repositories of knowledge

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THE LONG ROOM LIBRARY AT TRINITY COLLEGE -DUBLIN, IRELAND

Built between 1712 and 1732, the Long Room at Trinity College’s Old Library holds the collection’s 200,000 oldest books. The enormous collection housed in the long room includes a rare copy of the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic and the 15th-century wooden harp in the library which is the model for the emblem of Ireland. 

The distinctive and beautiful barrel ceiling was added in 1860 to allow space for more works when the existing shelves became full. Marble busts of famous philosophers and writers line the central walkway of the nearly 200-foot-long room, created by sculptor Peter Schemakers beginning in 1743.

Discover more of the historic gems held in this beautiful library at Atlas Obscura…

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The dwarves are lauded for their craftsmanship, and the city of Orzammar is one of their finest works. Orzammar lies at the heart of the Frostback Mountains, deep underground. The city arcs outward from the royal palace, which is built around a natural lava vent, continually fountaining liquid rock, which both lights and heats the entire cavern. 

 The topmost tier of Orzammar is home to the noble caste, with their palaces fanning out in both directions from the court of the king, as well as the Shaperate, which serves as a repository for all dwarven knowledge. 

 The lower tier is the Commons, where the merchant caste holds sway and where the finest works of Orzammar’s craftsman are for sale. In the center of the river of lava, connected to the Commons by a causeway, are the Proving Grounds, a sacred arena where the dwarves, by ancient tradition, settle their disputes. 

 On one side of the fiery river are the ruins of old dwarven palaces, fallen into disrepair, which the locals call Dust Town, now home to the city’s casteless. On the other side of the river are the Deep Roads, which once joined the sprawling dwarven empire together, but now, after centuries of darkspawn incursions, are largely sealed off. Nearly all knowledge of this network of underground passages has been lost, even to its builders. 

 ──From “In Pursuit of Knowledge: The Travels of A Chantry Scholar”, by Brother Genitivi

Literature is the record we have of the conversation between those of us now alive on earth and everyone who’s come before and will come after, the cumulative repository of humanity’s knowledge, wonder, curiosity, passion, rage, grief and delight. It’s as useless as a spun-sugar snowflake and as practical as a Swiss Army knife.
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Ancient Aboriginal Astronomy -Mount Colah, Australia

It is acknowledged that Australian Aboriginal culture is heavily spiritual and symbolic, but a rock engraving in a national park near Sydney suggests that the indigenous belief system represents a deep knowledge of the sky and the motion of the bodies within it.

Coalsack Dark Nebula (within the Milky Way) is known to the Wardaman Aboriginal people as the head of the ‘Emu In The Sky’. The rest of its body falls to the left, seen as the darkness between the stars.

In the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, near Sydney, is an ancient Aboriginal rock engraving of the Emu In The Sky, oriented in such a way so as to line up with the nebula where it appears in the sky at the time when real-life emus are laying their eggs.

To learn more about ancient aboriginal astronomy, visit atlasobscura.com

“In many of the more relaxed civilizations on the Outer Eastern Rim of the Galaxy, the Hitchhiker’s Guide has already supplanted the great Encyclopaedia Galactica as the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom, for though it has many omissions and contains much that is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate, it scores over the older, more pedestrian work in two important respects. First, it is slightly cheaper; and secondly it has the words DON’T PANIC inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover.” -Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

www.seacables.tumblr.com

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Stargate SG-1 meme: eight episodes (8/8) | 7x21-22 Lost City

Daniel: “Why wouldn’t we want to gain access to the greatest repository of knowledge in the known universe, once and for all finding the lost city of the Ancients, and use their technology to save the entire galaxy from the evil oppression of the Goa'uld?“

“In many cultures The Htchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy has already supplanted the Encyclopedia Galactica as the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom, for two important reasons.

First, it’s slightly cheaper; and secondly it has the words DON’T PANIC printed in large friendly letters on its cover.”

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OAK BEAMS, NEW COLLEGE OXFORD

Founded in 1379, New College, Oxford is one of the oldest Oxford colleges. It has, like other colleges, a great dining hall with huge oak beams across the top, as large as two feet square, and forty-five feet long each.

A century ago, some busy entomologist went up into the roof of the dining hall with a penknife and poked at the beams and found that they were full of beetles. This was reported to the College Council, which met the news with some dismay, beams this large were now very hard, if not impossible to come by. “Where would they get beams of that caliber?” they worried.

One of the Junior Fellows stuck his neck out and suggested that there might be some worthy oaks on the College lands. These colleges are endowed with pieces of land scattered across the country which are run by a college Forester. They called in the College Forester, who of course had not been near the college itself for some years, and asked him if there were any oaks for possible use.

He pulled his forelock and said, “Well sirs, we was wonderin’ when you’d be askin’.”

Upon further inquiry it was discovered that when the College was founded, a grove of oaks had been planted to replace the beams in the dining hall when they became beetly, because oak beams always become beetly in the end. This plan had been passed down from one Forester to the next for over five hundred years saying “You don’t cut them oaks. Them’s for the College Hall.”

For more details, and other fascinating histories, visit Atlas Obscura.

  • The library’s one of the few civic spaces we have left. People are feeling like there’s no other ways for these online platforms and services to be run, it’s our destiny to have them be privately run, and yet we invoke the analogy of the library or archive all the time. To me it says that we find it realistic that Google will be our archive when it’s an advertising company. We’ve seen them get rid of services that are not profitable (Google Reader), and we’ve seen them demote things like Google Scholar. That’s realism, where it’s unrealistic to think we’d build on the success of the library with a national repository for knowledge, arts, and culture? Libraries exist and they’re open.
  • Libraries exist with all these values we invoke in the digital sphere, but there are very few people thinking about how we might build upon them.
  • — Astra Taylor

Submission - Historical Map: Chicago CTA Rapid Transit Map, 1983

Submitted by our resident repository of Chicago transit map knowledge, Dennis McClendon, who says:

This map of Chicago’s rapid transit network originated in the 1970s (this one is from June 1983), and this style was used until routes received color names in 1993. Happily, by that time digital printing in fiberglass-embedded signs made full-color maps easier to place in graffiti-prone environments.

These maps were silk-screened onto [blue] color blanks, and every color of ink added cost. So the CTA’s six lines are represented by using only two colors. Simple black is used for three “extension” lines that never overlap. A simple white line is used for the north-south line those connect with. For the two other through routes: black with white casing and white with black casing.

The side ticks for stations work fine, but a box for the places where transfers are possible is not altogether intuitive.  The CTA of that era employed skip-stop spacing, so alternate trains stopped at A or B stations only. Another graphic decision that might have deserved more thought:  the names of various suburbs—only a few of which can be reached by rapid transit—floating in their vague geographic positions, but no indication of Chicago city limits or Lake Michigan.

—-

Transit Maps says:

I have to say that I actually really like the forced graphic simplicity of this map. There’s only two colours to work with, so every element has to be very carefully considered and balanced against others for the map to work at all. That it manages to keep the route lines recognisable and separated in the downtown Loop area without the use of an inset map is quite an achievement.

The famous “A-B” stopping patterns are shown pretty deftly as well, being mostly placed on the opposite side of the route line from the station name. The few stations where this doesn’t happen (due to crowding or space limitations) stand out like a sore thumb – Jarvis on the North-South line, and many of the stations on the Ravenswood line. There are also two stations with their labels set at an angle: Merchandise Mart is almost completely unavoidable, but Harvard on the Englewood Line could easily have been fitted in horizontally.

I think the “boxed” interchanges work well enough, having seen similar devices on quite a few maps (the Paris Metro included) now. I also like the extra detail included on the map: station closures on weekends and nights, direction of travel around the Loop, inbound boarding only on the last three stations on the Jackson Park North-South Line, and more.

I would agree with Dennis on the locality names, that just seem to float in space. The biggest offender is “Evergreen Park”, right at the very bottom of the map, below the legend!

As for depicting Lake Michigan, that seems like a good idea, but I struggle to think of a way of doing it without upsetting the delicate balance of the map. You can’t really use a white line, as that could be confused with all the white route lines, and you can’t have a large white area as that would be visually way too heavy. In the end, the lake isn’t that important for such a graphically stylised map (it really just delineates the eastern side of the map), so I’m not too upset by its absence.

Our rating: A fine historical example of how to use a limited colour palette effectively. Minimalist but still effective. Three-and-a-half stars.

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Library www.stiftadmont.at

Words largest monastic library

Since its foundation in 1074, i.e. since almost one thousand years, Admont Benedictine Monastery has collected and preserved cultural goods. In this respect the library has a special position.

This library is one of the most important cultural properties of our country and is one of the largest late Baroque works of art in Europe. Perhaps a little overenthusiastically but at the same quite justifiably, since the early 19th century the Admont library has been called the “eighth wonder of the world”. It represents a repository of knowledge containing examples of the artistic and historical development of books over the centuries - from the manuscripts of the medieval Admont writing school over the collection of incunabula (early printed books) to the fully developed printing process.

As a work of art, the library should be viewed as a whole in which the various genres (architecture, frescoes, sculptures, written and printed matter) blend into one work - in the final analysis, the central place of books in the history of the development of the Benedictine Order.

The late Baroque library, completed in 1776, was commissioned by Abbot Matthäus Offner (reigned 1751-1779) and built by the Graz Master Builder Josef Hueber (1715-1787). Hueber was imbued with the ideas of the Enlightenment: “As with the mind, light should also fill the room”. With a length of 70 m, a width of 14 m and 11 m in height (12.7 m in the central cupola) and divided into three, this room is the largest monastery library room in the world. The Austrian National Library in Vienna served Hueber as a pattern.

The seven ceiling frescoes created by the 80-year-old Bartolomeo Altomonte (1694-1783) in the summer months of the years 1775 and 1776 also breathe the spirit of the Enlightenment. They show the steps in man’s exploration of thinking and speaking from the sciences to Divine Revelation in the central cupola. The bookcases under this cupola alone contain editions of the Bible and the Church Fathers, those in the North side room theological literature and those in the South room all the other subjects.

The monastery sculptor Josef Stammel (1695-1765), one of the most important Baroque sculptors, created the extensive carvings in the room. Particularly famous is “The Four Last Things”, a group of four over-lifesize presentations of Death, the Last Judgement, Heaven and Hell.

The Admont library is a historical monument to book culture with an importance far beyond the region. At the same time it offers equally valuable and exhaustive source material of the surrounding country. The total collection of books comprises some 200,000 volumes. The most valuable treasures are the more than 1,400 manuscripts (the earliest from the 8th century) and the 530 incunabula (early printed books before 1500).

Maybe also from interest to you:

Josef Stammel, Universum (c. 1760) Stereoscopic photograph taken in 1860.

At about the time he was creating his ‘Four Last Things’ (1760), Josef Stammel was probably working on another sculpture, his so-called ‘Universum’ (The Universe). This sculptural group, which is quite unique in the catalogue of Baroque iconography, was originally positioned in the centre of the rotunda of Admont library:

http://ift.tt/1m85Xnz


by ognipensierovo http://flic.kr/p/aXg9z

Shall Do What Thou Wilt Be the Whole of the Tech?

Damien

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                                 Image Copyright The Independent UK

There is nothing that is not magick, if apprehended correctly, and there is nothing that is not technology for the same reasons. We’ve mentioned, before, that the roots for both technology and magick are in “craft.” The Greek root for this is “Techne,” and you can look to Athena and Hekate and Hermes and Hephaestus and see deities of both Art and Artifice. They are goddesses and gods of skill and cunning and language and creation and weaving—stories and textiles—and theft and all of these things are bound together.

This is part of why we talk, here, about magic and technology, and what “artificial intelligence” really means when we break it down.

But the Western world’s Greek ancestors aren’t the only ones who bound their technology and their magic together. Egypt saw Thoth creating language and magic, being a god of technology and the repository of all memory and knowledge. Odin is the Master Speller and the great artificer (and thief and Cunning Man). Legba and Ellegua are spiritually tied to crossroads, thresholds, beginnings, endings, and communications, making the Lwa the obvious choice for Gibson to map onto the Internet.

And in all of this we have the root technology of language. The manipulation of words and memories and “spelling” and, again, “craft.” Kim Boekbinder reminded us, some weeks ago, that, “Songs are spells, incantations. Careful what you sing for. Songs are spells. Be mindful of what you listen to.” And we’re back around to phonomancy, again. But these are the more poetic uses of language, and their intent, as stated, is to hit you in the heart, in the viscera, in the instinct. Less prosaic (but no less powerful) uses of language than these are laws.

The law is a spell that works on you, at every moment, whether you will it or not. Laws are the codification and concretization of moral codes and systems of justice, all of which are derivations of a society’s values. They are the concentrated beliefs and essences of what people think and feel and believe are best, and their particular parsing and deployment can have long lasting, permanent effects on your life, even at great distance from you, and without your conscious knowledge. But, just like other forms of magick, the law can be learned, can be understood, and in most cultures, one can even become fully initiated into its mysteries. And when you know the law, you can use it to your own advantage.

The law is alive, and somewhat adaptable, but it’s also rigid, the pace of its change is often glacial, and its outcomes are not always Justice. The knowledge and recognition of that last fact allows for those who see antiquated and even repressive expressions of the law to do things like erecting a 9-foot-tall Baphomet Statue, and carrying it around the country to places where one religion’s views seem to be given state-sanctioned preference. Or Wiccans and Pagans working out how best to use various “Religious Freedom Restoration Acts” against the people who only ever seem to mean Christian religious freedom.

If we understand the law as a technology of social control, we can see the cruxes of influence and words of power that allow us to utilize it, and to leverage its often purposefully-occult nature. We can, as with many ritual forms, use it to transgress against itself, to subvert its grasp long enough to craft a more permanent solution.

We’re kicking off a new series over on our other blog, featuring the work of students in Dr. Juliette Paul’s English 4300 class and their research on an early American manuscript entitled The Lucubrator

This post (a Tumblr exclusive!) is by Meghan Cox.

Tumblr as Commonplace Book

The Lucubrator looks very much like a commonplace book. The pages of the manuscript are filled with essays, letters, and epigraphs expressing ideas that the author wished himself or herself, and possibly others, to remember. Commonplace books are repositories of knowledge often used for didactic purposes. Their pages are filled with ideas, observations, letters, quotations, tables, and drawings.

 The Lucubrator and the genre of the commonplace book can be compared to our modern day Tumblr. Tumblr enables us to create original content that is useful for personal and educational reasons. If you want to find Tumblr-like writing before websites were created, or perhaps even a history of the modern Tumblr, the commonplace book is one genre to which you would turn.  

 Technology has influenced the way we now collect knowledge and information, however we still can see parallels between genres of the past and present. Despite being developed in different time periods, both the Tumblr and the commonplace book are used for similar purposes, offering places for one to keep their thoughts, fascinations, and inspirations.