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From The Scout Report, April 16, 2010 | Volume 16, Number 15

Reading: Harvard Views of Readers, Readership, and Reading History


Reading has been around a long time, but as Robert Darnton of Harvard University suggests, "Reading has become one of the hottest subjects in the humanities, perhaps because it seems especially intriguing now that so much of it has shifted from the printed page to the computer screen." It's a nice introduction to this online exploration of the intellectual, cultural, and political history of reading as found in the holdings of the Harvard Libraries. Within this collection visitors can look at personally annotated books owned by Keats and Melville and glance over the historical textbooks that document the pedagogical basis for reading instruction during the past several centuries. Visitors can use topical headings like "Learning to Read" and "Reading Collectively" as a point of entry into these items. One section that shouldn't be missed is the "Book Clubs and Associations" area, as it features records from the Cambridge Book Club and recommended works from a number of other groups. All told, the collection includes over 250,000 pages of text, and it's a site that visitors will definitely want to visit more than once. [KMG]


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