When computers needed books

Anne Trubek at GOOD Magazine has Good Magazine us that computers needs books too, at least in order to provide the metaphors human’s needed in order to apprehend how to use them:

As my “spot the metaphor” game intends to show, we understand computers through the imprimatur of books. When those first Dells and Apples started rolling off the assembly line, us early adopters needed some help understanding them. We needed something familiar with which to navigate, conceptualize, and just plain figure out these then-revolutionary devices. So we drew upon books to structure our gradual accommodation to computers (bookstores, too: why do you think we “browse” a website?”). After all, it took centuries for people to get comfortable enough with the the codex to finally give up (almost) on the scroll.

But now that we are as familiar with screens as we are with rectos, what next?

Trubek acknowledges she doesn’t have the definitive answer, but she’s already made a useful point–reading arches maybe a little higher over human activity than is often acknowledged.