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date: 17 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Cards in all their varieties played a crucial role in pre-digital information processing and were only partially replaced at the start of the twenty-first century. Starting with Conrad Gessner’s early use of cards and catalogues as bibliographical compiling tools, this chapter takes a closer look at the distinguishing features of these allegedly antiquated information carriers, which functioned as handheld representatives, manageable paper-based proxies, or paper personae. Be it index cards, visiting cards, or even playing cards: they afford not only the organization of information, but also mobility, portability, flexibility, modularity, representativity, transitivity, manageability, updateability, legibility, and combinability.

Keywords: card, index card, catalogue, information, paper machines, proxy, Gessner, Conrad

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