journal of the Book

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Ancient social systems have exhibited constructs of scholarships based on social configurations and requirements that have involved tribal, temple, village or palace elders teaching and developing their apprentices using oral communication such as storytelling, recitation of recipes, formulas and chants, plus work in the field itself as young people developed as midwives, shamans, carpenters, and so on. While writing is a mighty technological achievement of some 5,000 years ago, perhaps even mightier is that of the printing press about 500 years ago. It is generally held to be the development that marked the end of Medieaval times, and has had an even more profound an effect than the first moon landing, so much did it shake the foundations of society. For one thing, the same elders entrusted with the education of the young were able to use print as part of their education protocols. This in itself enabled a shift in constructs of scholarship, as it was possible to record in print what had formerly been kept in memory. The possibilities that emerged were those of teaching learners how to develop knowledge from information, and not rely on information alone. Such possibilities have not really been taken up until fairly recent times. Emerging new paradigms present scholarship in the light of information work whose dependence on information storage systems has already transformed the relationship between scholarship and libraries to a stage where the dominant partner is the library, scholarship becoming marginalised in the so-called information age. Such a sea change requires a major adjustment on the part of both partners in what has for so long been a most productive relationship. To be able to understand the magnitude and order of the change, it is necessary to take a close look at what has underpinned it for so long.

Keywords: Scholarship, Libraries, Writing, Printing

International Journal of the Book, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp.9-16. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 943.155KB).

Dr. Margaret Zeegers

Senior Lecturer, School of Education, University of Ballarat, Mt Helen, Victoria, Australia

Dr. Margaret Zeegers lectures in language, literacy and language arts in the School of Education at the University of Ballarat. She has considerable experience teaching and researching in these fields in Australia and abroad.

Dr. Deirdre Barron

Associate Dean (Research), Faculty of Design, Swinburne University of Technology, Australia

Dr Deirdre Barron is the Associate Dean of Research and Research Studies in the Faculty of Design at Swinburne University of Technology. Her research focus is on higher degree research policies and pedagogies.


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