Digitalization of Text: Pros & Cons

Digital text is the process of copying the original, physical text of a work of literature and digitizing it. Currently, Google is attempting to digitize every book on the planet and making them UNIVERSALLY available and FREE. They are doing it, but also they are breaking copyright laws and not conducting the process as accurately as they should. This all sounds great in theory, but everything has a downside.

PROS:
-Consumers no longer have to pay for books
-Publications are available worldwide
-The physical texts which will eventually deteriorate, survive in digital form
-The reader no longer has to carry heavy books; they can be read on any electronic device

CONS:
-Authors lose money that they would’ve earned selling the books
-Violation of copyright laws
-Damaging of the physical literature due to the copying process
-Reader loses the physical context that touching the literature provides
-Editing texts into a digital form may take away from aspects the author may want to express with the physicality of the literature

Despite the downsides of digitizing text I think this is a method of preserving humanity. For example, many texts that are thousands of years old or even decades old are deteriorating at a fast pace. Once they are gone, they are gone FOREVER. However by digitizing these works of literature we are able to preserve the text. Although the physicality, originality, and other aspects will be forever lost, partial preservation better than none at all. In my field of archaeology, many of the written artifacts, arts, etc. are usually discovered in an already severe state of decomposition. Due to their fragility the process of digitalization can be very damaging, even if done properly and with extreme care. However it is more important in my opinion that they are digitized so that they can surpass their natural decomposition and become available for many years afterward. This digitalization would be beneficial to the future of humanity.

“Know from whence you came. If you know whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go.”
-James Arthur

I encourage those in my field of archaeology as well as others to take advantage of the technology we possess to further keep our history alive. Digitizing the text of literature hopefully will surpass its physical form (in some instances it already has) and become immortal with the aid of technology such as this, continue to prevail, and be universally distributed throughout the persistence of humanity and beyond.

Ashley Brown

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2 responses to “Digitalization of Text: Pros & Cons

  1. Pingback: Final Project: Archaeology and the Age of Technology | Introduction to Digital Humanities·

  2. Pingback: Archaeology and the Age of Technology « AmiraZara·

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