In Drucker’s article, “The Virtual Codex from Page Space to E-space,” she discusses that in order to determine what a book truly is one needs to understand what a book does instead of merely the object it is. Drucker also talks about the aspects of a traditional book or codex that need to be discussed for a virtual book and its traditional codex to be similar. She focuses on three ways to consider how to create a virtual book.
In her first suggestion Drucker says that in order to understand what makes a book a book one must understand and analyze what it does instead of what we think a book is. In this demonstration she talks about the role of the phenomenal book. Drucker says, “This is a book whose identity is projected from its material forms, but isn’t equivalent to them.” The book’s material and structural aspects do not define what the book is but they are the “…instructions for the performance” (Drucker). A virtual book can be created from its traditional codex if the designer focuses on analyzing how the traditional book works.
In her second suggestion, Drucker believes that one must determine what the affect of the book’s formal structure is, or its program. According to Drucker this is done by recognizing, “Function gives rise to form, but the form sustains activity as a program that arises from its structure.” These books are often structured differently in a way that performs a specific function. When a person identifies the program the book presents this allows for them to work backwards in determining how the book works.
Drucker, in her third suggestion, tells the reader to keep from seeing the formal aspects and structure of books as “metaphors.” She talks about Henke’s claim that page numbers, headers, or a table of contents serve as a representation of a text. Drucker testifies that this is not so but that they are, “instruction sets for cognitive performance.” It is the book’s structure that creates a presentation or performance of its text and allow for the reader to communicate and interact with its program. Drucker believes that for a person to know a book they must know how it works instead of seeing as a mere artifact.
There are a couple of things I was kind of unsure about in this text but one of them is what does she mean by “hyper-linking?” And how does this help her argument. I read it in the text after she was discussing the interpretation of the codex as a whole. I am also a bit confused on what the electronic space encompasses. Drucker explains that, “…electronic space serves as a site of collaboration and exchange, generative communication in an inter-subjective community that is integral to knowledge production.” Does the electronic space refer only to digital sites?