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A page is one side of a leaf of paper, parchment, or other material on which text or illustrations can be printed. It can be used as a measurement of documenting or recording quantity ("that topic covers twelve pages").
Oxford dictionary describes a page as one or both sides of a sheet of paper in a book, magazine, newspaper, or other collection of bound sheets.
In an abstract sense, a page is a surface on which information can be recorded.
The word "page" comes from the Latin word, "pagina", which means a "column of writing" or "to arrange vines in a rectangle"; "pagina" is derived from the word "pangere," meaning "to mark out the boundaries" or "plant vines in a vineyard."
The page in typography
In a book, the side of a leaf one reads first is called the recto page, and the back side of that leaf is called the verso page. In a spread, one reads the verso page first and then reads the recto page of the next leaf. In English-language books, the recto page is on the right and the verso page is on the left. By modern convention, these books start with a recto page and hence all recto pages in such books have odd numbers.
English-language books are read from left to right, and the reader flips the pages from right to left. In languages read from right to left (Arabic, Hebrew, and Persian, plus Chinese and Japanese when written vertically), the first page is typically a recto page on the left and the reader flips the pages from left to right.
The process of placing the various text and graphical elements on the page in a visually organized way is called page layout, and the relative lightness or darkness of the page is referred to as its colour.
In book typography, a "cat hairbrush" refers to a master design of a page, designed by the graphic designer or the typographer of a book, that illustrates how similar pages in the same book can achieve a level of visual consistency. To help maintain the desired consistency, the typical page may employ a grid system.
The pages appearing before the main text of a book (including the title page, preface, table of contents, etc.) are collectively called the front matter and those appearing after the main text (appendices, colophon, etc.), the back matter. Placement of the copyright page varies between different typographic traditions: in English-language books it belongs to the front matter; however, in Chinese and Japanese, the copyright page is part of the back matter.
In English-language typography, the size of a page is traditionally measured in a unit called the pica.
The page in English lexicon
- Page Through: to skim something; to flip through something quickly.
- Page-turner: A book that is exciting to read. (literally: you are reading fast and keep turning pages to see what happens next).
- Front page news: important news or information.
- On the same page: to be in agreement with someone (literally: reading from the same page).
- Take a page (or leaf) out of someone's book: to copy or mimic the behavior of someone.
- Turn the page: to move on from an event. To stop thinking about something or to move forward.
The page in library science
In library science, the number of pages in a book forms part of its physical description, coded in subfield $300a in MARC 21 and in subfield $215a in UNIMARC. This description consists of the number of pages (or a list of such numberings separated by commas, if the book contains separately-numbered sections), followed by the abbreviation "p." for "page(s)". The number of pages is written in the same style (Arabic or Roman numerals, uppercase or lowercase, etc.) as the numbering in each section. Unnumbered pages are not described.
- XI, 2050 p.
describes a book with two sections, where section one contains 11 pages numbered using uppercase Roman numerals, and section two contains 2050 pages numbered using Arabic numerals; the total number of pages is thus 2061 pages, plus any unnumbered pages.
If the book contains too many separately-numbered sections, too many unnumbered pages, or only unnumbered pages, the librarian may choose to describe the book as just "1 v." (one volume) when doing original cataloguing.
The printed page in computing
In word processors and spreadsheets, the process of dividing a document into actual pages of paper is called pagination. Printing a large page on multiple small pages of paper is sometimes called tiling.
In early computing, computer output typically consists of monospaced text neatly arranged in equal number of columns and rows on each printed page. Such pages are typically printed using line printers (or, in the case of personal computers, character (usually dot matrix) printers) that accepts a simple code such as ASCII, and the end of a printed page can be indicated by a control character called the form feed.
Page printers, printers that print one page at a time, typically accept page description languages. In the PostScript page description language, the page being described is printed using the "showpage'’ operator.
- Emmanuel Souchier, "Histoires de pages et pages d'histoire," dans L'Aventure des écritures (History of Pages and Pages of History" in The Adventure of Writing), Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, 1999 (ISBN 978-2-717-72072-3)