Friday, July 27, 2007

Solomon’s Ship

From Communication
In the Quest of the Holy Grail, to send a message to the last of his line Solomon built a ship that lasted 2,000 years. (This ingenious idea was his wife’s.) This ship, made of rot-proof wood and dressed in white silk sheeting, carried with it materials that succored his ultimate descendant, Galahad, as he approached the end of his quest. It took some divine assistance to pull off this long-distance communication plan.

The image above is from Ferris Greenslet’s The Quest of the Holy Grail: An Interpretation and a Paraphrase of the Holy Legends (Boston: Curtis & Cameron, 1902), which contains photogravure plates of Edwin Austin Abbey’s friezes in the Boston Public Library.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Digitization May Help Save the World

On last Friday’s Morning Edition, Richard Haass discussed some “softer” approaches to combating terrorism. One example he mentioned was a Carnegie Foundation project to make classical works on liberal Islamic thought freely available online. These texts, it is hoped, will influence intellectual discourse within the Islamic world.

For many of us who pursue digitization projects, the impulse to digitize has much to do with the desire to see historical materials connected with current public discourse. The current information age has a historical dimension, and the cultural products of the past can help us progress culturally, politically, socially, and economically.

NPR Interview available from:

Monday, July 23, 2007


There will be time, there will be time …
—T. S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”
The primary purpose of this blog is to collect information related to the transformation of libraries and archives in our emerging digital age. I am particularly interested in how cultural heritage institutions continue to keep time for culture by keeping the cultural record. A number of my publications and presentations are available here.