The December 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

Close bar

The Great Transmogrification of Atoms to Bits

Libraries move to curating digital rather than physical collections

3 min read
The Great Transmogrification of Atoms to Bits
Illustration: Mark Allen Miller
Out-of-copyright materials in NYPL digital collections are now available as high-resolution downloads. No permission required, no hoops to jump through: just go forth and reuse!

New York Public Library

As I mentioned in my February 2013 column, “Balancing Act,” the belief that our life offline is separate from our life online has been denounced as digital dualism. But there’s less of a debate when it comes to differentiating between analog objects and digital data. Yes, the print and electronic copies of the same book contain the same words, but it’s obvious to most people (and, increasingly, to researchers) that the two reading experiences are quite different.

Keep Reading ↓Show less

This article is for IEEE members only. Join IEEE to access our full archive.

Join the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and applied sciences and get access to all of Spectrum’s articles, podcasts, and special reports. Learn more →

If you're already an IEEE member, please sign in to continue reading.

Membership includes:

  • Get unlimited access to IEEE Spectrum content
  • Follow your favorite topics to create a personalized feed of IEEE Spectrum content
  • Save Spectrum articles to read later
  • Network with other technology professionals
  • Establish a professional profile
  • Create a group to share and collaborate on projects
  • Discover IEEE events and activities
  • Join and participate in discussions

Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
Vertical
A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar
DarkBlue1

You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

Keep Reading ↓Show less
{"imageShortcodeIds":["31996907"]}