Friday, July 9, 2010

Sheneset Project

Blogroll Me!

I have bookmarked a website called Cultural Conservers Foundation. I found it through a weekly blog I follow called The Archdruid Report that is written by John Michael Greer. John has thoughtfully mapped out the long decent and decline of the industrial age. His recent writing is about resurrecting knowledge that was abundant during the 70's about conservation and conservation movements. Being a retired librarian and appalled that the old card catalogs are being retired in favor of only digital storage, I am concerned that much knowledge that we will be needing is about to be lost in the planned obsolescence that dominates this new century. The Sheneset project is the most proactive solution to losing valuable knowledge that I have encountered so far. The Sheneset project appeals to my doomometer. I realize that I have been acting on this without knowing the terminology for quite some time now.

Sheneset is the ancient Egyptian name of a small town on the eastern bank of the Nile in Upper Egypt. Sometime in the fourth century of the common era, the librarian of a Gnostic monastery located near Sheneset took a collection of books forbidden by the religious orthodoxy of the time, and buried the volumes in a pottery jar in the desert. Many centuries later, when the name of the town had changed to Nag Hammadi, the jar and its contents were rediscovered, and as a result Gnostic teachings that survived nowhere else can be studied today.

We feel that parallel steps need to be taken to preserve the cultural heritage of the past and present into a potentially difficult future. While burying books in pottery jars is unlikely to be an appropriate strategy, a range of projects to keep valuable resources from being lost are called for. We encourage supporters of CCF to consider taking up one or more of the following projects:

  • Collecting at-risk books, especially those being discarded by public and university libraries
  • Learning methods of preserving and curating books for long term survival, and of transforming digital resources into forms that can endure and be used in the absence of specific technologies
  • Establishing local, private, subscription-based lending libraries, especially where public libraries are being shuttered or stripped of useful materials

No comments: