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Publishing Changed Our Culture

After Jill Walker Rettberg talked about writing as a tool, she talks about how publishing has effect writing, literacy, and of course blogging.  Rettberg makes reference to Elizabeth Eisenstein in this section.

Eisenstein states six different things that helped to change the human race:

  1. Dissemination
  2. Standardization
  3. Reorganization
  4. Data Collection
  5. Preservation
  6. Amplification and Reinforcement

This allowed there to be more copies of a text to be made and made available to more people.


With dissemination, that made it so that texts became more standardize.  This of course has helped to make it so that the texts that we have in the 21st century aren’t completely disorganized.  Having more of a standardized format and expectation of texts allows us to have better books.


As Standardization built off of Dissemination, Reorganization builds off of Standardization.  This had placed table on contexts and indexes allows people to find a certain chapter or subject faster.

Reorganization and Standardization go hand-and-hand with each other also for the fact that we have a standardized format of contents and indexes.  With a table of contexts, they are organized by chapter going from first to last.  Where as indexes go by alphabetical order.

Data Collection

For Data Collection, Eisenstein makes a reference to the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum – world map – and how other things such as the world map are easily updatable.  With anything that involves Data Collection, as more data is provided means that as things are able to be updated.


In terms of preservation, the Printing PRess allowed more books to be published.  Therefore, there was a better chance of older texts to escape father time.

This is important, because otherwise some of the texts that have survived over time would not of made it through time.

Amplification & Reinforcement

Eisenstein argues for this section that ancient text increases the argument for the spread of ideas from Ancient Texts.


All though the printing press gave the world when it was invented – the Chinese invented theirs in the 11th century, but wasn’t used that much due to their largeness of their alphabet – the web even pushed the world into a new direction.

Whereas with the traditional books, magazines, and newspapers, you couldn’t change the content quickly.  Yet, with blogs, you can change the content anytime after you publish it.

Also, another difference is that there is more potential of a larger audience.  Even though nearly all forms of news are accessible via the web, blogs typically are driven by a single purpose.

In fact, a Norwegian newspaper entitled Dagbladet published an article on October 17, 2005, about how a third of the population in the country published something on the web every week.  All though Rettberg doesn’t say that the study that Dagbladet and how newspapers operate online, but Rettberg does mention how newspapers are replacing the traditional letter to the editor for a particular article with being able to make that comment online.

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