Michael Dirda’s Browsings

"Books don't just furnish a room. A personal library is a reflection of who you are and who you want to be, of what you value and what you desire, of how much you know and how much more you'd like to know. ... Digital texts are all well and good, but books on shelves… Continue reading Michael Dirda’s Browsings

Remembering the real old Foyles

Somewhat belatedly, I should record my pleasure at the opening of Foyles new flagship bookship on Charing Cross Road. Visiting it is not so very different from what it used to be, as they’ve only moved a few doors down the road, to get premises which can be laid out more like a shiny new… Continue reading Remembering the real old Foyles

Floridi’s Information Ethics

This is an amended version of a review which will appear in Aslib Journal of Information Management. Luciano Floridi is well-known as the leading active philosopher with a strong interest in information, and his latest book extends his contributions into the area of information ethics (hereafter, as in the book, IE). IE became recognised as… Continue reading Floridi’s Information Ethics

Senate House Library and the context of documents

“Research is concerned with discovery”, Christopher Pressler tells us in his introduction to Scala Publishing’s splendid new book on the University of London’s Senate House Library, “Libraries are the essential mode of travel.” The centrality of collections of documents in an organized space is the intellectual theme to what might (wrongly) be dismissed as a… Continue reading Senate House Library and the context of documents

Very Short Information

Oxford University Press's Very Short Introductions series will be familiar to anyone who is old-fashioned enough to still visit serious bookshops. Small enough to fit into an average pocket at 18 by 10 cms, and around 160 pages, and attractively printed and produced, they have proved very popular. It helps, of course, that they are… Continue reading Very Short Information

The Once and Future Book

This is a version of an editorial written for the Journal of Documentation. The future of the book has received a good deal of attention, as we move into an increasingly digital information environment. The e-book has become a reality, and the prospect of books being superseded entirely by blogs, wikis and other novel digital… Continue reading The Once and Future Book

The House of Wisdom

A new book by Jonathan Lyons, The House of Wisdom: how the Arabs transformed Western civilisation, has a few surprising insights on developments in the recording and transmission of knowledge in the period. Lyons focuses on the contribution of Abbasid rulers of Baghdad, from the founding of the dynasty in 762 to its overthrow by… Continue reading The House of Wisdom

Codex Siniaticus; the good side of digital

A very impressive example of the power of digitisation to support 'book culture' comes from the creation of the digital version of the Codex Siniaticus, the earliest version of the Christian Bible, dating from the fourth century. No complete version of the original parchment manuscript exists anywhere; the 800 pages are scattered in museums and… Continue reading Codex Siniaticus; the good side of digital