Monday, April 19, 2010

The library at Alexandria

Two good articles recently about the ancient library at Alexandria, and the modern Biblioteca Alexandrina (I had the great pleasure of seeing Dr. Ismail Serageldin, Director of the BA, receive an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Laval during the opening ceremony of the IFLA 2008 conference). The first is "heavy" reading; the second, light:
  1. "Toward a New Alexandria: Imagining the future of libraries" in The New Republic: "We want to preserve that which we have not yet incorporated into our learned canons: the near-extinct and the barely remembered, the oral traditions and the dying languages, the esoteric and the sacred—the reviled, even—and the persecuted. We want the Nazi state papers and the Lodz ghetto archives, the Soviet encyclopedias and the samizdat literature, the Maimonides commentaries and the Genizah fragments, the Ethiopians' church songs and their memories of the recent famines." Conclusions: "The question is not whether there will be future scholars. It is how these future scholars will remember and integrate previous scholarship. And in pondering that, which means pondering our own scholarly legacy, it is worth remembering that “the generational war is the one war whose outcome is certain.” "
  2. "A Great Library of the Past and Present" from the SPL Shelf Talk blog

No comments:

Post a Comment