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I. THEORY – 1. Epistemic system(s)

Degrees of digitality: analog

Giorgio Buccellati – March 2022


The analog format is a modified image of an original printed format. It is most commonly available in a PDF or EPUB format (te latter affecting the bibliographical status of a work). The modification affects especially the fact that the text has generally been made searchable.

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Analog format

The term is used for the electronic version of a printed text, generally in a PDF format
relating to the appearance seen as a whole Plato Theaetetus PDF

In current parlance, the term “digital” is used in ways that reflect only in part the modalities here outlined. Of particular interest to us is the digital transfer of a paper publication in a .PDF format. This is indeed digital in the technical sense that it relies on the translation of the paper format into digits that can be assembled by the computer for a display practially identical to that of the paper version. As a result there is also the advantage of searchability which is missing in the analog dimension.

As simple photographic copy of a printed page displayed on a screen as a copy of the printed page (e.g., in a .JPG format) is digital only in a relative sense, i. e., as referring to the physical medium (the screen) rather than its conceptual consistency (such as searchability and hyperlinking).

However, all the other aspects of a digital dimension are missing, and to emphasize this difference I use the term “para-digital,” in a way that is similar to that which one find, for instance, in the term “para-medic” as opposed to a properly medical doctor.

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