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Historians debate the nature of history and its usefulness. This includes discussing the study of the discipline as an end in itself and as a way of providing "perspective" on the problems of the present.
The stories common to a particular culture, but not supported by external sources such as the legends surrounding King Arthur are usually classified as cultural heritage rather than the "disinterested investigation" needed by the discipline of history.
Events of the past prior to written record are considered prehistory. Amongst scholars, the fifth century BC Greek historian Herodotus is considered to be the "father of history", and, along with his contemporary Thucydides, forms the foundations for the modern study of history.
Their influence, along with other historical traditions in other parts of their world, have spawned many different interpretations of the nature of history which has evolved over the centuries and are continuing to change.
The modern study of history has many different fields including those that focus on certain regions and those which focus on certain topical or thematical elements of historical investigation.
Often history is taught as part of primary and secondary education, and the academic study of history is a major discipline in University studies.
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Oct 14 - Nov 10, Countries available: Most Read This Week. More most read this week More popular history books Because dried parchment tends to assume the form it had before processing, the books were fitted with clasps or straps.
During the later Middle Ages , when public libraries appeared, up to the 18th century, books were often chained to a bookshelf or a desk to prevent theft.
These chained books are called libri catenati. At first, books were copied mostly in monasteries, one at a time. With the rise of universities in the 13th century, the Manuscript culture of the time led to an increase in the demand for books, and a new system for copying books appeared.
The books were divided into unbound leaves pecia , which were lent out to different copyists, so the speed of book production was considerably increased.
The system was maintained by secular stationers guilds, which produced both religious and non-religious material. Judaism has kept the art of the scribe alive up to the present.
According to Jewish tradition, the Torah scroll placed in a synagogue must be written by hand on parchment and a printed book would not do, though the congregation may use printed prayer books and printed copies of the Scriptures are used for study outside the synagogue.
A sofer "scribe" is a highly respected member of any observant Jewish community. A number of cities in the medieval Islamic world had book production centers and book markets.
The medieval Muslim world also used a method of reproducing reliable copies of a book in large quantities known as check reading , in contrast to the traditional method of a single scribe producing only a single copy of a single manuscript.
In the check reading method, only "authors could authorize copies, and this was done in public sessions in which the copyist read the copy aloud in the presence of the author, who then certified it as accurate.
In woodblock printing , a relief image of an entire page was carved into blocks of wood, inked, and used to print copies of that page. This method originated in China, in the Han dynasty before AD , as a method of printing on textiles and later paper , and was widely used throughout East Asia.
The method called Woodcut when used in art arrived in Europe in the early 14th century. Books known as block-books , as well as playing-cards and religious pictures , began to be produced by this method.
Creating an entire book was a painstaking process, requiring a hand-carved block for each page; and the wood blocks tended to crack, if stored for long.
The monks or people who wrote them were paid highly. The Chinese inventor Bi Sheng made movable type of earthenware circa , but there are no known surviving examples of his printing.
Around , in what is commonly regarded as an independent invention, Johannes Gutenberg invented movable type in Europe, along with innovations in casting the type based on a matrix and hand mould.
This invention gradually made books less expensive to produce, and more widely available. Early printed books, single sheets and images which were created before in Europe are known as incunables or incunabula.
Steam-powered printing presses became popular in the early 19th century. These machines could print 1, sheets per hour, but workers could only set 2, letters per hour.
They could set more than 6, letters per hour and an entire line of type at once. There have been numerous improvements in the printing press. As well, the conditions for freedom of the press have been improved through the gradual relaxation of restrictive censorship laws.
See also intellectual property , public domain , copyright. In midth century, European book production had risen to over , titles per year.
Throughout the 20th century, libraries have faced an ever-increasing rate of publishing, sometimes called an information explosion.
The advent of electronic publishing and the internet means that much new information is not printed in paper books, but is made available online through a digital library , on CD-ROM , in the form of e-books or other online media.
An on-line book is an e-book that is available online through the internet. Though many books are produced digitally, most digital versions are not available to the public, and there is no decline in the rate of paper publishing.
This effort is spearheaded by Project Gutenberg combined with Distributed Proofreaders. There have also been new developments in the process of publishing books.
Technologies such as POD or " print on demand ", which make it possible to print as few as one book at a time, have made self-publishing and vanity publishing much easier and more affordable.
On-demand publishing has allowed publishers, by avoiding the high costs of warehousing, to keep low-selling books in print rather than declaring them out of print.
The methods used for the printing and binding of books continued fundamentally unchanged from the 15th century into the early 20th century.
While there was more mechanization , a book printer in had much in common with Gutenberg. Gutenberg's invention was the use of movable metal types, assembled into words, lines, and pages and then printed by letterpress to create multiple copies.
Modern paper books are printed on papers designed specifically for printed books. Traditionally, book papers are off-white or low-white papers easier to read , are opaque to minimise the show-through of text from one side of the page to the other and are usually made to tighter caliper or thickness specifications, particularly for case-bound books.
Different paper qualities are used depending on the type of book: Machine finished coated papers , woodfree uncoated papers , coated fine papers and special fine papers are common paper grades.
Today, the majority of books are printed by offset lithography. Books tend to be manufactured nowadays in a few standard sizes.
The sizes of books are usually specified as "trim size": The standard sizes result from sheet sizes therefore machine sizes which became popular or years ago, and have come to dominate the industry.
British conventions in this regard prevail throughout the English-speaking world, except for the USA. The European book manufacturing industry works to a completely different set of standards.
Modern bound books are organized according to a particular format called the book's layout. Although there is great variation in layout, modern books tend to adhere to as set of rules with regard to what the parts of the layout are and what their content usually includes.
A basic layout will include a front cover , a back cover , and the book's content which is called its body copy or content pages.
The front cover often bears the book's title and subtitle, if any and the name of its author or editor s. The inside front cover page is usually left blank in both hardcover and paperback books.
The next section, if present, is the book's front matter , which includes all textual material after the front cover but not part of the book's content— such things as a forward, a dedication, and a table of contents as well as publisher data such as the book's edition or printing number and place of publication.
Between the body copy and the back cover goes the end matter which would include any indices, sets of tables, or diagrams, glossaries, or lists of cited works though an edited book with multiple contributing authors usually places cited works at the end of each authored chapter.
The inside back cover page, like that inside the front cover, is usually blank. Also here often appear plot summaries, barcodes, and excerpted reviews of the book.
Some books, particularly those with shorter runs i. As the production line circulates, a complete "book" is collected together in one stack, next to another, and another A web press carries out the folding itself, delivering bundles of signatures sections ready to go into the gathering line.
Note that the pages of a book are printed two at a time, not as one complete book. Excess numbers are printed to make up for any spoilage due to make-readies or test pages to assure final print quality.
A make-ready is the preparatory work carried out by the pressmen to get the printing press up to the required quality of impression. Included in make-ready is the time taken to mount the plate onto the machine, clean up any mess from the previous job, and get the press up to speed.
As soon as the pressman decides that the printing is correct, all the make-ready sheets will be discarded, and the press will start making books.
Similar make readies take place in the folding and binding areas, each involving spoilage of paper.
After the signatures are folded and gathered, they move into the bindery. In the middle of last century there were still many trade binders — stand-alone binding companies which did no printing, specializing in binding alone.
At that time, because of the dominance of letterpress printing, typesetting and printing took place in one location, and binding in a different factory.
When type was all metal, a typical book's worth of type would be bulky, fragile and heavy. The less it was moved in this condition the better: Printed sheets on the other hand could easily be moved.
Now, because of increasing computerization of preparing a book for the printer, the typesetting part of the job has flowed upstream, where it is done either by separately contracting companies working for the publisher, by the publishers themselves, or even by the authors.
Mergers in the book manufacturing industry mean that it is now unusual to find a bindery which is not also involved in book printing and vice versa.
If the book is a hardback its path through the bindery will involve more points of activity than if it is a paperback.
Unsewn binding, is now increasingly common. The signatures of a book can also be held together by "Smyth sewing" using needles, "McCain sewing", using drilled holes often used in schoolbook binding, or "notch binding", where gashes about an inch long are made at intervals through the fold in the spine of each signature.
The rest of the binding process is similar in all instances. Sewn and notch bound books can be bound as either hardbacks or paperbacks.
In the most basic case-making, two pieces of cardboard are placed onto a glued piece of cloth with a space between them into which is glued a thinner board cut to the width of the spine of the book.
After case-making the stack of cases will go to the foil stamping area for adding decorations and type. Recent developments in book manufacturing include the development of digital printing.
Book pages are printed, in much the same way as an office copier works, using toner rather than ink. Each book is printed in one pass, not as separate signatures.
Digital printing has permitted the manufacture of much smaller quantities than offset, in part because of the absence of make readies and of spoilage.
One might think of a web press as printing quantities over , quantities from to being printed on sheet-fed presses, and digital presses doing quantities below These numbers are of course only approximate and will vary from supplier to supplier, and from book to book depending on its characteristics.
Digital printing has opened up the possibility of print-on-demand, where no books are printed until after an order is received from a customer.
In the s, due to the rise in availability of affordable handheld computing devices, the opportunity to share texts through electronic means became an appealing option for media publishers.
The term e-book is a contraction of "electronic book"; it refers to a book-length publication in digital form. E-book readers attempt to mimic the experience of reading a print book by using this technology, since the displays on e-book readers are much less reflective.
Book design is the art of incorporating the content, style, format, design, and sequence of the various components of a book into a coherent whole.
In the words of Jan Tschichold, book design "though largely forgotten today, methods and rules upon which it is impossible to improve have been developed over centuries.
To produce perfect books these rules have to be brought back to life and applied. Many different creators can contribute to book design, including graphic designers , artists and editors.
The size of a modern book is based on the printing area of a common flatbed press. The pages of type were arranged and clamped in a frame, so that when printed on a sheet of paper the full size of the press, the pages would be right side up and in order when the sheet was folded, and the folded edges trimmed.
The world's largest book is made of stone and is in Kuthodaw Pagoda Burma. A common separation by content are fiction and non-fiction books.
This simple separation can be found in most collections , libraries , and bookstores. Many of the books published today are fiction, meaning that they are in-part or completely untrue.
Historically, paper production was considered too expensive to be used for entertainment. An increase in global literacy and print technology led to the increased publication of books for the purpose of entertainment, and allegorical social commentary.
Most fiction is additionally categorized by genre. The novel is the most common form of fiction book. Novels are stories that typically feature a plot , setting , themes and characters.
Stories and narrative are not restricted to any topic; a novel can be whimsical, serious or controversial. The novel has had a tremendous impact on entertainment and publishing markets.
A short story may be any length up to 10, words, but these word lengths vary. Comic books or graphic novels are books in which the story is illustrated.
The characters and narrators use speech or thought bubbles to express verbal language. In a library, a reference book is a general type of non-fiction book which provides information as opposed to telling a story, essay, commentary, or otherwise supporting a point of view.
An almanac is a very general reference book, usually one-volume, with lists of data and information on many topics. An encyclopedia is a book or set of books designed to have more in-depth articles on many topics.
A book listing words , their etymology , meanings, and other information is called a dictionary. A book which is a collection of maps is an atlas.
A more specific reference book with tables or lists of data and information about a certain topic, often intended for professional use, is often called a handbook.
Books which try to list references and abstracts in a certain broad area may be called an index , such as Engineering Index , or abstracts such as chemical abstracts and biological abstracts.
Books with technical information on how to do something or how to use some equipment are called instruction manuals.
Other popular how-to books include cookbooks and home improvement books. Students typically store and carry textbooks and schoolbooks for study purposes.
Elementary school pupils often use workbooks , which are published with spaces or blanks to be filled by them for study or homework.
In US higher education , it is common for a student to take an exam using a blue book. There is a large set of books that are made only to write private ideas, notes, and accounts.
These books are rarely published and are typically destroyed or remain private. Notebooks are blank papers to be written in by the user.
Students and writers commonly use them for taking notes. Scientists and other researchers use lab notebooks to record their notes.
They often feature spiral coil bindings at the edge so that pages may easily be torn out. Books for recording periodic entries by the user, such as daily information about a journey, are called logbooks or simply logs.
A similar book for writing the owner's daily private personal events, information, and ideas is called a diary or personal journal.
Businesses use accounting books such as journals and ledgers to record financial data in a practice called bookkeeping.
There are several other types of books which are not commonly found under this system. Albums are books for holding a group of items belonging to a particular theme, such as a set of photographs , card collections, and memorabilia.
One common example is stamp albums , which are used by many hobbyists to protect and organize their collections of postage stamps.
Such albums are often made using removable plastic pages held inside in a ringed binder or other similar holder. Picture books are books for children with pictures on every page and less text or even no text.
Hymnals are books with collections of musical hymns that can typically be found in churches. Prayerbooks or missals are books that contain written prayers and are commonly carried by monks , nuns , and other devoted followers or clergy.
A leveled book collection is a set of books organized in levels of difficulty from the easy books appropriate for an emergent reader to longer more complex books adequate for advanced readers.
Decodable readers or books are a specialized type of leveled books that use decodable text only including controlled lists of words, sentences and stories consistent with the letters and phonics that have been taught to the emergent reader.
New sounds and letters are added to higher level decodable books, as the level of instruction progresses, allowing for higher levels of accuracy, comprehension and fluency.
Hardcover books have a stiff binding. Paperback books have cheaper, flexible covers which tend to be less durable. An alternative to paperback is the glossy cover, otherwise known as a dust cover, found on magazines, and comic books.
Spiral-bound books are bound by spirals made of metal or plastic. Examples of spiral-bound books include teachers' manuals and puzzle books crosswords , sudoku.
Publishers may produce low-cost, pre-publication copies known as galleys or 'bound proofs' for promotional purposes, such as generating reviews in advance of publication.
Galleys are usually made as cheaply as possible, since they are not intended for sale. Private or personal libraries made up of non-fiction and fiction books, as opposed to the state or institutional records kept in archives first appeared in classical Greece.
In the ancient world, the maintaining of a library was usually but not exclusively the privilege of a wealthy individual. These libraries could have been either private or public, i.
The difference from a modern public library lies in the fact that they were usually not funded from public sources. It is estimated that in the city of Rome at the end of the 3rd century there were around 30 public libraries.
Public libraries also existed in other cities of the ancient Mediterranean region for example, Library of Alexandria. Typically not the whole collection was available to public, the books could not be borrowed and often were chained to reading stands to prevent theft.
The beginning of modern public library begins around 15th century when individuals started to donate books to towns.
This reflected classes in a society: The poor or the middle class had to access most books through a public library or by other means while the rich could afford to have a private library built in their homes.
In the United States the Boston Public Library Report of the Trustees established the justification for the public library as a tax-supported institution intended to extend educational opportunity and provide for general culture.
The advent of paperback books in the 20th century led to an explosion of popular publishing. Paperback books made owning books affordable for many people.
Paperback books often included works from genres that had previously been published mostly in pulp magazines.
As a result of the low cost of such books and the spread of bookstores filled with them in addition to the creation of a smaller market of extremely cheap used paperbacks owning a private library ceased to be a status symbol for the rich.
In library and booksellers' catalogues, it is common to include an abbreviation such as "Crown 8vo" to indicate the paper size from which the book is made.
When rows of books are lined on a book holder, bookends are sometimes needed to keep them from slanting.
During the 20th century, librarians were concerned about keeping track of the many books being added yearly to the Gutenberg Galaxy.
Each book is specified by an International Standard Book Number, or ISBN, which is unique to every edition of every book produced by participating publishers, worldwide.
An ISBN has four parts: The last part is a check digit , and can take values from 0—9 and X Commercial publishers in industrialized countries generally assign ISBNs to their books, so buyers may presume that the ISBN is part of a total international system, with no exceptions.
However, many government publishers, in industrial as well as developing countries, do not participate fully in the ISBN system, and publish books which do not have ISBNs.
A large or public collection requires a catalogue. Codes called "call numbers" relate the books to the catalogue, and determine their locations on the shelves.
Call numbers are based on a Library classification system. The call number is placed on the spine of the book, normally a short distance before the bottom, and inside.
One of the earliest and most widely known systems of cataloguing books is the Dewey Decimal System.
Another widely known system is the Library of Congress Classification system. Both systems are biased towards subjects which were well represented in US libraries when they were developed, and hence have problems handling new subjects, such as computing, or subjects relating to other cultures.