The 3 System Journey of Publishing

“The digital artifact, therefore, is a scaffolding between pre- and post- artifact systems” (Mod)


The scaffolding between two systems of written texts. One being physical and digital but more important, an experience being individual versus collective. Pre social media, a collective experience consisted of a chat room on a game site. That’s what I remember while playing online checkers. Grade school was about ask Jeeves which was founded in 1996. Two years later, Google was born. It was at this time that I was using hard copy encyclopedias because owning a computer in the nineties was for a higher tax bracket. My entertainment on a computer was pinball, spider solitaire, and mine sweeper.  

We own it, but yet, don’t.” (Mod) In my mind, not owning the physical copy of a book is much a letdown as not finishing it. I value the reminder of that book I read as a memento on my shelf. We need to research an idea for a reward system. Not only a kindle library but a way to record that personal journey between the reader and the text. Something tangible that is as meaningful as the codex.


Now entering the world of the “post-artifact system,” the scope consists of the functionality within the audience packaged with the collective text and its system of creators. We ask ourselves as digital publishers; what experience do you want to give the reader? A virtual book club? A question-and-answer session? A reader list of summaries or reviews? The possibilities are endless. Other aids for the reader might be outside the scope of the text itself but perhaps marginalia that could include an author’s commentary. Like a director’s cut but even better. For in the artifact system, the original manuscript is often changed to fit the publishers’ criteria. Only now, do we define our own limits for the book.  


Mod, Craig. “Post Artifact Books and Publishing.” Craig Mod, Accessed 12 Sept. 2022.

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