Drifting metaphors: Digital Libraries and Discursive Change

Ben Schmidt

Visiting Fellow, Cultural Observatory @ Harvard

Ph.D. Candidate in History, Princeton University

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The History of Attention


1 million books

80 billion words

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Mind as Camera

Those who lay stress on the unity of mind regard it as almost evident a priori, that but one concept can occupy the focus of attention at a time... Attention, like the lens of the eye, is now [ie, first] accommodated to act as an instrument of near focus, high magnification, but limited aperture, and again [then] as one of distant focus, small magnifying-power, but wide range

Can the Mind attend to two things at once? Science: July 18, 1887