In Architectures of the Page, Mak discusses the different aspects of the page. First, the author discusses the issues of construction and material and then goes into discussing the issues of the page in more detail, such as issues with layout and form. The overall piece was interesting because Mak took you through each individual aspect of the page and discusses how the page has progressed over time.
The first aspect that I believe is important is on the second page of the PDF. Mak is expressing how every page has its own identity and that identity has changed throughout time to fit that culture’s needs. Mak says that every page “…discloses a unique identity that has been shaped by cultural forces over time. This identity is susceptible to change across different reading communities, but the material cues provided by the page perdure and are always present in the transmission of ideas” (2). This is important to the overall argument because Mak believes that although the content on the page changes throughout different cultures over time, the material will always be there throughout the entire process. This is important for our class to remember because Mak is basically saying that the material and other content on the page changes depending on who is reading and in what time period. The author writes to his or her audience to appeal to the reader.
The second aspect that I believe is important is on page five of the PDF. Mak introduces the wax tablet to us and compares it to our modern day tablet by saying that they both take advantage of space to appeal to its readers. Mak believes that the wax tablet is “…Like its more familiar modern versions in the tablet computer, PDA, and mobile phone, the frame of the wax tablet marks the edges of the cognitive space of the page, providing clear direction about where information should be written and read” (5). This is important to the overall argument because Mak is saying that the page can be transformed into any medium type, but it still has the same purpose when thinking of the page and its space─telling readers where to begin reading and where to stop. This can be applied to our class because we often get caught up in the different mediums being offered to us, but they each are trying to accomplish the same goal. It does not matter is we read this piece on our computer, tablet, or on the actual printed pages; what matters is that the author is clearly conveying their message and making use of the space on the page.
The last important aspect is on page eight of the PDF. Mak explains the importance books had on university communities and how the page had to be transformed into a more usable space to help students in their scholastic endeavors. Mak states that scholars needed to refer to “…multiple texts at once, and therefore demanded an organizational apparatus in support of their particular reading activities. Sophisticated patterns of ruling were developed to divide the page into unites that were conceptually and graphically distinct. This layout permitted designers to set commentaries and glosses adjacent to the passage that was being explicated and…transmit a number of different texts in a single pagina” (8). This is important to the overall argument because it shows how the page changes throughout different reading communities. The page and its author both need to transform to whoever they are writing to. This can be applied to our class because we read scholarly articles and the authors we read know their audience (college student and other intellectuals); therefore, they do not have to water down the material. They can write comfortably to their audience and know that they are grasping what is being said. Some authors we have read even made use of the page by giving us textual evidence and graphics to transform the page into a more scholarly article that we (as students) can enjoy and learn from.
Although I did enjoy this article, I found some aspects rather difficult to understand. The first one is on page ten of the PDF. Mak explains the use of digital technologies in the transmission of ideas and how it “…has led scholars to begin considering algorithmic code as a culturally pregnant means of shaping the display of text and image” (10). I am confused by this section because Mak does not really go into what algorithmic code is and how it effects the page as a whole. I see how the digital page ties in but how and in what ways is algorithmic code effecting the digital page, and how is it related to the article?
The other aspect that confused me is on the very next page of the PDF, page eleven. Mak uses the story of Controversia de nobilitate to get another point across, but I am not sure how it ties into the overall argument. The story is confusing in itself and seems to me to just be a story about a diplomat. I understand that the story has be transmitted across all different types of media forms, but I do not understand why it had to be remade and how that contributes to the overall argument.
Lastly, my final question to the class is do you think Mak is a technological determinist after reading this piece? If so, why? If you do not believe Mak is a technological determinist please explain why not.