Shame on me

For not knowing about Europeana.
Dante to dialects: EU’s online renaissance. According to this article in The Guardian, Europeana (unavailable at the time of writing), which is a project to digitise works of European culture, got so hammered by hits on its opening that it had to be taken down.
I have to confess that I’ve never even heard of the project, although the whole thing was driven by the French, which I probably why I’ve never heard of it. Nonetheless, Europeana should be a useful addition to digital libraries available online, providing access to a collection of material that most of us never get to see in the flesh.

Book vandals.
History’s missing pages: Iranian academic sliced out sections of priceless collection. This story, also from The Guardian, is about some despicable book-mutilator. I can appreciate Kristian Jensen’s words:
“You cannot undo what he has done…
“It makes me extremely angry. This is someone who is extremely rich who has damaged and destroyed something that belongs to everybody.”
People who make me wince are those who borrow books and turn down the corners of pages to mark their place, or bend the book double with no respect for it or its owner. I don’t do these things when I read my own books nor anybody else’s. I know that as I read a book, the spine is likely to get bent, but that’s from holding the book open and not from brute force. I’ve regretted lending books to people on more than one occasion because what got lent is reasonable condition came back looking like it’d sojourned in a medieval torture chamber.
I can imagine a romantic film in which you see Winona Ryder on a bus reading a copy of Pride and Prejudice bent double, which would then encourage people to think that such vandalism was romantic, especially on a bus. If people want books you can bend double, publishers should accommodate such a vulgar, uncouth rabble.

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