Memes: What are They and Why They Are Important

Today, we talk about memes.

“Meme” (pronounced /’miːm/, me-mm) describes a basic unit of cultural idea or symbol that can be transmitted from one mind to another and, inherently, everyone knows what memes are. In our everyday lives we live with memes; for example, catchphrases and clichés often serve the purpose translating non-literal, cultural ideas, while similes and metaphors hint at what words portray. Read the rest

Making the Invisible Visible: The Secret Vatican Archives.

With the surprise and somewhat sudden resignation of Pope Benedict XVI the Catholic Church and the Vatican have been thrust onto the world stage. While the world will be focused upon the conclave of cardinals who will elect a new Pope at the end of this March, little attention will be paid to the world beneath the Cathedrals of Rome where miles and miles of underground shelving and antiquated parchment make up the Secret Vatican Archives (Archivum Secretum Vaticanum). Read the rest

The Timbuktu Library Burnings and the Importance of Library Disaster Planning

Overview: A Tragedy Dodged

On Saturday the 26th of January, Islamic rebels set fire to two Timbuktu libraries of ancient manuscripts as they fled from incoming French and Malian troops [1]. Initial articles in the media reported it to be an enormous loss of ancient knowledge, uncounted numbers of ancient Islamic manuscripts, some dating back to the 11th century, gone in one day [2]. Read the rest