Rags of Light

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digital transience.

In a nice essay, “Why Print?” Fr. Michael Hill explains why St Tikhon’s Monastery Press has committed itself to print books. One reason: books last. By way of contrast he tells this story:

I recently had cause to heartily agree with Barnes when I set out to re-print one of our publications. The title was first printed less than twenty years ago. However, when I sought the digital file from which to typeset and issue as a PDF to our printer I learned that the technology on which the document was stored was obsolete: a floppy disk from the Paleolithic era—two decades ago! The issue was resolved only by consulting the printed text, a technology that I am confident will still be “compatible” four centuries from now, long after our USBs and Clouds have been thrown in the dust bin of history.