Although entirely worthy of study, I’m the first to admit that descriptive bibliography is obsolete. Working closely with librarians and archivists at UVA, [Johanna] Drucker’s Artists’ Books Online set in place an important, revolutionary, framework for the future of bibliography. The ability to see, retrieve, print, document, and describe artists’ books that often exist in relative obscurity is nothing short of the Gutenberg Revolution all over again, only different. Many of the books featured on the site were produced in small editions for one reason or another, making it difficult for readers to obtain or even visit with these titles in a public or private library. The digitalization of the book has decentralized critical bibliographic information, spreading the seeds far and wide—one need only invoke the Library of Alexandria to convey the advantages of doing so, yet some librarians and artists feel threatened by the move and its implications on the status of a work’s originality and value. Yet time has proven the opposite to be true: the more people know about a particular book though online exhibition, analysis, and discussion, the more likely it is to be understood and valued.
I am wondering if this essay would have been easier to read in one go. Here's Part I again.
Kyle Schlesinger is a poet who writes and lectures on typography and artists’ books. He is proprietor of Cuneiform Press and co-director of the Graduate Program in Publishing at the University of Houston-Virginia.