ISSN: 20428022
First published in 2011
2 issues per volume
Volume 3 Issue 2
Cover Date: December 2013
File sharing: Reading the index in Rosalind Krauss and Wim Crouwel
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Authors:  Danielle Aubert 
DOI: 10.1386/btwo.3.2.113_1

PDF,indexical marks,Rosalind Krauss,Wim Crouwel,typography

As reading formats have become more varied, the moment of encounter between a reader and a text has also shifted. Readers of printed matter might take notes in margins, underline passages, or leave other handwritten traces of their interaction with a text. Electronic devices, however, tend to lend themselves less easily to mark making, and despite options for making digital notations and comments, the visual record of the moment of reading is lost more often than not. The PDF is a form of electronic text that can bear interesting traces and point to a text’s past life as a printed object through visual cues like page dimensions and typographic layout. We often see traces of the life of a text during that period after it has been authored, but before it reaches a reader, as it passed through the hands of designers, computers, printers, scanners, librarians and other ‘file sharers’. This is especially true for texts that were first published in print before the advent of digital publishing, and were scanned in and converted to PDF. This visual essay examines two kinds of marks – those made by readers and those made by the ‘intermediaries’ who handled a text before it was converted to PDF: first, examples of marks made by students reading printed copies of a 1976 essay entitled ‘Notes on the index, part 1’, by art historian Rosalind Krauss; second, traces left on a PDF of the 1970 essay ‘Type design in the computer age’, by graphic designer Wim Crouwel, which was acquired through a university library system.
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