Paul Courant, university librarian and dean of libraries at the University of Michigan, presented his talk entitled “The Book—Not Just Another Gadget” on Thursday, January 21, 2010 in Knight Library’s Browsing Room.
In his talk, which is part of the university’s Year of the Book event series, Courant focused on how books have been historically produced and used as all-in-one instruments, or “gadgets,” for recording, distributing, and storing information. The advent of new book-like technological gadgets, such as Kindles, computer screens, and digitized archives of text, has begun to redefine the way we perceive, produce, and use books. Courant explored the changes in our relationship with books and other forms of published material, especially as it relates to scholarly communications in academic settings.
In addition to his library positions at Michigan, Courant is Harold T. Shapiro Collegiate Professor of Public Policy, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, and professor of economics and of information. His widely read blog, Au Courant, covers topics ranging from libraries to economics to public policy. He has authored half a dozen books and more than seventy papers covering a broad range of interdicsciplinary topics. More recently, he has studied the economics of universities, the economics of libraries and archives, and the changes in the system of scholarly communication that derive from new information technologies.