Wednesday, April 22, 2009

a library, not in Alexandria

I am in love with something on the internet. This is unusual, as electronic technology mostly confuses me, however much I like the gleaming efficiency of it. Still, a digital library of some of the world's great manuscripts, maps, and whatnot, reproduced in beautiful, clear photographs and accompanied by supplemental bits and pieces rather like extras on a DVD... Well, that is something that I can be excited about.

I mean, where else am I going to be able to read Boke of the Fayt of Armes and Chyualrye (translated into English by William Caxton for Henry VII)? At the Library of Congress, actually. But now I can look at it whenever I want. I can sit on my bed and admire an atlas of China from 1737. Admittedly, I can't touch it, or smell it, or lift the pages, or enjoy any of the sensual pleasures that an actual book would offer, but still...

The World Digital Library: a whole new world of procrastination unfolds before me. Go, UNESCO! Go, James H. Billington!

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