ArchBook is an open-access, peer-reviewed collection of richly illustrated essays about specific design features in the history of the book. Our goal is to make the diverse history of the book -- especially the under-appreciated parts of that history -- available to students, researchers, and the public. ArchBook is designed to complement more definitive and encyclopedic resources like the Cambridge History of the Book in Britain with essays that target connections between the history and future of books and reading. A typical ArchBook entry will follow a specific textual feature through its development (or disappearance) across historical periods, with an eye to the continuities and discontinuities the feature might have with digital reading environments. Each entry offers a definition of a textual feature and rationale for its importance, an historical overview of that feature, and (optionally) one or more spotlight sections offering critical arguments about that feature's digital reinvention. ArchBook seeks to combine the public accessibility of Wikipedia, the scholarly standards and original research of a peer-reviewed history of the book, and the critical provocativeness of a project like Raymond Williams's Keywords.
Although ArchBook makes no claim to exhaustiveness, the project can serve as a reference resource for students and teachers of book history. However, unlike entries in a traditional reference resource, ArchBook articles are written specifically to provoke further thought, discussion, and practical experimentation among all readers with a stake in the future of books and reading. In the spirit of the blank pages for readers' notes that Raymond Williams includes at the end of Keywords, each ArchBook entry contains a post-publication discussion section with links to the project blog and related wikis, where readers are invited to continue the discussion. The visual examples of textual features provided in the essays are supplemented by a larger open-access image database. Researchers, students, and teachers are welcome to use these images provided they respect the usage and attribution policies of the source libraries (named in the image metadata).
ArchBook originated in the research of the Textual Studies team of the Implementing New Knowledge Environment (INKE) project. Its creation was supported in part by SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada) funds from INKE from 2009 to 2012 and by a SSHRC Standard Research Grant held by Alan Galey from 2009 to 2013. It is currently supported by the University of Toronto's iSchool. See the Publications page for more information on the project's history and rationale.
Contact: Alan Galey (editor), alan [period] galey [at ] utoronto.ca