Danielle Fontaine 4/7/12 VAST 231 Audio Essay #3 D: Hey Tori

Danielle Fontaine
VAST 231
Audio Essay #3
D: Hey Tori! Can you help me for a second? I’m just writing this essay for my VAST
and I just want to make sure that this paragraph makes sense!
T: Yeah sure! I think that makes sense, but wait. What’s rubrication?
D: Oh! It’s really cool tor, I always saw it in old books in museums and in this family
tree that my dad owns but I never knew what it was called until I started
researching for this essay! Any who, rubrication is the underlining of certain letters
or phrases, usually in red, throughout a book. The purpose of this early form of
textual highlights was for the benefit of readers: in such a long book, treatise, or
even the Bible, readers had a built-in placeholder so that they would not lose their
place. So it’s basically like the earliest form of a bookmark! But people didn’t have to
worry about it falling out and could find their place much easier in a book.
T: Oh wow! I actually know what that is now, I’ve definitely seen it before! What else
can you tell me about rubrication? Why are you researching it?
D: What can I tell you about rubrication? Don’t get me started; I just did a ton of
research about it! First of all, have you ever been in Special Collections at the
T: No, I’ve only really looked at special collections online, but did you look at
something there about rubrication?
D: Yes! We saw a large chunk of Special Collections as a class and I went back on my
own time. I looked at the Nuremburg Manuscript from 1493. It’s one of the bestpreserved examples of rubrication! I felt like I was gong to break it or ruin it
somehow the entire time I was looking through it, it was so nerve-wracking! But the
reason why I am researching rubrication is for my third audio essay for vast. We had
to choose an earlier practice of making books and explain why we wanted to bring it
back. So I chose rubrication!
T: Oh cool! Tell me why you chose rubrication, I’m intrigued!
D: If you insist! I chose rubrication because I really think it is an important
distribution technique that should be brought back. Arguably pointless in today’s
digitalized reading world, rubrication should be brought back into the creation of
modern-day books. Rubrication adds character to the blank pages of paperbacks
and can help e-book readers to keep track of their place in a book and in other
online documents with ease. Other distribution techniques, such as illumination and
historiated lettering, would further add more charm to modern books. Rubrication,
along with illumination and historiated lettering, would enhance the reading
experience of present day readers.
T: I see! I agree, it would be really cool and helpful to have books, especially online
documents and textbooks, published with the addition of rubrication. I have to read
a lot for my classes and having an extra method of finding my place would be great!
But wait…what’s illumination and historiated lettering? Do explain!
D: Oh right sorry! I just got really excited about talking about
T: Too typical…
D: Well, illumination is text covered in gold while historiated lettering is the
intricate design or drawing within the first letter of a paragraph. So think old
fairytales or the original versions of really old books-like the first version of
Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. How cool would it be if we could translate these old
practices to the digitalized books of today or even simply to ordinary, boring
T: I see where you’re going with this but wouldn’t it just be a waste of money? Extra
color and pictures in adult books is kind of childish, don’t you think?
D: I see where you’re coming from, but I disagree. I think that the comeback of these
distribution practices would really help our generation! We could benefit from the
aesthetic that rubrication brings to books and as a plus, we would have a built in
system of bookmarking without having to worry about losing our place. I know that
this is really helpful when I have to do research for papers, as I get really distracted
and can never remember where I left off unless I mark it myself! Rubrication would
also really add a lot of character to books…I mean come on, I like a book so much
more if it incorporates historiated lettering!
T: Well ok! I guess I can see how rubrication, illumination, and historiated lettering
could be useful. Isn’t rubrication kind of like the annotation feature on a Kindle?
D: Fair point. I’d say yes and no. Yes because you’re right, rubrication does emphasis
key phrases yet it’s not really like rubrication. Rubrication is done before a reader
has even picked up a book and it used mainly to keep track of a reader’s place in a
book. The Kindle highlighting feature is for people to take their own notes about
what they find most important in a book, which can then be shared with the rest of
the Kindle community, but we can get into that another time!
T: Alright I can see how rubrication is important. I think you just like it because it
makes books look fancier!
D: Well…it does. Don’t tell me you wouldn’t rather read a book that was beautifully
decorated with rubrication, illumination, and historeated lettering over a book
without any of these things!
T: Fair enough! I got to go though, hope that rubrication makes a comeback!
D: Thanks! I’m glad that you think rubrication should be brought back into today’s
publishing practices too!