Andrew M. Riggsby

in Mosaics of Knowledge

Published in print November 2019 | ISBN: 9780190632502
Published online August 2019 | e-ISBN: 9780190632533 | DOI:

Series: Classical Culture and Society


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  • Greek and Roman Archaeology
  • Classical History
  • European History


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This chapter starts with Jack Goody’s observations on the capacities of lists as a written technology, but focuses less on their theoretical possibilities and more on actual Roman usage. Rather than trying to encompass all possible lists (a huge category), the chapter addresses several types that each have some additional information feature: alphabetical lists, indexed lists, tables of contents, and nested lists. Tables of contents and alphabetical lists are restricted primarily to scholarly contexts, and even then are disfavored because of precisely the same disarticulation that gives them their formal power. Nested lists, by contrast are principally used to track large, dynamic, multi-user public archives, arising fairly naturally from the social and material “scaffolding” of that context. Indexed lists appear in a broader variety of contexts, but with a different kind of constraint. The indexical features are used for purposes of verification and authorization rather than as finding aids. In fact, the same appears to be true, if to a lesser extent, for the other specialized kinds of lists.

Keywords: table of contents; indexing; alphabetization; nested list; Jack Goody; list

Chapter.  15897 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology ; Classical History ; European History

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