An Open Notebook

Book-Historical Methods


Book-historical methods take six kinds of questions and gather data corresponding to the particular object to be researched. This includes four forms of lower criticism and a couple kinds of form-criticism and high-criticism, listed as follows: When was this object produced (written)? From what physical phenomena? In what form (integrity)? Where was it made (localization)? By whom was it crafted (authorship)? And, what evidence does this text attest toward (credibility)? 

Robust, yes, but then there actually seems to be an unwritten seventh goal the book-historical method, a rhetorical goal–to render the story to other persons. By nature, book-history tends to be communicative. Though the process certainly can be used for ‘personal growth,’ normally this mode of study lends itself to shaping the opinions of others. History’s use and purpose has been long debated by many pens and typewriters; but, book-historical methods like to exhaustively research the historical phenomena in this way.

Despite the name, ‘book-historical methods’ can be used beyond the image conjured by the term (the prima-facie picture instilled in the Anglophone mind by the term ‘book’), in order to study objects ‘beyond the book.’ The hermeneutic can be used to interpret not only ‘books’ or ‘speech’ in formal forms (recording or reams of paper-bound collections), but even other modes of media, including, but not limited to, ‘traps, paths, wampum, monuments, rituals, and other messaging-systems.’ By use of ‘text-analysis,’ more than just print can be analyzed, decoded with various levels of epistemic certainty. 

While the ‘newspaper’ or ‘web-article’ seems certainly no more exotic than some of these, it too has been perceived as a ‘lesser’ medium, in favor of the standard ‘book.’ Such lesserness can be compounded by other factors, such when the object does not conform neatly to the popular narratives or values which permeate a given culture.

Plus, it certainly does not help that the material-nature of the newspaper does not contribute to its safety unless placed under extraordinary care, which tends to favor those who have the means to preserve them—as time passes, and becomes compounded by other factors, the lack of exposure occasionally masks the voices of minorities, of every shade, color, and hue—caste, class, and custom, belief, judgment, and opinion. 

If this be the case with newspapers, I always ponder on the fate of other blogs, which often contain good content (far better than this one), yet are not preserved. 

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