Not going to deny…
That the very thought of having access to what was written in all these old tomes, centuries ago, doesn’t drive me crazy with excitement.
Cause boy, does it!
[via Arstechnica]1.5 million pages of ancient texts to be made accessible online
This week the University of Oxford and the Vatican announced a plan to collaborate in digitizing 1.5 million pages of rare and ancient texts, most dating from the 16th century or earlier. The project is expected to span about 4 years and was made possible by a donation of £2 million (approximately $3.1 million) from the Polonsky Foundation—a charitable organization that supports higher education, medical research, and other general matters in the arts and sciences.
Specifically, the texts will include pages from Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries and the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (BAV). The digitized pages will include early printed books—called incunabula—from Rome and the surrounding area; Greek manuscripts including early church texts and works by Homer, Sophocles, Plato, Hippocrates; and Hebrew manuscripts from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. “With approximately two-thirds of the material coming from the BAV and the remainder from the Bodleian, the digitization effort will also benefit scholars by uniting virtually materials that have been dispersed between the two collections over the centuries,” a statement from Oxford read.
The aim of the project, as envisioned by the Polonsky Foundation is “to democratize access to information, [seeing] increasing digital access to these two library collections, among the greatest in the world, as a significant step in sharing the wealth of resources on a global scale.”[Read More]
But even as much as I love the thought of being able to read what was written so long ago…
Or being given an opportunity ONLY because of the wonders of technology?
The organic feel of holding in your hand, feeling the pages, smelling them…
Is an experience technology will never be able to replicate.
[via Gizmodo] Why Old Books Get That Old Book Smell
There’s nothing quite as pungent as walking into a book store specializing in old tomes. But why do they produce such a strong and unique smell as they age? Basically every book is an organic chemical reaction just waiting to happen.
Books printed in the 19th and 20th centuries are particularly prone to breaking down because of the chemicals used in the paper pulp and the acidic inks on the pages. As soon as they come off the printing press the various chemicals start to react, giving off potent vapors, and the process is expedited when books are exposed to light and moisture. Oddly enough the manuscripts created by the earliest-known printers will survive even longer than the books printed today since the paper they used contained far fewer chemicals. So maybe Harper Collins can still learn something from old Gutenberg? [YouTube via Explore via Coudal] [Read More]
They are the physical embodiment of someones thoughts, which you can HOLD in your very hands. In that? There IS a physical connection between you and the author, for you hold a piece of them. That reality never fails to move me every time I pick up a book. It is always the very first thought I have. “This, right here in my hand? Thoughts given form, made whole.” I read a lot, all the time, online. I have read books, and will continue to do so via Kindle. But not once has the technology, which made so much of my online reading possible, conveyed any deeper sense of wonderment to me, though the text I was reading.
And for that, even as I celebrate the access to all this old material…
I shall ever mourn the loss.