Page 156 Nicholson Baker, Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper (New York: Random House, 2001), 370 pp. I referred to this book in my contribution to the winter 2002 number of and wrote an essay about it for another journal (Raritan). My reason for calling attention to it yet again is simply that its important message should, I believe, be brought to as wide an audience as possible. Baker, who is a brilliant essayist as well as novelist, has thoroughly investigated (through extensive research and interviews) the history and current status of the library practice of replacing books and newspapers with microï¬lm or electronic reproductions. The story is fascinating but depressing, because it shows how consistently library administrators, eager to save space, have failed to understand the function of physical evidence in reading â failed, in other words, to see that primary sources are not simply words, but words attached to physical objects made and used at particular past times. (Baker is not, by the way, saying that reproductions should not be made or that they are not useful for some purposes but only that they should not be regarded as replacements for the originals.) Besides
Common Knowledge – Duke University Press
Published: Jan 1, 2003
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