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A: Mainz, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany

Elizabeth Eisenstein's "The Printing Press as an Agent of Change"


In 1979 Elizabeth L. Eisenstein published The Printing Press as an Agent of Change. Communications and Cultural Transformations in Early-Modern Europe.

From the perspective of digital information and the Internet, I think it is appropriate to quote from an evaluation of the impact of this printed book on book history as it appears in the Wikipedia article on Elizabeth Eisenstein:

"In this work she [Eisenstein] focuses on the printing press's functions of dissemination, standardization, and preservation and the way these functions aided the progress of the Protestant Reformation, the Renaissance, and the Scientific Revolution. Eisenstein's work brought historical method, rigor, and clarity to earlier ideas of Marshall McLuhan and others, about the general social effects of such media transitions.

"This work provoked debate in the academic community from the moment it was published and is still inspiring conversation and new research today. Her work also influenced later thinking about the subsequent development of digital media. Her work on the transition from manuscript to print influenced thought about new transitions of print text to digital formats, including multimedia and new ideas about the definition of text" (accessed 12-03-2013).

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