The Materiality of Digital Collections: Theoretical and Historical Perspectives

Digital and textual objects are coming under a new kind of scrutiny as scholars are becoming more interested in physical artifacts and their relation to their social and cultural environment. This study of material culture suggests a need to explore the nature of digital materiality, as well as the broader historical context in which electronic objects and collections are created. The following essay analyzes the implications of this work and related research into the ways in which knowledge is shaped by the technologies used to produce and distribute it. Understanding the materiality of digital and textual objects will be crucial for charting the future of libraries.