This article was posted on Best of Publib: Culture of the Book, Gutenberg Parenthesis and new ways of learning . The reaction to the content was mixed on PubLib and Web4Lib listserves, and even a bit troubling. Out of thousands of Librarians who are affected by these changes, only one person commented on the intellectual aspects of the Gutenberg Parenthesis. The comments from the Web4Lib readership were about having to copy and paste a link because their e-mail could not handle long URLs.
That focus on method – where it is seen as too much effort to retype a URL – may be yet another aspect of the Gutenberg Parenthesis. As the availability to content has sped up, the value of the information is relative to the ease of access. Twenty years ago, it was uncommon to do research online. Access to scholarly resource meant physically going to a building, locating the article, and usually photocopying it. Now, the action of having to move one’s thumbs a bit on a Smartphone keyboard seems daunting. If there is no effort at obtaining information, then the most relevant information may merely be what is the easiest to access. So, even with greater access to information we may become less intelligent as human societies.