Masters Theses

Orcid ID


Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Information Sciences

Major Professor

Carolyn Hank

Committee Members

Xiaohua Zhu, Rachel Fleming-May


Marginalia, the notes readers write in the blank spaces of their books, are significant objects of study in bibliography and book history, among other fields. Due to factors including findability and fragile book materials, marginalia from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries are difficult to study. The same does not necessarily have to be true for similar objects from the twenty-first century. This thesis uses Rodger’s evolutionary concept analysis to analyze the usage of digital marginalia in the scholarly literature from 1991 to 2020. Beginning with an overview of bibliography and the history of marginalia, this thesis situates digital marginalia in a bibliographic context. Digital marginalia’s definitions, characteristic attributes, events related to the creation of digital marginalia, and concepts related to the practice are then examined. Bringing in connections to bibliographic concepts, this thesis argues that digital marginalia and bibliography provide each other reciprocal value. Like their physical counterparts, digital marginalia provide evidence of users’ interactions with media, their social interactions through that media, and their sociocultural contexts.

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."