Sunday, October 03, 2010

Books as icons

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate ConceptionThis summer, I began to become acquainted with the Iconic Books Project at Syracuse University and today I had the pleasure of attending part of its third international symposium on the subject.  The Project has been collecting images of books being used for their iconic value.  In this stained glass window, for example, you see a book being held. We might ask what is its presence meant to convey?

In libraries, books are important for the knowledge that they contain, but also because they -- as a vessel (icon) -- have some importance.  Jim Watts wrote about this briefly in a recently Iconic Books Project blog post

Here are my questions for today...Does the iconic value of the book keep us tied to this medium more than we should be?  Is our move toward other ways of transmitting information being inhibited by our connection to the book as a representation of knowledge?

1 comment:

Les said...

Or is our attachment to the book format a way to preserve knowledge? In a postapocalyptic world (which, one hopes, never exists), books will still be here, electronic media will be inaccessible.