The Vatican is beginning the process of digitizing its extensive library of books and manuscripts, previously only available to a select few scholars and historians. Their plan calls for an initial 3000 manuscripts to be scanned, with the rest of the 82,000 other documents to hopefully follow.
That’s 41 million pages spanning nearly 2,000 years of church history that will soon be clickable, zoomable, and presumably, printable. When all is said and done, you’ll be able to read the Psalms handwritten across 13th-century vellum on your iPhone — so long as you speak ancient Greek.
Jay Walker made a lot of money and used some of it to finance a ridiculously huge and nerdy library in his house. Wired has a tour.
The massive “book” by the window is a specially commissioned, internally lit 2.5-ton Clyde Lynds sculpture. It’s meant to embody the spirit of the library: the mind on the right page, the universe on the left. Pointing out to that universe is a powerful Questar 7 telescope. On the rear of the table (from left) are a globe of the moon signed by nine of the 12 astronauts who walked on it, a rare 19th-century sky atlas with white stars against a black sky, and a fragment from the Sikhote-Alin meteorite that fell in Russia in 1947—it’s tiny but weighs 15 pounds. In the foreground is Andrea Cellarius’ hand-painted celestial atlas from 1660. “It has the first published maps where Earth was not the center of the solar system,” Walker says. “It divides the age of faith from the age of reason.”
(via design observer)
A thoughtful letter from a librarian to a woman who wanted a book depicting gay marriage removed from the children’s section of the library.
I fully appreciate that you, and some of your friends, strongly disagree with its viewpoint. But if the library is doing its job, there are lots of books in our collection that people won’t agree with; there are certainly many that I object to. Library collections don’t imply endorsement; they imply access to the many different ideas of our culture, which is precisely our purpose in public life.
SMU is pursuing the George W. Bush presidential library but the faculty says, in effect, “That crook? Hell no!”
Top 1000 publications owned by US libraries. The Holy Bible, the 2000 US Census, and Mother Goose top the list. (via o’r)
In addition to books, you can check people out of the Malmo, Sweden library. The library “will let curious visitors check out living people for a 45-minute chat in a project meant to tear down prejudices about different religions, nationalities, or professions”.