Opinion 

The Architectures of the Book

Collections and Connections

The Architectures of the Book
Opinion 

The Architectures of the Book

Collections and Connections

Alfonso Muñoz Cosme 
31/12/1998


The earliest library occupied no physical space. It preceded the written word, existing long before books. It resided in the memory of man as a storage for legends, traditions, songs, prayers. The invention of writing gave a tangible form to this library. There were clay tablets in the Mesopotamian world and collections of papyri in the Nile region. A library could be in a book, such as the Bible, in the inscriptions of a city, in the knotted ropes of Inca heights. Later came parchment, paper, the printing press, the publishing industry, computer software and telecommunications. Each of these developments revolutionized the relationship between writing and humankind, and with it the contents and shape of libraries. Nevertheless, three eras of this history can be distinguished. The first begins with the first written word and ends with the invention of the printing press. The second lasts until the Industrial Revolution. And the third comes to a close with the generalized use of computer media. The fourth era has only just begun...
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