Commentary, Reference and Writing

Help desk for the book

Publishing the online edition of The Chicago Manual of Style has given us some insight into how people use electronic editions of books, an awareness of the usability issues posed by the online environment, and a renewed appreciation for the simplicity and naturalness of the physical book.
Or at least the physical book seems a simple and intuitive interface. But maybe not. Maybe the first users of the codex had technical difficulties just as computer users have today. Maybe every monastery had a help desk to assist readers and scribes with recalcitrant books. Via YouTube:

According to a comment on YouTube, the clip is from a show called Øystein og meg (Øystein and I) and appeared in 2001 on NRK, the Norwegian television network. The sketch was written by Knut Nærum and performed by Øystein Bache and Rune Gokstad. The spoken language in the clip is Norwegian; the subtitles are in English and Danish.
[Updated February 23: If the video above does not play, try this version from YouTube, which has the advantage of including a bit at the end about reading the manual (RTFM), but the disadvantage of being quite dark. On February 19, NRK had a news story about the worldwide interest in this video.]