Rourke Sun, Mar 23, 2008
There can be no doubt that in the digital age the significance of the books’ contents will more than ever live up to Obvious’ claim that they will become once again become “equivalent with the contents of consciousness.” But to what extent this exalted status will be passed on to the actual printed book remains to be seen.

It is interesting to attend to the book in and of itself, but as my original article alluded to and yours continues to consider, although the relationship between books and consciousness has brought us to this priveleged point in the history of self-knowledge, it will be the relationship between consciousness and the internet which which take us onto the next stage.

Novels emerged in union with a new way of looking at ourselves - a relationship we were only capable of acknowledging in retrospect. Yet although the internet is still in its primordial stages I believe it is possible to contemplate the emerging effect it is having on our idea of identity. In an era when no iota of information is allowed to exist unconnected to any other (e.g. hypertext, search engines, wikipedia), and communication is an activity which occurs regardless of whether humans are taking part in it (e.g. a box popping up on my screen to tell me that my friend has just come online), there can be no such thing as:
The silence and privacy of the reading experience afforded by books mimick[ing] the silent privacy of individual consciousness - David Lodge


On top of this, and in reflection of many of the other wonderful articles that have become entombed in The Total Library so far, I think it is time to start defining the difference between books as archaeological objects composed of paper, books as tomes of knowledge and books simply as entities that we read (in whatever form they happen to take). At present 26 terabyte hard-drives are not capable of attaining the multiplicity of forms that make paper books so easy to have visceral, intellectual and long lasting relationships with. Though as the internet evolves new ways for us to interact and merge with our data, this distinction is bound to become less obvious.

I personally can't wait to see the outcome.