From handwritten texts to online books, the page has been a standard interface for transmitting knowledge for over two millennia. It is also a dynamic device, readily transformed to suit the needs of contemporary readers. In How the Page Matters, Bonnie Mak explores how changing technology has affected the reception of visual and written information.
Mak examines the fifteenth-century Latin text Controversia de nobilitate in three forms: as a manuscript, a printed work, and a digital edition. Transcending boundaries of time and language, How the Page Matters connects technology with tradition using innovative new media theories. While historicizing contemporary digital culture and asking how on-screen combinations of image and text affect the way conveyed information is understood, Mak's elegant analysis proves both the timeliness of studying interface design and the persistence of the page as a communication mechanism.
About the author
Bonnie Mak is an assistant professor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science and the Program for Medieval Studies at the University of Illinois.
‘How the Page Matters represents an impressive scholarly accomplishment…The contribution Mak makes with her book is her clear and succinct description of the shifting meaning of the Controversia de nobilitate over five centuries of existence in libraries, universities, courts, and personal collections.’
Papers of the Bibliographic Society of Canada vol 50:02; 2012
‘This elegantly produced volume is a case study of one work as it moves from manuscript to print to website and is translated into Italian, French, German, and English…Mak provides helpful summary of writing on the history of manuscripts and books.’
Speculum vol 88:02:2013
‘I welcome this succinct and elegant study, which I recommend to those with interests in the architecture of the book.’
SHARP News, vol 22:04:2013
‘Mak’s monograph is an important reminder of the rich tradition of intellectual and artistic achievement recorded and disseminated within the discrete borders of the page… Rather than a passive carrier of information, the page matters as a lively and active participant in a conversation between author, designer, and reader.’
Information & Culture, October 2012