*. This paper was delivered to the 1992 meeting of the North American Serials Interest Group in Chicago (June 1992), and has been published in: The Serials Librarian 23.3/4 (1993), 21-41; also in If We Build It: Scholarly Communications and Networking Technologies (New York, 1993), 21-41; and in Directory of Electronic Journals, Newsletters and Academic Discussion Lists: Third Edition (Washington, 1993). I am grateful to NASIG and to its president of that year, Ann Okerson, for the invitation and the opportunity to develop these ideas.

1. Wordsworth on the French Revolution in the Prelude: "Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, / But to be young was very heaven."

2. I have tried to supply notes that will lead the interested reader to the next higher level of sophistication and detail of treatment; and I have tried to give several titles in the same vein wherever possible, to make it easier for the reader to find something of interest in pursuing these matters further. For the coming of writing in the Greco-Roman world, see now W.V. Harris, Ancient Literacy (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1989), with substantial response and discussion in J.H. Humphrey (ed.), Literacy in the Roman World (Journal of Roman Archaeology Supplementary Series, no. 3: Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan, 1992); there are numerous more theoretical and controversial works by the late Eric Havelock, notably Preface to Plato; for the invention of printing, the tendentious classic is Marshall McLuhan, The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1962); McLuhan is excellent at the broad strokes and the defining insights, though weak on details. Work since that date has reacted against him, most notably the two volumes of Elizabeth Eisenstein, The Printing Press as an Agent of Change : Communications and Cultural Transformations in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979), but she shares with McLuhan the weakness of working mainly from the secondary literature. A classic in another vein is Lucien Febvre and H.-J. Martin, The Coming of the Book: The Impact of Printing, 1450-1800 (Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press, 1976 [and later imprints; originally in French, 1958]). Work continues apace: see recently Sandra L. Hindman, ed., Printing the Written Word: The Social History of Books, circa 1450-1520 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1991). Of great interest is the collection of essays edited by Roger Chartier, The Culture of Print: Power and the Uses of Print in Early Modern Europe (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1989). One inspiration of my remarks today here is worth special mention: R. H. Rouse, `Backgrounds to print: aspects of the manuscript book in Northern Europe of the fifteenth century,' Proceedings of the PMR Conference 6 (1981), 37-50. In this stimulating lecture, Professor Rouse showed (against Eisenstein) how late medieval manuscripts were already beginning to do things that print would make technically easier.

3. It is not irrational to confine a discussion of this sort to Greek and Roman culture and their heirs; the `western' tradition that creates itself around the accomplishments of those two ancient societies has many common features to justify such a polite fiction, especially features regarding the ways in which texts are created, distributed, and consumed. For a stimulating view of the originality and distinctiveness of this line of cultural history, see now Jacqueline de Romilly, The Great Sophists in Periclean Athens (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992). She argues that Athens's contribution was to create in the threatening and vast world of physical nature a mental and social community on a human scale, setting human values at a premium. Attendants at the particular NASIG conference where this paper was delivered will recall striking evidence that modern architecture abandon that sense of scale and create a moonscape on which human beings are as insects waiting to be crushed. For a controversial alternate view of the past, see the two volumes (so far) of Martin Bernal, Black Athena (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1987-); Bernal is wrong about many things, but he is right that our choice of the Greek and Roman past to canonize was deliberate and made within recoverable historical time, and was not the only choice we could have made.

4. Very stimulating and venturesome on the way the inscribed stone itself was imagined to speak aloud to the viewer (and about to appear in English translation) is J. Svenbro, Phrasikleia: anthropologie de la lecture en Grece ancienne (Paris: Editions La Decouverte, 1988).

5. When did this happen? Linear A and Linear B memorialize a proto-Greek culture of the late second millennium B.C., but writing as a more-than-utilitarian instrument comes later. Current scholarship still argues when `Homer' and the written word first met, and a recent book (Barry B. Powell, Homer and the Origin of the Greek Alphabet [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991) has forcefully argued that the Greek alphabet took shape precisely to give written form to Homer, in the eighth century B.C.

6. Luciano Canfora, The Vanished Library: A Wonder of the Ancient World (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989) is stimulating and readable, though not especially scholarly. For a different approach, see R. Blum, Kallimachos: the Alexandrian Library and the Origins of Bibliography (Madison, Wis.: University of Wisconsin Press, 1991).

7. Some of these ancient tablets survive, preserved in such unlikely locations as an Irish peat bog, derelict when a schoolboy threw them down to play on the way home perhaps.

8. There is a large and for our purposes irrelevant debate about the end of the use of papyrus in late antiquity. Henri Pirenne, a Belgian historian early in this century, argued that the disuse of papyrus (which had to be imported from Egypt) was one of the marks of the true `decline and fall' of the Roman empire; there is some truth to that, but no close correlation may be made, for the economics of the situation are complex indeed. Suffice it here to say that a parchment or vellum manuscript was always a remarkably expensive artifact: the earliest surviving manuscript of the whole Bible in Latin, the Codex Amiatinus now in Florence, whose pages are roughly the size of our typing paper, cost over 500 calves their hides and weighed in its original form about 90 pounds.

9. The standard study on origins is the slender monograph of Colin H. Roberts and T.C. Skeat, The Birth of the Codex (London: Published for The British Academy by Oxford University Press, 1983), revising a lecture originally published in the Proceedings of the British Academy 40(1954), 169- 204.

10. Roberts and Skeat, 37.

11. Transference did not guarantee survival, of course, far from it, but it was a necessary condition. It is worth bearing in mind that when we think of scanning our libraries into machine-readable form, we are making a similarly Solomonic judgment about their fates.

12. I concentrate here now on Christian late antiquity for purposes of simplicity of narrative. There was still an appreciable non-Christian literature being produced, and it had apparently made the transition from roll to codex by now as well; but it was an elite literature, little influenced in substance by the novelties of the world in which it found itself, and it was destined to have little success, narrow readership, and a difficult time transmitting itself to later ages.

13. Thus he appears to us, seated on his episcopal throne before the open book, in the earliest surviving portrait, which appeared in one of the earliest ecclesiastical libraries, that of the Lateran at Rome in the sixth century. The portrait is reproduced widely, perhaps best with accompanying discussion at Miscellanea Agostiniana (Rome: Typografia Poliglotta Vaticana, 1931), vol. 2, facing p. 1.

14. I have treated the subject in a very limited way in my Cassiodorus (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1979), but much remains to be done. Cassiodorus' own Institutiones lectionum divinarum et humanarum (ed. R. Mynors, Oxford, 1937), is the earliest substantial annotated bibliography produced by a library manager that we have.

15. Cassiodorus is the best-known such entrepreneur, but there were doubtless others working in the same vein. Another monk named Eugippius, working at Naples in the sixth century, felt so strongly the superabundance of the new literature that he produced the first digest of Augustine's works, a thousand page anthology of quotations that was widely read in after years. The church authorities at Rome, just beginning to feel their way to their medieval eminence, were beginning to manage and arrange their library in this period as well; but it was probably not the papal court but an unspecified north Italian library that produced the first version of the ecclesiastical Index of Forbidden Books, the so-called pseudo-Gelasisan Decretum de libris recipiendis et non recipiendis, a list of works both good and bad that Christians might encounter.

16. The portrait was copied in the eighth-century Codex Amiatinus mentioned above, and reproductions may be seen in many standard works; see, e.g., D.T. Rice, The Dark Ages (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1965), 243, but almost any collection of plates of illuminated western manuscripts or surveys of palaeography will have some reproduction.

17. Many of those technicians were probably reading slaves; we must always remember of antiquity that when reading and writing were technical skills as difficult and enviable as computer literacy was a decade ago, there was no shame, and indeed sometimes a perverse pride, in leaving those skills to others, menials, to perform at your direction. The transformation of the written page led in turn to the internalization of the word: the real rise of silent reading, reading `without moving your lips', has now been shown to be a late medieval development associated with the introduction of word divisions, punctuation, and other forms of user-friendly graphical user interface: see Paul Saenger, `Silent Reading: Its Impact on Late Medieval Script and Literacy', Viator 13(1982), 367-414.

18. F. Troncarelli, ```Con la mano del cuore.'' L'arte della memoria nei codici di Cassiodoro' Quaderni medievali 22 (December 1986), 22-58, is fascinating beyond words but a bit recondite, on the way the manuscript page was organized to facilitate memorization; the more recent book of M.J. Carruthers, The Book of Memory : a Study of Memory in Medieval Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), is stimulating and venturesome, but imperfect.

19. There are many good books with ample illustrations for the general reader wishing to know a little more about this vital phase of our cultural history. A few of my favorites are: L.D. Reynolds and N.G. Wilson, Scribes & Scholars. A Guide to the Transmission of Greek and Latin Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991 [third edition]); Stanley Morison, Politics and Script (Oxford: Clarendon, 1972); Leila Avrin, Scribes, Script and Books: The Book Arts from Antiquity to the Renaissance (Chicago: American Library Association; and London: The British Library, 1991); J. Glenisson, ed., Le Livre au moyen age (Paris, Presses du CNRS, 1988); H.-J. Martin and J. Vezin, edd., Mise en page et mise en texte du livre manuscrit (Paris: Iditions du Cercle de la Librairie-Promodis, 1990) -- this last volume offers hundreds of pages of fascinating examples of the ways in which medieval texts were organized on the page, often with startling sophistication and anticipation of modern developments.

20. My late Penn colleague Lloyd Daly wrote the authoritative but not definitive study, Contributions to a History of Alphabetization in Antiquity and the Middle Ages (Brussels: Latomus, 1967). Some form of the technique went back to the Alexandrian library, but had been forgotten long before the western middle ages.

21. This style of argument of the priority of Christian to secular wisdom goes back at least to Clement of Alexandria in the third century, but Cassiodorus made a particular hobby-horse of it.

22. The tables are still printed in some modern editions of the Greek New Testament. In a 1958 printing by the British and Foreign Bible Society, there are 9 tables of concordances, followed by lists of passages in each gospel that have no parallels in the others. So, for example, the fourth tables compares Matthew, Mark, and John thus:

                        Canon IV, of Three Gospels

         Mt             Mk      Jn
         18             8       26
         117            26      93
         117            26      95
         150            67      51
         161            77      23
         161            77      53
         204            115     91
         204            115     135
         216            125     128

. . . (through another twenty lines of parallel figures). The most abundant comparison, linking the three synoptic authors themselves, has about 100 sets of figures. (Matthew and Luke are divided for these purposes each into about 350 separate units, Mark and John run to slightly over two hundred.) The tedium of the arrangement was partly alleviated in medieval manuscripts by a commonly-seen architectural arrangement, where the three columns of numbers appeared on a page between columns of a classical arcade, with two or three or four openings as the individual canon tables required. Almost any medieval gospel book will show a good example, but perhaps the Book of Kells, often reproduced (see e.g., The Book of Kells: Reproductions from the Manuscript in Trinity College Dublin, with a study of the manuscript by Frangoise Henry (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1974), is most accessible: ten pages of the front matter to that manuscript contain the canon tables.

23. Of course, we know that the real use of those texts had distinct non-linear features as well. Pieces of gospel text were read aloud in church at all services, not following the original narrative order. There quickly grew up a practice of producing `lectionaries', that is, anthologies of gospel passages arranged according to the Sundays and feasts of the year. Though in the Latin west, full gospel manuscripts remain common (a twelfth century monastic library catalogue from Italy being studied by one of my students shows that they owned in fact one full gospel book and one lectionary), in the Greek east lectionaries eventually become much more common than gospel manuscripts, to the point where the lectionary evidence is regularly cited as ancient and authoritative in our modern editions of the Greek New Testament.

24. To exemplify non-linear access and its rich serendipitous possibilities: at 11:35 p.m., checking the form of the title of this reference work from my home desk by dialing up the university library OPAC eight miles away, I find this fascinating bit of additional information: `Summary: Vol. for 1947 includes "A list of clandestine periodicals of World War II, by Adrienne Florence Muzzy." I make a note to myself to have a look at that list, the very need for which had never dawned on me until I saw this screen -- before the availability of the OPAC, of course, I would never have gotten to that card in the catalogue or read so far were I pursuing merely a title verification, and at the same time I never would have gotten the verification so easily and so much at my own convenience.

25. It is easier to be confident that some form of the overtly narrative codex book will survive, if only for airplane reading; but even there it is to be noted that experimental literature is already playing with `hypertext' forms (see, for example, M. Pavic, Dictionary of the Khazars: a lexicon novel in 100,000 words [New York: Knopf, 1988], distributed in marginally differing `male' and `female' editions, and with the alphabetical arrangement of entries differing sharply between the English translation and the original Serbo- Croatian). It is only a matter of time before someone publishes a murder mystery that must be consumed as a self- constructing hypertext of labyrinthine proportions. (Two days after I delivered this paper at the NASIG conference, the New York Times Book Review of 22 June 1992 featured a front-page survey article by the novelist Robert Coover, treating in detail current experiments and venues for hyperfiction of various kinds.)

26. Already PSYCOLOQUY, one of the first and most ambitious e-journals, is struggling to dispense with `volume' and `issue' numbering; recent interesting dialogue on this subject on the network shows first that it is hard to do without what we have become used to, and second that what we no longer need can in fact be dispensed with if adequate thought and patience are taken. This note is a self-exemplifying artifact: I regret that it is not possible to provide a convenient and transparent form of citation to these discussions; I can do no better than refer the reader (who must have specialized knowledge not yet universally held in order to follow these instructions) to the e- archives of lists known by their acronyms such as AESJ-L, VPIE-L, and Arachnet, and rely on the foresight of the listowners to have arranged those archives in a way that will lead to results. In fact the easier form of reference would be to send the reader of this paper back to pursue the original author of that discussion, Stevan Harnad of PSYCOLOQUY, in person: and so far as that goes, it shows that we are back (for the moment and only, I think, for the moment) to a medieval kind of search for authoritative information.

27. See on this fascinating heffalump of a compendious book, which took shape in the course of the eleventh and twelfth centuries (and an expensive Brepols reprint of whose first printed edition is causing fits of indecision among acquisitions librarians around the world just at this writing), Beryl Smalley, The Study of the Bible in the Middle Ages (Oxford: Blackwell, 1951 [second edition]), 46-66.