Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Books and Libraries in the Digital Age - Robert Darnton at MIT

My latest pleasure is finding the online set of lectures and resources from MIT, here. In the one I embed below, the historian Robert Darnton, in conversation with David Thorburn and audience members, Darnton lays out why he finds more promise than peril in rapidly expanding digital collections.

Darton's books include[George Washington’s False Teeth: An Unconventional Guide to the Eighteenth Century (2003), Mesmerism and the End of the Enlightenment in France (1968), The Business of Enlightenment: A Publishing History of the Encyclop├ędie (1979), The Literary Underground of the Old Regime (1982), The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History(1984), The Kiss of Lamourette: Reflections in Cultural History (1989), Revolution in Print: the Press in France 1775-1800 (1989, Daniel Roche co-editor), Edition et s├ędition (1991), Berlin Journal, 1989-1990(1991), and The Forbidden Best-Sellers of Prerevolutionary France(1995).

Early Information Society : 18th Century Paris
He also wrote a seminal piece on “An Early Information Society: News and the Media in 18th Century Paris” (Feb 2000), where he juxtaposed the workings of Silicon Valley millennials with the organic communication circuits of forbidden best-sellers of pre-revolutionary France. There is an neat blog post from Kevin Lim on this, here .

See also Library in the New Age” (12th June 2008).

The Epherema Man
Famous for his enthusiasm for ephemera as a primary research source, in this session he also talks with a deal of passion on how the web can aid and transform historical scholarship as well as offering some pertinent insights in to the need to preserve our born digital world.

The Host and Lecture
There is a lovely introduction to both the lecture, the speaker and the series, here. However, in celebration of MIT's generosity in giving us the embed option [ huge round of applause there!] I offer it below. Be advised it is nearly two hours long. If you would like to check out the running order, then check here first.


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